The combination of historic architecture, laid back locals, endless shopping, and dining make Barcelona a top travel destination. It’s also a beachside city with a thriving nightlife.
If you’re planning on spending time in this cosmopolitan metropolis, you should first decide where to stay in Barcelona. It’s one of the largest cities in Spain and the neighbourhood you choose may make it easier to visit all the sites on your bucket list.
We’ve gathered a list of the best areas in which to base your Barcelona trip. From shopping, to entertainment, to landmarks, you can place yourself right in the centre of the major sites and attractions you will want to enjoy. These districts are strategically located, making it easy to visit all the major hotspots in Barcelona.
Not sure where to lay your head? Simply review this guide to the best places to stay in Barcelona.
Where to stay in Barcelona, Spain: A complete guide to the best neighbourhoods & areas for travellers
You’ll have no problem filling your trip to Barcelona with fun activities. The challenge is figuring out where to start your journey.
Spain’s second-largest city includes a diverse mixture of old and new neighbourhoods. Finding the best spot to stay in Barcelona may depend on how you plan to fill your time.
If you want to check out the most iconic landmarks, you’ll want to stay near La Rambla in the centre of the city. For fine dining and high-end shopping, the Eixample District may better suit your tastes.
No matter where you decide to stay, you’ll find it easy to get around the city. There are numerous pedestrian thoroughfares that take you across one neighbourhood and into the next.
A few of the best areas to stay in Barcelona for travellers include:
- La Rambla
- Barceloneta Barrio
- Gothic Quarter
✓ Best area to stay for history buffs and first-time visitors
If you’re visiting Barcelona for the first time, La Rambla is a great starting point. This neighbourhood is in the centre of the city and provides the most convenient access to the top things to do & see in Barcelona.
The location of La Rambla district makes it one of the best areas to stay in Barcelona. It’s also the most famous street in the city. It runs from the Gothic Quarter to the El Raval neighbourhood, and its signature wide boulevard is packed with shops, cafes, and kiosks.
Just keep in mind that La Rambla is also one of the busiest areas. You’ll be shoulder-to-shoulder with other tourists as you walk up and down the boulevard.
Luckily, there are plenty of attractions that make it worth braving the crowds. As you explore the area, you’ll see human statues, historic buildings, and the largest food market in the region. You can even take a ride to the top of the Christopher Columbus monument to get a view of the city.
Attractions in & around La Rambla: La Boqueria Food Market, Christopher Columbus Monument, Placa Reial, Miro Mural, Placa de Catalunya
Where to stay: The best hotels in La Rambla
The southern end of La Rambla places you closer to the river, whereas the northern end puts you closer to the centre of the city. If you want to explore the most famous landmarks in Barcelona, you may want to stay at the north end.
The following are a few of the best hotels and places to stay in La Rambla:
- Arc La Rambla: La Rambla is just outside your hotel and you’re just ten minutes from the Gothic Quarter. One of the best features is the soundproof walls, ensuring that you can get some peace and quiet at any time of the day or night.
- Oriente Atiram: Staying at this hotel makes you feel like you’re visiting the Barcelona of over a hundred years ago. The hotel is in a 19th-century building and is just a few minutes walk from the Boqueria Market.
- Royal Ramblas: Barcelona Cathedral and the Tivoli Theatre are footsteps away from this hotel. It also offers all the amenities you need to feel right at home. While the rooms are not quite as luxurious compared to other hotels in the area, the prices are a little more reasonable.
- Catalonia Avinyo: This modern hotel features minimalist décor and close access to all the top Barcelona attractions. If you stay here, make sure that you check out the rooftop pool with a panoramic view of the city.
- Chic & Basic Ramblas: You’ll notice the unique vibe when you walk into this hotel. It’s outfitted with 1960’s décor. Luckily, it’s got modern amenities, including WiFi. It’s also one of the closest hotels to the Boqueria Market.
✓ Best area to stay for families and beach-goers
Staying in the Barceloneta neighbourhood places you right next to the beach and within walking distance to the city centre. You can spend some time near the beach and then explore the rest of the city. You’re also far enough away from the centre to enjoy a slightly more laid back atmosphere.
