Where to Stay in Barcelona 🇪🇸: 7 Neighborhoods & Places to Stay + Best Hotels

I’ve written a complete guide on where to stay in Barcelona to help you choose the perfect place for you.

My Favorite Barcelona Hotels

Barcelona is one of Europe’s most vibrant and exciting cities. From world-famous architecture and museums to sandy beaches and lively nightlife, there is something for every traveller. With so many diverse neighbourhoods and districts, choosing where to live can be a daunting task.

In this article, we will take a look at some of the most popular neighbourhoods in Barcelona and what they offer to tourists. As a frequent visitor to Barcelona, I’m happy to share my knowledge of the unique features of this city to help you find the perfect place to stay.

With a better understanding of convenient and safe neighbourhoods, you can avoid tourist traps and immerse yourself in the city’s rich culture.

Remember: Barcelona is a very touristy city and accommodation prices can be high, especially during peak season. My advice is to always book accommodation in advance to have more choices and, most importantly, to find the best deals.

Quick Guide to the Best Areas to Stay in Barcelona

👀 Best for the first time L'Eixample
🔥 The most popular in Barcelona Plaça de Catalunya
🏖 Best for beach lovers La Barceloneta
🍸 Best for nightlife El Born
🏛 Best for history lovers The Gothic Quarter

Best Places to Stay in Barcelona on the Map

1. L’Eixample – Best Area in Barcelona for First-time Visitors

🗺️ Central hub: Nestled right in the heart of Barcelona, the L’Eixample district is one of the city’s most central and convenient neighborhoods to stay in. The area owes its name to Ildefon Cerda, who extended the original city wall to make way for the growing city centre.

🛍️ Shop & dine: Located next to Plaza Catalunya, the Eixample is a lively area where locals and visitors alike gather to shop, socialise and enjoy the city. The famous Mercat Els Encants flea market is an antiques lover’s paradise, while the Sagrada Familia, designed by master architect Antoni Gaudi, is a stunning example of Art Nouveau design.

🚊 Well-connected: Getting around L’Eixample couldn’t be easier. The streets form an easy-to-navigate grid system, making walking a pleasure. Several metro lines also criss-cross under the neighborhood with stations just a block or two from most points.

Mercat Els Encants flea market, Barcelona
Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
Triumphal Arch, Barcelona

🛏️ With accommodation options galore, you can bunk at a luxury hotel on Passeig de Gràcia or save money at one of the smaller boutique lodgings tucked into a side street. There’s truly something for every budget and style.

L’Eixample offers the perfect blend of convenience, character, and Catalan culture.

All hotels in L'Eixample →

Where to stay in L’Eixample?

Expensive Hotels:

  • ME Barcelona – a modern premium hotel with panoramic views and innovative interior design.
  • Monument Hotel – a luxury boutique hotel in a historic building with elegant rooms and personalised service.
  • Hotel El Palace Barcelona – a legendary hotel with a rich history, exquisite interiors and a Michelin restaurant.

Medium price category:

  • Praktik Vinoteca – a cosy wine-themed boutique hotel with a good location and friendly atmosphere.
  • Fabrizzio's Petit – a charming small hotel with a distinctive design and homely feel.
  • Praktik Garden – a modern hotel in a quiet location with a garden and roof terrace.

Inexpensive hotels:

2. Plaça de Catalunya – The Heart of the City

📍 Сrossroads of history: Dividing the neighbourhoods of Ciutat, Vella and Eixample, Plaza Catalunya has come to be regarded as a crossroads of history, Catalan culture and ever-evolving modern life.

🛒 Shopper’s paradise: With its large shopping centres and unique array of shops, restaurants and museums, first-time visitors to Barcelona often head to Plaça Catalunya as the starting point of their stay in Barcelona.

