I lived in Catalonia’s capital for four months, and every time I return I discover something new and exciting about this city.
There is a diverse array of things to do both during the day and night in Barcelona. You have the charming neighbourhoods around El Gotic and El Born, Gaudí’s architecture and art influenced by Picasso and Dalí, and a convenient city beach and promenade in Barceloneta.
Also, Barcelona is home to green spaces and plazas, small surrounding hills and mountains that offer epic hikes and sunset views, and plenty of awesome food and drink choices – both Catalonian and International.
And don’t even get me started on the nightlife in Barcelona. There is something for everyone: multi-story clubs, swanky bars, hip cafés, and plenty of squares for some store-bought sangria.
Below I have covered the best places and locations to stay in Barcelona based on your interests. Whether you’re looking for the best area to stay in Barcelona for nightlife, on a budget, or as a family, I have covered it all below!
Let’s run through where to stay in Barcelona and all its fantastic neighbourhoods!
- Where to Stay in Barcelona
- Barcelona Neighbourhood Guide
- Barcelona’s 5 Best Neighbourhoods to Stay in
- 1. Barrio Gotico – Where to Stay in Barcelona First Time
- 2. El Born Neighborhood – Where to Stay in Barcelona for Nightlife
- 3. Montjuic Neighbourhood – Where to Stay in Barcelona on a Budget
- 4. El Raval Neighbourhood – Coolest Area to Stay in Barcelona
- 5. Barceloneta Neighbourhood – Where to Stay in Barcelona for Families
- FAQ about Finding a Place to Stay in Barcelona
- Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Barcelona
Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for the best places to stay in Barcelona, you’ll find the low down here. Looking for the coolest areas? Best neighbourhoods for young families, beach lovers or tapas bars? With so many cool places to visit in Barcelona, you want to be in the right place! We’ve got you covered!
Best Airbnb in Barcelona: Double Bunk Bed Home for location obsessed backpackers
This is one of the best places to stay in Barcelona for backpackers. Perfectly situated for exploration – so much so that you won’t need to spend much time inside. This charming 30m2 loft is located in the heart of Borne and gives you easy, walkable access to most of Barcelona’s major sites. With a double bunk bed and modern amenities, it’s perfect for two to four guests.
There are heaps of top-quality Airbnbs in Barcelona in case you fancy living like a local. They are scattered throughout the city from the highrises to the ‘burbs and down to the beach.
Best Hostel in Barcelona: Hostel One Paralelo
Hostel One Paralelo is a fun and energetic hostel and it’s our top recommendation for where to stay in Barcelona. Located in the Montjuic neighbourhood, this hostel has three common areas, a fully equipped kitchen, and super fast wifi. If that isn’t enough, they also host a free homemade dinner every night for guests! It’s one of the best hostels in Barcelona for sure.
It’s a pretty quiet spot. Those who are looking for a wild time in Barca on a budget then you should stay in one of the many party hostels in Barcelona instead.
Best Hotel in Barcelona: Musik Boutique Hotel
Thanks to its chic and modern décor and its central location, Musik Boutique Hotel is our top pick for where to stay in Barcelona. Situated at the centre of El Born, this three-star hotel is close to restaurants, bars, and the city’s top nightlife spots. It has spacious rooms, comfortable beds, and a stylish on-site lounge.
Barrio Gotico is the heart and soul of Barcelona. The oldest neighborhood in the city, it’s filled with charming narrow streets, picturesque boroughs, and quaint terraces and plazas, making it the best area to stay in Barcelona for first-time visitors.
Montjuic is a large neighborhood south of the centre of Barcelona. Located along the coast of the Mediterranean, Montjuic neighborhood is where you’ll find a great variety of museums, monuments, sporting facilities, and stunning natural landscapes.
Packed with restaurants, bars, clubs and cafes, El Born is our pick for the best area to stay in Barcelona for nightlife. From sipping vermouth to partying until dawn, there’s lots of fun to be had on the streets of El Born making it one the best places to stay in Barcelona to party.
If you want to be surrounded by art and culture, El Raval is the neighborhood for you. It is far and away one of the coolest neighborhoods in Barcelona, an already notoriously cool city, thanks to its trendy restaurants, bohemian shops, and awesome bar scene.
