Sun, sand and surf. These are the three big drawcards of Barcelona’s northern neighbour, Badalona. Bordered by the Besòs River, the Mediterranean Sea and the impressive Serra de la Marina mountain range, Badalona doesn’t scrimp on views. For most, simply relaxing on the sandy beaches and soaking up the Catalan sun is reason enough to stay in Badalona.
As a former 3rd century Roman civilisation, Badalona is a destination in itself for those with a curiosity for Catalan history. Traces of the original city remain to this day, with the Baetulo ruins and Roman baths offering visitors a glimpse at Badalona’s past. The current city was rebuilt in the 10th century, which means it’s also peppered with architecture from 900 BC, and beyond. Visitors shouldn’t miss sacred sites like the 13th century Monastery of Saint Jerome of Myrtle, as well as contemporary masterpieces like Joan Amigó i Barriga’s Pavillard House and the modernist Anísdel Mono distillery.
At just 10 kilometres from Barcelona, staying in Badalona is an affordable alternative to the prices and crowds of areas like Barrio Gotico, El Reval and La Rambla. It’s just 30-minutes by car to Barcelona city centre or an even faster 20-minute train ride.
For visitors that love to bargain, Badalona is home to six local markets, as well as the main shopping precinct of Montigalà. These markets reflect the city’s rich trade oriented roots, which saw it emerge as one of Spain’s most important hubs during the 19th century industrialisation period.