The best things to do this summer in Costa del Maresme range from getting a tan on any of its 54 beaches to partying in the region’s liveliest nocturnal towns. This sandy stretch is part of Meresme’s sun-drenched Mediterranean coastline, where medieval towns and picturesque beaches go hand in hand. Starting just north of Barcelona, the Costa del Maresme stretches out until the popular resort town Malgrat de Mar, 55 km up north.

    Whether you’re after family fun, seaside relaxation, or cultural excursions, this part of Catalunya caters to your holiday needs. Make the most of your summer in Costa del Maresme with our handy guide below.

    1

    Canet de Mar

    Check out remarkable architecture and beaches

    • History
    • Photo
    • Budget

    Canet de Mar’s old quarter consists of cobblestoned streets and houses with colourful facades. Art-minded travellers will feel right at home in this coastal town, where Casa Roura instantly draws attention. This fantasy house, which has a fortress-like tower, is the work of Lluís Domènech I Montaner, who has a dedicated museum in town.

    The Lluís Domènech I Montaner House-Museum is a fine example of the architects’ creativity, who designed the Modernist facade, all the art pieces and the interior. Nearby, Molí de la Timba is a former windmill and guard tower that’s worth stopping by, as well as a local beach with its palm trees and football pitch. Canet de Mar is one of the best villages to visit during summer in Costa del Maresme.

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    2

    Illa Fantasia

    Escape the heat in Costa del Maresme’s largest waterpark

    • Families

    Illa Fantasia in Vilassar de Dalt has over 70,000 square metres worth of family-friendly slides, pools, restaurants, and picnic areas. The Mediterranean sun can be relentless at times, and what’s a better place to cool down than a waterpark? Daredevils can ride the Bitour slide with its steep falls and sharp turns, while younger kids can go down the 10-metre high Spiral slide or the Aquamania tubes.

    In total, Illa Fantasia has 3 large outdoor swimming pools and 22 slides. Refuel your energy in the onsite restaurant, where burgers, pizza, and ice cream are served throughout the day. Alternatively, bring your own food to the waterpark’s picnic area.  

    Location: Finca Mas Brassó, s/n, 08339 Vilassar de Dalt, Barcelona, Spain

    Open: June–September: daily from 10 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +34 9375 145 53

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    photo by Illa Fantasia (CC0 1.0) modified

    3

    Castell de Santa Florentina

    Discover one of the region’s most magnificent structures

    • History
    • Photo

    Castell de Santa Florentina had its roots in the 11th century when it was built to defend the Spanish coast from pirate attacks. Nowadays, this imposing fortress is open for guided tours with locals sharing its history. You’ll have a chance to explore the grand chambers and halls, as well as the courtyard behind the solid stone walls.

    There are incredibly detailed ornaments, furniture, and stained glass within the splendid castle, all designed by local Modernist, Lluís Domènech I Montaner. Some of the highlights inside include the Banquet Room, King’s Room, and Throne Room. Guided tours and audio guides through this iconic heritage site are available in numerous languages.

    Location: Av. Dr. Marià Serra, S/N, 08360 Canet de Mar, Barcelona, Spain

    Open: Tuesday–Friday from 10 am to 2 pm, Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm and from 3.30 pm to 5.30 pm (closed on Sundays and Mondays)

    Phone: +34 9367 208 84

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    4

    Platja de la Musclera

    Enjoy some family time at the beach

    • Families
    • Photo
    • Budget

    Platja de la Musclera at Arenys de Mar is incredibly scenic, as it's surrounded by towering rock walls and hills that rise straight from the sea. This is one of the most popular beaches throughout the summer in Costa del Maresme. Some rocky outcrops even contain miniature beaches, ideal for a private family getaway. If you travel here by car, there's a dedicated parking space for beachgoers.

    The waves of Platja de la Musclera are very calm, so this is an ideal spot for kids to swim or enjoy stand-up paddleboarding. A collection of modest restaurants provides beverages, snacks, and protection from the sweltering sun on the beach itself. Costa del Maresme is blessed with over 50 beaches, but Platja de la Musclera is simply more enchanting than others.

    Location: N-II, 08350 Barcelona, Spain

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    photo by Isidro Jabato (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    5

    Wineries in Alella

    Sample wines from well-known estates

    • Food

    Alella is a lush village that overlooks both the Mediterranean Sea and the Coastal Mountain Range of Catalunya. Besides its spectacular scenery, Alella is loved for its wine estates and a regional white grape variety called Xarel-lo. Visit the family-run and organic Alta Alella Mirgin winery to dive into the village’s wine culture. You can follow a tour, learn about harvesting and processing, and taste some delectable wines and cava.

