The name of the game in Barcelona was fun in the sun, and I couldn’t visit the seaside city without a full-on beach day. While Barceloneta is a perfectly great and popular beach right next to the city, we decided to rent a scooter one morning and head north to the little area of Montgat. The day consisted of a lot of sun, salty hair, a few bottles of cava champagne, and a huge picnic.
We rented the scooter first thing in the morning from a company right on Barceloneta beach called Cooltra. I think it cost us around €50 to rent the scooter for 24 hours, and another €4 to fill up the tank once with gasoline. It would have been cheaper to take the train to Montgat, but the freedom of a scooter was worth the bit extra. (We also used the scooter to get around town to shop that evening, and had a failed adventure to Castle Montjuic to try and see the fountains).
My one worry with the scooter was that not only had I never driven one, but we were told we could be in trouble if we were pulled over for not having an international drivers license. I’m still not sure how strict things are, but we didn’t have any issues with figuring out the basic traffic laws (it didn’t seem like most Spanish people followed them, anyways, but we tried!) or run-ins with law enforcement. Even filling up the gas tank at the end of the day was simple.
On the way to Montgat, we stopped in a small downtown we came across to stock up on picnic food. In Madrid, I ate at a lot of restaurants, but my hunger in Barcelona was satisfied most often by stopping into local markets. While not the most glamorous way to eat abroad, it was delicious and way more cost-effective. A huge picnic spread, including multiple bottles of cava champagne, wine, cured ham, fresh cheeses, olives, and fresh bread ran us barely €15.
The beach in Montgat wasn’t the white sand I’d imagined (I grew up on the west coast of Florida, where white sugar-sand is everywhere) but a more coarse, pebbly sand. Walking along the wave break was like natural a pedicure and foot massage, and the water seemed to be the perfect temperature to keep me refreshed and my cava cold. I spent part of the time picking up tumbled seaglass, but the majority of the day involved drinking, eating, and lounging or swimming.
Two things I noticed about beaches in Barcelona:
- There are no seagulls! Like, what an absolutely glorious thing to be able to enjoy your picnic without peasky sea-rats trying to take your lunch!
- No one even cares if your boobs are out. I’m not just saying this because no one was interested in what little I have to offer. (Hey, when in Spain…) I’m serious, though, it’s a different culture there. Boobs aren’t taboo; they’re just things that deserve to be tan-line free. I had a full on conversation with an old Spanish man on the beach who didn’t once look anywhere but my face. It was awesomely freeing to be half-naked in public and have virtually no one even think twice about it.
Although I’ve been back to my coveted Floridian white-sand beaches multiple times since this trip, my heart misses this beach day in Spain, full of carefree bliss.