Barceloneta is a neighborhood that feels like a small village within a bustling city. Originally a fisherman’s quarter, it is where you’ll find narrow winding streets, charming balconies, and cosy taverns packed with locals.
Barcelona is a magnificent Mediterranean city. It is the capital and largest city in Catalonia, and the second-largest city in Spain. A playground for artists and architects, Barcelona is famous for its magnificent churches, cobbled streets, colourful buildings, and exciting nightlife. There’s plenty to see and do in Barcelona for curious travellers from admiring mind-bending artwork and architecture to sampling Catalonian dishes to lounging on the beach before dancing the night away.
Home to more than 1.5 million people, Barcelona is divided into 10 distinct neighbourhoods just waiting to be explored. To help you plan your trip, this guide includes the “must-sees” broken down by interest.
Las Ramblas and Barrio Gotico are the two neighbourhoods in the centre of the city. The oldest part of Barcelona, where you’ll find charming cobbled streets, quaint town squares, fragrant markets and beautiful churches. This area’s central location coupled with its charming feel makes it our top pick for where to stay in Barcelona for your first time.
To the west of the centre, you have the neighbourhoods of Poblenou, Ciutadella, and El Born (our top choice for a lively night out). Charming and unique, these neighbourhoods are where you’ll find great restaurants, energetic bars, and historic attractions.
East of the centre are the neighbourhoods of El Raval and Montjuic. Once the city’s rough and tumble areas, these two neighbourhoods of Barcelona are now home to lush natural scenery, hip restaurants, awesome food, and great value boutique hotels. The world-famous skate spot of MACBA (also a contemporary art museum) is in El Raval, so if you’re a visiting skater it’s a great base.
North of the centre, you can explore Gracía Barrio, our top pick for the best location to stay in Barcelona for alternative and healthy living.
South of the centre, on the shores of the Mediterranean, is the district of Barceloneta. A stone’s throw from the centre of the city, this quaint neighbourhood is where you’ll find the city’s best beach and seaside attractions.
If you’re worried about getting to and from Barcelona El Prat airport then you needn’t be, the central areas of the city are all connected to the airport by the metro and airbuses.
Still not sure where to stay in Barcelona? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Looking for more details on travelling to Barcelona? Check out our EPIC guide to backpacking Barcelona
There is one item every traveller NEEDS. Some travellers don’t even know they need it, but those travellers need it more than anyone.
What is this forgotten essential of the backpacker-life? SPOILERS! Guess you’ll just have to click the button to find out. 😉Find Out What It Is!
Barcelona’s 5 Best Neighbourhoods to Stay in
Barcelona’s robust public transport network stretches throughout the city. No matter where you stay in Barcelona, you’ll be able to explore the various neighbourhoods and districts with relative ease.
However, some areas of the city are better suited to certain interests than others and finding the best place to stay in Barcelona for your vibe might be overwhelming… It’s a big city! Do you want the bars and clubs just minutes from your hotel? Perhaps you want to enjoy the city’s best up-and-coming areas?
Or, maybe you want to lounge on the beach without having to walk too far… All of these things are possible if you choose the right area to stay in Barcelona.
Here are the top five neighbourhoods in Barcelona broken down by interest.
This is the top pick for where to stay in Barcelona on your first adventure in the city. In many ways, it’s the heart and soul of the city, filled with some of its oldest streets and alleyways.
The site of an old Roman village, Barrio Gotico is where you’ll find a great blend of old-world charm and modern appeal, making it one of the best neighbourhoods to stay in Barcelona for first-time visitors seeking a cultural experience.
In addition to historic sites, this neighbourhood is packed with great restaurants, lively bars, and fantastic shopping. The area ends at the busy plaça de Catalunya and follows La Rambla down to the beach and port area.
Best Airbnb in Barrio Gotico: Double Bunk Bed Home for location obsessed backpackers
Perfectly situated for exploration in its spectacular location! This charming loft in the heart of Borne has walkable access to most of Barcelona’s major sites. With a double bunk bed and modern amenities, it’s perfect for guests with a hankering to explore the treats of Barcelona. It’s right in the city centre within walking distance of places like La Rambla, The Gothic Quarter, the Picasso museum and heaps of tapas bars.