    Bouquet d’ Alella is a small-scale winery with an open cellar door, where they organise winery tours and picnics in the vineyard. Bouquet d’ Alella even hosts a summer festival with open-air concerts and delightful wine and food pairings. 

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    6

    Calella

    Go shopping and sightseeing in this scenic coastal town

    • Shoppers
    • History
    • Photo
    • Budget

    Calella is one of the Costa del Maresme’s most popular settlements in the summer , thanks to the mixture of local restaurants, charming white-plastered houses, and historical buildings. Parc Dalmau is an excellent location to grab some fresh air under the pine trees, while you can go for a refreshing dive into the sea at Platja Gran. It’s worth walking away from the bustling town to see the Torretes de Calella, the ruins of 2 military towers dating back to 1848.

    From here, you can overlook the coastline, Calella’s lighthouse, and the town’s beach in the deep. Visit the lighthouse for more stunning scenery, and to learn more about the maritime history of the traditional fishing village Calella once was.

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    7

    Massís de les Cadiretes

    Hike or bike on the region’s trails

    • Photo
    • Budget
    • Adventure

    The Massís de l’Ardenya is a mountain massif that’s part of the Catalan Coastal Range. This nature reserve is a playground for adventurous travellers, thanks to a network of walking and mountain biking tracks. Many routes up to the Mare de Deu de Gracia ruins and the enchanting Puig de les Cadiretes viewing platform start in the coastal town Tossa del Mar.

    The Puig de les Cadiretes is the highest point in this mountain range, at 519 metres above sea level. In the summertime in the Massís de l’Ardenya area, you’re walking and riding past wonderful oak forests and low shrubs. A part of the famous GR92 walking route through the Costa del Brava also crosses this Catalonian mountain range.

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    8

    Sant Martí de Montnegre

    Hike to the remains of a 17th-century cloister

    • History
    • Photo
    • Adventure

    Sant Martí de Montnegre, constructed in the 17th century, is enlisted on Catalunya’s cultural heritage list. From the settlement Font-Montnegre, you can ascend 467 metres above sea level to witness the serene monastery. What once was a fortress and fully operating abbey is now a clocktower as a reminder of more prosperous times.

    Inside, a chapel with brilliant stone arches and medieval walls are visible. Stop for a while to take in the views of the pine forests and peaks of the distant Catalan Coastal Range. You can hike to some more stone churches and chapels around, such as the Sant Esteve d’Olzinelles and the Santa Maria del Montnegre. 

    Location: 08470 Montnegre, Barcelona, Spain

    Phone: +34 9379 206 41

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    photo by Pins (CC BY 3.0) modified

    9

    Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

    Join a tour or watch a race on this legendary racetrack

    • Families
    • Adventure

    The 4.6-km Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is the location of the annual Formula 1 and MotoGP races that attract massive crowds. Whether you’re a car fanatic or tourist, you can visit the circuit even when there's no racing taking place. Book a guided tour to soak up the racing atmosphere, and see the paddock, podium, the media room, and even the pit garage area.

    On top of a neat tour, the circuit offers experiences like advanced driving courses, formula car driving lessons, and drifting courses. You can even do laps around Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with your own car or motorbike during the Track Days.

    Location: Carrer Mas Moreneta, s/n, 08160, Barcelona, Spain

    Phone: +34 9357 197 00

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    10

    Lloret de Mar

    Party until the early hours in the region's liveliest town

    • Nightlife

    Lloret de Mar is a major party paradise along the Mediterranean coastline of Catalunya and one of the best places for nightlife throughout the summer in Costa del Maresme. This seaside resort hosts hundreds of restaurants in the narrow streets near the beach, where you can start the night with a traditional Catalonian feast or tapas. After sunset, Lloret de Mar truly comes alive, when the clubs open the doors for pumping parties. Night clubs like Disco Tropics and Disco Londoner are all located along Av. Just Marlés Vilarrodona, the main strip for late-night blowouts.

    If you're more into speakeasy bars than packed clubs, visit the Like Lounge cocktail bar or Bar Bolera for a more relaxing night out. Whichever night-time entertainment you're after, Lloret de Mar will undoubtedly have it.

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    Huub Lakerveld | Contributing Writer

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