Aerial view of the city of Barcelona from the lush green mountain, including some of the best places when choosing where to stay in Barcelona Spain

Where to Stay in Barcelona (Best Areas & Places)

Before you can get into the food, nightlife, and magical atmosphere, you need to nail down where to stay in Barcelona. 

Deciphering the best places to stay in Barcelona is a more complex question than you may think. Choosing the wrong neighborhood is a recipe for a bad experience; especially in cities like Barcelona where some places are totally overrun by partying.  

I spent a few weeks getting to know each of Barcelona’s unique neighborhoods and quickly realized that they each have pros and cons. In this article, I’ve laid them all out for you so you can decide the right fit for your stay. When you’re done, check out my list of the best things to do in Barcelona.

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Best Places to Stay in Barcelona

View the yellow narrow historic street and center of Barcelona
The Historic Center of Barcelona

Just looking for a quick answer on the best places to stay in Barcelona? Here are my top picks: 

Ok, let’s do a deep dive into the best areas and neighborhoods in Barcelona: 

7 Best Neighborhoods & Areas to Stay in Barcelona

Barcelona is one of those cities that seems intimidatingly large. However, it’s surprisingly manageable to explore. Many of its neighborhoods are located within walking distance of each other, and the ones that are farther are easy to reach with public transportation or rideshares. 

The Gothic Quarter

A male backpacker in the middle of a narrow street in the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona
The magical, but tight streets of the Gothic Quarter

👉 Best Area For Rich History & Unique Atmosphere | ✨ Best Gothic Quarter Hotels: H10 Madison 4* SupOlivia Plaza Hotel Catalonia Magdalenes

With its distinctly medieval feel, walking through the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona pulls you back to a different time. For how royally ancient this neighborhood feels, it comes with all the comforting frills of the modern era, including tons of buzzing tapas bars, sleek hotels, and a bunch of upscale bars. 

It’s clear to understand why the Gothic Quarter is repeatedly ranked as one of the best places to stay in Barcelona. 

This neighborhood is the ideal spot for first-timers visiting Barcelona. It’s very centrally located and surrounded by most of the city’s other cool neighborhoods, but it’s also near the coastline. 

Plus, Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter is home to many of the city’s renowned historic sites and squares. Such as Plaça del Rei, Las Ramblas, and the impressive gothic Cathedral of Barcelona. 

However, lots of tourists are attracted to this district for all these reasons. So, if you’re not a fan of crowds or overly touristy areas, this is not the best choice for where to stay in Barcelona. 

Pros of Staying in The Gothic Quarter Neighborhood:

  • Historic sites and squares
  • Top-of-the-line tapas bars 
  • Unique ambiance
  • Near Las Ramblas
  • Easy to find a luxury hotel 
  • Surrounded by other cool neighborhoods

Cons of Staying in The Gothic Quarter Neighborhood:

  • Very touristy
  • Petty crime is common 

📚 Gothic Quarter Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Rich History & Unique Atmosphere
Google Maps

El Raval

View of the buildings at the El Raval District in Barcelona
View over the Raval district (photo: goga18128 / Shutterstock)

👉 Best Area For Mouthwatering Food & Boutique Hotels | ✨ Best El Raval Hotels: Casa CamperYurbban Ramblas Boutique HotelAntiga Casa Buenavista

Located right next to the Gothic Quarter, you’ll find another alluring place to stay – the artsy and diverse neighborhood of El Raval. The only thing that stands between them is Barcelona’s famous Las Ramblas street.

Besides its advantageous location, El Raval has a bunch of other qualities that attract all types of visitors. The district totes some of the best boutique hotels in the city, hip restaurants, and a truly wild nightlife scene. All these things make it a super fun and exciting place to stay in Barcelona for young people on the hunt for a party. 

However, it might not be great for families or generally anyone hoping to have a good night’s sleep on the weekend. This neighborhood gets boisterous in the evening. Especially during the summer months when partiers flock to Barcelona. The influx of people can also make it more difficult to find accommodations during this season.  

