Barcelona Yacht Charter
Barcelona is situated in the province of Catalunya on the Costa Brava on
the eastern coast of Spain. It lies between the rivers Llobregat and
Besòs where they discharge into the Mediterranean Sea. To the north is
the Costa Brava while the Costa Dorada lies to the south.
Barcelona is one of Europe’s most popular city destinations with several million tourists every year. Only Paris, London and Rome have more visitors. View; The Barri Gòtic or "Gothic Quarter" is the centre of the old city of Barcelona. Many of the buildings date from medieval times, some from as far back as the Roman settlement of Barcelona; Works by Antoni Gaudí, including Sagrada Família, the international symbol of Barcelona, Park Güell, Palau Güell, Casa Milà, Casa Vicens, Casa Batlló, Crypt in Colonia Güell. All are part of a World Heritage Site; Palau de la Música Catalana and Hospital de Sant Pau, designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner. A notable feature is La Rambla, a boulevard that runs from the city centre to the waterfront, thronged with crowds until late at night and lined by florists, craft sellers, cafeterias and restaurants. Barcelona contains seven beaches. Sant Sebastià and Barceloneta beaches are the largest, oldest and the most frequented beaches.
Most charter boats make thier home in Puerto Olimpico and from there it is possible to go either north and explore the Costa Brava and towns such as Tossa de Mar, Palamos, L'Estartit, Cadaques, Llafranc and San Feliu. Or south on the Costa Dorada and the see the towns of Castelldefells, Garraf, Sitges, Villanueva y Geltru, Torredembarra and Tarragona
What You Need - Experience, Qualifications, Visa Requirements, etc. - For bareboat charters it is necessary for the skipper of the boat to hold an ICC or equivilant
Charter Season - The main charter season runs between May to October with July and August being the peak months. These two months also see the biggest crowds and the lightest winds. Consider the shoulder season for a charter. Less crowded, comfortable temperatures and a better chance of wind for those who like to hoist a sail from tie to time.
Weather - Barcelona has a Mediterranean climate, with mild, humid winters and warm, dry summers. Its average annual temperature is 20°C (68°F) during the day and 11°C (52°F) at night. Average annual sea temperature of sea is 18°C (64°F). In August, the warmest month, the typically temperature ranges from 25 to 31°C (77 to 88°F) during the day, about 20°C (68°F) at night and the average sea temperature is 25°C (77°F). Sunshine hours are 2,524 per year, from 138 (average 4.5 hours of sunshine/day) in December to 310 (average 10 hours of sunshine/day) in July. Average relative humidity is 72%, from 69% in July to 75% in October. Thunderstorms are common from mid August until November. Though Barcelona is normally not a windy city, it is affected by sea breezes from May to September
Time Difference - UTC +1
How to Get There - Barcelona El Prat Airport is located 12 km (7.5 miles) southwest of the city. The airport mainly serves domestic, European and North African destinations, also having flights to Southeast Asia, Latin America and North America. Major carriers include; Aegean Airlines, Aer Lingus, Air Berlin, Air France, Alitalia, American Airlines, British Airways, Scandinavian Airlines, Delta Airlines, EasyJet, TAP Portugal, Lufthansa, Ryanair, Spanair, Swiss International Air Lines, Vueling. Barcelona also boasts an extensive motorway network and is the hub of a high-speed rail network, particularly that which links France with Spain.
Currency - Euro
Language - Spanish. English is widely spoken
Food & Drink - Traditional Catalan cusine relies heavily on ingredients found along the Mediterranean coast, including tomatoes, garlic, mushrooms, aubergines, red peppers and artichokes, wheat products - bread and pasta, olive oils, wines, legumes - beans and chickpeas, various of pork preparations, chicken, lamb and fish like sardines, anchovies, tuna, and cod and different sorts of cheese. Inland dishes tend to feature meat with particular emphasis on pork-intensive preperations while food on the coast features much more fish. The traditional Catalan cuisine is quite diverse, ranging from pork-intensive dishes cooked in the inland part of the region to fish-based recipes along the coast.