If you’re a seafood lover, you’ll also want to check out the restaurants in this district. Any local will tell you the best seafood in town is found in Barceloneta. You’ll also have access to plenty of other cuisine choices. The marina and adjacent main street are lined with restaurants, cafes, and ice cream shops.
You can spend the day on the beach, purchase original artwork on the boardwalk, or take a trip to an aquarium. When you get tired of these activities, you can take the main streets toward other districts, such as the nearby Gothic Quarter.
Attractions in & around the Barceloneta Barrio: Barceloneta Beach, Barcelona Aquarium, La Dama del Paraguas, Torre del Rellotge Barceloneta.
Where to stay: The best hotels in the Barceloneta Barrio
Some of the best hotels in Barcelona are in the Barceloneta Barrio. There are a couple of five-star luxury hotels on the marina, along with some more affordable options further away from the beach.
Here are a few of the best hotels & places to stay in Barceloneta:
- Hotel Arts Barcelona: The top luxury hotel in Barceloneta offers panoramic views of the city and the Mediterranean Sea. You can relax in the two outdoor pools or spas and then grab a bite at the hotel’s two-star Michelin-rated restaurant.
- W Barcelona: When you stay here, you get the luxury of direct beach access. It’s also a great spot for families or couples, as the hotel includes pools, spas, and its own bar and restaurant. With the services available at this hotel, you may never leave to explore the rest of the city.
- Hotel 54 Barcelona: Seaside views, restaurants, and shops are just a few of the reasons to stay at this hotel. It’s just a short walk to the beach and offers a great value. It also features a stylish rooftop terrace overlooking the port.
- Pullman Barcelona Skipper: Being 350 feet from the beach should make it convenient enough to go swimming whenever you want. This hotel is also a short walk from some of the most iconic sites in Barcelona. Like many of the hotels in Barceloneta, it has spas, saunas, and a rooftop pool with views of the city.
- CoolRooms Malda: This hotel is a little further from the beach, but still within walking distance. You’re also a little closer to the Gothic Quarter, providing quick access to more cafes, shops, and restaurants.
✓ Best area to stay for architecture lovers and nightlife
The Gothic Quarter is the heart of the city and the oldest neighbourhood, making it a must-see destination for fans of historic architecture. It’s also a great spot for eating, shopping, and partying.
This district is comprised of a maze of cobblestone streets and old buildings. It’s preserved surroundings also showcase the history of Barcelona. Just by walking around, you can imagine what it was like in the city several hundred years ago.
It’s also got plenty of modern features. The cramped streets include many small plazas with cafes, musicians, and artisanal shops. In the evening, the Gothic Quarter continues to be vibrant and full of life, thanks to the numerous bars.
The Gothic Quarter includes enough variety to keep you busy and is a particularly great place to stay if you’ve only got 24 hours in Barcelona. If you want, you can still check out the rest of Barcelona while staying in the Gothic Quarter. You can easily walk to La Rambla. This central pedestrian thoroughfare conveniently takes you through most of Barcelona.
Attractions in and around the Gothic Quarter: Picasso Museum, Barcelona Cathedral, Placa del Rei, Chapel of Santa Agata, Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar.
Where to stay: The best hotels in the Gothic Quarter
While the Gothic Quarter is full of old buildings, it also includes a few modern hotels. You can also even find accommodations that offer rooftop views of the city.
Here are a few of the best hotels and places to stay in the Gothic Quarter:
- Musik Boutique Hotel: This modern hotel is located on the outskirts of the Gothic Quarter, making it easier to travel to La Rambla and other parts of the city. It’s a luxurious hotel and is another spot that offers rooftop views of the city.
- Hotel Rec Barcelona: If you enjoy culture, consider staying at this hotel. You’re within a few minutes of the Picasso Museum, the Modern Art Museum Barcelona, and the Chocolate Museum. The only drawback (for families at least) is that it’s an adults-only hotel.
- Ohla Barcelona: The rooftop swimming pool offers one of the best views. You can see the detailed rooftops of the neighbouring historic buildings while going for a swim. It’s also situated just a short walk from La Rambla.
