A Guide to the Best Area to Stay in Barcelona

The first thing travelers in Spain do is to look for the best area to stay in Barcelona. This Spanish city is brimming with life, attracting visitors from all over the world.

When in the city, looking for the best accommodation is extremely important. It must be in a strategic area, close to the attractions of the city, so that sightseeing is more convenient. It must also be in a location near entertainment and dining establishments, such as restaurants and bars. Another essential factor when searching for the best area to stay in Barcelona is the price. It should not break the bank, but still offer you comfort and safety.

To help in looking for the best place to stay while enjoying the sights and sounds of the city, here is a list of the different neighborhoods and what you can expect when staying there:

Las Ramblas

Best Area to Stay in Barcelona - La Rambla

This area is an iconic boulevard in Barcelona. The pedestrian walkway is so huge that tourists and locals flock to this place. This boulevard has a carnival-like vibe with its numerous street performers and buskers. Several flower stalls also offer the boulevard with a sweet smell and a nice combination of colors. Of course, you can find food stalls that offer sweet treats.

Good hotels in Las Ramblas include the Royal Hotel, Arc la Rambla, Le Meridien and the Nouvel Hotel.

El Barri Gotic

Best Area to Stay in Barcelona - El Barri Gotic

Best Area to Stay in Barcelona – El Barri Gotic

The name itself indicates the Gothic vibe of the area. This area is full of churches, including the towering La Catedral. Squares are also plenty in the area. Ancient Roman relics can be found in almost every corner of the El Barri Gotic.

This is where the old city is located. This spot is where the original Barcelona city was established. This area features ancient cobbled streets lined with magnificent classic architecture styles. Restaurants are top quality and the many cafes display a remarkable and inviting vibe.

This medieval barrio is in the heart of Barcelona. It is a tangle of alleyways paved with cobblestones. Visitors and locals alike can get sumptuous meals in several interesting restaurants and bars in the area.

One great restaurant to try is the Tast-Ller. It has a Certificate of Excellence because of its excellent service and sumptuous foods. The price is a bit high. For good, inexpensive food, try the Viana Barcelona. For good, inexpensive cocktails, head to The Box.

Tip: Make lunch as the main meal of the day to take advantage of most restaurants’ daytime offers. You can avail of good deals, such as a 2-3 course meals with wine for only 10-12 euros.

This is the best area to stay in Barcelona for people who love to be in a huge crowd. This is also perfect for those who love to spend time exploring the various nooks and crannies of the city.

Hotels in this area generally have 3-4 star ratings, such as Rialto Hotel, MontBlanc and H10 Montcada Hotel. There is one 5-star hotel, called the Meridien Hotel.

El Raval

This is a centrally located barrio, with a multi-cultural neighborhood. This barrio is bursting in character – from the many influences of the different cultures harmoniously thriving in El Raval.

This barrio also thrives in arts. It has numerous art shops and local galleries. However, this barrio has a reputation of being a seedy place. Pimps and junkies are known to lurk in the street corners. Visitors must be extra cautious when choosing to stay in El Raval.

The biggest attraction, which draws visitors to this barrio is the La Boqueria. This is a large covered market. It offers a stunning array of different fresh produce and classic tapas bars. This is the perfect place for those who are into arts, boho styles and vintage. At Carrer de la Riera Baixa, numerous shops that offer second-hand items and vintage stuff are present. Eccentric bars are the place to be in the evenings. Ernest Hemingway and Picasso are said to frequent bars in El Raval during their time.

Try the Ca L’Isidre for Catalan cooking with a French twist. Head to the Dos Palillos for traditional tapas with an Asian-inspired twist. If you are looking for a place to enjoy traditional Catalan cuisine, dine at the Romesco.

A few of the hotels that you can find nearby are the Apolo Tryp Barcelona, Principal Hotel, and Barcelona Universal Hotel.

L’ Eixample


This is the best area to stay in Barcelona for those who love to shop or appreciate exquisite architecture. This barrio holds the reputation of having the classiest hotels and shops. This is also the place to go to appreciate the Modernista architecture, which characterizes Barcelona.

