And we are here to help you with both. Before choosing a place to stay in Barcelona, it helps to know a bit about the various neighborhoods/areas within the city limits. The general ambiance of an area can influence whether or not you might want to stay, eat, or play there. Here is a glimpse at the major neighborhoods in this diverse and beautiful city.
How to save money when booking a hotel in Barcelona?
Try to book your hotel in Barcelona as soon as possible. The best deals are often to be found 3-4 months before your trip. Our hotel booking system lets you compare hotel prices on various hotel booking sites like Booking.com, Hotels.com and others. That way, you can be sure to find a great deal for your Hotel room.
AirBnB in Barcelona
Also, we specifically don’t recommend using AirBnB in hot markets like Barcelona, because of the severe impact it has on the locals as property prices go through the roof and finding places to live becomes a real problem.
Best Place to Stay in Barcelona by Neighborhood
Located in Barcelona’s Old Town, Barri Gòtic offers plenty of charm. If you enjoy pedestrian areas with loads of history, you’ll love strolling Barri Gòtic’s cobblestone streets. The labyrinthine web of streets is essentially the birthplace of Barcelona.
The area is characterized by smaller squares like the Plaça Felip Neri with its lovely fountain and lush courtyards like the one found in the Frederic Marès Museum.Look up to see gargoyles perched on gothic towers, keeping watch.
If you’re a fan of street performers, make your way to the area surrounding the Cathedral. And there are afternoon concerts throughout the week at Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol.
Bordered by Barri Gòtic and Barri del Raval, La Rambla is the most famous street in Barcelona and also one of the best areas to stay in Barcelona for tourists. You’ll be right in the middle of things and can enjoy the hustle of the Catalunian city.
Strolling down La Rambla — amongst street entertainers, flower vendors, newspaper kiosk workers, cafe customers, and elderly Spanish couples walking arm in arm — is one of the purest cultural experiences one can have in Barcelona.
La Rambla stretches from Plaça de Catalunya to the Columbus Monument and is actually comprised of five sections: Rambla de Canaletes, Rambla dels Estudis, Rambla de Sant Josep, Rambla dels Caputxins, and Rambla de Santa Mónica.
Each section has its own particular flavor. Keep your eye out for the Columbus Monument (at the end of La Rambla), the Gran Teatre del Liceu (opera house), Centre d’Art Santa Mònica (art center) and the mosaic by Spanish artist Miró near the lively Plaça de la Boqueria.
Barri del Raval, Barcelona’s largest inner-city neighborhood, has seen quite a bit of revitalization in recent years (ever since the 1992 Olympic Games hosted by the city). Entire blocks of crumbling apartment buildings have been razed and replaced by sports centers, museums, restaurants, hotels, and open-air gathering space.
Frequently referred to as the neighborhood with the greatest multicultural mix in Europe, El Raval has become a hipster hangout as well. Modern bars and small nightclubs, contemporary art galleries, record stores and yoga centers are nestled next to spice shops, fabric stores, specialty food shops and ethnic eateries. Major congregating spaces include the Boqueria market and the Rambla del Raval, a pedestrian walkway packed with bars and cafés.
Similar to Barri del Raval, La Ribera has experienced quite a bit of revitalization over the past several years. Whereas Barri del Raval has been gentrified, La Ribera, a historically wealthy area, has been rendered more hip and lively thanks to a recent influx of museums, galleries, and first-rate eateries.
A relatively small neighborhood, La Ribera is bordered by the Port Vell (Old Port) and the Parc de la Ciutadella. El Born is a popular subdivision of the La Ribera neighborhood, known for its medieval architecture and upscale shopping.
The focal point of El Born is Santa María del Mar, a breathtaking Gothic basilica. Take a stroll up the Carrer de Montcada and take in the historic mansions, most of which have now become museums or gallery spaces.
At the northern end of La Ribera is the site of the Mercat del Born, which was once the city’s principal wholesale market. It is now an excavation site and state-of-the-art archeological museum. Parc de la Ciutadella, located just behind Mercat del Born, features a man-made lake, lush walking paths and a series of smaller museums.
Located near the water, Barceloneta (“little Barcelona”) is best known for its bustling Passeig del Moll de la Fusta. This waterfront walkway is the place to go for sit-down restaurants specializing in fresh seafood as well as more casual snack bar options. There are also a variety of facilities for public swimming.
Those interested in maritime history and culture should go to the Reials Drassanes (royal shipyards) where the Maritime Museum is located. The Maremagnum shopping center and entertainment complex is located just across the wooden bridge.
Parallel to the Passeig Joan de Borbón and just to the south of Barceloneta is the upscale Port Vell (Old Port). The stylish yacht marina also has large green areas for recreational activities. A former fishing district (founded in the18th century), Port Vell is packed with maritime charm. All of its long, narrow streets end at Barceloneta beach, one of the finest urban beaches in Europe.
Port Vell is the best place in Barcelona to go for high-end seafood restaurants and chic cocktail lounges near the water. The nearby Port Olimpic is home to the five-star Hotel Arts and Barcelona’s glitzy casino. Enjoy a beautiful walk along the Passeig Marítim (seafront promenade) and take it all in.
