Looking for the best places to stay in Barcelona? You just found them!
In this article I have listed all the best neighbourhoods to stay in Barcelona, outlining what type of traveller each is best suited for, as well as some accommodation options for every budget in each area.
Barcelona is one of the most popular cities in Europe, and it’s easy to see why. With its unique architecture, iconic sights and laid-back vibe, it’s an easy city to fall in love with.
I have visited Barcelona at least five times over the years, and have stayed somewhere different every time. This articles is a combination of my personal experience, as well as tips from my local Barcelona friends.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s dive in and find the perfect place to stay in Barcelona for you!
- 1 Best neighbourhoods to stay in Barcelona at a glance
- 2 Best places to stay in Barcelona
- 2.1 Placa de la Universidad: my personal favourite place to stay in Barcelona
- 2.2 Gothic Quarter: best area to stay in Barcelona for first timers
- 2.3 Gracia: where to stay in Barcelona for families
- 2.4 La Barceloneta – best area to stay in Barcelona for nightlife
- 2.5 Eixample – best location to stay in Barcelona for sightseeing
- 2.6 El Born – best area to stay in Barcelona for budget travellers
- 3 Where to NOT stay in Barcelona!
Best neighbourhoods to stay in Barcelona at a glance
Before we dive into my top tips for where to stay in Barcelona, looking at all the best and highly reviewed hotels, hostels and apartments, I wanted to give you an overview of each neighbourhood.
That way you know more or less what to expect from each area, who it’s best suited for and what travel style.
Placa de la Universidad: This is my personal favourite. I love this area as it’s slightly less chaotic than Placa de Catalunya, but is still lively and close to pretty much everything.
Gothic Quarter: This super centrally located neighbourhood is an ideal place to stay in Barcelona if you only have a few days in the city.
It’s close to everything, great for sightseeing and super cute, with historic narrow lanes to explore.
Gracia: Gracia is great for families. It’s situated close to Park Guell, which is a cool place to explore for architecture fans, plus it’s more residential and quieter than other, more central areas of the city.
La Barceloneta: The best area to stay in Barcelona if you like beaches – and nightlife.
There are tons of bars and clubs in Barceloneta, as well as restaurants, so you won’t be bored of options for places to eat and drink in the evening. The beach here is ideal for chilling out during the day, too.
Eixample: Home to the Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo and other main attractions, the elegant and lively Eixample is one of the best places to stay in Barcelona for sightseeing (if not the best).
El Born: This hipster enclave is not only a very cool neighbourhood – it’s also a good location to stay in Barcelona for the sheer amount of budget accommodation options you can find here.
Best places to stay in Barcelona
Placa de la Universidad: my personal favourite place to stay in Barcelona
This refers to the area around one of the city’s central squares, sitting at the border between the districts of Eixample and Ciutat Vella (literally the “Old City”).
It’s a good alternative to basing yourself at the nearby Placa de Catalunya, which is slightly more chaotic in nature.
Placa de la Universidad takes its name from the nearby neo-Gothic main campus of the University of Barcelona, built here between 1863 and 1889.
The same architect designed the square in 1874. Here you’ll find bars, shops, tapas tours and restaurants, and Universitat metro station, a stop on both lines 1 and 2, making it easy to get around.
Here are some great places to stay in Placa de la Universidad for every budget.
Budget: Bird House – This cosy bed-and-breakfast accommodation option is an affordable place to stay in Barcelona.
Featuring a selection of private rooms, the facilities at this budget offering include a shared kitchen, as well as the option to include breakfast as part of your stay.
You’ll find plenty of places to eat and drink nearby, as well as the Urgell metro station just 30 metres from the front door.
Mid-range: H10 Casanova – H10 Casanova is a modern, mid-range hotel that features clean, streamlined guest rooms with polished bathrooms and some great city views.
It’s a boutique-style hotel with spa treatments on offer – and even a rooftop pool to indulge in. If you don’t feel like venturing out for the night, there’s also the handy addition of an on-site eatery and bar.
Luxury: Axel Barcelona – This adults-only hotel is a lavish option for those looking for a memorable place to stay in the district. Perfectly complementing the district’s vibrant gay scene, it’s an LGBTQ+ friendly property.
Amenities include a cocktail bar, outdoor terrace and large swimming pool, all stylishly taking up space inside a 19th-century building.
Apartment rental option: Faux Librarian – If you’re looking for a place to treat yourself, this luxurious apartment is the place to do so. Located right by Placa de la Universidad, it sleeps up to 8 people.
This apartment comes with a fully equipped kitchen, two bathrooms and a little balcony in prime position for people watching over Placa de la Universidad.
Gothic Quarter: best area to stay in Barcelona for first timers
Wondering where to stay in Barcelona for a first time visit? Look no further than the Gothic Quarter.