👑 Royal roots: Originally, Plaza Catalunya was an open plot of land that stretched along the city’s protective walls, but in 1927 King Alfonso XIII incorporated it into Barcelona’s city plan. With the help of architects Francesc de Paul Nebot, Pere Falquez and Puig i Cadafalch, and sculptors Clara and Llimón, the square became one of Barcelona’s major achievements.

🚴‍♂️ Pedestrian-friendly: With its close proximity to famous neighbourhoods such as Gracia, the Gothic Quarter, La Ramblas and the nearby harbour, Plaza Catalunya is ideal for pedestrians and cyclists. It hosts exciting events, open markets and festivals all year round.

So whether you want to rejuvenate amongst the green spaces, immerse yourself in Barcelona’s medieval past or admire the innovative architecture, Plaça Catalunya is the perfect place to do it.

All hotels near Plaça de Catalunya →

Where to stay near Plaça de Catalunya?

Expensive Hotels:

Medium price category:

  • BYPILLOW Mothern – modern hotel in eclectic style with a cosy atmosphere.
  • Catalunya – a comfortable, classic style hotel with a great location on Plaza Cataluna.
  • Hotel Ginebra – a cosy boutique hotel in a 19th century Gothic building with vintage interior design.

3. The Gothic Quarter – Perfect Place for History Lovers

🏰 Historic centre: The Gothic Quarter, as its name suggests, is one of Barcelona’s most atmospheric neighbourhoods.

🔮 Wandering wonder: With its mysterious winding streets dating back to the Middle Ages and tantalising niches of shops and restaurants, the Gothic Quarter is where the intriguing old meets the rising new.

🔥 Must-see sights: Among the most popular attractions are:

  • the impressive Gothic Cathedral,
  • charming squares such as Piazza Real,
  • beautiful landmarks such as the Gettic Bridge on Carrer Bisbe.

Visitors can learn about the neighbourhood’s interesting past at the Barcelona History Museum, which displays artefacts that predate Roman settlement.

🍽 Foodie paradise: Visitors can also browse the shops and stalls of local artisans and sample popular Catalan street food from one of the many vendors on La Rambla, Barcelona’s most famous boulevard.

In the Gothic Quarter you will find a variety of hotels, hostels and private bed and breakfast inns, ranging from austere to cosy.

All hotels in the Gothic Quarter →

Where to stay in the Gothic Quarter?

Expensive hotels:

  • Serras Barcelona – elegant boutique hotel in a historic building with panoramic views of the city and the Sagrada Familia.
  • DO Plaça Reial – stylish apartments in the city centre overlooking the Plaza Real.
  • Kimpton Vividora Hotel – a modern, premium hotel with elegant design and a great location.

Medium price category:

Inexpensive hotels:

4. Gràcia – Best Neighborhood to Stay for a Bohemian Vibe

🌇 Charming village: Tucked away just north of Barcelona’s famous Gothic Quarter lies the charming neighborhood of Gràcia. Once a separate town, Gràcia retains a distinct village-like vibe with its labyrinth of narrow streets, beautiful cafés and vibrant plazas.

🚶‍♂️ Walkable access: Yet despite its village charm, Gràcia lies extremely close to Barcelona’s top attractions. For example, the spires of Sagrada Familia are only a 20 minute walk away.

🛣️ Winding streets: Getting around Gràcia itself is wonderfully walkable. The neighborhood radiates out from the main Plaça del Sol. From there, side streets such as Carrer de Verdi and Carrer Asturiz provide access to boutiques and vintage shops.

🎶 Lively nightlife: As the sun sets, the area around Plaça del Sol and Plaça de la Vila de Gràcia comes alive. Buskers play guitar to laughing crowds gathered at tables spilling out from bustling cafés and restaurants. Here you’ll find excellent Catalan cuisine at places like Botafumeiro, alongside hipper spots like La Raposa.

Sagrada Familia
Sagrada Familia
Sagrada Familia

So for visitors seeking charming village vibes with easy access to Barcelona’s top sights, Gràcia’s pedestrianized streets and vibrant nightlife make it an ideal home base.

