Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Barcelona Beach Running Route

Click here for route map
Length 11.5km (7.2), terrain: flat

NOTE: You can reduce the run to 9.5-km if you turn around at the Mar Bella sports hall along the north part of the run, and you can reduce it to 7.5-km if you also leave off the last section to the south after Barceloneta.

Another note: I was just back in Barcelona and re-ran the routes, and then rewrote this one to include more beach and less street -- Dec. 2015.

Barcelona running routes:
Montjuic hill climb
Ciutadella Park route
Beach run
Old town and harbor route
For more running routes, see Route List.

Barcelona is one of my favorite places on earth: with people strolling past the pet-kiosks along the Ramblas till past midnight, with the moody, ancient lanes winding through the old town, the modern dance-bars of Port Vell pulsing with music, and modern businesses lining Avinguda Diagonal, the crazy Gaudi buildings... And topping it off, there is a lot of great beachfront, right in the center of town.
Sand, sea and boardwalk as far as you can see
When I first came to Barcelona, 30 years ago, the waterfront was lined by decrepit industrial ruins and decaying wharves, cut off from the city by the train line. But all that is a thing of the past, as the waterfront has been turned into a swimming/sunbathing/boating/running beach paradise. The 1992 Olympics gave the city the opportunity to give the waterfront back to the people, and they did it just right.
View from Mapfre Tower, overlooking the southern section of beach
This route will let you enjoy the beach life yourself, covering the boardwalk that runs the whole length of the beach. We'll start at the middle point, because that's the location of the Ciutadella | Vila Olímpica Metro station, serviced by Linea 4. The station is just two blocks from the water.

So hop on the train and exit at Ciutadella | Vila Olímpica. The station entrance is surrounded by a little park. Head north uphill along Avenida d'Icaria to the main street, Carrer de la Marina, where you turn right and head towards the twin high-rise towers at the beach.
Monumental artwork at the towers
When you reach the water, you're at one of the most impressive sights of the beach: the twin high-rise office buildings are perched near the water like a modern gateway to the waterfront (I was lucky enough to work there for a few days!), and a giant copper fish figure graces the waterfront.

The right-hand tower and its giant fish belong to the Casino Barcelona. And just to the left you'll see the vast Port Olímpic marina, the harbor for the 1992 Olympic sailing teams.
Running past the marina
So now, follow the marina's western side along Passeig Marítim del Port Olímpic. You could also take the ramp down to be closer to the marina if, like me, you love boats.


You now basically just follow this palm- and park-lined beach promenade all the way to the end towards the northeast for the next three kilometers.
Volleyball along the boardwalk
This is the life: just enjoy the Mediterranean sun and beach life. If the weather permits, I like to stop somewhere, kick off my running shoes and jump into the water. You'd never suspect that you were in a big city.

Running north, you'll pass four stone jetties sticking out into the water. Between the jetties, the beach forms a crescent.
Sunrise along the beach
At the 2-km mark, you'll run past a sunken stadium along the left side and then the Mar Bella sports hall, before the third jetty.

NOTE: This is the spot to turn around if you want to shorten this run by two kilometers.

After the northernmost two jetties, at 3-km, the beach ends at still another rocky jetty, where you turn around and head back south.

So just head back past the same stuff you just passed before, and when you get back to the twin towers (at the 6-km mark), stay to the left side and head towards the giant fish, crossing a little pedestrian bridge.
At the fish
Now you just continue running along the southern section of beachfront, with fairly similar scenery.

At the 7-km mark, you'll see the old Barceloneta neighborhood coming towards the water on the right side. Barceloneta is one of the most interesting neighborhoods in town, old harbor-workers' quarters, with wash hanging from every balcony.

NOTE: Barceloneta was included by the Old Town route, so maybe give that a try, too!
The beach at Barceloneta
There are more tourists and more street action down at this end of the beach.

After the last buildings in Barceloneta, a big paved plaza lines the beach, bringing you to the last section of the run. From the 8-km mark, a line of sports halls line the water. There are open tennis courts, a swimming hall, boat clubs, small soccer fields... You're running towards the half-circle of the "W Hotel" at the far end of the beach. (You can shorten this run by two further kilometers by turning around after Barceloneta.)
The last section by night
The boardwalk heads upwards past the W Hotel front entrance. Keep running uphill to the raised plaza past the hotel, where you can circle the plaza, getting a view in every direction.

Now just head back towards the twin towers again, soaking in the scenery, hardly believing you're downtown in a big city.

1 comment:

  1. this is the run i'm making almost everyday ! my favorite one

    Olivia

    ReplyDelete