Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain, the capital of Catalonia and one of the most visited destinations in Europe! With an eclectic mix of historic architecture, modern nightlife and gorgeous beaches, Barcelona has a lot to offer tourists.
As it is such a large and busy city, figuring out the right place to stay can be difficult. What you are looking to get from your trip will have a huge impact on the best area for you.
That’s why we have created this guide! We’ve worked out the seven best areas to stay in the city, as well as who they are best for. Whether you are a backpacker on a budget, or a family looking to splurge, we’ve got you covered.
So let’s get started!
Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Barcelona
- Ciutat Vella – Best neighborhood in Barcelona for your first time
- Sants-Montjuïc – Where to stay in Barcelona close to everything
- Gothic Quarter – Where to stay in Barcelona for nightlife
- Eixample – Best neighborhood in Barcelona for families
- Grácia – Where to stay in Barcelona on a budget
- Sant Marti – Best neighborhood in Barcelona for couples
- Inland Suburbs – Best neighborhood in Barcelona off the beaten path
Where to Stay in Barcelona
Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Barcelona.
Best Hostel in Barcelona
Located right in the heart of Ciutat Vella, and only a short walk away from La Rambla, this is one of the best-located hostels in the city. Their communal facilities are second to none, and their cultural activities are well worth the stay alone! They also offer excellent discounts on nearby attractions.
Best Budget Hotel in Barcelona
This hotel might be basic, but as it is based in the Gothic Quarter you truly do get great value for your money! Rooms are bright and airy with plenty of natural light, and the complimentary buffet breakfast perfectly showcases local cuisine. This is a popular choice with couples and business travellers.
Best Luxury Hotel in Barcelona
Barcelona is packed with excellent five-star hotels, and the Hotel Miramar definitely takes the top spot! Located on Montjuïc hill, it has great views across the city and the Mediterranean Coast! The outdoor pool area is perfect for unwinding after a long day of exploring, and the architecture is an attraction in itself.
Barcelona 7 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in
Let’s take a look, in more detail, at the five best neighbourhoods in Barcelona. Each caters to different interests, so be sure to pick the neighbourhood that’s right for you.
(Best neighbourhood in Barcelona for your first time!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Ciutat Vella – take in a flamenco performance at Jazz Si – one of the best-priced venues in the city
- BEST place to visit in Ciutat Vella – wander down the marvellous La Rambla, by far the most well-known boulevard in the city
Ciutat Vella is the beating heart of Barcelona and where most of the major tourist attractions are located! Translated as Old Town in Spanish, Ciutat Vella is where some of the oldest architecture is – from Roman ruins to Gothic Palaces, this region is packed with local history.
By far the most famous attraction in the city is La Rambla, a huge boulevard that stretches through Ciutat Vella! Here you will find international stores, local boutiques and a plethora of dining and nightlife options. Regardless of where you choose to stay in Barcelona, you should start your exploring at La Rambla – just hold on to your valuables, as pickpockets are rife.
- Discover the cosmopolitan flavours of Barcelona at Agua, a restaurant that combines Catalan and Italian cuisines
- Start your night off with some authentic local tapas at Amatxu on La Rambla – surprisingly good prices for the location!
- Head to the Picasso Museum to learn about the life and history of the famous artist and discover some of his earlier works
- Walk along Passeig del Born, an ancient street showcasing the city’s medieval architecture, and finish with a trip to Mercat del Born
- Visit some of the best bars and restaurants in the city at Olympic Port, with excellent views over the Mediterranean Sea
Best Hostel Ciutat Vella
Only two minutes away from La Rambla, Be Sound Hostel is one of the best located in the city for discovering the main attractions! They provide excellent perks, including dinner vouchers, walking tours and communal events. There is free WiFi throughout the hostel as well as free lockers with a personal key.
Best Budget Hotel in Ciutat Vella
This sleek, modern hotel is also well located close to La Rambla and the Gothic Quarter! Rooms are elegantly designed with all the mod cons, air conditioning and soundproofing. A complimentary buffet breakfast is provided every morning, and there is an outdoor pool on the rooftop terrace.
Best Luxury Hotel in Ciutat Vella
This gorgeous five-star hotel has a rooftop pool, a large spa and fitness centre! The rooms are beautifully decorated with modern furnishings, and come with full air-conditioning and soundproofing, giving you a great night’s sleep. There are two restaurants on-site serving traditional cuisine and a complimentary breakfast.
MUST READ – Take a look at our guide to the best places to visit in Spain
(Where to stay in Barcelona close to everything!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Sants-Montjuïc – take in a spectacular flamenco performance at Tablao de Carmen, with meals and drinks included
- BEST place to visit in Sants-Montjuïc – head to Camp Nou to visit the FC Barcelona Museum and even take a guided tour of the stadium
Located just west of Ciutat Vella, Sants-Montjuïc is a somewhat more modern neighbourhood featuring a few of the city’s most famous attractions! The central train station is here, giving you great access to the rest of Barcelona and Catalonia as a whole. There are plenty of museums and cultural attractions across the area to keep you entertained.