This historic part of the Catalan capital is super central, close to pretty much everything, a highly photogenic spot in Barcelona and a big-hitting sightseeing destination in itself.
Here you’ll find a beautiful 13th-century medieval cathedral nestled among its charming, narrow streets, among other historic sights, like the Barcelona History Museum, complete with the remains of ancient Roman-era streets.
The Gothic Quarter is a cute and fascinating place to wander – and even better if you can walk right out of your hotel into these storied streets.
Here are some lovely places to stay in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona for every budget.
Budget: Safestay Barcelona Gothic – Just 250 metres from Barcelona Cathedral, this colourfully decorated hostel features a whole variety of dormitory accommodation for budget travellers.
It’s great for solo travellers, thanks to the numerous social spaces (including an awesome rooftop terrace). There’s also an optional breakfast served daily.
Mid-range: Exe Ramblas Boqueria – Located right next to the famous La Boqueria Market, this stylish hotel features a selection of elegant rooms to choose from, set inside a gorgeous historic building.
With period features and modern style throughout, rooms here also come with soundproofing for a good night’s sleep.
Luxury: Kimpton Vividora Hotel – For somewhere a bit more stylish to stay in Barcelona, Kimpton Vividora Hotel serves up a selection of designer suites and rooms.
The hotel’s rooftop terrace provides sweeping views out across the city, while there’s also a swimming pool surrounded by sun loungers and a cocktail bar (alongside a whole load of other amenities).
Apartment rental option: Tapas for Three – As the name suggests, this cosy apartment is perfect for up to three people. With its exposed bricks, the rustic style makes it a lovely place to stay close to the Gothic Quarter.
Gracia: where to stay in Barcelona for families
A perfect place to stay for something a little more quiet and local, Gracia is where to stay in Barcelona if you’re with your family.
Though it’s residential, this is still a cosmopolitan neighbourhood, the kind of place where you can enjoy strolling along 19th-century boulevards lined with trees and laced with pedestrianised pathways.
It may not be the most central of neighbourhoods, but there’s still plenty to keep you entertained.
For one thing, Gracia is close to Park Guell (a must-see on any Spain bucket list) and all its Gaudi-designed architecture, as well as a host of boutiques, bistros and art galleries.
Having been a separate municipality for most of its existence (it was only annexed by Barcelona in 1897), Gracia has an atmosphere all of its own.
Here are some lovely family hotels in Barcelona for every budget.
Budget: Factory Hostels Barcelona – Located a mere 200 metres from the entrance to Park Guell, Factory Hostels Barcelona is a fun, friendly place to stay in the city.
Here there are options to stay in mixed or female-only dormitories, or go for a private room (perfect for families) – all of which are clean, stylish and quiet, with modern purpose-built beds.
Charming features and design details abound throughout.
Mid-range: Hotel Ronda Lesseps – Hotel Ronda Lesseps feels like a small oasis in the city with its two outdoor terraces overflowing with plant life.
This quiet spot is a pleasant place to stay in Barcelona, but is also conveniently situated a five-minute walk to the nearest metro station and a mere 10 minutes to Park Guell.
Rooms here are large and well-maintained, and there’s a buffet breakfast to enjoy each morning.
Luxury: Sonder Le Palacete – Packing a punch in terms of historical charm, Sonder La Palacete is a chic, modern update for a centuries-old building.
Rooms feature parquet flooring, large, ornate windows, and stylish contemporary furniture; some even have their very own terrace.
The focal point of this beautiful hotel is the relaxing central courtyard, where you can enjoy a morning coffee or evening glass of wine.
Apartment rental option: The Gracia Escape – This lovely apartment sleeps up to five people, and is perfect for families for a relaxing getaway in Barcelona, away from the chaos of the city centre.
It’s strategically positioned close to Park Guell, but also within easy reach of Mount Tibidado, so that you can go for a fun day out at the amusement park there.
La Barceloneta – best area to stay in Barcelona for nightlife
The seaside neighbourhood of La Barceloneta takes up a triangle of land between Eixample and the Mediterranean Sea.
Built in the 18th century to provide a place for the displaced residents of the Ribera neighbourhood, who had been moved due to the construction of the Parc de la Ciutadella.
It changed once again in the run up to the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, and is well connected by public transport as a result. Today this is definitely where to stay in Barcelona for nightlife.
While in the daytime, people relax on the sandy shoreline, come evening this becomes a buzzing area, with plenty of bars, restaurants and clubs – hotspots for partying until the early hours.
The beach here is a great spot for chilling out, so it’s also a good place to stay in Barcelona if you like a slice of sun, sea and sand.
Here are some fun party places to stay in Barcelona, for every budget!
Budget: Sea Hostel Barcelona – This hostel in Barcelona is perfectly located – namely, that would be right on Barceloneta’s beach.
It’s the ideal place for backpackers who want to let their hair down during their trip to the city.