All hotels in Gràcia →

Where to stay in Gràcia?

Expensive hotels:

Medium price range:

Inexpensive hotels:

5. La Barceloneta – Best Barcelona Neighborhood for a Beach Holiday

🌊 Beach getaway: Barceloneta is where locals come to sunbathe and eat fresh seafood tapas after swimming and surfing.

 

🏖️ Sand and surf: With its many beach clubs, Barceloneta is the ideal destination for beach lovers, who in turn can choose from one of the four main beaches in the area:

  • the hyper-modern San Sebastià,
  • home to Barcelona’s W Hotel,
  • the sporty Barceloneta Beach,
  • the quieter beaches of San Miguel and Somorrostro.

🚇 Transportation hub: Public transport makes navigating La Barceloneta a breeze. The metro system has a stop at Barceloneta station while the hop-on, hop-off sightseeing buses conveniently stop along the main thoroughfare. Not to be missed is a seaside stroll along the promenade, which leads all the way to Port Olímpic, site of the 1992 Summer Olympics.

💰 Off-season deals: As with most seaside destinations, the off-season is the best time to find bargains on luxury hotels, as there are fewer general beach tourists.

Thus, with its laidback ambiance, postcard-worthy seascapes, and proximity to Barcelona’s urban attractions, La Barceloneta captivates visitors.

All hotels in Barceloneta →

Where to stay in La Barceloneta?

Expensive Hotels:

  • W Barcelona – a futuristic premium hotel with panoramic views of the beach and harbour, known for its exquisite design.
  • Hotel Arts Barcelona – luxury hotel in the form of a skyscraper overlooking the sea, offers a high level of service.
  • Sofitel Barcelona Skipper – a stylish harbour view hotel known for its excellent cuisine and comfortable Mediterranean-style rooms.

Medium price category:

Inexpensive hotels and apartments:

6. El Born – Best Area for Nightlife & Bohemian Atmosphere

💃🏻 Lively locale: With its fascinating mix of historic buildings, shops, galleries and restaurants, El Born is the perfect place for those who want to feel like a local. This vibrant neighbourhood was once home to the nobility of medieval Barcelona and has retained much of its former splendour.

🏛️ Storied sights: Among the sights you shouldn’t miss are:

  • the Church of Santa Maria del Mar,
  • the Palace of Catalan Music,
  • the Ciutadella Park

and museums such as:

  • the Picasso Museum,
  • the Museum of World Cultures,
  • the Chocolate Museum,
  • the European Museum of Modern Art.

🎨 Arty area: The El Born district, which was one of Picasso’s earliest habitats, is home to a number of public art installations as well as several avant-garde theatres.

🛍️ Shopper’s paradise: Shopping enthusiasts will want to stroll along Flassaders and Del Rec, where you can shop local designers, and stop by Casa Gispert, Barcelona’s oldest shop.

El Born has a local saying ¨Roda el món i torna al Born¨, which translates to “Travel the world and come back to El Born”.

All hotels in El Born →

Where to stay in El Born?

Expensive hotels:

Medium price category:

Inexpensive hotels:

7. El Raval – Best to Enjoy the Local Culture

🎸 Trendy haunt: Raval is a cosmopolitan neighbourhood that is often considered the most colourful area of the city and is home to the most popular bars, clubs and live music venues.

🖼️ Modern art: While in Barcelona, be sure to check out the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona (MACBA), which showcases the works of some of the greatest artists of the 20th century. We also recommend a visit to the Gran Teatre del Liceu, which has had its share of disasters since the 19th century but is still magnificent. The nearby Maritime Museum of Barcelona (Museu Marítim de Barcelona) offers a particularly exciting experience for maritime enthusiasts and novices alike.

