Where to Stay in Barcelona: Advice from a local British-American expat and travel blogger about the best neighborhoods to stay in Barcelona, Spain! Includes recommendations for 32 places to stay in Barcelona

We created this guide in collaboration with Jessica Bowler, a British-American expat and travel blogger who has been living in Barcelona for 5 years. Jess has served as the local expert for this post by choosing and describing the best areas to stay in Barcelona. I (Katie) have added in the hotel recommendations, as well as my own thoughts!

Disclosure: All our Where to Stay Guides, including this one, contain affiliate links. That means we earn a small commission when you click through or book a hotel, buy your travel insurance, etc.. You don’t pay anything extra. Affiliate links are one of the ways we make money from this blog (our travel-inspired adult coloring books are another way) to keep the laptops humming!

Where to Stay in Barcelona: A Quick Guide to Finding The Best Areas to Stay in Barcelona

Wondering which area to stay in Barcelona? If you’re looking for a quick answer and summary of the best area to stay in Barcelona, start here ==>

Where to Stay in Barcelona Neighborhood Guide

Photo by Enes, and used w/ a Creative Commons Zero License.

Heading to Seville or Granada Next? Check Out Our Where to Stay in Seville Guide and our Where to Stay in Granada Guide for the Best Spots to Stay! We also have a One Day in Seville Guide, and Tips for Visiting the Alhambra.

Where to Stay in Barcelona: Getting a Feel for Barcelona’s Districts

One of my very favorite things about Barcelona is that each neighborhood has quite a distinct feel to it.

Most of the sights are in the Gothic Quarter (Barri Gòtic), along with its sister neighborhoods the Born and the Raval. This is the oldest part of the city, and it is very charming. Think labyrinthine streets, leafy plazas, and loads of choices to enjoy cocktails or tapas. The Gothic Quarter is in the center of the three neighborhoods, with Born-Ribera lying to its east across Pau Claris street/Via Laietana, and El Raval lying to its west on the other side of Las Ramblas. Together, these three areas comprise “medieval Barcelona” – the most historical and charming part of the city.

The Eixample (which translates to “the expansion”) lies to the northwest of the Gothic Quarter, the Born and the Raval. The Eixample is a long stretch of neatly arranged blocks, an area where you’ll find lots of modernist works. Because the the Eixample district is so huge, parts of it are calm and residential, whilst others are always buzzing and vibrant.

Finally, there is Barceloneta and the other beachside neighborhoods: Gràcia, a former village that retains the old-school feel, and Poble Sec and the area around Plaça Espanya, which are a bit off the main tourist drags but close enough to everything you’d want to see and do.

Barcelona's Most Popular Neighborhoods for Tourists

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Where to Stay in Barcelona: Barri Gòtic is a Cultural Hub for Visitors

Visitors to Barcelona love staying in the Gothic Quarter, and it’s easy to see why: you’re right in the middle of the action, it’s flanked on each side by a metro line, and it’s absolutely stunning! The Gothic Quarter is heavily pedestrianized, is full of beautiful plazas, has vibrant nightlife (the most vibrant of which is around Plaça Reial), and a mix of boutique (Calle Avinyo) and international shopping (in and around El Portal de l’Angel).

If you stay in the Gothic Quarter, you’ll be in the heart of tourist Barcelona — this is not a popular area for locals to live because it lacks basics like supermarkets (and is filled with many non-basics, such as McDonalds). Still, if you’re here for a visit I’m guessing supermarkets aren’t high on your list of must-sees.

I stayed in the Gothic Quarter myself on my very first trip to Barcelona and loved it. If you’re in Barcelona for a few days, and your priority is to sightsee and take in the city’s highlights, consider staying in the Gothic Quarter.

Modern & Lux Boutique

4.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Hotel Ohla Barcelona — With a jaw-dropping rooftop pool, bright and airy modern rooms with large windows, and a highly-rated craft cocktail bar on site, this lovely boutique hotel seems to do a lot right. Modern, clean and oozing style, it’s a great choice for any type of trip, and gets high marks on location.