Sants-Montjuïc also has its own shopping districts with a huge selection of local boutiques, classic restaurants and reserved bars. If you want to shop in the city but want to keep away from the main tourist routes, Sants-Montjuïc has a lot to offer!
- Head to the Born neighbourhood to pick up some high-end fashion from international designers and local boutiques
- Vegetarian? La Riera is a fantastic restaurant offering Catalan, Spanish and Mediterranean cuisine at good prices
- For a somewhat calmer nightlife experience than the city centre, head to Sala Apolo – a popular local club offering DJ sets and interesting cocktails
- Climb up to the Miramar Viewpoint where you will be rewarded with spectacular vistas across Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea
- Wander the museum district to discover history, art and culture from the many exhibits in the area – we love the MNAC art gallery!
Best Hostel Sants-Montjuïc
This hostel is run by travellers, for travellers – giving you a very welcoming atmosphere with excellent social facilities! They offer free walking tours of the city, bar crawls during the evening and meals at dinner time. The common areas are separated by whether you want to party, relax or work.
Best Budget Hotel in Sants-Montjuïc
This stylish hotel is located on the boundary between Sants-Montjuïc and Ciutat Vella, giving you unbeaten access to the main attractions of Barcelona! Rooms are air-conditioned and soundproofed, and a complimentary buffet breakfast is provided. Free high speed WiFi is available throughout the property.
Best Luxury Hotel in Sants-Montjuïc
This luxurious five-star hotel has unbeaten views across the city and the Mediterranean Sea thanks to its location on Montjuïc Mountain! There is a large outdoor swimming pool open year round, as well as a fully equipped fitness centre. The building itself is a former palace, allowing you to experience the magnificent architecture from your hotel room.
(Where to stay in Barcelona for nightlife!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Gothic Quarter – sample delicious Barcelona beers at good prices at Red Rocket Bar
- BEST place to visit in Gothic Quarter – admire the gorgeous architecture of Guell Palace, designed by the famous architect Antoni Gaudí
Though technically part of Ciutat Vella, Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter has a character of its own that draws in visitors from across the world! The varied architecture of the area marvels guests year-round – from medieval houses to massive architecture projects such as Guell Palace and the surrounding park.
The area is separated from the rest of Ciutat Vella by La Rambla, where most of the biggest nightclubs are based. We believe the Gothic Quarter itself is better for nightlife thanks to the many hidden bars and restaurants in its streets. If you want to party with locals and sample some great cocktails at good prices, this is the place to be!
- Head to Plaça Reial, the main hub for nightlife in the Gothic Quarter with a wide range of bars, and the location of restaurants with terraces during the day
- Discover marvellous Gothic architecture in the area surrounding the Cathedral of Santa Eulàlia
- Wander along Carrer Petritxol, a winding street that is known for its magical atmosphere and wide range of chocolate shops
- Sample some delectable cocktails at Sol Rita – a bar that feels like it could have come straight out of an Almodóvar film
- Want to try making your own Spanish dishes? Barcelona Cooking School offer some great classes throughout the year
Best Hostel Gothic Quarter
Located right in the heart of the Gothic Quarter, Itaca Hostel is a calm oasis amongst the vibrant nightlife of Barcelona! Although they do aim to create a relaxing atmosphere, there are still some great common areas to socialise with other guests. Rooms are beautifully designed with great natural light.
Best Budget Hotel in Gothic Quarter
This modern hotel is quite basic but offers everything you could need for a short stay in the city – perfect if you are on a budget but want to remain in the heart of the action! They offer a full buffet breakfast, as well as discounts in local bars and restaurants in the surrounding area.
Best Luxury Hotel in Gothic Quarter
This magnificent five-star hotel has an infinity pool on the rooftop, giving you dramatic views across the city. The large rooftop terrace also has a restaurant and bar serving a complimentary breakfast each morning and cocktails throughout the day. It is also set within a historic building famed as the home of Pablo Picasso!
Recommended article! Also – if you’ll be in this area, you HAVE to check out our article about some of the other best day trips from Seville
(Best neighbourhood in Barcelona for families!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Eixample – wander along Passeig de Gracia, a popular shopping street with unique architecture and international brands
- BEST place to visit in Eixample – by far the most popular attraction in the area, the Sagrada Familia is a must-see on any Barcelona itinerary
Eixample is an eclectic neighbourhood just north of Ciutat Vella that offers a good range of activities and attractions. Families will love this area thanks to its calmer atmosphere and easy to navigate layout. The Sagrada Familia is located here, making it the perfect location if you want to spot the Modernist cathedral!