Eixample, the Catalan word for “extension,” is just that, an extension of the Ciutat Vella (old city). It is, therefore, a bus ride away from the old city.Fans of Modernista architecture will be in heaven as they stroll Eixample’s wide streets and gaze upon the work of Antoni Gaudi and his contemporaries. Modernista architecture, the Spanish aesthetic equivalent of French Art Nouveau or German Jugendstil, is characterized by daring lines and bold colors. Antoni Gaudi is considered by many to be the father of the movement.
Eixample’s Passeig de Gràcia is widely recognized as one of Barcelona’s most architecturally important streets. You can’t miss the Casa Batlló (on the UNESCO World Heritage register), one of the most impressive examples of Modernista architecture in Spain. One of Gaudi’s most famous structures is the Sagrada Familia, a striking Catholic church.Eixample is also Barcelona’s University district.
To be expected, the nightlife in this area is quite lively. It is possible to find live music almost any night of the week in Eixample’s wide assortment of cozy bars and large nightclubs.
Located just southeast of Barcelona’s current city center, Montjuic is a neighborhood located on a large hill that overlooks the city. The area’s most impressive attraction is the imposing Montjuic castle that was built in 1640.
Montjuic was also the site of the 1929 International Exhibition and the 1992 Olympics. Therefore, many of the area’s sites were created for or defined by these two major events. Some of the most famous “relics” of the 1929 International Exhibition include the Palau Nacional (National Palace) which was the central pavilion of the International Exhibition and is now home to the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC).
In the plaza in front of the Palau Nacional you’ll find the large Font Màgica (Magic Fountain). It is especially lovely when illuminated at night. Some of the structures put in place for the 1992 Olympic games include the Olympic Tower, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, which served as the main communications tower for the Olympic Games. Several gardens were added for the 1992 Olympics, the most striking being the Jardí Botànic and the Jardins de Mossen.
Looking for Fully Accessible Accommodations in Barcelona?
Look No Farther Than MICs Sant Jordi
by Penny Zibula
Ask any traveler whose mobility is severely compromised,and they’ll tell you that one of the most challenging aspects of travel is finding truly accessible accommodations. Many modern hotels have wheelchair accessible rooms, but what about individuals whose needs go beyond roll-in showers and grab bars? In Barcelona, MICs Sant Jordi is fully equipped to meet the most complex needs of its guests with disabilities.
MICs Sant Jordi is a fully accessible hotel comprised of 32 comfortable well-designed apartments. It is also the key component that can make all the difference in whether or not an individual with a disability can enjoy the many other accessible aspects of Barcelona.
MICs offers single, double and triple apartments consisting of one or two bedrooms and bathrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, and living area. Most units also have a small balcony. Included in the room rate are breakfast, 24-hour care and support service, an adapted gym, a hydrotherapy pool and equipment such as hoists and wheelchairs on loan. MICs Sant Jordi’s staff can also arrange for rental of such items as scooters and oxygen.
Located in the residential Sarria neighborhood of Barcelona, MICs Sant Jordi is a few feet away from the Tres Toros subway station. Plaza Catalunya, one of the hubs for transportation in Barcelona, is only a few stops away. A tantalizing bakery, small supermarket, pharmacy, accessible restaurants, and shops are also a short distance from the hotel.
Considering the services and amenities included in the room rate, MICs Sant Jordi provides good value. Also, with kitchen facilities in every apartment and onsite washers and dryers, the ability to do laundry and prepare meals can save a good deal of money.
MICs Saint Jordi
Via Augusta 269-273,
Barcelona – 93 252 32 00 –
Disclaimer: We are grateful to MICs Saint Jordi for our delightful and informative experience. However, all opinions, as always are entirely my own.
Penny Zibula is a freelance travel writer and blogger based in New Bern,North Carolina. She travels the world with her husband and photographer, and her guide dog, hunting down the best information and stories to share with her readers. Visit her blog at SixLegsWillTravel.com.
Barcelona has many beautiful neighborhoods with different feels and charms. I hope this article helped you decide on the best area to stay in Barcelona on your trip.
Where to stay in Barcelona – Written by Jen Westmoreland Bouchard for EuropeUpClose.com
Pin for Later: Where to Stay in Barcelona
Saturday 2nd of December 2017
Your post reminds me of my trip to Barcelona. Great photos and helpful information!
Saturday 2nd of December 2017
We stayed at campsites when we were in Barcelona - will definitely take your recommendations on where to stay when we go back for another visit!
A Tour of Las Ramblas in Barcelona | GloboTreks
Friday 1st of December 2017
[…] “old town” and its most famous district. In fact, it is also considered as one of the best places to stay in the Barcelona due to its rich history and old town charm. Just walking its narrow, labyrinth-like alleys is an […]
Friday 1st of December 2017
This is a great list! So many amazing places to choose from. Montjuic looks fantastic!
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Tuesday 5th of August 2014
[…] to Barcelona? Here is information on Barcelona’s neighborhoods to help you choose where to […]