The main shopping district is at the center of this barrio, at the Passeig de Gracia. Classy and cool specialty boutiques are found here, offering ritzy snacks, classy and chic clothing and cool furniture. The Cornelia & Co. is the place if you want to enjoy good food while also shopping for great unique finds to take home as souvenirs from the city or as unique gifts for a loved one back home.

When in the area, make a stop at the Xampany or the Cathedral of Cava. It has a great collection of bubbly stacked high in every corner. For tapas and excellent wine, check out the selection at the Casa 1.81.

When in the area, check out the Chicha Limona. This is a one-stop shop for a gastronomic adventure. It is a café, a vermut’s bar, a cocktail bar, a restaurant and a deli – all rolled into one quaint establishment.

Nightlife is diverse. It is limited to only a couple of streets. Carrer d’ Aribau has some retro and cocktail joints worth checking.

Hotels typically have 3-4 star ratings, such as Cristal Palace Hotel, Gallery Hotel, Astoria Hotel, Gran Havana Hotel and the HCC Regente.

El Born

This is another favorite tourist area. The neighborhood is small and intimate but very stylish. The dining scene is well celebrated, with new and exciting dishes at every turn. There are also several funky bars and clubs. Art and fashion found a home in this quaint little barrio.

This is the best area to stay in Barcelona for those who love arts and fashion. Visitors get treated to a wonderful mishmash of new and old. Beautiful and old churches mingle quite well with the wine bars and hip, modern clubs. This area is also near the beach, perfect for those who are planning a trip to the sands during their stay in this charming Spanish city.


This is a family-friendly barrio with the vibe of a small rural village. The streets are clean and scenic. Most of the activities in this area are held at the busy Placa de la Vila de Gracia and Placa del Sol. Here, visitors can have meals al fresco while watching people go by. They can also linger over delicious refreshing drinks even until the night falls.

The community is tight and small but trendy. It is also home to a large population of the elderly, making it an interesting sight for the young and hip living amicably with the old and traditional.

Restaurants within the area tend to be on the high-class, fine-dining side. However, there are a few traditional ones that serve delicious food at reasonable prices.

Visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the clean, scenic streets of the barrio. They can visit the local market called Mercat de la Libertat and find something to grab for lunch.

This is the best area to stay in Barcelona for those who want to experience the local Barcelona life. This is the place for those who want to truly experience the life of locals, such as lazy afternoon conversations in the sunny parks and squares.

A good hotel to try is the 3-star Rubens Hotel.


Rooms in Barcelona - Barceloneta

This seaside town offers wide stretches of beachfront properties and a long boardwalk picturesquely lined with palm trees. There is a tropical balmy feel to this place, making it perfect for relaxation purposes. There is a bit of music in this area with a good array of bars and lively eateries. Chiringuitos or small beach bar shacks set up shop in the area during the summer.

For a traditional tavern feel, head to the Can Ramonet. For excellent craft beer, check out the offers of the Blacklab. For great food from 5AM to 5PM, check the menu at El Raco del Mariner. This restaurant surely knows the best way to serve fresh seafood. Locals and tourists will surely enjoy good food and good company in this cozy restaurants.

This place is perfect for those who love the beach. The sand, palms and sea offer a great respite from the busy city life. This area is popular among tourists, especially families who want to enjoy a quiet and relaxing tie, but do not want to be too far away from the city center.

Hotel accommodations in the area generally have 4- to 5-star ratings. Examples are the Arts Hotel, the Icaria Hotel and the H10 Barcelona Marina Hotel.

Barcelona Sants Neighborhood

This is not as scenic as the other areas. It is not like the many other barrios in Barcelona that tourists flock to. It is more of a residential area. This is the place to stay if you want to have an authentic experience of Barcelona living.

One of the perks of staying in this neighborhood is the easy access to different points of interest in Barcelona. Another is the cheaper accommodations. Travelers pay a lot less for rooms in Barcelona Sants compared to some of the busier, tourist favorites.

Hotels in this area include the Catalonia Hotel Barcelona Plaza, Expo Hotel and Acta CITY47 Hotel Barcelona.


Staying in this area gives ready access to the Port Olympic and Bogatell Beach areas. The Yellow line running through this district gives visitors easy access to the city center. The ride to the heart of the city center is just 10 minutes.