Best Hostel in Barrio Gotico: Be Ramblas Hostel
This hostel is located at the heart of Barcelona surrounded by beautiful historic buildings. It is a short walk from Las Ramblas, the beach, and all the neighbourhood’s top attractions. It is quiet and comfortable and has a kitchen, common room and excellent facilities. They even host free walking tours to help guests explore and better understand the city.
Best Hotel in Barrio Gotico: Regencia Colon Hotel
Thanks to its central location near La Rambla, Regencia Colon Hotel is our top choice for where to stay in Barrio Gotico. Close to restaurants, cafes and tourist attractions. This three-star hotel is within walking distance from the city’s top sights such as plaça de Catalunya and The Gothic Quarter. It has an on-site restaurant, a stylish lounge, and each room is outfitted with modern amenities so you’ll never need to leave the hotel room! You probably still should though…
Runner-Up Best Hotel in Barrio Gotico: California Hotel Barcelona
This hotel is a great blend of historic charm and modern comfort. It has a central location close to shopping and sightseeing areas such as La Rambla, The Gothic Quarter and plaça de Catalunya making it one of the best hotels in Barca. It also is well-equipped with a coffee bar, a laundry service, and free wifi so guests can rest and unwind after a long day of exploring.
Top things to See and Do in Barrio Gotico
– Wander along Las Ramblas, a pedestrian street packed with shops, restaurants, entertainment, and stunning historic attractions.
– Browse the stalls of fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, and sweets at Mercat de la Boqueria on Las Ramblas.
– Admire the interesting and colourful architecture at Guell Palace.
– Grab a spot in Plaça Reial and enjoy a drink as you watch the world go by.
– Sample exquisite tapas and sip exotic cocktails at Bodega Biarritz.
– Explore the city’s rich and diverse history and wander through ancient Roman ruins at the Museum of the City of Barcelona.
– Explore the Palça del Rei, a Gothic-style city square where royal receptions were held.
– Stand in awe of the Barcelona Cathedral.
– See an array of iconic works of art at the Picasso Museum.
– Visit the Gaudi Exhibition Centre and gain a deep understanding of the impact his art and architecture had on the city.
– Dine on delicious Mediterranean cuisine at Viana.
– Get lost among the alleyways in Barrio Gotico (The Gothic Quarter).
El Born was previously one of the most dangerous and seedy parts of the city. Over the last 30 years, following the 1992 Olympic Games, it has shed its dangerous character and has transformed into one of the liveliest areas of the city that breathes excitement both day and night.
Packed with restaurants, bars, clubs and cafes, El Born is the pick for the best area to stay in Barcelona for nightlife. From sipping vermouth to partying until dawn, there’s lots of fun to be had on the streets of El Born.
If you’re looking to party at some of Barcelona’s best clubs, check out this article.
Best Airbnb in El Born: Stylish studio for 2
This stylish studio with modern rooms and an amazing balcony overlooking the church of Santa Maria del Mar is in the district of El Born – a part of town with loads of very trendy cafés and high-quality tapas bars. It’s the ideal spot to explore this amazing city as it’s within walking distance of many places to see in the city centre.
Best Hostel in El Born: 360 Hostel Barcelona Arts&Culture
This hostel combines quality and culture with a great atmosphere – which is why it’s our top budget accommodation recommendation for El Born. It is just a short walk from the neighbourhoods best bars and clubs and is surrounded by restaurants, shops, cafes and attractions. Enjoy a great outdoor terrace, a book exchange, and a comfortable common room.
Best Hotel in El Born: Musik Boutique Hotel
Thanks to its chic and modern décor and its central location, Musik Boutique Hotel is one of our top recommendations for places to stay in Barcelona for nightlife. This three-star hotel is close to restaurants, bars and the best of the city’s nightlife. It has spacious rooms, comfortable beds, and a stylish on-site lounge. If you’re looking for one of the best boutique hotels in Barca then this is it.