🛒 Vibrant market: La Boqueria, one of Europe’s largest and longest-running markets, is a must-see for anyone who wants to visit Barcelona. This market (sometimes officially known as Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria) dates back to the 13th century. It offers everything from seafood and fresh meat to fruit and sweet delicacies, and there’s no shortage of places to eat and people-watch.

🍴 Tasty treats: When hunger strikes, the options seem endless. Grab authentic Catalan sandwiches at family-run Pinotxo Bar in La Boqueria market. For both fine dining and cheap Pakistani fare, head to diverse Carrer de Sant Pau.

No matter your interests or budget, the eclectic El Raval offers endless options to eat, drink, shop, or simply soak up Barcelona’s infectious energy.

All hotels in El Raval →

Where to stay in El Raval?

Expensive Hotels:

  • Dalia Ramblas – elegant boutique hotel in the heart of Barcelona, with views of the famous La Rambla boulevard.
  • Aspasios Las Ramblas Apartments – luxurious apartments with modern design and panoramic views of La Rambla.
  • Hotel Raval House – a stylish designer hotel with a rooftop restaurant and views across the city.

Medium price category:

  • Acta BCN 40 – a modern hotel in a historic building with spacious rooms and a good location.
  • Mesón Castilla Atiram Hotels – a cosy, traditional Spanish-style hotel close to cultural attractions.
  • BYPILLOW Wander – a minimalist hotel with a colourful design, located in the heart of Barcelona city centre.

Top 3 Best Luxury Hotels in Barcelona

Here are my top 3 recommendations for the best luxury hotels in Barcelona:

1. For modern luxury with lively nightlife at your doorstep, the W Barcelona can’t be beat. Its prime beachfront location, infinity pool peering over the sea, and chic decor make it a celebrity magnet. Enjoy craft cocktails and superb Mediterranean fare as the sea breeze caresses you at their seaside restaurant while you admire stunning views of the Barceloneta neighborhood.

W Barcelona
W Barcelona
Mandarin Oriental
Mandarin Oriental
Hotel Arts Barcelona
Hotel Arts Barcelona

2. Mandarin Oriental offers elegant rooms and suites with beautiful design details like custom carpets and artwork. The spa is otherworldly, with indulgent treatments and a scenic indoor pool. The attentive service never fails to impress.

3. The Hotel Arts Barcelona has a unique seaside setting next to Barceloneta Beach. From beautifully appointed rooms to gorgeous views all around, this Ritz-Carlton property screams luxury. I recommend sampling Mediterranean cuisine at one of their superb restaurants, then relaxing on their private beach club. The two outdoor pools are also stunning, as is the service.

FAQs about Barcelona Travel

What is the nicest part of Barcelona?

The nicest part of Barcelona is the Gothic Quarter with its labyrinth of narrow cobblestone streets, small plazas, and historic architecture spanning Roman ruins to medieval buildings. You feel transported back in time wandering this charming neighborhood.

Where is the most walkable area to stay in Barcelona?

The most walkable area to stay in Barcelona is the Eixample district. This grid-like area has beautiful buildings, shops, cafés, and access to major attractions while avoiding the congested Gothic Quarter. It puts you right in the heart of the city.

How many days in Barcelona is ideal?

Five days in Barcelona is ideal to relax into the local rhythm while still seeing the major highlights. Less than that and you’ll be rushed. More time allows you to immerse deeper into Catalan culture.

What is the main Centre of Barcelona?

The main center of Barcelona revolves around the Plaça de Catalunya, a large square that connects the old and new city. It provides a centralized location buzzing with activity day and night from where you can explore in all directions.

Where to avoid staying in Barcelona?

Areas to potentially avoid staying in Barcelona would be the periphery neighborhoods further out from the city center. While convenient for budget reasons, being removed from the core attractions and nightlife defeats experiencing Barcelona’s vibrant heartbeat. The travel required outweighs any savings on accommodation.

Where to Stay in Barcelona 🇪🇸: 7 Neighborhoods & Places to Stay + Best Hotels