You don’t have to leave the city to hit the beach. European blue flags (indicators of the highest water quality) fly on all 10 of Barcelona’s beaches. Four of the best lie along the strand from the tip of La Barceloneta east to Port Olimpic. Each has showers, bathrooms, snack bars, umbrella and hammock rentals, and lifeguards. They are all free. Platja de Barceloneta and adjacent Platja del Somorrostro (near Port Olimpic) also have changing rooms and lockers. (Carmen Amaya, perhaps the most famous flamenco dancer of all time, was born in the shanty town that once stood on Platja del Somorrostro.) These two beaches and the more westerly Platja de Sant Sebastià and Platja de Sant Miquel can be reached from Metro stops Barceloneta or Ciutadella/La Vila Olimpica. A little farther east at Metro stop Poblenou, you’ll find the most popular beach with college-age Barcelonans and visitors alike, Platja de Mar Bella. It, too, has all the facilities, including lockers, and is the only beach in Barcelona with a section set off for nude sunbathing and swimming. Food options on the water become slimmer between November and April when the beach chiringuitos close for the season, but don’t worry, there are plenty of waterfront restaurants where you can still order that paella.