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Boutique Luxury (Adults-Only)

5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

The Wittmore — Old-world charm meets speakeasy meets contemporary luxury at this hotel: think rich, dark colors; leatherbound-books; a non-descript entrance signaled only by a doorman. Stand-out features include a restaurant, rooftop terrace with lovely views, and top staff.

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Luxury Design

5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

DO Plaça Reial — Set right on Plaza Reial, this property screams “exclusive” and seems to be 100% dedicated to pampering. A gastronomic theme ensures you’ll eat and drink well, and despite the central location, sound doesn’t seem to be an issue. A rooftop pool and spa round out a top-notch experience.

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Boutique Oasis

5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

The Mercer — One of the highest-rated hotels in Barcelona, its hard to go wrong with the Mercer: location in Barcelona’s medieval heart, beautiful decor that pulls from the original building (lots of exposed brick), interior courtyard, and pool and terrace bar. The biggest problem with this hotel would be leaving to explore.

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Elegant Boutique

4.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Grand Hotel Central — Not Quite in the Gothic Quarter OR its trendy sister, El Born, Grand Hotel Central is a fabulous hotel and top pick straddling both neighborhoods — in other words, right in the action. Rooftop pool and terrace bar with gorgeous views, lovely modern decor, and impecable service top off this great spot.

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Affordable Design Hotel

4.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

H10 Cubik— Beautiful inside and out, H10 makes an impression with a geometric exterior and bright, modern interior with funky design touches. There’s a rooftop terrace with 180-degree views and a plunge pool, and several bars and restaurants to choose from, and the rooms are fresh and airy looking.

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Mid-Range Affordable

4.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Petit Palace Boqueria — A three-star hotel with a boutique feel, this property is in a historic building in the Gothic Quarter, just off the Rambles near Liceu Metro. Free iPads and bikes, a courtyard bar, and modern, beautiful decor. This hotel gets high marks for staff and comfort and is family friendly with family-style rooms available.

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Mid-Range Affordable

4 / 5 on Trip Advisor

H10 Raco del Pi — A charming 3-star option in a fantastic location only 3 minutes’ walk from the Cathedral, the historic building dates from the 1800s. Comfortable rooms with wide-plane wooden floors (some rooms with exposed-beam ceilings), and a bright, fresh look to them. Great marks for staff, location, and value vs. cost of a room. Solid choice.

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Affordable Bed & Breakfast

4.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Brun Barcelona B&B — Although it looks a bit gritty on the outside, once you’re inside this B&B I think you’ll find it quite charming. A ‘cheap and cheerful’ option, this place offers pretty rooms in a historical building with shared toilet and shower facilities. If you’re saving your Euros for cava, tapas and Barcelona’s famous G&Ts, this is a cheerful, affordable option in the Gothic quarter.

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Where to Stay in Barcelona Neighborhood Guide

Photo by Tyler Hendy, and used w/ a Creative Commons Zero License.

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Where to Stay in Barcelona: Las Ramblas is a Convenient Hub

Las Ramblas (La Rambla is the local colloquialism) is the grand boulevard that runs more-or-less south to north from Port Vell to Plaça Catalunya. In the center of the boulevard, there’s a wide, leafy pedestrian path, flanked on either side by a single lane of traffic in each direction.

Not a neighborhood, per se, Barcelona’s Las Ramblas  is still worth mentioning because there are so many hotels along here. Intersecting the Gothic Quarter to its east and El Raval to its west, it feels less like a neighborhood and is lacking in charm and character, but is within walking distance to both. If you’re looking for convenience, consider staying along La Rambla somewhere between Liceu (a metro stop) and Plaça Catalunya —  the north end offers a more upmarket experience than the south.

Note, the hotels along here tend to be pricey and skew toward boutique and luxury options. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly hotel, check out Chic & Basic Las Ramblas.

5-Star Luxury Boutique

4.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Hotel Bagués — A lux boutique hotel located next to Boqueria Market, this place gets rave reviews for staff friendliness & helpfulness. Set within a former jewelry workshop, each room displays a piece from the Masriera Jewellery Museum housed on the premises. Deep ebony, gold and wood decor, and a rooftop bar and pool!

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Luxury Boutique

4.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Hotel 1898 — An ultra luxury boutique hotel, this property sits within a restored historical building with special monument status. Like Hotel Bagués, it is right next to Boqueria near the top end of La Rambla. Decorated in a colonial style, you can expect luxury linens, blackout drapes, exceptional staff and a stunning pool and terrace.