Best Hotel in El Born: Hotel Ciutat de Barcelona
Located at the heart of El Born, this three-star hotel is ideally situated for experiencing Barcelona’s legendary nightlife scene. It is modern and stylish and boasts comfortable and spacious suites. Guests will love relaxing before a great night out by lounging by the rooftop swimming pool or enjoying a drink at the chic in-house restaurant. It’s a great luxury hotel on a budget and a perfect base when visiting Barcelona.
Top Things to See and Do in El Born
– Enjoy a night of fiery flamenco at Palau Dalmases.
– Excite your sense and dine with a twist at Dans Le Noir.
– Relax and enjoy cocktails, cava, wine and more at Bodega Maestrazgo.
– Rock out at Magic, a bar and nightclub that blast good old fashion rock’n’roll and alternative music.
– Sip sophisticated cocktails at Dr Stravinsky.
– Learn how to shake it (cocktails that is) at Collage Art & Cocktail Social Club.
– Enjoy a great atmosphere and delicious cocktail at Porteno Cocktail Bar, one of the best little bars in the city.
– Taste exquisite gin cocktails, mojitos and more at the chic and stylish Rubi Bar.
– Charm your tastebuds at Dux, a hidden speakeasy that specializes in craft cocktails and homemade gin.
– Cool down with a fresh and delicious mojito at Mamaine Mojitos.
– Savour great food and even better gin cocktails at the Lime House.
Montjuic is a large neighbourhood south of the centre of Barcelona. Located along the coast of the Mediterranean, the Montjuic neighbourhood is where you’ll find a great variety of museums, monuments, sporting facilities, and stunning natural landscapes. A great escape from the busy city, Montjuic is a calm oasis with stunning views.
A short walk to the city centre, Montjuic is also where you’ll find a number of options for budget accommodations, making it one of the best neighbourhoods to stay for cheap places in Barcelona. From backpacker hostels to boutique hotels, this Barcelona district has something for travellers of all styles, ages, and budgets.
Best Airbnb in Montjuic: Colorful apartment big enough for 4
With a colourful living room inspired by Barcelonese vintage and modern elements, this Airbnb in Spain is perfect for if you want to be away from all the hustle and bustle of the tourists but still close enough to the Poble Sec neighbourhood – a short walk from Las Ramblas and a quick Metro ride to the city centre (less than 10 minutes).
Best Hostel in Montjuic: Hostel One Paralelo
Hostel One Paralelo is a fun and energetic hostel in Barcelona and it’s our top recommendation for where to stay in Montjuic. It has three common areas, a fully equipped kitchen, and super fast wifi. If that isn’t enough, they also host a free homemade dinner every night for guests!
Best Hotel in Montjuic: Hotel Para lel
Hotel Para lel is a great choice for travellers on a budget. Located in tranquil Montjuic, this hotel is comfortable and clean, and just a short walk from the city’s top attractions. It boasts a delightful restaurant, and guests can enjoy satellite channels and flat-screen TVs.
Best Hotel in Montjuic: HCC Lugano
This charming and modern hotel is our other top pick for where to stay in Montjuic. It has a sun-soaked terrace, a relaxing bar, and an exciting on-site casino. Each room is outfitted with contemporary essentials and free wifi and it’s a short walk from the city centre.
Top Things to See and Do in Montjuic
– Explore one of the best collections of Romanesque art in the world at MNAC, the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya.
– Savor great tapas and a glass of wine at Xiloka.
– Ride the cable car up to Montjuic and enjoy stunning views of the city, harbour and Mediterranean.
– Dine on great food at an even better price at La Tasqueta De Blai.
– Wander through the sites and sporting facilities from the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
– Stop and smell the roses at the Jardin Botanico de Barcelona.
– Explore Montjuic Castle and enjoy panoramic views of Barcelona.
– Enjoy a great afternoon of pintxos and beer at Blai Tonight, a cheap and cheerful tavern.
– Wander the aisles at Mercat de le Flors, an authentic Catalonian market where you can find unique and interesting food, drinks and treats.
– Make your way to El Raval for some food and drinks.
A new country, a new contract, a new piece of plastic – booooring. Instead, buy an eSIM!
An eSIM works just like an app: you buy it, you download it, and BOOM! You’re connected. It’s just that easy.