Sure, it may not be the most polished option, but it is a party-friendly option and close to a long list of beach bars, nightlife and transport options.
Mid-range: Sofitel Barcelona Skipper – Located 100-metres from Barceloneta beach, this impressive hotel has a whole load of amenities for guests to make full use of.
From the chic rooftop pool, to its two cocktail bars, and everything in between (including fitness room), this place has it all covered.
Luxury: Hotel Arts Barcelona – For somewhere super luxurious to stay in Barcelona, you should opt for the high-end Hotel Arts Barcelona.
As well as a contemporary art collection and two outdoor swimming pools, its Enoteca restaurant has been awarded two Michelin stars!
Eixample – best location to stay in Barcelona for sightseeing
Meaning “Expansion” in Catalan, the district of Eixample sits between the old city of Ciutat Vella, Sants and Gracia, among other neighbourhoods.
This quarter of Barcelona, with its long, straight boulevards and gridded layout, was constructed in the late 19th and early 20th century. As a result, there are plenty of beautiful apartments and pretty squares in the district.
However, this is easily one of the best neighbourhoods to stay in Barcelona for sightseeing. Regardless of how long your Barcelona itinerary is, this area is super central and home to all the main sights of the city.
Here you’ll have the Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo, and other Gaudi-designed buildings, as well as other main attractions, right on the doorstep.
Here are some lovely accommodation options for every budget.
Budget: Room Mate Emma – This futuristic design hotel is cool, comfortable yet within budget for an affordable stay in Barcelona.
Rooms here are bright white and accented with pops of colour, while a continental breakfast is also included in the cost.
Mid-range: ME Barcelona – ME Barcelona is another example of cool hotel design in the Eixample district.
Located right on the edge of the area, and close to public transport, everything in this hotel feels sparklingly clean and brand new.
Luxury: Ohla Eixample – This boutique hotel features an array of beautifully designed rooms, all decorated with plush furnishings and real attention to detail.
As well as a swanky rooftop pool, where you can swim with city views, it features a high-end fitness room and a Michelin-starred restaurant.
Apartment rental option: Sea of Green – If I told you that swimming pool surrounded by greenery is in the centre of Barcelona, would you believe me?
This spacious apartment sleeps up to 10 people, is centrally located and has everything you need for a big group or friends or a big family travelling to Barcelona.
El Born – best area to stay in Barcelona for budget travellers
Possibly the best location to stay in Barcelona for budget travellers, the hipster quarter of El Born is all about Catalonian cool.
Among its centuries-old streets you’ll find quirky cafes, intriguing vintage boutiques and lively bars.
Add to that the bonus of being fairly close to pretty much everything, and El Born is a great place to stay in Barcelona for a fun time and sightseeing alike.
I have listed below some cool places to stay in El Born, for every budget.
Budget: Hostal Nuevo Colon – This traditional-style hotel is located inside a historic building, and features rooms that are small but come with everything you’ll need for your stay (including a balcony). In short, this place is all-round good value for money.
Mid-range: Chic & Basic Born Boutique Hotel – Describing itself as a design hotel, this accommodation option reflects the area’s cool credentials.
The stylish rooms combine contemporary design with period features like stained glass windows and high ceilings for beautiful results. There’s even a cocktail bar, and breakfast served each morning.
Luxury: Inspired by Nature – This beautiful apartment is the perfect place to base yourself in the neighbourhood El Born.
The boho interiors here boast plaster walls, wood floors and beachy aesthetics throughout. There’s enough room to sleep up to 5 people across 3 bedrooms, making it a great option for a group of friends.
Where to NOT stay in Barcelona!
Like me, you may have seen El Raval suggested all over the internet as one of the best areas to stay in Barcelona. However, that’s far from the case. In fact, this is actually a fairly sketchy neighbourhood.
Having talked to locals in Barcelona about El Raval, several of them advised me to not even walk in the area at night, let alone stay there.
People say it’s not a nice area to be around late at night, and I personally wouldn’t want to stay there. It may be super central, and have a few nice bars, but that doesn’t make it somewhere you should stay.
In this specific situation I’m not speaking from personal experience, as I haven’t stayed in El Raval, but when four different Barcelona locals tell you to avoid the area at night, personally I’d listen to them.
Final thoughts on Barcelona where to stay
There you have it, the ultimate guide on where to stay in Barcelona! Have you visited Barcelona before? How did you find it? Let me know in the comments below!
As such, it’s only natural for it to get pretty busy, and choosing where to stay can be tricky.
Each neighbourhood in Barcelona has its own distinctive vibe, and is best suited for a certain type of traveller. I hope this guide will help you find the right area in Barcelona for your travel style.
I also included hotel suggestions for every budget, so that you can easily find the perfect place for you depending on how much you want to spend.
I hope this article will help you decide where to stay in Barcelona! If you have any questions, just let me know in the comments below!