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Cozy 4-Star

4 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Royal Ramblas — A 4-star only 100 meters from Plaça Catalunya, this property is contemporary and cozy-looking, with muted, modern colors and a boutique look on the interior (the exterior is a bit institutional-looking). This place looks like a clean, comfortable and good value hotel…a solid option!

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Where To Stay in Barcelona: The Eixample

The Eixample (which translates to “the expansion”) is a long stretch of a district lying to the northwest of the Gothic Quarter, El Born, and El Raval, north of Plaça Catalunya and cut through the center by Passeig de Gràcia, the heart of the neighborhood. The Eixample is high-end and upmarket, with international brands, beautiful art nouveau buildings, and La Sagrada Family, among other Gaudi buildings.

Because the Eixample district is so huge, parts of it are calm and residential, whilst others are always buzzing and vibrant: if you stay in the Eixample, stay somewhere near the metro stops Universitat, Catalunya, Passeig de Gràcia, Urquinaona, or Arc de Triomf, and you’ll be in good shape.

Elegant Design Hotel

4.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Hotel Pulitzer — Located right next to Plaza Catalunya, it’s hard to get any more central than this gorgeous design hotel. With a beautiful rooftop bar, cream and dark marble colors, and design touches throughout, elegant and stylish is the name of the game at the Pulitzer. Excellent reviews and top-level service. It’s no wonder this hotel is seen on so many ‘best of Barcelona’ lists. In a word: gorgeous.

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Elegant Luxury

4.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Monument Hotel — Housed in a protected building that exemplifies the 19th-century modernism of Eixample Quadrat d’Or, this hotel is right on Paseo de Gracia within walking distance to Gaudi’s Casa Battló and La Pedrera. A on-site 2-Michelin-starred restaurant, a casual bistro, spa, beautiful rooms using natural materials and neutral tones, with a slightly classy retro vibe. Elegant from start to finish. Outstanding.

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Luxury Chic

4.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Olivia Balmes Hotel — A top pick in the city with rave reviews from past guests, this property sits in the heart of the Eixample. Clean and modern with friendly, helpful staff, it takes a lot of searching to find anything bad written about this hotel. There is a lovely sun terrace and outdoor swimming pool to relax at, and contemporary decor throughout. A fantastic high-end choice.

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Affordable Chic

4.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Yurbban Trafalgar Hotel — A 3-star with rave reviews, this looks like a fantastic, mid-range bet in The Eixample, right near Urquinaona Metro Station. Super funky decor and design with a retro 70s feel to it, roof terrace and pool, and sound-proofed rooms. Hip, stylish with great staff, this hotel attracts a young and young-at-heart crowd, and looks like a true gem for any style of traveler.

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Affordable Boutique

4.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Hotel Murmuri Barcelona — Chic, classy and cozy, the Murmuri is in a fantastic upmarket location in The Eixample, within walking distance to all the sites and with easy metro access. Decorated in contemporary colors, you can relax on the rooftop sun terrace or grab a cocktail at the bar. To be honest, part of my attraction to this property is the name: Murmuri…Murmuri…Murmuri.

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Affordable Chic

4.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Room Mate Pau — A 3-star with a boutique/design hotel feel, this is another ‘hard to beat the location’ hotels, right near Plaza Catalunya. We also recommend the Room Mate hotels in our Granada Guide, as they always get fantastic reviews, seem like top value for money, and include total wifi – they give you a MiFi device to explore the city with! Wonderfully contemporary with a rooftop terrace.

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Where To Stay in Barcelona: Barceloneta

Pre-1992 Olympics, Barceloneta was a separate village filled with fisherman and the old ways. In the lead-up to the Olympics, the city undertook a massive modernization initiative in the area, changing the character of Barceloneta from quaint fishing village to bustling beach vibe. Today, low-rise buildings and quiet streets give a hint of what it used to be, and modern hotels, beach bars, and seafood restaurants attract locals and visitors for sun and sea.