- Duquesa de Cardona: You can literally walk out the doors of this hotel and start exploring the Gothic Quarter. It’s another convenient location for those that want to visit the most important landmarks in the city. The rooms are a little small, but they offer all the standard amenities.
- H10 Madison: Enjoy air-conditioned rooms, rooftop views of Barcelona, and close access to both the beach and the Gothic Quarter. It’s also one of the closest hotels to Barcelona Cathedral and Santa Caterina Market.
✓ Best area to stay for shopaholics and foodies
The Eixample District contains less of the historic architecture found in other parts of Barcelona, however, area is known for offering up the best shopping and restaurants in the city. It’s a high-class district with lofty residential areas, designer shops, and a touts a couple of buildings designed by famed Spanish architect Gaudi.
If you enjoy fine cuisine, you’ll love this district. The higher-priced area has internationally renowned bars and restaurants. You can also shop at supermarkets, large department stores, and open markets. Keep in mind that these are also some of the most expensive establishments in Barcelona.
This neighbourhood was added to the city in the 1800s, making it one of the newest districts. The grid-like layout that makes it easy to find your way to the next café or bar in comparison to the more winding streets of the Gothic Quarter.
You’ll also have the chance to travel through the rest of the city. Eixample is just southwest of La Rambla and the Gothic Quarter. Just walk to Passeig de Sant Joan and you can find your way to any part of the city.
Attractions in and around Eixample: Casa Mila, Casa Batllo, Sagrada Familia, Casa de les Punxes, Passeig de Gracia, Illa de la Discordia.
Where to stay: The best hotels in Eixample
Besides offering high-end shopping and dining, Eixample offers some of the best places to stay in Barcelona. You’ll discover a wide selection of luxury hotels and accommodations for the discerning traveller.
Here are a few of the best hotels and places to stay in Eixample:
- El Palace Barcelona: Opened in 1919, the hotel is in a historic building and provides convenient access to all the top destinations. You can walk out of the hotel and to Passeig de Gracia, which can take you through the centre of the city. The hotel itself is also luxurious and includes an outdoor pool.
- H10 Casa Mimosa: This hotel is also housed in an older building and has a beautiful courtyard. The courtyard has a pool and provides a view of Gaudi chimneys in the background. The hotel also includes its own restaurant, bar, and terrace with a view.
- Almanac Barcelona: This is the perfect destination for those seeking classy accommodations. This hotel features a Mediterranean brasserie with a wide selection of regional wines. Each room also includes its own mini-bar with free drinks. When you’re ready to relax, the hotel offers pools, a sauna, and a relaxation lounge.
- Hotel Europark: This modern hotel is located about 15 minutes from Plaça Catalunya and La Rambla. It’s also got an art-deco vibe that fits the Eixample district. You can enjoy a stay in a luxury hotel with easy access to nearby landmarks.
- Room Mate Carla: This hotel is a little less extravagant compared to other options. It’s a quaint hotel with modern décor and bright art prints hanging in the hallways and rooms. You’re also just 650 feet from Passeig de Gracia.
The best places to stay in Barcelona: A summary of the top hotels
Not picky on where to stay? Here’s a quick summary of some of the top-rated hotels in Barcelona for travellers…
- Hotel Cantón: A budget-friendly hotel in Ciutat Vella, featuring simple clean rooms. Located not far from Las Ramblas and the Old Port.
- Room Mate Anna: A super unique boutique hotel featuring a colourful design. The balconies of the deluxe rooms overlook Gaudí’s oddity masterpiece, Casa Batlló.
- H10 Madison: A lovely mid-range hotel with modern rooms located close to the beach and the Gothic Quarter. If visiting in the summer, you’ll love the opportunity to take a dip in the rooftop pool with spectacular views over Barcelona.
- El Palace Barcelona: A historic 5-star luxury hotel located close to Barcelona’s top tourist attractions. For the ultimate in relaxation, be sure to experience a treatment at the on-site Mayan-style spa or float away in the seasonal rooftop pool.