Where to Stay in Barcelona: 6 Best Neighborhoods
In addition to Paris and London, Barcelona is one of my favorite European cities. From ancient architecture to its location by the sea, and the delicious tapas that you fly around: I always find it a nice place to go for a weekend or a city trip. But the city is big, and knowing where to stay in Barcelona is an art. Today I thought I’d share the best Barcelona neighborhoods and some hotel tips and recommendations!
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What’s Barcelona’s City Centre?
Barcelona is a gigantic city consisting of 10 districts. The count begins in the middle on the coast, near the Ciutat Vella (Old Town), then goes up slightly (Eixample), and then goes around clockwise, until you end up at the coast with District 10 (Santi Marti), east of Ciutat Vella.
Most of the sights can be found in the heart (center) of the city, around the Ciutat Vella and Eixample. With these neighborhoods, you’re close to the main attractions, and as a tourist you would call this the center of Barcelona.
If you do not know exactly: las Ramblas, the most touristy street of Barcelona, is in the heart of the city center (although I would not want to stay on that street). Barcelona has no less than 73 neighborhoods, but I’ve narrowed it down to 6 fantastic neighborhoods.
El Born is, in my opinion, one of the nicest districts of Barcelona, together with Gòtic and Gracia. It’s a lovely neighborhood in the old city center with its narrow streets. Many of the buildings in this section are from the Middle Ages. Traditionally this was a rich neighborhood, because of its location on the coast.
The neighborhood is now a lively place for nice restaurants, bars and boutiques. But you also can find many attractions. The most important church in the neighborhood is the Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar, an impressive 14th century building in Catalan Gothic style.
You will also find three museums in the El Born: the Picasso Museum, the Barbier Mueller Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, and the Textile Museum. Because of the convenient location you can walk not only to the beach in a few minutes, but also to las Ramblas area. But because it is not in the heart of the tourist crowds, it can still be quite quiet here.
El Born is nice if you want a historic district full of bars, restaurants, and shops, within walking distance of the beach and the center
Where to Stay in El Born
- Hotel Oasis: How nice is this terrace with a swimming pool? The rooms may not be super-inspiring, but the price isn’t too bad for the city center.
- Chic & Basic Born Boutique Hotel: The rooms in this boutique hotel have all kinds of nice details such as stained-glass windows or a shower in the middle of the room.
- K + K Hotel Picasso El Born: From the comfy rooms in this hotel, you can walk into the El Born district. Will the city be too hot for you? Then dive into the pool on the roof terrace. Cool!
Barri Gòtic means “Gothic Quarter.” Funnily enough, the neighborhood is not as Gothic as it seems. Most of the buildings in the district date from the 19th and 20th century, when the dark, unfortunate neighborhood got a make-over for the upcoming international exhibition of 1929. Gothic details were added in the neighborhood so that the neighborhood looked like it had been around since the Middle Ages. But nothing is less true.
That does not detract from the fact that our neighborhood is not old. It dates back to the Roman times. You will even find a piece of city wall from that period. Now the district is the center of the Ciutat Vella. It is one big shuffle of winding streets, which are often closed to traffic. The Jewish quarter is in Barri Gòtic.
The main attraction in the neighborhood is the Catedral de la Santa Creu in Santa Eulàlia. This cathedral dates back to 1339, but the Gothic facade was built between 1882 and 1913. Except that the church is very beautiful, my favorite thing is that there is an inner garden where 13 white geese are kept. Personally, I also find the Pont del Bisbe very nice to see. This dates from 1928.
If you want to eat something, you have plenty of choices in the vicinity of and on Placa Reial. It always reminds me a bit of Place des Vosges in Paris. Here you will also find several restaurants in the arches that are always packed. Fun fact: on the square you will find two lampposts designed by Gaudí.
Barri Gòtic is fun if you want to be in the heart of the tourist center full of sights and lots of choice of restaurants.
Where to Stay in Barri Gòtic
- Ciutat de Barcelona: Spacious rooms with a view of the city, affordable, and you can walk into the city center. What else do you want? Oh yeah. That roof terrace with swimming pool of course. Check.
- Pension Boutique 1847: How nice are these urban rooms with exposed brick walls, glass bathrooms, and balconies?
- Barcelona Catedral: I think this lobby with geometric prints is so cool. The beautiful interior design makes this hotel one of the hippest in Barcelona. And have you already seen that rooftop pool?
The Eixample district is very different from the previous two neighborhoods. It has many long, straight, and wide streets in a grid pattern. Just look at an aerial photo of Barcelona, and you will see exactly what I mean. This was planned to give space to traffic.
This is also the district where you will find Gaudí architecture. On the Passeig de Gracía you will find for example Casa Milà and Casa Batlló, and in the Sagrada Familia district you will find the most famous cathedral whose construction never seems to end (could it be finally finished in 2026?).
In Eixample, you will find all the famous chain stores, and the neighborhood is also bursting with restaurants. The central location ensures that you are everywhere in no time. This is one of the best options to stay as a tourist.
Eixample is fun if you want a central district with Gaudí architecture, shopping and a large number of restaurants
Where to Stay in Eixample
- Pension Ecozentric: Cute, small rooms with a balcony where you can enjoy the Spanish sun. Drink coffee, tea, and water for free and walk to all the sights in the area.
- Hotel Room Mate Anna: Subtle is not the first word that comes to mind when you see this hotel, but I think that’s fun in this case. It is something else again! And hey, why would you want to do subtle if you can also enjoy your top life in the jacuzzi on top of the roof?