5-Star Beach Experience

4.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

W Barcelona — Even from the exterior, W Barcelona is impressive, with a building right next to the beach that resembles a ship’s sail. Features of the W include an infinity pool with beautiful views, a rooftop bar, in-room views of the beach or city, and a selection of on-site restaurants. Oh, and direct beach access. The rooms themselves look contemporary, clean and fine – it’s the rest of the hotel and the location that’s the main draw here.

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Charming Beach Hotel

3.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Hotel 54 Barceloneta — A cozy 3-star with a beach-bar feel, this is a great choice if you’re coming to Barcelona for the beach and don’t want to blow the budget. In a pretty building 3 minutes from the beach and 10 minutes from the metro, stand-out features include a rooftop terrace overlooking the port and friendly staff. Located in a quiet area around the marina with pretty streets and loads of restaurant choices, this place has charm!

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Mix of Beach and City

4.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

H10 Port Vell — As the name suggests, this property is a stone’s throw from Port Vell. Located in a historic building, it has a modern boutique feeling. Features include a rooftop terrace with small swimming pool and views, a lobby bar, and fresh and airy modern rooms. Plus, Nespresso machines! It’s an easy walk to the Barceloneta Metro station to get around, and is a perfect spot for mixing beach with city, or for a pre- or post-cruise stay.

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Barcelona's Cool Neighborhoods

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Where To Stay in Barcelona: La Ribera/El Born

La Ribera-El Born lies to the east of the Gothic Quarter, separated by Pau Claris St. and Via Laietana. At first glance, its easy to mistake La Ribera-El Born as being part of the Gothic Quarter: it’s so close, and has a similar look and feel on the surface.

If you take a closer look, however, you’ll find La Ribera-El Born is much sleeker, hipper and more up-market than its touristy sister. It’s also more tranquil, without losing the charm and beauty you’d expect in the Gothic Quarter. Bordered by the lush green Ciutadella Park, La Ribera-El Born still has a lot of accommodation choices, without being overrun by tourists. If you stay here, you’ll interact with young families and locals and get a peek into the hip, bohemian nightlife centered around the cava, cocktail and tapas spots along Passeig del Born.

Boutique Chain

4.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

K+K Hotel Picasso — A rooftop pool and lounge, great breakfasts and a lovely location opposite Ciutadella Park. This is a modern, well-designed hotel in a highly walkable area. Stand-out comments include very helpful staff, a good breakfast, and location as a stop on some Barcelona hop-on-hop-off bus tours.

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Cheap & Cheerful

4.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Chic & Basic — The name pretty much says it all: a no-frills but contemporary budget hotel in one of Barcelona’s hippest districts, Chic & Basic offers a free coffee and tea bar, common areas to hang out when you’re not out exploring, and very helpful staff. If you want to save your cash for tapas, this looks like a great option.

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Holiday Apartments

Rec Studios Barcelona — El Born has a few great apartment choices if you’d prefer to feel more at home, have use of a kitchen, or are traveling as a family. This apartment would be great for a couple: exposed brick, beamed ceilings and a fantastic location. That said, there are plenty of options.

See More Apartments:
Friendly Rentals Van Gogh  I  Friendly Rentals Manuela

Search for More:
HomeAway I FlipKey I VRBO

If you’re traveling to Barcelona on a budget, Chic & Basic has a few other locations to check out: Chic & Basic Zoo (a few blocks from the Born location), Chic & Basic Las Ramblas, and Chic & Basic Taller, which has more of a hostel vibe.

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Where To Stay in Barcelona: El Raval

The grittiest of the three districts that make up the old city center, the Raval historically hasn’t had a great reputation, and you’ll find a large concentration of the city’s most talented pickpockets here. Still, it’s currently undergoing massive revitalization, making it attractive to a young and alternative crowd. There are also many cultural attractions, including contemporary art museums, and lots of restaurants and bars to choose from.

Quirky Cool Boutique

5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Hotel Casa Camper — I recommended Casa Camper as an I want to stay here right now and never leave hotel in our Berlin Guide, and the same thing goes for Barcelona. Set off Las Ramblas in El Raval, this hotel features an honor-system bar, rooftop terrace, and fun design touches. In addition to getting top marks for being uber cool, past guests remark how wonderfully quiet it is.

