Last Updated on March 11, 2023 by admin
Vilassar de Mar is a quiet beachside town located approximately 17 miles (28 kilometers) north of Barcelona. Vilassar de Mar is easily reached by train from central Barcelona, which makes it an ideal day trip from Barcelona. I’ve personally visited Vilassar de Mar numerous times over the years, and it remains one of my favorite places to visit when I’m in Barcelona. Vilassar de Mar has gorgeous beaches and excellent restaurants. It has everything you need for a perfect beach getaway. If you’re looking for a good beach vacation near Barcelona, definitely add Vilassar de Mar to your list! In this post, I’ll share 10 things to do while in Vilassar de Mar.
(Don’t forget to check out all our posts on Spain, linked here!)
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How to Get to Vilassar de Mar
The nearest airport to Vilassar de Mar is Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport (airport code BCN).
TIP: If you’re looking for flights to Barcelona, I recommend checking the SkyScanner website to search for the best airfare prices for your dates of travel.
Vilassar de Mar is easily reached by train from central Barcelona. You can purchase tickets for the Rodalies de Catalunya train and typically arrive to Vilassar de Mar from Barcelona in under 45 minutes. We’ve taken the train numerous times, and it’s by far the most convenient option.
In addition to train, we’ve also driven by car to Vilassar de Mar and we’ve also caught a taxi. If you’re planning to take a taxi from Vilassar de Mar back to Barcelona, we recommend that you make arrangements in advance. Vilassar de Mar is a quiet little town, so it’s unlikely you’ll just be able to flag down a taxi to take you to Barcelona. The last time that we took a taxi in Vilassar de Mar, we called the number listed by a taxi stand we found.
About Vilassar de Mar
Vilassar de Mar is a quiet town that is very family-friendly. In my experience, it’s a popular tourist spot for Spaniards, and less well-known among international travelers. (I never saw another American there, to my knowledge, while I’ve visited.)
Locals in Vilassar de Mar likely speak Catalan and Spanish.
The city’s population is a little over 20,000.
Guide Books for Spain
Before you head to Spain, make sure to pick up a guide book! Here’s a few that you might be interested in:
I personally like to buy a guide book, sit down with a cup of tea, and start daydreaming about the details of my upcoming trip!
Best Things to Do in Vilassar de Mar
1. Go to the Beach (Platja de Ponent)
My favorite thing to do in Vilassar de Mar is go to the beach named Platja de Ponent. The beach is easily accessible via multiple pedestrian underpasses that will take you under the railroad tracks and safely to the beach.
The beach is sandy with deep blue water with turquoise undertones. Every time I’ve been, I’ve found lots of beautiful sea glass. We like to swim here and relax. There’s a bit of a sharp drop once you enter the water, so be cautious with young swimmers.
This beach also an outdoor shower station and foot-cleaning fountain. There’s plenty of restaurants nearby for a bite to eat after you’re done swimming!
We went to Restaurant Tres Lleones for a delicious paella and a pitcher of sangria after our trip to the beach. We recommend staying near the beach if you plan on staying the night in Vilassar de Mar.
2. Eat Tapas at Taverna Espinaler
Taverna Espinaler is one of the most authentic tapas restaurants you will find in Vilassar de Mar. Espinaler was first opened in 1896 and has been operating over 5 generations. The famous foodie Anthony Bourdain traveled to Espinaler to try their delicacies. (You can watch a clip of Anthony Bourdain at Espinaler here.) While you’re enjoying their tapas, be sure to try their vermouth as well!
3. Rent Paddle boards
We went to the Club Nautic Vilassar de Mar and rented paddle boards for the afternoon. The rental process was very easy, and we really enjoyed spending extra time out on the water!
4. Grab a Drink at a Chiringuito
A chiringuito is a small beach-side bar (typically on the sand). They are very popular during the summer months. Find a chiringuito on the beach, grab a seat, and enjoy the sunet!
5. Enjoy Fresh Produce from the Mercat Municipal
The primary market in Vilassar de Mar is the Mercat Municipal. You’ll find fresh produce, cheeses, and cured meats. It’s the perfect place to grab some ingredients for a picnic to take to the beach.
6. Visit the Many Playground and Parks
If you’re traveling with young children, Vilassar de Mar has numerous playgrounds and parks in the area. We particularly liked the Placa de Jeroni Gelpi i Novell. There’s a large playground with plenty of cafes with views of the playground. Many of the adults would order a drink and some tapas and watch their children play. We especially liked the ice cream shop Gelats Artesanals SURA right next to the playground.
7. Visit the Museu de la Mina Vella
Situated in an old hydraulic mill, the Museu de la Mina Vella will teach you about water distribution in Vilassar de Mar.
8. Visit the Enric Monjo Museum
The Enric Monjo Museum focuses on the sculptures created by artist Enric Monjo. The museum’s building also has a fascinating history, as it served as a hostel for many years (beginning in 1762).
9. Admire the Parroquia Sant Joan Vilassar de Mar
The primary church in Vilassar de Mar is the Parroquia Sant Joan Vilassar de Mar. Outside this church is often where the community gathers for important religious festivals. During one of my trips to Vilassar de Mar, I watched as they hoisted a fake donkey and hanged it from the roof. My friend explained to me that it represents a tradition from the middle ages in which they used donkeys to help clean the grass off the roof! I’ve been able to verify this story, and it’s a fascinating tradition!
