Saturday, August 30, 2014


visited August 2014

L'Hospitalet de l'Infant is a laid back seaside resort town about 140km south west of Barcelona. Because the trains don't usually waste time I visited as a day trip but if I come back to the general Barcelona area I aim to stay a few days here. It is a pretty nice place and there is no shortage of holiday accommodation.

Hospitalet is on a section of the coast is known as the Costa Dorada. This starts roughly above the 0 on the distance scale - Hospitalet is pretty much central on the Costa Dorada. Tarragona is the biggest city in the area - tends to have a fair bit of industry particularly chemical in nature and a busy port but nevertheless some nice beaches. Fact is the whole coastline is made up of a string of nice beaches and resorts - the train line from tends to stick immediately behind the beaches for a large part of the journey.

L'Hospitalet de L'Infant has two long main beaches separated by small headlands encasing a smaller beach, the name of which I can't find.

I shot this from adjacent the harbour break-wall looking south-west. Arenal at 2200m long takes some time to walk. The promenade at right runs the first kilometer. Even though I'm not a fan of looong beaches (except for mind-blowers like Queensland's Whitehaven) this is a pretty nice strip of sand. The silica itself was the typical Catalonia fairly coast coarse grained* yellow brown stuff and seemed reasonably clean. I'm not sure about water quality up here near the harbour but down the beach it seemed okay without being the crystal clear stuff I saw on the Costa Brava or at Ibiza and Mallorca. I visited on a nice Sunday in July and the beach was more crowded than this, but not overcrowded. The opening shot top of page also shows Platja Arenal.
*I've said elsewhere that this is no bad thing - it doesn't tend to stick to feet as much and is less subject to wind blow.

I was just reading on a camping review website that del Torn is arguably the best nudist beach in Spain. I can't judge it on a national level on account I haven't traveled widely in Spain, but I do rate it my second favourite naturist beach in Catalonia (after the Costa Brava's Cala Boadella - yep, a more compact beach).
Del Torn isn't exactly short either at 1500m. I thought the water clearer here than at Arenal. The sand was similar but there tended to be a fair few pebble rocks close to the tide line, particularly further south. These got really hot around mid-day.
It doesn't look all that crowded in the shot but I reckon there was close to one thousand people scattered along here. As typical in Spain, quite a few were "textiles" and the naturists didn't give a damn. Families and couples seemed to be the go, maybe boosted by the very big El Temple del Sol naturist camping area which is hidden by the first 400m or so of dunes in this shot.

I cropped the previous pic to show the above chiringuito (beach bar/cafe) about one third of the way along the beach. This place was so crowded around 1400 that I had to prop myself  at an outside drink stand - no problem, it was nice out there. One of the reasons for the crowd was maybe the two sisters looking after the bar - clad only in sarongs, they had the most stunning figures and brownest skin I've seen for some time. The other girl serving the tables was not exactly a drunk-scarer either. I reckon the girls are a smart ploy by the owner to keep male patrons hanging around/buying more drinks. I hung around/bought more drinks. 
I've been a naturist for many years but for me it was kinda novel to see naked people entering a restaurant. The idea is to wrap a towel/sarong around or put on a pair of shorts before you sit down. Tezza staggered in after a 20 minute walk back down the hot beach clad in his usual sun-avoiding long sleeved business shirt under Aussie bushman's hat and over $3 knock-off Billabong board shorts from the Bali bazaar (years of 10 hour surfing days in a period when I couldn't afford sun screen or rash vests has blitzed my skin - don't mind limited sunbathing these days but unnecessary sun exposure I avoid) and no-one gave a damn.
There is a second chiringuito on the fore-dune abut 2/3 up the beach.

I found this small sub section of del Torn, way up the far southern end most pleasant mainly on account it was sheltered by the high rocks at right from the onshore breeze. About 100 other people thought the same. This is a compact area only 70m across (image Google Earth as are all the modified "maps" on this page). Lots of pebbly rocks between the two beach areas were quite hard on bare feet, particularly when the sun heated them.

I've explained previously that I'm not keen about waving my camera around nude beaches unless I can get distant shots like the above. However I was too lazy to climb up here so I had to pinch this one from

Here's a nice one of the main beach from the same rock featured on Tripadvisor.

I stuck to the shore line going south. At first the going was easy, over a section of rocks/sand and across a short beach. But the next 200m or so was not so simple with the rock shelf very rough underfoot - you need sensible footwear here. Fortunately there were no big vertical changes or wide sea gutters as is usually the case when I go rock-hopping in unknown places.
On the way back I cut up through the camping area which is much easier - see below.

White track going south - as said I don't know the local name of beach x (maybe it is Cala d'Oques as in the first camping area: then again the southern-most area of long Platjay Arenal may be called this). Beach x is only abt 180m long. Proximity to the camping areas saw it fairly crowded with a 50/50 spit of nudists and textiles (El Templo de Sol is a naturist camping area - it's pretty big with less than half showing on this modified Google Earth image).
Yellow track going back - up a good set of stairs and then a path thru a small section of El Templo - nobody seemed to mind passers-by along here.

I'll leave you to google options (you may find it better to google "Tarragona" - stuff on Hopitalet's access seems a bit limited) - I'll simply outline my experience as a day-tripper.
I caught a train on the RENFE line from Barcelona's Estacio de Franca railway station. The train starts there and also picks up at Paaseig de Gracia and Barcelona Sants, but by the time this early Sunday train had left Sants it was standing room only. Lots of people got off at the big Port Adventura adventure park just south of Tarragona but that is 90 minutes into the trip - a long time to stand. If the train has no problems the total time to Hospitalet should be around 1 3/4 hours.

The return trip was a bit of a circus. The train was having problems and was over 30 minutes late into Hopitalet. Click-expand and check the digital temperature readout upper left - 38C. Just after I shot this we were told the train was going no further. We transferred to a later train which was even more packed once we got aboard. Unfortunately I had to stand the 60 minutes into Barcelona. I'm am older dude and spent the time glaring at some little fat kid sitting in the geezers'/disadvantageds' seats with his family. Didn't have any impact but I do love to try on a good stir, even when unsuccessful. Not that I cared - my fitness routine has me in better shape than 90% of 13 year olds let alone circumfentialy-enhanced ones (I am so fit I got muscles on my boogers) so standing for extended periods is no problem. Plus my head was up near the aircon vents: such was the crowd the readout showed 30C. 
In all I got back to Barcelona over 2 hours later than I thought. Maybe Spain's economic woes are having some impact on railway maintenance.





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