One might say, “With mountains like these, who needs climbing gyms?” And it’s true that Barcelona and its surroundings are one of the best spots in the world for climbing. There’s of course Montserrat just 30 minutes away with amazing single and multi-pitch routes for all levels. Just a two-hour drive and you have Siurana and Margalef in one direction — where elite climbers from all over the world come to train — and the Pyrenees in the other.
However, going rock climbing outdoors is not always convenient if you’re short on time during the week. Also, the weather can get quite hot in the summer season from May to September (the best time to climb outdoors in Spain is fall and winter). That’s where climbing gyms come in. In this article, we’ll present you the best climbing gyms in the city whether you’re in Barcelona for a short trip or looking to train long term in Catalonia’s beautiful capital.
A Note About Our Barcelona Climbing Gym Selection
For a city of 1.7 million inhabitants (1), Barcelona doesn’t have many climbing gyms. For example, Amsterdam, with about half this population, has twice as many. Also, many of the facilities in Barcelona are a bit outdated compared to their counterparts in other big cities.
In this selection, we decided to focus on larger gyms where you can easily climb independently. Indeed, there are a few other very nice but smaller places like 9a Poblenou (2), where you can only go if you attend a course.
What’s a “matrícula”?
If you plan to train regularly at one gym, it makes sense to get a monthly membership. However, Spanish fitness centres have this annoying practice of making you pay to setup a debit authorization on your bank account. In short, the matrícula is a one-time payment registration fee. It’s not mandatory, but if you don’t do it and opt for a prepaid plan, you’ll have to pay more. Most centres waive the matrícula fee if you register for one year, but that’s a big commitment!
If you’re a climbing center owner in Spain reading these lines: please stop this practice. It’s unfairly expensive (how much can it cost to fill in a form and send it to your bank) and makes the pricing complicated for us customers.
Comparison Table of the Best Barcelona Climbing Gyms
|Sharma Climbing Barcelona
|Climbat La Foixarda
1. Sharma Climbing Gym Barcelona
In case you were wondering, yes, the Sharma climbing centres are owned and operated by Chris Sharma himself, the legendary sport and deep-solo climber who was the first to send a 5.15a/9a+ route in climbing history with Realization/Biographie (Céüse, France) in 2001.
Chris Sharma has been living in Barcelona (more recently in Gavà) for many years with his family and he’s actively shaping the local climbing scene. Besides his climbing accomplishments (like the recent first ascent of Sleeping Lions, a new 9b+ route in Siurana), Chris Sharma has been opening modern climbing gyms in Spain whose amazing facilities are very similar to what you can find in big US cities.
The most recent is Sharma Climbing Gavà (3), supposedly the largest climbing gym in Spain to date with 5,000 square meters (54,000 square feet) and over 150 routes ranging from 4c to 9a. There are no words to describe this place. It’s got it all and more. You just need to take a look at the 25-meter lead climbing tower in the middle of the former warehouse building to understand why so many climbers, including professionals, come to train there.
However, the place is in Gavà, so door-to-door, it takes about 45 minutes to get there by public transport, depending on where you live in Barcelona.
C/ del Marroc, 204
Access: metro Besòs Mar or Sant Martí
Bouldering, auto-belay, and lead climbing.
Single-entry price: 10-14 euros
Monthly membership: 45-75 euros
Shoe rental: yes (6 euros)
Except if you live next to the Sants train station, Sharma Climbing BCN (4) in Poblenou will be a more convenient option if you don’t want to commute for too long. While not as huge as Sharma Gavà, it’s easily the largest indoor climbing facility in Barcelona City with 6,000 square meters (about 17,000. square feet). It comes with a fully-equipped training/fitness floor with weights, treadmills, rowing machines, moonboard, hangboards, and a yoga room with regular classes.
Sharma Barcelona mainly offers bouldering with all types of problems for beginner to advanced climbers. You’ll find vertical, slab, and overhang routes and a few comp problems to work on your dynos. There’s enough not to get bored if you come 3 or 4 times a week, especially if you start projecting to improve your skills.
There are also a couple of auto-belay stations and a small wall with lead climbing routes. It’s not enough for an entire session, but it can be a good complement if you want to begin or end your training with something different than bouldering. Also, it’s a good place to learn lead climbing safely with an instructor before going outdoors if you’re new to roped climbing.
