27 Jun, 2024 @ 10:06
1 min read

Barcelona’s famous beaches lose 20% of their sand in a year: Local authorities blame winter storms

Barcelona 3960591 1920

BARCELONA’S famous beaches are one of the Catalan capital’s great selling points for locals and visitors alike – yet local authorities have cause for concern after it was revealed strong winter storms blew away a fifth of the city’s golden sands.

From July 2023 to April 2024, beaches in the Barcelona metropolitan area lost 60 acres of surface area, with experts blaming windy storms, driven by climate change,  for the coastal erosion.

Pipelines, used to supply water and electricity to businesses on the seafront, have even been unearthed as sand levels dwindle.

In some areas on Barcelona’s long coastline, which measures 26 miles, beaches have lost over 50 metres of width, representing a growing challenge for local authorities and tourism boards. 

The worst affected stretch of beaches is between Badalona, an industrial heartland just north of Barcelona, and Montgat, considered the epicentre of sand loss where over 36% of its beaches have been eroded away by storms and the sea.

READ MORE: Beachgoers are warned their parasols and other belongings used to reserve a space WILL be removed: Resort in southern Spain popular with British expats adopts ‘drastic’ measures to battle ‘umbrella wars’

Storm Gerald causes severe orange weather alert to parts of Spain's Valencia region
Authorities have blamed a spate of windy winter storms for the coastal erosion. Credit: Pixabay

The beach loss has caused businesses, such as beach bars, to pack up the bags and leave, depriving the local municipality of €360,000 in income.

Ramon Torra, director of the Barcelona metropolitan area (AMB), said: “The social and economic asset of beaches is at risk”.

He urged local authorities to ‘stop looking for excuses in climate change’ and instead take decisive long-term measures to solve the issue.

Many blame climate change for the loss in sand surface area with wind direction changing from the north to the south, rendering many anti-erosion measures useless.

Barcelona’s beaches are entirely artificial, having been constructed in 1990 ahead of the upcoming 1992 Summer Olympics – previously, the coast had been dominated by ports and industrial hubs.

Ben Pawlowski

Ben joined the Olive Press in January 2024 after a four-month stint teaching English in Paraguay. He loves the adrenaline rush of a breaking news story and the tireless work required to uncover an eye-opening exclusive. He is currently based in Barcelona from where he covers the city, the wider Catalunya region, and the north of Spain. Send tips to ben@theolivepress.es

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