Pros of Staying in El Raval Neighborhood:

  • Amazing food all around 
  • Best boutique hotels 
  • Very diverse area 
  • Near Las Ramblas
  • High-quality nightlife

Cons of Staying in El Raval Neighborhood:

  • Extremely busy 
  • Very loud on the weekends 
  • Difficult to find available accommodations during the high season 

📚 El Raval Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Mouthwatering Food & Boutique Hotels
Google Maps 

  • ✨ Best HotelsCasa CamperYurbban Ramblas Boutique HotelAntiga Casa Buenavista
  • 🏠 ApartmentsBrowse Top Rentals in El Raval
  • 🍽️ Where to Eat – Arume Restaurant ($$), Palosanto ($$), Cañete ($$$), Rosa Negra ($$), Suculent ($$$), Caravelle ($$)
  • 🍸 Where to Drink – Negroni Cocktail Bar, Bar Marsella, Casa Almirall
  • 🎟️ Top Attractions – La Rambla, Güell Palace, Barcelona Contemporary Art Museum, El Gat de Botero, Maritime Museum 

La Barceloneta

Panoramic aerial view of La Barceloneta Beach at sunset
The famed Barceloneta beach

👉 Best Area For Luxury & Coastal Views | ✨ Best La Barceloneta Hotels: W BarcelonaHotel Arts BarcelonaSofitel Barcelona Skipper

Barcelona has a neighborhood for absolutely every type of person, even beach lovers. If you feel more at home when the ocean is near, then you’ll love the district of La Barceloneta. With direct beach access and plenty of seafood restaurants, La Barceloneta will quell any coastal cravings. 

La Barceloneta is also one of the most lavish neighborhoods in Barcelona, featuring some of the best luxury hotels in the city, including the W Barcelona and Hotel Arts Barcelona. These places will pamper you beyond your wildest dreams and provide some of the most idyllic coastal views around. That’s why it’s one of the best places to stay in Barcelona for people who are treating themselves big time, like honeymooners. 

The only big downside to this coastal paradise is that there aren’t very many bars around, so the nightlife is limited. It also gets pretty crowded around this area during the summer, as tourists want a luxury beachside vacation destination.

Pros of Staying in La Barceloneta Neighborhood:

  • Perfect beachside location 
  • Tons of luxury hotels 
  • Very safe neighborhood
  • Calmer than other Barcelona neighborhoods

Cons of Staying in La Barceloneta Neighborhood:

  • A popular summer destination for tourists
  • Limited nightlife

📚 La Barceloneta Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Luxury & Coastal Views
Google Maps 

La Ribera/El Born

View of people roaming outside the Church of Santa Maria del Mar in Barcelona
Church of Santa Maria del Mar (photo: Marco Rubino / Shutterstock)

👉 Best Area For Incredible Cocktail Bars & Culture | ✨ Best La Ribera Hotels: Hotel OasisK+K Hotel Picasso El BornFactory Gardens Barcelona

This Barcelona neighborhood is known by two aliases: La Ribera and El Born. This is definitely a nightlife hub in Barcelona, but it’s a different form of party. El Born is the upscale, creative cocktail bars type of place. You could go to a new one every night of your trip and still have about a thousand left to go. 

In addition to being a high-energy party center, El Born is also known for its cultural importance. The neighborhood is home to the Picasso Museum, the Moco Museum, and even the Museum of Chocolate. 

There are a lot of reasons to love the El Born area, but it still might not be the perfect place to stay in Barcelona for everyone. It is a popular and busy area with lots of people roaming around. The area can also be borderline perilous at night. So, you must stay aware of your surroundings once the sun goes down. 

Pros of Staying in La Ribera/El Born Neighborhood:

  • Countless cocktail bars
  • High energy atmosphere 
  • Lots of cool places for shopping
  • Central location
  • Cultural hub

Cons of Staying in La Ribera/El Born Neighborhood:

  • Gets pricey 
  • Crowded 
  • Can be sketchy at night

📚 La Ribera Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Lively Cocktail Bars & Culture
Google Maps 


View of the tall architectural infrastructure of View of the ceiling inside the La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
La Sagrada Familia is located in L’Eixample

👉 Best Area For Central Location | ✨ Best L’Eixample Hotels: Seventy Barcelona Praktik ÈssensHotel OmniumRoom Mate Pau

When I first arrived in Barcelona and started diving into the various neighborhoods, L’Eixample is the one that really caught my eye. I found this centrally-located neighborhood to be one of the best places to stay in Barcelona for visitors who want a little bit of everything. 