Is your phone eSIM ready? Read about how e-Sims work or click below to see one of the top eSIM providers on the market and ditch the plastic.Buy an eSIM!
If you want to be surrounded by art and culture, El Raval is the neighbourhood for you and one of the best places to stay in Barcelona if you’re looking for a hip vibe. It is far and away one of the coolest neighbourhoods in Barcelona, an already notoriously cool city, thanks to its trendy restaurants, bohemian shops, and awesome bar scene.
It is lively and vibrant and just bursting with pop culture. Home to energetic artists, bohemian youth and curious creatives, El Raval is the place to see and be seen.
It should be noted that El Raval was once one of the city’s most dangerous districts. Although it has undergone a revamp and resurgence in recent years, pickpocketing is still an issue in packed public spaces, and certain places are best avoided at night alone. Keep your wallets, purses and most valuable items on your person to avoid an unexpected loss or theft. Even if you don’t stay here, come take a look around if your Barcelona itinerary allows it.
Best Airbnb in El Raval: Double Room in El vaixell de paper
Exposed wooden beams in the ceiling make the apartment feel rustic yet chic – the finer touch for the those of finer class. Explore Barcelona at your leisure before returning for a candlelit dinner beneath the ambience of an interior timber abode. Nothin’ but class in the Catalonian capital.
Best Hostel in El Raval: Pars Tailor’s Hostel
Rustic and vintage décor, a chill and relaxed atmosphere, and a phenomenal location are just a few of the reasons this hostel is our top pick for where to stay in El Raval. It has a stylish lounge, a sun-soaked terrace, and a fully equipped modern kitchen. A short walk to bars, restaurants, museums and shops, this hostel is perfectly located for exploring the city.
Best Hotel in El Raval: Chic & Basic Ramblas
Chic and basic, the name says it all! This modern three-star hotel has modern and spacious rooms, a unique restaurant, and a comfortable lounge. Located at the heart of El Raval, this stunning hotel is close to bars, cafes, boutiques and notable tourist sites, including Las Ramblas.
Best Hotel in El Raval: Andante Hotel Barcelona
Andante Hotel Barcelona is a contemporary three-star hotel in El Raval. It has stylish décor, modern amenities, and features an outdoor pool with stunning views. Guests will love relaxing in their spacious and comfortable rooms or enjoying a drink on the rooftop terrace.
Top Things to See and Do in El Raval
– Explore Palau Guell, the surreal home of industrialist Eusebi Guell and one of Gaudi’s first major buildings in the city.
– Savour delicious flavours and unreal food at Chaka Khan.
– Experience history at Sant Pau del Camp, a charming Romanesque church.
– Dine on spectacular Spanish and Catalonian fare at La Gastronomica.
– See fantastic exhibits and displays at the Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB).
– Sample everything from fruit and pizza to sweets and drinks at Mercat de la Barceloneta.
– Sit back and enjoy a cold cocktail and hot food at Domino Bar.
– Wander along the bustling Avenida del Paralelo.
– Sip old-school cocktails in a rustic and modern lounge at Bitter Cocktail Bar.
– See works of art by renowned Spanish, Catalonian, and international artists at MACBA, Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona.
– Visit Mr White Cocktail Bar and enjoy some of the best cocktails and mixed drinks in Barcelona.
– Drink Absinthe at the oldest bar in Barcelona, Bar Marsella.
Barceloneta is another of the best neighbourhoods to stay in Barcelona; it feels like a small village within a bustling city! Originally a fisherman’s quarter, it is where you’ll find narrow winding streets, charming balconies, and cosy taverns packed with locals.
Stretching along the seashore, this neighbourhood is also one of the best areas to stay in Barcelona for families. Home to Barcelona’s most popular beach, this area is packed with family-friendly activities and attractions. If you want to combine a city break with a beach holiday this is the place.
From outdoor adventures and museums to authentic restaurants and independent shops, there’s much to see and do in this lively neighbourhood, which is why we believe it’s the best area to stay in Barcelona for families.