- Ayre Hotel Rosellón: Would you like to have a drink on the rooftop terrace overlooking the Sagrada Familia? Book a room in this hotel! Some rooms also have a view of the church, and how cool is it to wake up with a view of this artwork … In addition, the breakfast buffet here seems to be very good too.
When I spent ten days in Barcelona, I spent part of my time in Gràcia, one of my absolute favorite neighborhoods. I can not believe that many tourists still skip this district because I think it is one of the best places.
That Gràcia has such a nice reputation is not crazy. Up to1897, it was a private place, until it was swallowed up by Barcelona. I found Gràcia quite a quiet neighborhood, full of nice hipster shops. A perfect mix if you ask me. The interesting mix of young and old residents creates a varied street scene.
When I was there, the annual street festival took place (always in August). The streets were decorated, and we drank sangria as we roamed the streets. Remain at a distance from the fireworks show (I thought it was scary).
In this district, you will find virtually no tourist attractions, but because of that I think it is just very authentic. This district has the largest number of foreign restaurants in Barcelona, and chains you will not encounter. Many artists live in the neighborhood, so you will find a lot of art, but also nice vintage shops, cafes and cozy squares with live music.
You like Gracia if you wanta quiet authentic neighborhood, just outside the crowds, full of trendy restaurants and bars
Where to Stay in Gràcia
- Hostel Casa Gracia: This is indeed a hostel, but very nice boutique hostel, where you can also book “normal” double rooms. I have stayed there myself, and I think it’s a nice accommodation with stylish decor. It also has its own kitchen so you can prepare your own breakfast and save money!
- Hotel Praktik Bakery: The Praktik hotels are super cute compact hotels, each with its own style. This has a fresh bakery in the building, hence the name too. The rooms are small but nicely decorated, and the location is perfect!
- Gracia Garden Boutique Hotel: This hotel has a super nice courtyard, where some of the rooms look out. There are many nice restaurants close to the hotel. The rooms are quietly decorated, with geometric details and neutral colors.
Barceloneta is the district that is most famous for its beach, which bears the same name. This is the perfect place to stay if you not only want to spend a lot of time at the beach, but also want to be near the city center. Mind you, pickpockets scour this beach for victims.
Barceloneta is not necessarily my own favorite neighborhood, but I wanted to add it because beach lovers can stay here the best. There are many restaurants and bars along the promenade. I find it a bit touristy, and it lacks the charm you have in other parts of Barcelona. But yes … I am not a big beach lover.
The district dates from the middle of the 18th century, when the first houses were built there. These were mainly used by fishermen who lived close to their workplace in this way, but also not far from the city. You can still find some buildings from that time; the most famous is Església de Sant Miquel del Port. Learn more about the history of Barcelona in the Museo de Historia de Cataluña, which you will also find in this district.
You can do some shopping in the Maremagnum Shopping Center, where you will find all the major chains. There is also an aquarium next to it, which should be fun for the little
Barceloneta is fun if you want the beach!
Where to Stay in Barceloneta
- 54 Barceloneta: From the balconies in this hotel you look out over the harbor. The rooms are not entirely my style, but I find the lobby and terrace very cozy.
- H10 Port Vell 4 * Sup: From the sleek white rooms to the cool location, and the cool roof terrace with swimming pool, what more could you want? Guests are very satisfied with the beds and the extensive breakfast.
- W Barcelona: If you want to stay in Barcelona ‘s most eye-catching hotel, then you should be at W Barcelona, on Barceloneta Beach. Treat yourself and enjoy the luxurious rooms with a view, the spa, the good food, or the delicious rooftop pool.
Are you looking for a neighborhood that is like Montmartre for Paris? Then you are at the right place in Montjuïc. Montjuïc is a hill in the southwest of Barcelona. I find Montjuïc so nice because it is so nice green. An oasis of peace in such a busy metropolis. You’re literally out of the crowd, but you look out over the whole city. Delicious.
In 1929, this mountain was the place where the World Exhibition was held. It was also the location of the Summer Olympics of 1992, whose memories you can still find in the form of the Olympic Stadium.
Montjuïc lies roughly between Plaça D’Espanya and the port of Barcelona. Tip: In the summer, there are fountain shows in the square, one of my happiest memories in Barcelona was there, the water on my skin, the cheerful colors, and the swelling music. I felt so ALIVE then.
If you walk up the stairs from Montjuïc, you will reach the impressive Palau Nacional. The World Exhibition in 1929 took place here, but since 1934 you can find the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya here. Further up the mountain you will find the castle of Montjuïc, a defensive fort and former prison from the 17th century.
Montjuïc is fun if you want a green hill with a view over Barcelona
Where to Stay in Montjuïc
- Hotel Brummell: I LOVE this midcentury style with beautiful plants in the lobby. The hotel rooms also seem to have come straight from an interior magazine.
- Crowne Plaza Barcelona Fira Center: For luxury stay in this hotel. From the roof terrace you have beautiful views of Montjuïc. The breakfast buffet is extensive and the beds are lovely.
Those were my best tips for the nicest neighborhoods in Barcelona. So hopefully you know where to stay when you visit! If you have any tips, share them in the comments!
What do you think are the nicest neighborhoods in Barcelona?
The hotel photos in this article are from Booking.com.
General Travel Tips
- For accommodation, I always check Airbnb or Booking.com for the best prices.
- If your insurance at home doesn’t cover travel, you may want to look into SafetyWing for an affordable option.
- I always recommend checking Get Your Guide for the best tours in Europe.