It’s super clean, chill, and safe. However, it’s very close to all the more spirited sections of Barcelona, such as El Raval and El Born. So, you can go partake in all the fun but then go back to the cozy, quiet solitude of your accommodations at night. 

Many of the city’s top attractions and restaurants are conveniently situated right in this neighborhood. Both La Sagrada Familia, the most-visited attraction in Spain, and Disfrutar, the 3rd best restaurant in the entire world, are located in L’Eixample. 

The only major downside I could find to this area is that it gets pretty expensive, so it might not work for travelers on a tight budget.  

Pros of Staying in L’Eixample Neighborhood:

  • Close to major attractions 
  • Right in the city center 
  • Very clean 
  • Lots of public transportation
  • Delicious restaurants

Cons of Staying in L’Eixample Neighborhood:

  • Expensive
  • More of a residential area, so less nightlife

📚 L’Eixample Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Central Location & Nightlife
Google Maps 


View of the pathway with lush greenery around Parc del Poblenou
Parc del Poblenou (photo: Vladislav Mavrin / Shutterstock)

👉 Best Area For Incredible Eats | ✨ Best Poblenou Hotels: Hotel PaxtonLugaris BeachActa Voraport

Before your flight even lands in Spain, you’re probably already daydreaming about all the flavorful, delicious food you’re going to eat. If you want to be surrounded by authentic, affordable places to eat the iconic Spanish staples, the answer is Poblenou. It’s a tasty wonderland for foodies when they stay in Barcelona. 

In Poblenou, there is no shortage of hip tapas bars, like Racó de la Vila, El 58, and Bitacora Tapas. These places will give you a proper introduction to Spain’s beloved tradition of tapas bars. 

Poblenou has a trendy, yet unpretentious, atmosphere that makes you feel totally comfortable. Plus, it’s in that sweet spot where other neighborhoods are close, but it isn’t surging with parties or tourists. The only problem with Poblenou is that hotels are more scarce than in other parts of Barcelona, so you must book in advance to secure your spot. 

Pros of Staying in Poblenou Neighborhood:

  • Tasty restaurants and top-notch tapas bars 
  • Affordable, yet trendy
  • Close to the beach 
  • Near popular areas without being in the center of the action

Cons of Staying in Poblenou Neighborhood:

  • Not very much shopping 
  • Fewer hotels to choose from 

📚 Poblenou Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Incredible Eats
Google Maps 

  • ✨ Best HotelsHotel PaxtonLugaris BeachActa Voraport
  • 🏠 ApartmentsBrowse Top Rentals in Poblenou
  • 🍽️ Where to Eat – Bitacora tapas ($), L’ Artesana Poblenou ($$), El 58 ($$), Racó de la Vila ($$)
  • 🍸 Where to Drink – Madame George Lounge Bar, Blu Bar, Bar Andalucia 
  • 🎟️ Top Attractions –  Parque del Poblenou, Can Framis Museum, Torre Glòries


Aerial view of downtown Barcelona from Gracia
Views over Barcelona’s city center from Gracia

👉 Best Area For Affordability | ✨ Best Gracia Hotels: Radisson Blu 1882 HotelHotel BESTPRICE GraciaHotel Casa Fuster G.L. Monumento

Budget travelers deserve the opportunity to explore the amazing city of Barcelona without burning through their whole bank account. If you’re traveling around Europe on a budget, then you’ll want to head straight to beautiful Gracia for affordability. It’s one of the most cost-effective places to stay in the city. 

Gracia has a lot more going for it than just affordability, though. It’s a laidback residential area, located in the hills of Barcelona overlooking the rest of the city center. This means that you don’t have to worry about constantly bumping shoulders with tourists. However, the area still offers a litany of fun bars, like Le Standard and Elephanta Gin Bar.

