I lived in Barcelona for four months, and every time I return I discover something new and exciting about this city.
Catalonia’s capital is home to a diverse array of things to do both during the day and night.
On one hand, you have the charming neighborhoods 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.
Plus, 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.
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 vacation you want. Barcelona isn’t small, and each of its neighborhoods is quite distinct.
Below I have covered where to stay in Barcelona no matter what your interests are! 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!
Table of Contents
- Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Barcelona
- Where to Stay in Barcelona
- Barcelona Neighborhood Guide
- Barcelona’s 5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in
- 1. Barrio Gotico – Where to Stay in Barcelona First Time
- 2. Montjuic Neighborhood – Where to Stay in Barcelona on a Budget
- 3. El Born Neghborhood – Where to Stay in Barcelona for Nightlife
- 4. El Raval Neighborhood – Coolest Area to Stay in Barcelona
- 5. Barceloneta Neighborhood – Where to Stay in Barcelona for Families
Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Barcelona
- Where to stay in Barcelona first time – Barrio Gotico
- Where to stay in Barcelona on a budget – Montjuic
- Best area to stay in Barcelona for nightlife – El Born
- Coolest place to stay in Barcelona – El Raval
- Best neighbourhood in Barcelona for families – Barceloneta
In a hurry? Here’s my top neighborhood for first timers:
- See an array of iconic works of art at the Picasso Museum
- Dine on delicious Mediterranean cuisine at Viana
- Stand in awe of the Barcelona Cathedral
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. Make sure to check out our guide for Barcelona’s best hostels as well.
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 neighborhood, 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!
If you love hostels, you should check out our list of the coolest hostels in Barcelona!
Best Hotel in Barcelona: Musik Boutique Hotel
Thanks to it’s 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.
Barcelona Neighborhood Guide
Quick Summary: The Best Places to Stay in Barcelona
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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 here 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, here 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 are now home to lush natural scenery, hip restaurants, aweomse food, and great value boutique hotels.
North of the centre, you can explore Gracía Barrio, our top pick for where 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.
Still not sure where to stay in Barcelona? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Looking for more details on traveling to Barcelona? Check out our EPIC guide to backpacking Barcelona
Barcelona’s 5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in
Barcelona has a robust public transit network that stretches throughout the city. So no matter where you stay you can explore the various neighbourhoods and districts with relative ease.
However, some areas of the city better suited to certain interests than others. 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 stay in the right area.
Here are the top five neighbourhoods in Barcelona broken down by interest.
Barrio Gotico is the heart and soul of Barcelona. The oldest neighbourhood in the city, it’s filled with charming narrow streets, picturesque boroughs, and quaint terraces and plazas.
The site of an old Roman village, Barrio Gotico is where you’ll find a great blend of old charm and modern appeal. Barrio Gotico is our top choice for where to stay if you’re visiting Barcelona for the first time.
In addition to historic sites, this neighbourhood is packed with great restaurants, lively bars, and fantastic shopping.
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 off 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.
Best Hostel in Barrio Gotico: Be Ramblas Hostel
This hostel is located at the heart of Barcelona. 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, Regencia Colon Hotel is out top choice for where to stay in Barrio Gotico. Close to restaurants, cafes and tourist attractions, this three-star hotel is walking distance from the city’s top sights.
It has an on-site restaurant, a stylish lounge, and each room is outfitted with modern amenities.
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. It also is well-equipped with a coffee bar, a laundry service, and free wifi.
Guests can rest and unwind after a long day of exploring at the stylish and comfortable lounge bar.
Best Airbnb in Barrio Gotico: Double Bunk Bed Home for location obsessed 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.
Montjuic is a large neighborhood south of the centre of Barcelona. Located along the coast of the Mediterranean, 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 center, Montjuic is also where you’ll find a number of options for budget accommodations. From backpacker hostels to boutique hotels, this Barcelona district has something for travellers of all styles, ages and budgets.
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.
– Maket your way to El Raval for some food and drinks.
Best Hostel in Montjuic: Hostel One Paralelo
Hostel One Paralelo is a fun and energetic hostel 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. A short walk from the city centre, this three-star hotel is surrounded by restaurants, bars, shops and tourist attractions.
Best Airbnb in Montjuic: Colorful apartment big enough for 4
With a colorful living room inspired by Barcelonese vintage and modern elements. This apartment 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 center (less than 10 minutes).
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 our pick for where 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.
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.
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 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 where to stay in Barcelona for nightlife.
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.
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 pool or enjoying a drink at the chic in-house restaurant.
If you want to be surrounded by art and culture, El Raval is the neighbourhood for you. 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.
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 foot 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.
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 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.
Best Airbnb in El Raval: Medeival Era Loft for art fanatics
The arty double room is located in one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Rome. Within a walking distance from the Picasso Museum, independent boutiques, art galleries, and artist workshops. The wall of windows in the living room lets in lots of natural light, while the exposed wooden beams in the ceiling make the apartment feel rustic yet chic.
Barceloneta is a neighbourhood 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.
Stretching along the seashore, this neighborhood is also one of the best areas to stay in Barcelona for families. Home to the city’s most popular beach, this area is packed with family-friendly activities and attractions.
From outdoor adventures and museums to authentic restaurants and independent shops, there’s much to see and do in this lively neighbourhood.
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 century
– 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.
Best Hostel in Barceloneta: Safestay Barcelona Sea
This lively and fun hostel is located in Barceloneta. Just steps from the city’s most popular beach, it is close to restaurants, shops 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 the city, and our top choice for where 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.
Best Hotel in Barceloneta: H10 Port Vell
Conveniently located in Barceloneta, this four-star 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 luxurious hotel.
Best Airbnb in Barceloneta: Oceanview Family-friendly Rome home
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.
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 to do, and the perfect neighborhood for you.
Let us know if we missed anything below in the comments!
While Barcelona can be very safe, it’s super important to make sure you get travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of the best travel insurance for backpackers – check it out here, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads now, our favourite travel insurance provider.
Think Spain appears a bit hectic? Then check out our Barcelona safety guide for some great tips and advice!
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