Barcelona Water Sports
Making the most of the Mediterranean
By Duncan Rhodes
We take a look at some of the leisure opportunities on offer in Barcelona for water sports fans.
So you’re a bit of a waterbaby are you? Barcelona is certainly the perfect place to combine the beauty and natural rush of water sports with a city break. Here you’ve got all the diversions of a great metropolis, including world-class architecture (see our articles on Modernisme and Gaudi!), a fantastic programme of events and festivals, some of the best restaurants in Spain and a hedonistic nightlife scene, all parked up alongside the Mediterranean Sea.
Here in Barcelona the ocean is your playground, whether you just fancy a quick dip from the beaches, or want to charter a yacht to explore the picturesque Costa Brava coast. Swimming, sailing, surfing, windsurfing, kiteboarding, sea-kayaking, fishing, jet-skiing, wake-boarding and more are all available… read on to find out more, and how to book.
Barcelona has two ports (not including the cruise port), which are Port Vell and Port Olimpic. Both are full of the gleaming hulls of beautiful seaworthy vessels! Sailing companies operate from both, and they can either take you on a day cruise with a qualified skipper on the helm, or – if you already know the ropes – you can charter a yacht yourself and explore the Costa Brava.
There are plenty of scenic towns within striking distance, like Sitges, where you can moor your boat and eat lunch. Our partners at Barcelona yacht charter are one such company who can provide you with a vessel from their impressive fleet, suitable for your needs.
Kitesurfing – aka kiteboarding – is all the rage on the Costa Brava right now and if doing battle with Boreas and Zephyrus, armed only with a thin sheet of canvass, is your bag baby, then Barcelona makes a good base. Although it’s not possible to kitesurf actually within the Barcelona city limits, just down the road to the south is Castelldefels, Calafel and Sitges, all of which have kitesurfing schools where you can either take lessons or hire equipment. A little further up the coast to the north is Empuriabrava, recognised as one of the very best places for kitesurfing in the Costa Brava. A great place if you’re planning on spending several days kiteboarding.
For windsurfing you can opt for hiring equipment and wetsuits at Box 220 shop in Barceloneta, before heading out to sea. Or, several beaches down you’ll find Base Nautica. Here you’ll find a bit more space and better conditions in general, although you’ll need to pass a proficiency test (at a cost of 20 euros) for them to let you go out on your own. If you are a beginner you could always sign up for windsurfing lessons. Other options are to get out of Barcelona and head up the road to Castelldefels or Sitges.
Where there is water there tend to be fish, and as the Mediterranean is no puddle it’s certainly ripe with the fruits of the sea. Tuna, sea bass or hake are all plentiful and if you fancy organising a sports fishing trip in Barcelona then we suggest you get in contact with Deep Sea Fishing Barcelona, who will take you out on a chartered yacht with all the necessary equipment and licenses. For fresh water fishing the river Ebro is not far away from BCN and you can find a company who can get you the equipment, licenses and a guide to take on the giant catfish that lurk in the bottom of this particular stream. (We’re looking for a reliable one to partner up with right now! So check back soon!).
Barcelona Sea Kayaking
Like many more adventurous sports, sea-kayaking has risen sharply in popularity of late in and around Barcelona and the conditions are certainly perfect. All up and down the Costa Brava you’ll find coves, beaches and bays to discover and the relative calmness of the Mediterranean means you won’t be fighting an uphill battle just to get some nautical miles under your belt and do some exploring by sea! There’s a great school/centre in Vilanova (about 30 mins from BCN by train) called Nootka where you can rent kayaks or take lessons. Or for an easy-to-organise fantastic day on the ocean waves read up on our sea kayaking in the Costa Brava activity, which includes transport to and from Barcelona, guide, equipment and even a spot of cave snorkelling.