The area isn’t just perfect for families, offering many different attractions for tourists from all backgrounds. The Gayxample area is popular with LGBTQ visitors thanks to the popular bars and cafes in the district. The modernist architecture of the area also attracts backpackers and couples looking to discover a unique side of Barcelona!
- Discover contemporary art at the Fundació Antoni Tàpies, located right in the heart of Eixample
- The area is packed with Gaudí architecture, which is perfectly exemplified by La Pedrera – the building also has great views over the area’s other major sights
- Want to discover delicious Catalan chocolate? Head to Cacao Sampaka where you can tour the museum or the chocolate factory
- Sample some excellent Catalan and Spanish cuisine at La Flauta, offering well-priced dinner menus
- Interested in nightlife? Smooth is a rather upscale wine bar with drinks from across Spain and a great tapas menu
- If you are heading to Gayxample, Sweet Cafe is the most popular bar with the LGBTQ crowd in the city
Best Hostel Eixample
This designer hostel is dedicated to the many different eras of rock music, with each floor having a different theme from the music genre! The ultra-modern facilities are highly rated by guests, with soundproofing and free high speed WiFi in each room. There is also an outdoor pool on the rooftop open every summer.
Best Budget Hotel in Eixample
Located in a historic building, this is a little pricier than our other budget picks but is worth every penny! All rooms are fully air conditioned with free high speed WiFi. There are also some rooms that come with a terrace or balcony for an additional fee. One Hotels Mosaic offer discounted car hire.
Don’t worry! We put together a best cheap hostels in Barcelona article with great budget options!
Best Luxury Hotel in Eixample
Another great five-star hotel in Barcelona, Almanac is housed in a traditional modernist building and comes with excellent facilities! There is a full spa centre including a fitness suite, treatment rooms and sauna. A complimentary breakfast is provided every morning, and the on-site restaurant offers Mediterranean cuisine.
Recommended article! Also – if you’ll be in this area, you HAVE to check out our article about some of the other great day trips from Barcelona
(Where to stay in Barcelona on a budget!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Grácia – visiting in August? Attend the Festa Major de Grácia to experience one of the city’s most vibrant festivals
- BEST place to visit in Grácia – head to Parc Güell for panoramic views across the city and great urban landscaping
Just north of Eixample, Grácia is known as one of the most authentic neighbourhoods in Barcelona if you are looking for Catalan culture. The marvellous Parc Güell is a popular area with tourists thanks to the great views across the city as well as interesting design by Antoni Gaudí!
Grácia is also known as one of the more budget-friendly neighbourhoods in the city. The authentic restaurants, cafés and bars offer lower prices than the tourist traps in Ciutat Vella, whilst also giving you a more local experience. This is the best neighbourhood if you want to save some cash!
- Casa Vicens was the first building Gaudí designed in Barcelona and has since become a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Taverna El Glop is a cheap restaurant with a local feel serving typical Catalan cuisine – a great place for mingling with locals
- If you are looking for a more off-the-beaten-path nightlife experience, Grácia offers some great bars and clubs – we recommend El Dorado for a unique night out
- The Grácia end of Passeig de Gracia offers some more local boutiques and is a great place for picking up souvenirs to take home
- If you are interested in modern design and sleek furnishings, head to Velçon to pick up some high-quality goods at low prices
Best Hostel Grácia
This bohemian hostel is excellent for environmentally conscious travellers as it has an eco-friendly ethos and laid-back atmosphere! There is a private terrace area on-site providing the ideal location to socialise with other guests and soak up the authentic vibe of Grácia. They also offer yoga sessions every morning.
Best Budget Hotel in Grácia
Aparthotel Silver offers budget-friendly apartments and studios with private bathrooms and small kitchenettes. It is located right in the heart of Grácia with easy access to public transport allowing you to explore the rest of the city with ease! A continental breakfast, with gluten-free options, is available every morning.
Best Luxury Hotel in Grácia
This magnificent five-star hotel is situated in a gorgeous modernist building right at the top of Passeig de Grácia! An attraction in itself, the beautiful exterior is complimented with elegantly designed rooms and communal areas. There is a large balcony with views across the city, and a full breakfast buffet every morning.
Traveling to Barcelona? These are the best hostels near the Barcelona International Airport
(Best neighbourhood in Barcelona for couples!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Sant Martí – unwind on the magnificent beaches lining the region of Sant Martí
- BEST place to visit in Sant Martí – visit Torre Agbar, a large skyscraper with great views across the city that has become a monument in its own right
Located to the east of Ciutat Vella, Sant Martí is an easy going neighbourhood that is best known for its beaches. The smaller beaches in the area are a little less touristy than the more famous Barceloneta Beach, giving you the perfect place to relax and sunbathe on the Mediterranean coast!