Sharma Climbing BCN has weekly group sessions where climbers work on physical conditioning and climbing technique. Also, the staff regularly organizes “gym to crag” courses to transition from indoor to outdoor climbing for those with the ganas to do so.
While we don’t want to scare you, it’s important to note that Sharma Climbing BCN’s boulders can be quite high: up to 4.8 meters (16 feet). We are aware of a few accidents in Sharma Barcelona that we either witnessed directly or heard from reliable sources. Therefore, we recommend you to be quite careful with high routes and to project carefully. Planned falls are generally safe, but unexpected ones can be dangerous at such height, even with thick crash pads.
Are you wondering whether you’ll get to meet Chris Sharma if you come to one of his locations? The answer is yes. If you come regularly, you’re bound to bump into him like I did (he was very wholesome and friendly). I actually saw him a few more times after that and other climbers told me that he’s often around. So yeah, you’ll see him.
2. Bloc District
C/ de Zamora, 96-106
Access: metro Marina
Single-entry price: 12 euros
Monthly membership: 45-65 euros
Matrícula: 30-60 euros (free for the yearly plan)
Shoe rental: yes
Located in downtown Barcelona next to metro station Marina, Bloc District (4) is a little gem to slot in a good practice on a busy day. While not as big as Sharma BCN, it offers a wide variety of routes for all levels with frequent enough setting not to get bored.
In terms of bouldering styles, you can find almost everything. There’s an arch with overhang problems (for beginners too), vertical walls to work on footwork precision and balance, and a few comp problems to mimic what you can see from your favorite athletes in bouldering competitions.
Bloc District also has a training area with a few hangboards and a moonboard. Unfortunately, there are no weights like in Sharma. They also recently added a designated stretching area in one corner, which helps to prevent the training area from being overcrowded.
With its convenient central location at the beginning of Poblenou, the gym can get quite busy, especially in the evenings where the many employees of nearby companies come to train after work. The vibe is quite international; you’ll hear many people speaking English. Nonetheless, many locals train there too, so you’ll still get a chance to practice your Catalan or Castellano if that’s what you’re looking for.
Tip: go to Three Marks after your session to enjoy one of the best coffee in Barcelona.
3. Climbat La Foixarda
C/ de la Foixarda, 14-18
Access: bus only
Bouldering, auto-belay, and lead climbing.
Single-entry price: 9-13.5 euros
Monthly membership: 36-55 euros
Matrícula: 85 euros (free for the yearly plan)
Shoe rental: yes
We spoiled you with Sharma and Bloc District. Indeed, these spots are relatively new with a big crew to take care of things and making sure you enjoy a great climbing experience.
Not to say that Climbat (5) is derelict, but it’s rougher. First, no one checks what you’re doing (at least when I was there). You can use one of the many auto-belays or lead climb without supervision. While quite big (larger than Bloc District but smaller than Sharma Barcelona), the facilities feel a bit worn out and dirty.
However, it would be unfair to dismiss Climbat La Foixarda because it doesn’t offer a pristine experience. When it comes purely to climbing, it proposes a great variety of bouldering and roped climbing routes, which translates into an infinity of training variations depending on what you want to focus on.
If you can’t go to Sharma Gavà but want to practice roped climbing, it’s probably your best option in Barcelona. Not only that, it’s slightly cheaper than the other climbing gyms.
Hidden in Montjuïc, a beautiful hill in Poble Sec, you almost feel like you’re not in Barcelona anymore as you visit la Foixarda. The area is secluded from the rest of the city, with few buildings, and it’s a pleasure to walk back through this green haven, daydreaming after an intense climbing session.
The gym also feels like a local place in the sense that most people speak Catalan, and there are fewer foreigners than in Bloc District or the Sharma gym. The atmosphere is friendly, and you can hang back with a beer at the bar after climbing.
Tip: if you’d prefer to practice outdoors but in the city, check out the urban climbing zone la Foixarda, located in a tunnel at the end of the street.
So, what your favorite climbing gym in Barcelona? Let us know in the comments!
Barcelona’s registered population grows again (retrieved on 05/19/2023)
Adjuntament de Barcelona, March 2023
9a Poblenou (retrieved on 05/19/2023)
Sharma Climbing Gavà (retrieved on 05/19/2023)
Sharma Climbing Barcelona (retrieved on 05/19/2023)
Bloc District (retrieved on 05/19/2023)
Climbat La Foixarda (retrieved on 05/19/2023)