10. Attend a Festival
I was in Vilassar de Mar during the Festa Major de Sant Joan, which typically occurs in the month of June. I witnessed the people celebrate the Noche de San Juan, the hanging of the donkey (cuelga del asno Inocencio), sending off of the boat, and then fireworks. It was super fun to be in Vilassar de Mar for these traditions.
What to Bring to Vilassar de Mar
When you visit Vilassar de Mar, you’ll want to make sure you pack the right gear. We recommend that you bring beach gear to best enjoy your time in the city.
- Voltage converter: If traveling from the United States, you’ll need one to use your electronics in Europe.
- Power bank: If you’re walking around all day, you’ll want a power bank so you can charge your phone on the go. We use our phones heavily for navigation and photography, so we always want to make sure to have a full battery on our phones.
- Large sun hat: It’s good to have sun protection during the summer, especially at the beach.
- Quick-drying towel: I like to have a quick-drying towel in my day backpack. It’s perfect for traveling because it’s small and dries quickly. Whether you feel like taking a quick swim or dipping your toes, you’ll be all set.
- Day pack: Make sure you have a good day backpack to store all your valuables and souvenirs.
- Insulated water bottle: An insulated water bottle will keep your water cooler for longer. We’ve linked the one that we personally use.
(Click on any of the above images for current pricing and shipping information.)
Where to Stay in Vilassar de Mar
Vilassar de Mar is a small city, so there aren’t tons of hotel options. However, there are lots of apartment rentals. During our last trip to Vilassar de Mar, we stayed at a beautiful apartment with a direct view of the ocean. It was very easy for us to walk to the beach and we had a washer/dryer which was convenient for laundry. We enjoyed our stay at the apartment, and we would recommend it to others! (Booking information for the apartment is linked here.)
Another option is to stay at the 2-star Hotel Tres Lleones. The hotel faces the water and has easy access to the beach. The hotel also has a restaurant, and we had an excellent paella there! (Booking information for the hotel is linked here.)
Best Restaurants in Vilassar de Mar
One of my favorite things about Vilassar de Mar is the food! I wish I could go back there right now just to eat some of my favorite dishes. Below I’ve listed a few restaurants that we personally visited.
Carrer Sant Joan, 8 (Estanco-Tienda, Carrer Camí Ral, 1, 08340 Vilassar de Mar, Barcelona, Spain
As I mentioned previously, you just have to go to Taverna Espinaler. Their tapas menu is impressive, so I recommend visiting this restaurant more than once to really enjoy everything it has to offer. (I think during our last stay we ordered practically everything off of their tapas menu!)
Junto al Club Náutico, Playa Playa Vilassar de Mar s/n, 08340 Vilassar de Mar, Barcelona, Spain
I have family that lives in Vilassar de Mar, and they took us to Palomares for our last night. Palomares is a nice restaurant that’s located right on the beach. We ordered a giant paella and wine. It was really a memorable night out, so we definitely recommend it!
Restaurant Tres Lleones
Carrer de Sant Pau, 21, 08340 Vilassar de Mar, Barcelona, Spain
Another restaurant we loved in Vilassar de Mar was Restaurant Tres Lleones. We also had an excellent paella there. Restaurant Tres Lleones is located right across from the beach, so it’s the perfect place to go once you’ve worked up some hunger at the beach.
Av. de Carles III, 08340 Vilassar de Mar, Barcelona, Spain
We visited Atlàntida several times for a quick meal. The restaurant had all my favorite Spanish dishes, and it was typically very easy to find an open table.
Carrer de Narcís Monturiol, 76, 08340 Vilassar de Mar, Barcelona, Spain
We visited Cafe CENTRAL twice for breakfast. (There weren’t many restaurants open for an early breakfast during the weekday. We were still jet-lagged and not accustomed to the time change, so we were up extra early and starving!) We really enjoyed Cafe CENTRAL’s breakfast offerings. We often had traditional Spanish dishes, but it was also nice to have a slice of carrot cake and some pancakes with nutella!
Caffè il Forno
Carrer de Sant Jaume, n1, 08340 Vilassar de Mar, Barcelona, Spain
One of our favorite places for brunch in Vilassar de Mar was Caffè il Forno. We discovered this restaurant on our last day, and had we known about it sooner, we would have visited every morning. Caffè il Forno makes lots of fancy espresso drinks and lattes, and their brunch menu is so beautiful. They had savory dishes, sweet dishes, pastries, and lots of healthy smoothies and acai bowls.
Tip: If you’re visiting Barcelona, you can purchase a GoCity pass and bundle experiences to save money. For example, you can book tickets to Casa Batlló, Park Güell, and the Sagrada Familia.
Nearby Attractions to Vilassar de Mar
If you’re going to spend some time in Vilassar de Mar, make sure you check out some of these attractions as well:
- Tossa de Mar: This is another beach town that has a castle by the sea and a really beautiful old town area. (Booking a guided tour of Tossa de Mar will help you explore the city!)
- Barcelona: Of course, if you haven’t already, you must explore all Barcelona has to offer! Casa Batlló, Park Güell, and the Sagrada Familia are several of my favorite sites in the city. (See the Barcelona in One Day tour linked here.)
- Montserrat Monastery: Visit this famous monastery that has gorgeous views of Catalonia. You can book a half-day tour of Montserrat that also includes tapas and wine tasting.
Summary: Full Guide to Vilassar de Mar
We hope this guide to Vilassar de Mar has inspired you to visit this beautiful beachside town! I’ve visited Vilassar de Mar many times over the year, and it’s still one of my favorite quiet escapes from Barcelona. If you’re looking for some excellent beach time near Barcelona, we highly recommend Vilassar de Mar!
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