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Affordable 4-Star

4 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Barcelo Raval — The Barcelo has played a key role in the Raval’s revitalization, sitting smack dab in the center of what used to be a no-go zone for tourists. Still on the edgier side of things, especially at night, the area around the Barcelo is full of cafés, restaurants and bars, and is only a few minutes’ walk from Las Ramblas. The hotel itself has a stunning rooftop terrace and pool and a retro feel.

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Barcelona Institution

4.5 / 5 on Trip Advisor

Hotel España — This hotel started its life way back in 1859, opening as an inn under the name Fonda de España. Over the years, it has been refurbished as a modernist property by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, and then refreshed again in 2010 to restore it to that modernist glory. It’s a beautiful space and building, with lovely rooms, and frequently makes the list of best boutique hotels in Barcelona.

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Barcelona's Cool Neighborhoods to Rent a Holiday Apartment

Where To Stay in Barcelona: Sant Antoni, Poble Sec and Gràcia

Outside of the neighborhoods listed above, there are a few areas to consider staying in during your trip to Barcelona, especially if you’re planning on a longer stay in the city, or have already seen most of the tourist sites. If you want to experience Barcelona more like a local, consider staying in Sant Antoni, Poble Sec or Gràcia.

Note, if you stay in these areas, you’ll likely have to rent a holiday apartment through HomeAway, VRBO, FlipKey, Airbnb,or something similar – there simply aren’t many holiday apartments to choose from in these areas of Barcelona.

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Sant Antoni

Sant Antoni, which lies to the southwest of El Raval and is organized around the popular market at its heart, is where you’ll find the hippest brunch joints and vermouth bars in the city. Lively at brunch o’clock and during market time, the cool, casual vibe becomes quiet in the evenings – possibly too quiet if going out is your thing.

Holiday Apartment (3 Bed) Great for Families

4.8 / 5 on VRBO from 14 Reviews

Three Bedroom Apartment – A bright and fun apartment with air conditioning and a fully equipped kitchen with absolutely everything you’d need, handy as the apartment is a five minute walk from the wonderfully classic Sant Antoni Market. One bedroom has a queen bed, one bedroom has two twin beds and the other bedroom has a cool set of bunk beds. Two full bathrooms, one even has a jet tub, two balconies, and there is a high chair available if needed. Linens and towels provided, and laundry machine in suite. 5 minute walk to the metro stop, 15 minute walk to the water front and Gothic Quarter. Minimum 2 night stay ~$140US/night (+€20pp if more than 4 people).

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Holiday Apartment (2 Bed) Great for a Couple

4.9 / 5 on VRBO from 79 Reviews

Two Bedroom Apartment – Recently renovated (2011), and wonderfully located just down the block from Sant Antoni Market. A small, modern kitchen with a glass top stove, oven, microwave, coffee maker and kettle. One bedroom has a queen size bed and the other bedroom has a twin bed, there is also a foldout futon for another guest if needed. There is a washing machine in the suite, as well as a dishwasher. A crib is also available if required. There are many bakeries, cafes and restaurants in the immediate area, Las Ramblas is a 15 minute walk, a five minute walk to one of two metro stops, and about a 20 minute walk to the ocean. Minimum stay 2-4 nights, ~$86 – $113US/night (low-high season).

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Holiday Apartment (Studio) Great for a Couple

4.9 / 5 on VRBO from 89 Reviews

One Bedroom Apartment – A recently renovated, super cute apartment across from the Sant Antoni Market. It has nice hardwood floors, air conditioning, and quality furnishings. Small kitchen facilities, two burner glass stove top (but no oven), coffee maker, kettle and other utensils. The cozy flat has a queen size bed and a small balcony with excellent views, no elevator, but the apartment is on the 1st floor (in most of Europe the ground floor is ‘zero’). Everything you need is in the immediate area, restaurants, cafes, bakeries and shops. A 15 minute walk to the Gothic Quarter, 10 minutes to La Rambla, but the metro is just two minutes. Minimum stay 3-4 nights, ~$105 – $124US/night (low-high season).

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Poble Sec

Together with Sant Antoni, Poble Sec has experienced a resurgence over the past few years. It is still very traditional and has a thriving tapas bar scene.

