IN PICS: Barcelona reopens its beaches…and draws the crowds

Barcelona reopened its beaches and parks on Wednesday in a slight easing of restrictions to allow people to take a stroll or exercise.

Barcelona city authorities relaxed restrictions on its beaches allowing people to walk or exercise on the beach throughout the day from Wednesday.

And by the look of the images, a lot of residents made a beeline for the beach.

Photos clearly show people sunbathing despite the ban. Photo taken on May 20th by Lluis Gene / AFP

Barcelona is still technically in Phase 0 of lockdown although there was some easing of restrictions this week to allow small businesses to open without need for previous appointment. 

“Let's enjoy the beach responsibly. Remember that no swimming, sunbathing nor group sports are allowed,” tweeted the city's police.   

However, many people could be seen lying in the sun or having a coffee on the sand, an AFP correspondent said, with police largely turning a blind eye.   


Photo taken on May 20th by Lluis Gene / AFP

“I haven't seen the sea for two months,” said Helena Prades, a 43-year-old psychologist sitting on the sand with a colleague, both wearing masks.   

“We just really wanted to hear the sound of the waves and walk for a bit along the sand.”

The city also opened its parks that have been closed since the start of the March 14th lockdown, such as Park Guell which was designed by the famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí.

Earlier in the week a video showing outdoor exercise activities on the broadwalk in Barceloneta at 8am went viral, not least for the bizarre technique of one fitness enthusiast who was dubbed “the lizard”. 

Rules concerning beach use had been confusing with mixed messages at the start of the week, with some city officials stating sunbathing would be allowed as long as social distancing was maintained and others insisting it would not. 

Guidelines tweeted by the official City Hall account stated that only those who lived within 1 km from the beach would be allowed to use it, during the hours stipulated in the timetable according to age, and for a maximum of one hour. 

The regulations on the City Hall website elaborated on the rules. 

No sunbathing or “recreational bathing” allowed although swimming in the sea as a form of exercise is allowed. 

Between 6am and 10 am the beach can be used by anyone who is resident in Barcelona municipality for exercise purpose but during the rest of the day can only be accessed  – during the timetable set for your age group – by those who live within 1km radius of the beach itself.  


An older man walks along the beach during the hour reserved for the over 70s. Photo taken on May 20th by Lluis Gene / AFP

That means 10 -12 in the morning and between 7pm and 8pm in the evening for the over 70s and other vulnerable groups, while children will have access with one adult during the hours of 12 noon and 7pm. 

After 8pm Barcelona's Mar Bella beach is reserved for professional athletes and surfers. 

The other condition is that the beaches can only be reached by foot or bicycle – people are not allowed to get there by private car or public transport.

And of course social distancing must be observed and from Thursday masks must be worn if a distance of 2 metres cannot be kept 

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