Chiringuitos & Playa!

by | Feb 11, 2022 | Spain | 1 comment

Being situated on the sparkling aquamarine Mediterranean Sea, there is no doubt that Spain has some of the most breathtaking beaches and scenic routes to enjoy. But there’s also something else fun and fascinating about these beaches and when living here, something you must absolutely take advantage of.

So tell me, have you ever been to a chiringuito? What are chiringuitos?

Chiringuitos & Playa! – Dining on the Beach – In Style or Simple

A real life chiringuito in Spain by Marjorie Vera
A real life chiringuito in Spain by Marjorie Vera

I’d like to begin by saying that chiringuitos are not exclusive to Spain and there is a debate around how and when they came to fruition.

In Latin America, the term is also used, and it widely refers to small restaurants that are situated directly on the beach.

Sometimes, these places are just snack bars with a few tables in the shade, but many have evolved into full restaurants that boast views of the Mediterranean with a variety of tables in the shade or in the sun.

A Day Outdoors – Chiringuitos

Let me tell you how convenient this is when you want to spend a full day outside but perhaps have spent a little too long in the sun for your skin to handle despite putting on a proper amount of sunscreen (I don’t want to become a pretty little raisin too soon and the Spanish sun is strong).

So it’s absolutely wonderful when you want to stay outside and have the option of walking barefoot with your sandy belongings to plop down at a beachfront table to have a bite to eat with stunning views and the sound of the crashing waves by the sea soothing the soul. I am one of those people who can spend hours at the beach and never get bored, so I fully appreciate and love this experience.

An Evening Outdoors – Chiringuitos

It’s also quite the experience at night. In Spain, the sunset happens late in the summer and there is still light out until around 10 pm. I happen to be a yoga teacher, and last summer my Wednesday ritual was to teach an open-air yoga class next to the shore around 7 pm, go for a dip in the sea with my students afterward around 8:30 pm, then sit and dry off at whichever was the less crowded of the three chiringuitos at my favorite local beach to “tomar algo” (meaning “have a drink”) as the sun was setting.

This was particularly enjoyable during the full moon because you can watch the moon rise over the sea and it’s unreal to have this vantage point while sitting at a table with friends simply relaxing and catching up.

A Night Outdoors – Chiringuitos

During “normal” times, chiringuito nightlife culture is totally a thing, and depending on where you are, some of them may be rather fancy, such as those in Marbella or the Balearic islands, with DJs, live music, and other entertainment.

There typically is no shortage of nightlife activity here at the beaches, especially on those warm summer nights when the sea breeze and a night swim are so darn refreshing.

"Hiking from Sitges to Vilanova i la Geltru" by Marjorie Jean Vera
“Hiking from Sitges to Vilanova i la Geltru” by Marjorie Jean Vera

I would also like to mention that I’ve tried some wonderful chiringuito food for a reasonable price. One of my most memorable experiences was hiking from Sitges to Vilanova i la Geltru along the coast and discovering an adorable spot on a very quiet beach, where I tried black paella for the very first time, which is made with squid ink.

It was around €11 for a dish meant to be shared between two people – delicious, cheap, and non-touristy. It truly felt like a very local experience with my very international group of girlfriends.

So once you make it out to the Spanish Mediterranean coast, be sure to leave some time for exploring and perhaps you just might stumble upon your new favorite beachside dining and imbibing locale and have a spontaneous adventure with friends with fabulous food and inspiring blue space views.

Let’s get the conversation started! What are some of your favorite beach culture experiences you’ve discovered as an expat, local or traveler?

by: Marjorie Vera