These beaches are also lined with excellent restaurants, cafes and bars – as well as some unique boutiques offering great souvenirs and clothing! Further into the neighbourhood are some up and coming landmarks including the Torre Agbar where you can take in breathtaking views across the coast of Barcelona and even as far as the Sagrada Familia.
- Head to the boardwalk on Platja de la Nova Icària where you can choose from a wide range of restaurants and bars, or take part in a game of volleyball
- Take a relaxing stroll along Rambla Prim, a calm and leafy street where locals hang out, enjoy a coffee and shop at independent stores
- Discover the brand new Design Museum where you can learn about the creative history of the city and enjoy some modern design artefacts
- Enjoy the understated charm of Sant Martí Church, with its own unique history embedded in the culture of the area
- Looking for vibrant nightlife? Razzmatazz is one of the most popular in the city with both visitors and locals and offers many different rooms with a range of musical styles
Best Hostel Sant Martí
The Amistat Beach Hostel is located only a few steps away from one of the best beaches in the city! There is a huge communal area where you can mingle with other guests, prepare meals and enjoy the facilities. Free WiFi, pasta dinners and breakfasts are provided to all guests throughout their stay.
Best Budget Hotel in Sant Martí
Ibis are known worldwide for their affordable comfort, and their Barcelona City offering is a great example of this! The beautiful roof terrace comes with a small infinity pool and breathtaking views across the city. There is a small children’s playground area, and the on-site bar is well rated by guests.
Best Luxury Hotel in Sant Martí
Another great five-star hotel close to the city centre, the Level is one of the best-rated hotels by couples in the entire city! Rooms come with either a sea or city view, and the large spa complex has Turkish baths, saunas and heated pools. The restaurant serves typical Mediterranean cuisine and buffet breakfasts.
Check this out – these are the wildest and craziest party hostels in Barcelona
(Best neighbourhood in Barcelona off the beaten path!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Inland Suburbs – work your way through the labyrinth, or admire the cascading waterfalls, at Parc del Laberint d’Horta
- BEST place to visit in Inland Suburbs – climb to the top of Tibidabo, a mountain offering the highest viewpoint across Barcelona
Consisting of Sarrià, Pedralbes, Horta and Sant Andrea, the Inland Suburbs region is a vast area in the north of the city. Here you will discover some of the more unique attractions in Barcelona with a very off-the-beaten-path feel. If you want to avoid the tourist crowds, this is the place to stay!
All of the suburbs in the area have great connections to the centre of city, allowing you to easily explore the main attractions whilst staying in a more relaxing environment. One of the most popular attractions is Tibidabo, a legendary mountain where it is said Satan tempted Jesus with the magnificent views!
- Visit the Monestir de Pedralbes, a large gothic monastery with great exhibits about the history of the building and Pedralbes
- CosmoCaixa is an excellent science museum near Tibidabo and is often regarded as one of the best in Europe
- Interested in urbexing? The abandoned Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau has become a popular attraction in recent years
- If you are into techno music, Sutton is the only major nightclub in the region and great for revellers seeking something a bit different
- Eco-friendly travellers will love the vast menu of locally sourced cuisine at Origen 99.9%, as well as the speciality liqueurs!
Best Hostel Inland Suburbs
Located in Horta, Garden House Hostel is a haven for backpackers looking to get away from the party atmosphere of the city centre and enjoy the peaceful oasis of the suburbs! There is a large garden and a rooftop terrace in the hostel, and calm recreational areas for chatting with other guests or enjoying some quiet time.
Best Budget Hotel in Inland Suburbs
Based in the Sarriá region, this simple but elegant hotel is another calm oasis for those looking to be based away from the bustling city centre! The on-site restaurant offers a buffet breakfast each morning, as well as international cuisine throughout the day. There is a garden terrace with a pool and hot tub.
Best Luxury Hotel in Inland Suburbs
Another luxurious five-star hotel, the Gran Hotel La Florida is the perfect choice if you are looking for a typical resort style accommodation! Based on Tibidabo Mountain, guests are rewarded with spectacular views of Barcelona and the surrounding countryside. They also have a large pool deck and a great restaurant.
Further reading – Check out the top hostels in Valencia, Spain!
Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Barcelona?
There’s a reason Barcelona is one of the most visited cities in Europe! Whether you want nightlife, culture or a calm getaway, the city offers it all. The combination of Spanish, Catalan and international cultures creates a cosmopolitan vibe that attracts millions of visitors every year.
Picking the best area is difficult, but we would have to say that the Gothic Quarter is a fantastic all-rounder. Not only does it offer authentic nightlife, but many of the best historic and architectural gems are based in this area!
Nevertheless, most areas of Barcelona have their own unique charms. We hope this guide has helped you find the right spot for you on your visit to the Catalan capital.
Do you have any more recommendations for Barcelona? Let us know in the comments!
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