Feeling Sporty?

Work up a sweat with our Barcelona Sports guide

May 28, 2024
man runningman running

Barcelona is a fantastic city for sports. It’s in their culture, and the weather and location allow you to do pretty much any activity you want, indoor or outdoor. You’ll probably want to keep fit while you’re here, especially if you’re living here for a few months, or a permanent resident. To help you out, here is our guide to the best ways to keep active while you enjoy the city.

Let’s hit the beach!

Pretty much everyone knows that Barcelona is a beach city. The lovely weather makes the beach a great place to be pretty much all year round. Swimming is probably the first activity to check off your list, but there are many water sports you can try. You can try sailing and windsurfing, or rent jet skis or speed boats of you want something more high octane. It’s best to go a little further out for this as the water is clearer, and you’ll have more space to tear around in. You’ll find operators in the center, or further north at Fórum, Badalona and Montgat.

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In recent years, Barcelona has also become a hotspot for paddle boarding, its calm seas and relaxed atmosphere perfect for those wishing to give this increasingly popular sport a try.

There’s lots more to do on or around the beaches. Most have outdoor workout areas, and many people combine this with a run along the promenades while taking in the views. You may also notice the volleyball nets- most are free to use, you just need a ball, a few friends and you’re ready to go!

beach sunset

What if I don’t like the sand?

Like watersports but not up for the beach? One legacy of the 1992 Olympics is the huge olympic canal just a 20 minute drive from Barcelona. From wakeboarding to canoeing, to mucking about on inflatables with the kids, there’s plenty on offer for everyone.

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Want some heights?

Climbing has always been a hugely popular sport in Barcelona, even more so since its olympic debut. The are several climbing gyms in the city, from Montjuic to Diagonal Mar, where you can rent gear, and hire an instructor if needed.

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Once you’re ready, why not venture outdoors for a taste of the real thing. Head down to Garraf for some sun-drenched cliffs by the sea. Or to stunning Monsterrat if you want something more mountainous. Wherever you go, climbing is a great way to get fit, while checking out some beautiful Catalan nature.


If you want the thrills without putting quite as much work in, there are a huge number of zip line and high rope courses both inside and around the city.

A bit more peace and quiet?

If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle for a while, but want something more relaxed than climbing, how about a round of golf? Barcelona’s surroundings are littered with golf courses of all types: pitch and putt or a full course? Cheap and cheerful, or something more upmarket? Golf is a sport you really can enjoy all year round here. Even in winter the skies are normally clear, so grab yourself a gilet and get swinging! If you need more information on specific courses, there are plenty of guides, like this one.

Fancy some culture?

Catalonia’s favourite sport you may never have heard of is Castellers, or ‘human castles’. It involves making towers out of people- lots of big ones at the bottom, and a couple of tiny ones at the top. You score more points the more levels you build, and the more people you have for each level. You also get a bonus for taking the tower down again without it collapsing (don’t worry, despite appearances it’s actually quite safe). They love it here for the obvious impressiveness of the towers, it’s also a great social activity that includes, and even requires, all kinds of people. If you don’t believe me, check out the video below.

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If you’re only in Barcelona for a few months you probably won’t get too involved in competitions, but there are various workshops where you can give it a try.

They also love padel here, which is a sort of tennis/squash hybrid. It’s great fun, and much more accessible than its more famous counterparts. Even the not-very-sporty can pick up a racket and enjoy themselves.

On a shoestring?

Don’t worry if you prefer not to spend a lot to keep yourself in shape, Barcelona is the perfect city for sport even if you don’t have a dime to your name. The surrounding areas are great for hiking and biking, one highlight being Parc de Collserola: the largest metropolitan park in the world, which sits just above Barcelona. The city itself is great to cycle around and has an excellent network of cycle lanes, there are also several urban parks for those on skateboards or scooters. As well as the exercise machines you can find in most parks and beaches, there are also ping pong tables! There’s no charge, so they’re a great option for fun and fitness.

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What about some classic, team sports?

In the city of Barça, it’s no surprise that they love team sports; but if you’re here short term you may not have enough mates around to get a game of football going. Not to worry, meetup and facebook are teeming with groups of people looking for extra players for basketball, football, rugby, and some sports you might not expect to find here, like cricket. There are plenty in English, so it’s not a problem if your Spanish isn’t up to scratch.

Sounds like Barcelona has everything except snow.

You would think, but the Pyrenees are only a few hours away. Andorra has some of the best ski resorts in Europe, and you can get to them in under 4 hours. If you fancy a day trip though, you’re better off heading for the Spanish resorts, which are only a couple of hours away. In fact, the regional trains sell a train and ski pass combo for less than 50 euros! Bring a packed lunch and you won’t spend a penny more, well apart from a tasty hot chocolate after your day on the slopes.

ski resort

So what’s your excuse?

It doesn’t matter who you are, who you’re with, or what your budget is. Hopefully our guide has shown that there’s plenty of sport on offer for all sizes and ages, and absolutely no reason to waste your weekend on the sofa. Get out and burn some calories while enjoying the sunshine!