Holiday Apartment (2 Bed) Great for Small Family or Group

4.8 / 5 on VRBO from 131 Reviews

Two Bedroom Apartment – Renovated in 2010, this bright and charming air conditioned apartment with a balcony is perfect for immersing yourself in Barcelona. Surrounded by classic tapas bars and cafes at the base of Montjuic Park with Montjuïc Castle at the top with a walkway providing stunning panoramic views of the city and ocean. Linens and towels are provided, laundry in suite, modern kitchen with microwave, coffee maker, lots of utensils, glass stovetop (no oven), and dishes. One bedroom with a double bed, the other with two twin beds. Located on the fourth floor with an elevator. Minimum 2-6 night stay (depending on the season) ~$86 – $129US/night (low-high season).

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Holiday Apartment (2 Bed) Great for Small Family or Group

5 / 5 on VRBO from 23 Reviews

Two Bedroom Apartment – A super cool looking apartment with vaulted ceilings, exposed brick, original features mixed with modern touches during renovation. Quality furnishings and a designer feel, a small balcony to enjoy a drink or a meal, two bedrooms, each with air conditioning, one with a queen bed and the other with two twin beds.  Separate living room with television and lounge area, full kitchen with glass top stove, oven, microwave, coffee maker, etc. 2 minute walk to the metro, 10 minutes to the ocean, 25 minute walk to the beach, 15 minute walk to the center of the Gothic Quarter. Minimum 3-6 night stay (depending on the season) ~$129 – $215US/night (low-high season), based on 2 guests (+$16/pp more than two guests).

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Holiday Apartment (1 Bed + Loft) Great for Small Family or Couple

4.8 / 5 on VRBO from 82 Reviews

One Bedroom with Loft Apartment – A quirky but cool looking loft style apartment. There is one conventional bedroom with a double bed, and a loft area with two more double beds, and even two single beds on a raised platform. The loft even has a hammock so if you’re feeling lazy, this seems like a good choice :) Modern and spacious lounge area, large windows, air-conditioning and small kitchen with commercial grade appliances. clothes washer and tumble dryer in suite. They will even arrange a private chef to come and provide a traditional Spanish meal for you! The area is full of food, tapas, cafe choices, a two minute walk to the metro, very close to Montjuïc castle, 15 minute walk to the Gothic Quarter. Minimum 1 night stay, average $97US/night but will depend on number of nights, guests and season.

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Gràcia

This used to be a separate village, and it still very much feels like it. With winding old streets, a slew of old-fashioned shops and restaurants, and a handful of trendy bars, this is a district beloved by locals and expats alike. It’s also a bit further out than the other areas on this list, more suited to those planning a longer stay in Barcelona.

Holiday Apartment (1 Bed) with a Great Terrace

4.8 / 5 on VRBO from 4 Reviews

One Bedroom Apartment – Top floor, air-conditioned apartment with a large, private terrace sporting some magnificent views. A full and functional kitchen, with a stove and oven, linens and towels are provided, and there is a washing machine and tumble dryer. One bedroom with a double bed, a fold out futon in the living room to accommodate more if needed. In a great location across the street from a nice park, a 15 minute walk to Sagrada Familia in one direction, or Park Guell in the other. A two minute walk to the metro, a 10 minute walk to Passeig de Gràcia. Shops, restaurants, cafes and bars very close to the apartment. Located on the ninth floor with an elevator. Minimum 2-7 night stay (depending on the season) ~$78 – $156US/night (low-high season, more during festivals and special events).

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Holiday Apartment (2 Bed) in a Great Location

4.8 / 5 on VRBO from 24 Reviews

Two Bedroom Apartment – A clean and cozy, modern and bright first floor apartment with air conditioning. A double bed in one bedroom and two twin beds in the other bedroom. Basic kitchen supplies with stove and oven, basic but modern bathroom with stand up shower. Lot’s of restaurants, cafes, bakeries and bars around this lively area. Very close to Praca del Sol a great square where locals and expats gather for a drink and chat, or eat at a number of different tapas bars around the square. The prices here are much lower than in the touristy areas. This is where we met up with Jess, our Barcelona expert, and went for tapas and a beer! Minimum 3 night stay ~$97 – $107US/night (low-high season).

