The busy beach and Old Port at Barceloneta (head to the bottom of La Rambla and keep walking past Roy Lichtenstein’s ‘Barcelona Head’) is one more reason to fall for Barcelona, although it’s not the only city where visitors can find sand and surf within walking distance. The world’s most famous city beaches, of course, must be Copacabana and Ipanema in Rio de Janeiro and Sydney’s Bondi Beach, although they’re also notoriously the busiest. The beaches at Jumeirah in Dubai have their own reputation for beauty, but they do sit in one of the most exclusive neighbourhoods of an already-rich city.
If you don’t mind travelling just a little out of the city, then coastal Lisbon and Cape Town are both well-situated for sand, while New York has many beaches within the city limits, the most famous being Brooklyn’s Brighton and Manhattan Beaches (although the nearby Coney Island resort is still all-but dilapidated). Non-coastal cities are even getting in on the act now; two miles of the Seine in the heart of Paris were artificially converted into a beach in 2002. Could the Clyde ever follow suit?