Suggested Itineraries & Routes - Head North on the Costa Brava for 1 week.
Day 1 - Barcelona - Join the boat in Port' Olympic. The marina is surrounded by good restaurants but some distance from the centre of Barcelona.
Day 2 - Port' Olympic - Tossa de Mar - 40 miles. Head NE. An important and very attractive anchorage. It is exposed to winds from the NE to SE and should be avoided if there are strong winds from this direction. The anchorage dates back to Roman times who called it Turissa. There are many interesting places to visit including a Roman villa, the Old Town, and a fine Baroque church. Like all of the Costa Brava there is a good deal of development but the rocky coast and local building regulations have prevented the extremes that can be seen further South. There are numerous attractive calas to the north, particularly Cala Bona.
Day 3 - Tossa de Mar - Palamos - 15 miles. Palamos is a fairly large town and has two marinas, one within the fishing harbour at the northern end of the bay, and another round the corner to the North. Both are very busy and booking ahead is recommended. It is famous locally for its fishing fleet and for the prawns that they fish. You can also anchor in the bay or consider going to nearby Calella de Palafrugell, a smaller and prettier anchorage. There are also other beaches and calas on the way that are worth investigating.
Day 4 - Palamos - L'Estartit - 20 miles. L'Estartit is situated at the far end of Pals Bay and has one of the areas best marinas. Just offshore are the Islas Medes, an underwater nature park, rich in diverse marine life and corals. You can take a glass-bottomed boat trip round them. The nearby town of Torroella with its leafy avenues and narrow streets is worth a visit, as are the medieval towns of Pals and Peratallada. The anchorages of Aiguablava and Sa Tuna, between Palamos and L'Estartit, offer some protection and are wonderfully scenic.
Day 5 - L'Estartit - Llafranc - 10 miles. Head SE back down the coast. Llafranc is one of the prettiest little towns along the coast. The marina is nearly always full and the beautiful bay offers little in the way of protection from almost any wind. However if the weather permits this is well worth a stop. The Hotel Llafranc and the Hotel Levant both have excellent beach side restaurants and there is a charming square beside the Llafranc where you can have a drink and tapas overlooking the lovely bay.
Day 6 - Llafranc - Blanes - 25 miles. The harbour is shared by yachts and fishing boats. It is busy in the summer and it is wise to book ahead. The town and surrounding area is pleasant. Visit the botanical garden, the 14th century church and the ruined palace. The view from Castillo de San Juan, on the hill behind the harbour, is worth the climb. To the W of the harbour is a fine sandy beach.
Day 7 - Blanes - Port' Olympic - 25 miles.
Day 8 - Disembark at Port' Olympic, Barcelona
History of the Area - Barcelona was founded by the Romans in 15BC. The city was conquered by the Visigoths in the early 5th century and by the Arabs in the early 8th century. It was re-conquered in 801 by Charlemagne's son Louis and was then ruled by the Counts of Barcelona. In 1137, Aragon and the County of Barcelona merged and the territories were known as the Crown of Aragon. The forging of a link between the Crowns of Aragon and Castile, in 1469, marked the beginning of the city's decline. Barcelona was always the stronghold of Catalan separatism and was the centre of the Catalan Revolt (1640-52) against Philip IV of Spain. The great plague of 1650-1654 halved the city's population. The Napoleonic wars left the province ravaged, but the post war period saw the start of industrialization. The resistance of Barcelona to Franco's coup d'etat led to the autonomous institutions of Catalonia being abolished and the use of the Catalan language in public life was suppressed. However Barcelona remained the heart of a region which was relatively industrialised and prosperous. And saw large-scale immigration from poorer regions of Spain, particularly Andalucia, Murcia and Galicia. In 1992 Barcelona hosted the Olympic which helped revitalize the city
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ken Jones runs a guide to Spanish Yacht Charter.
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See our Cruising Guide for information on Marinas, Harbours and Anchorages in Catalunya