The struggle of staying in Gracia is that it’s really up there in the mountains. Almost 30 minutes away from other popular neighborhoods like the Gothic Quarter. That means you need to make a trek every time you want to go to these places. Additionally, Gracia is super hilly and requires a lot of stairs to get around, so it might not be a smart place to land for people with mobility issues. 

Pros of Staying in Gracia Neighborhood:

  • Cost-effective 
  • Variety of stylish bars
  • Close to Park Güell
  • More chill, authentic residential area

Cons of Staying in Gracia Neighborhood:

  • Far away from the city center 
  • Difficult to find housing 
  • Hilly streets can be difficult

📚 Gracia Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Affordability
Google Maps 

Tips for Staying in Barcelona

Choose When to Visit Carefully

View of the tourists walking around Park Guell in Barcelona
Park Guell crawling with visitors during the high season

Even though Spain is one of the cheaper countries to visit in Europe, Barcelona is an exception to that rule during the high season. From May to September when the weather is at its finest, prices in Barcelona skyrocket. 

Meaning, summer isn’t the best time to visit if you’re on a budget. Be prepared to spend a pretty penny if you want to stay in Barcelona during the summer season. 

Book Big Attractions In Advance

View of the ceiling inside the La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia, one of the top attractions in Barcelona

Barcelona’s big attractions are some of the most-visited sites in the world, which makes them super crowded and chaotic. 

You can avoid all the confusion by booking your tickets to attractions in advance. This allows you to have a designated time slot and you won’t have to worry about tickets being sold out. 

Party Safely

Barcelona is probably the most notorious party hub in all of Spain. The official best bar in the world, Paradiso, is even located in Barcelona. 

While you should indulge in the city’s nightlife, keep a good head on your shoulders the entire time. It can get crazy out there and if you aren’t paying attention to your surroundings, it could end up turning into a dangerous situation.  

Wander Around the City On Foot or Take Public Transit

View of the empty street of Gracia neighborhood at sunset
The serene streets of the Gracia neighborhood

One of the beautiful things about visiting the big city of Barcelona is that it’s extremely walkable. If you’re staying in the city center, you can find everything you need within walking distance – from attractions and bars to food and shopping. 

Even if you’re on the outskirts of town, public transportation around Barcelona is fantastic. 

First-Time Visitors Should Stay In a Central Location

Barcelona is the second-largest city in Spain and one of the biggest in all of Europe. That’s why it’s crucial to consider where your accommodations will be located as a first-time visitor in the city. 

A place could be technically in the city, but still 45 minutes away from all the best things to do in Barcelona. L’Eixample and the Gothic Quarter are great, centrally-located neighborhoods for first-time visitors. 

Take the Bus From Barcelona El Prat Airport To the City Center

The major airport in Barcelona is actually located around 30 minutes outside of the old city center. While there are many ways to make this journey, the best is taking the AeroBus into central Barcelona. 

It costs less than 10 dollars and takes the same amount of time as an overly expensive airport taxi. 

FAQs About Where to Stay in Barcelona

What is the best part of Barcelona to stay in?

L’Eixample is the best part of Barcelona to stay in for most visitors. It’s centrally located and near most of Barcelona’s other top neighborhoods. It’s also home to many of the city’s most famous attractions, like Sagrada Familia. 

How many days in Barcelona is ideal?

Visitors should spend at least four days exploring Barcelona. Barcelona is a fairly large city with a long list of things to do. With four days, you’ll have plenty of time to settle in, get a taste of the culinary scene, and most importantly get to visit all the top attractions.

What are the best hotels in Barcelona?

The best hotels in Barcelona are Praktik Èssens, Yurbban Ramblas Boutique Hotel, and Olivia Plaza Hotel. These accommodations are stunningly clean, stylish, and in some of the best neighborhoods in Barcelona. 


Now you know where to stay in Barcelona. Which neighborhood fits your style best? If you plan on spending any time in Spain’s capital, don’t miss my guide to where to stay in Madrid, too. Disfruta Barcelona!

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