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Barcelona Travel Tips & FAQs

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Where Should You Stay in Barcelona If You Plan on Taking Many Day Trips from Barcelona?

Barcelona is an attraction in and of itself, of course, but it’s also surrounded by beautiful towns and attractions outside the city that are well worth your time. If you have early-morning day trips from Barcelona planned, it’s worth thinking through where you stay in Barcelona to ensure it’s convenient – I’d suggest in and aroundPl. Catalunya is probably the most convenient area to stay if you’re planning on many day trips, and I’ve given two examples below.

Montserrat Monastery is a one of the most popular day trips from Barcelona, and it’s something you can either do on your own, or with a tour. If you visit on your own, you can go to Montserrat from Pl. Espana. While Pl. Espana is fine, it’s not the most exciting of Barcelona for a tourist. In this case, I’d probably recommend staying at Pl. Catalunya, which is an easy transit ride from Pl. Espana, or the neighborhoods of Sant Antoni or Poble Sec.

Girona is worth a few nights on it’s own — it’s one of our favorite cities in Spain — but if you can’t dedicate the time, a day trip from Barcelona to Girona will do the trick. Option One is to take the high-speed train from Barcelona Sants, which is on the blue and green metro lines. If you stay near Pl. Catalunya, you’ll be able to take the metro right to Sants!

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Getting from Barcelona Airport to the Center

Aerobus airport express bus:

The best way to get from Barcelona’s El Prat airport is the Aerobus airport express buses that go from both terminal 1 & 2, €5.90 per person, or €10.20 return, and you’ll find staff selling tickets at the bus stop. Added bonus, the buses have wifi, and USB chargers. There are 4 stops on the way into the center: Plaça Espanya, Gran Via – Urgell, Plaça Universitat and Plaça Catalunya (City Centre).Plaça Catalunya is a big and busy square with lots around, so you can grab a coffee somewhere while you get your bearings. The bus from both terminals stop at the same stops, but the bus for Terminal 1 is A1, and Terminal 2 is A2, this is only important to remember if you plan on returning on the bus as well (but there is a shuttle between the two terminals if you need).

Public Bus:

There is a public bus #46 that runs between the airport and Plaça Espanya which takes a bit longer but only costs €2.15 per person, and you can buy a ticket from the driver.

If you arrive at night, or have to be at the airport really early, the night bus #N16 to and from Terminal 1, and #N17 to and from Terminal 2 are also €2.15 per person, and you can buy a ticket from the driver.

Taxi:

You’ll find a busy taxi rank at either terminal, expect to pay about €30-35 for the trip, but there are surcharges that can make the total more than what’s displayed on the meter. Airport surcharges, time of day and holidays will all be added on at the end and might catch you by surprise – it did for us, and the driver didn’t really care to explain. However, it’s all apparently written on the stickers on the window.

Metro:

The L9 metro goes to the airport but does not pass through the center, or near any main areas, so you’d likely have to switch at least once, if not twice to get to where you’re going.

Train:

Regular train service from the station across from Terminal 2 runs to Barcelona Sants, Passeig de Gràcia or Clot station for €4.10 per person. You can connect to the metro easily from any of these stations.

Book a private sedan from the Barcelona Airport to your hotel or holiday apartment, or cruise terminal, 1-2 passengers $78.00US per vehicle, 3-6 passengers $109.00US per vehicle.

Learn More

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Where to Stay in Barcelona: Stay By a Metro Stop

Barcelona’s metro system is nothing short of amazing. It works incredibly well for whisking you around the city, especially to the major sights. Even if you end up staying somewhere a little further afield, you’ll almost certainly be able to get to the city center with minimal fuss.

Your best bets as far as the metro goes:

L1/red line: Universitat, Catalunya, Urquinaona, and Arc de Triomf. Espanya is right near Montjuïc and the sights, and the areas around Rocafort and Urgell are a bit quieter but still give you easy access to the city.

L2/purple line: From Parallel to Passeig de Gràcia, there are tons of things to see.  Then of course you have the Sagrada Familia stop – a definite must!

L3/green line: Anywhere along the section of the line from Fontana to Espanya is going to be a great place to stay.