Hotels in the area usually receive 4-star and 5-star ratings. Examples are the Icaria Hotel, H10 Barcelona Marina and the Arts Hotel.


This is the biggest barrio in Barcelona. It takes up about 1/5 of the entire city. This charming barrio is located at the hillside regions of the city. Climbing on top of one of the mountains gives visitors a splendid view of the entire city. The Barcelona Olympic Stadium is only a short walk from this barrio.

Nearby hotels typically have 3 to 4 star ratings. Some of the available hotels are: Fira Palace Hotel, Catalonia Hotel Barcelona and B Hotel Barcelona. For cheaper stays, try the Enzo B & B Montjuic where room rates start at 21 euros.

This is the best area to stay in Barcelona for travelers who love outdoor activities. Hiking, spectacular views, dazzling green landscape and a rich history await.

In the summer, magic fountain shows are held at the Palau Nacional. This place is great for garden picnics and enjoying the marvelous sunset. Sometimes, open-air cinemas are held at the castle moat. Every August, the Festa Major de Sants is held in this place, with lots of mojitos, cubatas and dancing.

For dining, the Nectari is the best place to get good quality at a decent price. The Abrassame offers good food equaled only by the magnificent view from the terrace, where the dining area is situated.

Poble Sec

This is a residential area further down the hillside. Worth checking are the quirky bars including the favorite of both locals and tourists – the Tinta Rojo. The place has the atmosphere of a bar, but with the furnishings resembling a flea market. There is also the Gran Bodega Salto. This place is jam-packed with a mix of different eccentric décor. Live energetic music cheers up the place while customers enjoy pavement drinks.

Also, try the recently re born El Soltidor de la Filomena Pages. This establishment has more than 100 years of gastronomic history.

The typical tourist attractions are also few in this area. The upside to staying here is that accommodations are cheaper than most of the barrios in Barcelona. It is also only about 10 minutes from the city center. Rates for rooms in Barcelona’s Poble Sec fit well for those not interested in paying an arm and a leg for accommodation. This is the place for budget accommodations yet still conveniently accessible to the city center.

Les Corts

This is Barcelona’s prime financial district. It has many good restaurants and hotels. Expect that most of the better ones will be more expensive. Most of these don’t really cater to tourists. Some still offer decent meals at affordable prices.

A good place to check out is a shopping complex on Diagonal. Complex is called L’Illa. It houses a large supermarket, a number of good restaurants, numerous clothes shops and a small exhibition center.

Most hotels in this area can be quite expensive. Excellent service makes it worth it. A few good hotels nearby include Hotel Rey Juan Carlos, the Princess Sofia, Victoria Suites Hotel, Amister Hotel and Hotel Husa L’Illa Barcelona.

Placa Espanya

The Palau Nacional is the main attractive feature of this barrio. This is where you can find the Museum of Catalan Arts. This imposing structure rises beside Montjuic.

Hotel rooms in Barcelona’s Placa Espanya and nearby towns are typically cheaper than those found in prime tourist barrios like in the Gothic Quarter. One good hotel to check is the Villa Emilia. Rooms are soundproof in this warm and cozy hotel. There is also a good restaurant and bar in the hotel, where guests can relax and unwind while gazing at the stunning view of the city of Barcelona from the terrace.

General tips in finding the best area to stay in Barcelona

First time visitors to the charming city of Barcelona usually choose to stay in hotels as near to the city center as possible. The strategic location is important so that travelers can easily get around the city and center and reach the tourists attractions. The closest barrios to the city center will be the El Barri Gotic, Las Ramblas and Placa Catalunya. The downside of these areas is that they have more expensive rates for rooms and prices for restaurants.

For more budget-friendly accommodations and decently priced meals, head to the farther barrios such as Poble Sec and Montjuic. Do not worry about accessibility because the Yellow lie and the Metro run through these barrios. Travel time is generally 10 to 15 minutes, so it’s not that bad at all. Even the farthest barrio only takes about 30 minutes to get to the city center and the rest of the must-see places in the city of Barcelona.

To make it even more convenient to get around the city, choose a hotel, which is only a short walk away from a metro stop. This will provide easy access to the rest of the metro system. Getting around the city will even be much easier.

Author: Carmen Farrell

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