Best Airbnb in Barceloneta: Renovated apartment with sea view
With an ocean view and ability to comfortably host five guests (via two single beds, one king-size bed and a sofa bed) and it looks the part, too. It’s recently been renovated and is tricked out with modern amenities including a fully functional kitchen with a coffee maker.
Best Hostel in Barceloneta: Safestay Barcelona Sea
This lively and fun hostel in Barceloneta is located just steps from the city’s most popular beach. Close to restaurants and many of the city’s top attractions, it has a stylish bar, wonderful views, and breakfast is available for a small additional cost.
Best Hotel in Barceloneta: Eurostars Grand Marina
Eurostars Grand Marina is one of the best family hotels in Barcelona, and our top choice for places to stay in Barceloneta. This five-star hotel has luxurious rooms, a rooftop swimming pool, and an on-site restaurant. Guests can enjoy free wifi, satellite channels and flat-screen TVs throughout their stay. It’s got to be one of the best luxury hotels in Barca.
Best Hotel in Barceloneta: H10 Port Vell
Conveniently located in Barceloneta, this four-star luxury hotel is ideally situated for exploring the city. Close to the beach, restaurants, shops and attractions, this hotel is a short walk to all of Barcelona’s most famous sites. Enjoy swimming in the pool or lounging on the rooftop terrace at this modern and beautiful hotel. It’s one of the best hotels for direct beach access and it’s super close to some great tapas bars.
Top Things to See and Do in Barceloneta
– Explore the history of Barcelona and Catalonia at the Museu d’Historia de Catalunya.
– Enjoy perfect pasta and delicious pizza at Kitchen Barcelona.
– Relax and enjoy the view at Barceloneta Beach.
– Wander throughout Parque de la Barceloneta, a large green space at the heart of the city.
– Dine on authentic Spanish and Catalonian food at Meson Barceloneta.
– Explore the remains of the medieval walls, which were built to protect Barcelona between the 12th and 14th centuries.
– Enjoy seaside drinks, tacos and tapas at La Deliciosa.
– Soak up the sun at the beautiful and sandy Plaja de Sant Sebastian.
– See lions, tigers, bears and more at the Barcelona Zoo.
– Ride the Teleferico del Puerto from the port to Montjuic and enjoy panoramic views of the city and the sea.
– Marvel at the more than 11,000 animals on display, including sharks and fish, at the L’Aquarium de Barcelona.
FAQ about Finding a Place to Stay in Barcelona
Here’s what people usually ask us about the areas of Barcelona and where to stay.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Barcelona
It’s good to get lost sometimes, but it’s also good not to get too lost. There are people that want you home in one piece.
There’s one travel insurance provider The Broke Backpacker trusts for all his wildest shenanigans… World Nomads!
Click the button below to get a quote on your insurance or read our in-depth review of World Nomads’ coverage. And then… let the shenanigans begin. 😉
Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Barcelona
Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun on Barcelona’s beaches or be in the middle of the action and nightlife, Barcelona has plenty of things to do and the perfect neighbourhood for you. With so much to keep you busy, you want to make sure you pick the best area to stay in Barcelona based on the type of trip you want.
Whether you’re looking for luxury hostels, cheap hostels or quiet boutique hotels, Barca has them all. If you’re still not sure of where to stay in Barcelona, our two top picks for the best places to stay in Barcelona are Hostel One Paralelo and Musik Boutique Hotel!
Other than that, get out and enjoy Barna! There are so many places to visit in Barcelona, and every twisting corner of the city has another secret to unlocking, so it’s truly a place that rewards intrepid exploration.
Muy bien, amigos! Enjoy!
Do you own an awesome hostel, hotel or apartment? Want to be featured on our list? Email [email protected] to find out how.
Thanks for reading – that was fun! 😀
We bring you epic FREE content!
Find out how YOU can help support us.
We’re a big site with a big team and this job isn’t always easy. But we do it because we love it – we love providing epic and free content. We love the knowledge that our content keeps you adventuring. We don’t ask for money, but if you’d like to find out how you can help the site in more organic ways, click the button below.
Thank you for your support 🙂
Bye for now, but not forever!
If you want MORE top-tier Broke Backpacker content like this, then sign up for our weekly newsletter below to get the latest and greatest!
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!