This blog post was originally posted on May 15, 2014 and was updated on September 5, 2017.
Finding where to stay in Barcelona is a key to a successful trip.
Barcelona is full of many diverse neighborhoods, though we recommend that first timers stay in the center to be sure you don’t miss any of the big sights. The center of Barcelona consists of both the new and old towns. These two parts have very distinct personalities. Not sure where to start? Check out our Barcelona neighborhood guide to help you decide where to hang your hat while in Barcelona.
A stone’s throw from the touristy center is the Village of Gràcia, one of the most quaint neighborhoods in bustling Barcelona. Gràcia is where you’ll find the most local feel. This is ideal if you want your stay in Barcelona to be as authentic as possible. You won’t find the big, impressive buildings of downtown, but smaller, more charming architecture. This is where to stay in Barcelona if you want to meet locals, check out markets and restaurants without running into too many tourists, and relax. It’s a true Catalan neighborhood. Discover it with us on our Gràcia Neighborhood Food & Market Tour!
One of the most impressive parts of Barcelona is the stunningly beautiful Gothic neighborhood. Built between the 13th and 15th centuries, this area is full of Gothic architecture. The beautiful sights include the famous Cathedral de la Seu and the charming Jewish Quarter. If you’re wondering where to stay in Barcelona for culture and history, this is the neighborhood for you. It is situated between La Rambla, the long street well-known for its shops and the Boqueria market, as well as the port. This allows for easy access to many great sites on foot. At night, you can hit up one of the hundreds of restaurants and bars in the area, or take a relaxing stroll by the port.
On the opposite side of La Rambla from the Barri Gotic you will find the El Raval neighborhood. This is a recently gentrified but very diverse part of the city. Here you’ll find artisan shops from all over the world, lots of ethnic food, modern art and a more hippie vibe. It is one of the most multicultural neighborhoods in Europe, so it makes for a very unique option of where to stay in Barcelona.
Insider’s Tip: Be sure to book a place in the northern part of El Raval, as the area closer to the port is known for its pickpockets.
If hippie vibes aren’t your thing, you won’t have to go far to find a more posh neighborhood. L’Eixample is just north of La Rambla and hosts some of the nicest hotels and restaurants in Barcelona. Here you will find the glistening Passeig de Gracia, home to all of the high fashion shops and two of Antoni Gaudi’s houses. Along with the Barri Gotic, this art nouveau-heavy zone is one of the most aesthetically pleasing areas of Barcelona. L’Eixample is where to stay in Barcelona to get around easily. You’ll have easy access to all of the neighborhoods we’ve mentioned, plus the Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell!
If you’re more of a sun and sand type of person, browse the many lodging options in La Barceloneta. Between the ports, this area is home to the urban Barcelona beaches you’ve always heard about. Here you will find fantastic seafood, tons of activity like biking or surfing, and a very different vibe from the neighborhoods right in the center. La Barceloneta is always bustling, so if you’re looking for a more local experience, this might not be the place for you. If you want to worship the sun and play outside, this is where to stay in Barcelona. What’s more, you can find some of the best paellas we have ever had in this beautiful neighborhood. Watch the video below to find out how to spot an authentic one!