Vilassar de Mar (Beautiful Beach near Barcelona!)

Vilassar de Mar: A Perfect Day Trip from Barcelona!

Last Updated on April 9, 2024 by Kelly

Vilassar de Mar is a quiet beachside town located approximately 17 miles (28 kilometers) north of Barcelona. It’s easily reached by train from central Barcelona, which makes it an ideal day trip! 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. My Spanish sister lives there, so I often go to visit her family.

Vilassar de Mar has gorgeous beaches and excellent restaurants. If you’re looking for a good beach vacation near Barcelona, definitely add this to your list! In this post, I’ll share 10 things to do while in Vilassar de Mar.

Vilassar de Mar
Beautiful flowers blooming in Vilassar de Mar

Best Things to Do in Vilassar de Mar

1. Go to the Beach (Platja de Ponent)

Beach in Vilassar de Mar

My favorite thing to do in Vilassar de Mar is go to the beach 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.

Beach glass in Vilassar de Mar, near Barcelona

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!

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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

Tapas at Espinaler in Vilassar de Mar (gambas al ajillo)
Gambas al Ajillo is one of my favorite tapas! (Garlic shrimp!)

Taverna Espinaler is one of the most authentic tapas restaurants you will find in Spain. Espinaler has been in operation since 1896! It’s been operating over 5 generations. The famous foodie Anthony Bourdain traveled to Espinaler to try their delicacies in one of his episodes. Several members of my Spanish host family have worked there over the years, and I always enjoy popping in. While you’re enjoying their tapas, be sure to try their vermouth as well! 

3. Rent Paddle boards

paddle boarding at Vilassar de Mar, a quick day trip from Barcelona

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. Pack a Picnic from the Mercat Municipal

Mercan Municipal in Vilassar de Mar

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 Playgrounds and Parks

Playground in Vilassar de Mar

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

church in Vilassar de Mar during the donkey festival
You can see that the fake donkey has been hoisted up!

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

Festival in Vilassar de Mar near Barcelona with fireworks

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.

How to Get There


By Plane

The nearest airport to Vilassar de Mar is Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport (airport code BCN).

By Train

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.

By Car

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. 

Vilassar de Mar
Beautiful flowers in Vilassar de Mar 

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. 

TIP: Also be sure to check out our post about Tossa de Mar, which is a beautiful town along the Costa Brava! (And also a short visit from Vilassar de Mar!)

Vilassar de Mar

What to Pack


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.
  • 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.

Where to Stay

Apartment in Vilassar de Mar
View from our balcony!

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. I liked sitting out on the balcony and admiring the sea. We enjoyed our stay at the apartment, and we would recommend it to others! 

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!

Our Favorite Restaurants

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.

Taverna Espinaler

Tapas at Espinaler

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!) I can’t pick a favorite… everything was delicious!

Tapas at Espinaler


Paella at Palomares in Vilassar de Mar
The paella at Paomares

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

Paella in Spain at Restaurant Tres Lleones

Another restaurant we loved was Restaurant Tres Lleones. We 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. Our daughter napped in her stroller while we took our time eating plate after plate of paella.


Tapas at Atlantida in Vilassar de Mar

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. 


Breakfast in Spain
A typical Spanish breakfast at Cafe CENTRAL

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! 

Carrot Cake in Spain
A slice of carrot cake at Cafe CENTRAL

Caffè il Forno

Breakfast in 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.

Walking in Vilassar de Mar

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

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. 
  • Montserrat Monastery: Visit this famous monastery that has gorgeous views of Catalonia. 


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!

Sunset in Vilassar de Mar

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Hi, I’m Kelly!

After studying abroad in Spain, I became passionate about international travel. Since then, I’ve traveled to 6 continents and 36 states within the United States. When I’m not travel blogging, you can find me hiking, reading books in Spanish, or playing cribbage. I hope my blog inspires you to see the world!