L4/yellow line: Perfect if you want to hit the beach. From Girona to Jaume I, you’ll be in prime sightseeing territory. Barceloneta and Ciutadella/Vila Olimpica are the best for mixing beach and city time.

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So Where Should You Stay in Barcelona?

If you’re still wondering where is the best place to stay in Barcelona, I’ve summed it up here.

If it’s your first time in the city, stay in the Gothic Quarter, along Las Ramblas, or in the Born or Eixample. All of these areas will be convenient to get to and from Barcelona’s main sightseeing spots. They’re also filled with so many pretty little places to discover. The Raval can also be a lot of fun to stay in, though read reviews online of the accommodation location to make sure it’s not on one of the sketchy streets.

If you’re coming to Barcelona for a beach holiday, or as a quick stop before or after a cruise, stay near Port Vell or in Barceloneta.

If you want something a little edgier, consider staying in The Raval. Just be sure to read reviews before you book to be sure it’s not on one of the Raval’s sketchy streets!

If you’re returning to Barcelona for a repeat visit and want to get to know a different side of the city, consider staying in Poble Sec, Sant Antoni, or Gràcia – they all have a village feel to them, and you’ll get to know the real Barcelona.

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Thanks to Jessica Our Barcelona Expert

Almost seven years ago to the date, I stepped foot in Barcelona for the very first time. I was studying abroad in southern Spain for a semester, and I’d decided to make a weekend getaway to Barcelona. Less than a month later, I was back for another mini break. And a few months after that, I’d signed up for a second study abroad in Barcelona. Within a year of finishing my program, I’d moved to Barcelona with vague plans to teach English for a bit and definite plans to enjoy the city to the fullest.

That was in 2011, and now I’ve been here for five years. Even though it’s been half a decade, the city still regularly sweeps me off my feet. Now, I work here as a freelance translator and travel writer. I make part of my living by helping people figure out what to do on their trips to the city – as well as where to stay in Barcelona.

After five years here, I’ve got a pretty good handle on where you can find the coolest neighborhoods in the city and the best areas to stay in Barcelona. And I’d love to be able to share some of that with you!

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More Barcelona Trip Planning Resources

If you want more posts and resources to plan your time in Barcelona, I’d recommend checking out our Barcelona Expert Jessica’s Best of Barcelona section for ideas about what to do, where to eat, etc. Nick and Laura of Savored Journeys also have a fantastic visual guide to Barcelona that you can download and take with you.

Finally, if you’re interested in a more personal account of what Barcelona is all about, and how expectations can set you up for disappointment on your travels, Lyn from A Hole in My Shoe has a good post about how she didn’t love Barcelona at first. Kind of a good ‘second opinion’ on a city many people love right of the bat.

Did You Know? Hotel referrals are a primary source of income for this website. By making your hotel bookings using the links in this website, you support our continued efforts to bring you the best travel information. It’s as easy as booking your hotel through Booking.com, Hotels.com, Hotels Combined or TripAdvisor … and it doesn’t cost you anything extra!

A Note About Our Hotel Recommendations In This Barcelona Area Guide

We developed this guide because of reader requests! After receiving fantastic feedback about our Where to Stay in Seville Guide and Where to Stay in Granada Guide, we realized many of you are probably combining your travels through Andalucia with a trip to Barcelona. So we reached out to Jess and asked her if she’d consider helping us identify the best areas to stay in Barcelona – and happily she said yes.

But of course, we haven’t stayed in all of these hotels. Maybe one day, but for now, the recommendations are based on our impersonal experience – basically a ton of research. These guides take upwards of 20 hours to write, because I (Katie) spend so much time researching the hotels, cross-checking reviews across multiple booking sites, considering the location against Google maps and other sources…basically, doing all the painful parts of hotel research, so you don’t have to.

The hotels I’ve included in this guide are the ones I’d personally love to stay in, and the ones I’d recommend to a friend if they got in touch about an upcoming trip to Barcelona. If you take our recommendations, we’d really love to hear about it, and to know whether you have an amazing or not-so-great experience.

At the end of the day, our goal with every post we commission or write is to help you have a great holiday. Hopefully we’ve succeeded!

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Where to Stay in Barcelona Guide