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Where to Stay in Barcelona: A Barcelona Neighborhoods Guide

Where to Stay in Barcelona: A Barcelona Neighborhoods Guide

If you are wondering where to stay in Barcelona, this article will help you get to know the best Barcelona neighborhoods not to miss on your trip plus our favorite restaurants and hotels in each spot.

As you wander around Barcelona, you can see and feel the lasting touches of Antoni Gaudi and Antoni Tàpies. The immersive art and architecture of the city draw you into its fabled culture.

But that’s just the beginning of what you can see of the historic Catalonia capital.

There is the pulsating atmosphere of La Rambla and the happening plazas which are home to some of the best souvenirs in Barcelona. Alongside that is world-class food and wines, which will have you reviewing the requirements of long-term visas.

Whether you are visiting for a quick 3 days in Barcelona or you are considering staying a while, each district showcases a unique strand in the city’s prismatic tapestry. Which one suits you best? Read on to find out!

1. The Gothic Quarter – The Best Neighborhood for First Timers

It simply does not get more central than Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter. Barri Gòtic is the historic heart of the city, where you’ll find Barcelona’s famed maze-like streets that lead to atmospheric plazas and major landmarks. It all combines to be the best place to stay in Barcelona for first-timers.

The ambiance of the Gothic Quarter is hard to top. Although you will have to deal with (and sometimes battle) the rubbing elbows of fellow tourists. But if access is what you want, you’ll find this neighborhood bordered by the fabulous, mostly pedestrianized La Rambla.

This boulevard is a hive of activity at all hours, with artisans and street performers bringing the local acts and music to you. From there, you can wander to the La Boqueria food market. Further attractions lie within reach as well, including the subterranean Roman ruins at the Museu D’Historia.

Beyond the historic core, you’ll find yourself linked to the rest of Barcelona via the city’s Metro. The central location and popularity among travelers mean restaurant and accommodation prices are elevated in peak seasons.

Once the sun goes down, the Gothic Quarter presents some of the best nightlife in Barcelona.

people walking in a narrow laneway with a small archway over the middle.

The Gothic Quarter in Barcelona is home to beautiful sidestreets and historical sites to explore.

Things to do in the Gothic Quarter

  • Barcelona Cathedral
  • Placa Reial
  • Explore the Jewish Quarter
  • La Boqueria
  • Portal d’Angel

Where to eat in the Gothic Quarter

Els Quatre Gats is a Barcelona institution. This neo-Gothic restaurant and bar dates back to the late 1800s. It even held a Picasso exhibition. Today, it continues to turn heads with its stunning interior and elevated cuisine.

You can’t eat your way through the Gothic Quarter without stopping at Barcelona’s oldest restaurant. Can Cullerates first opened in 1786. It serves up the best of traditional Spanish and Catalan cuisine, paired with great local wines.

Chefs combine tradition and a nose for creativity at the Gothic Quarter’s Tapeo. The tapas take you on a trip through the best flavors around the country with impeccable presentation.

Where to stay in the Gothic Quarter

It doesn’t get much more elegant than The Wittmore. Bringing the opulent vibes of a 1920s speakeasy, this boutique hotel is full of class, romance, and elevated fare. The modern and intimate rooms keep you well-rested. For great views, head to the rooftop terrace, set with its own pool and bar. Book a stay at Wittmore Hotel here.

Set along one of Barcelona’s best shopping streets, Catalonia Portal de L’Angel is set in a 19th-century traditional building. With much of its original design in place, you can enjoy the opulence of yesteryear. Modern amenities, an outdoor pool, and daily buffet breakfasts are the cherries on top. Book a stay at Catalonia Portal de L’Angel here.

The budget New York Hostel will help you to not dig too far into your pockets in Barcelona. With a shared kitchen and nice communal areas, you can eat and chill before exploring neighborhood highlights. Travelers will be a short walk from two Metro stations and 5 minutes from La Rambla. Book a bed at Hostel New York here.

la rambla a pedestrian street with trees and buildings down the sides and people walking through the middle which  is in a neighborhood that is where to stay in Barcelona.

Barcelona is a busy city with tons of tourists no matter what time of year, but you can find neighborhoods in Barcelona where things feel a little bit more local.

2. Gracia – Best Neighborhood in Barcelona for Longer Stays

If you’re trying to escape the crowds and find yourself a genuine slice of local life, Gracia is the place for you. Although, in Barcelona, you can never really escape, Gracia is a quieter part of the city, with an abundance of local charm.

On the northern edge of the city, Gracia was once an entirely separate town. Barcelona has grown and swallowed it whole. But its historic vibe, sense of community, and bohemian atmosphere remain. Travelers looking to indulge in the local cuisine start their morning at quaint cafes and enjoy the afternoon bar after siesta will quickly find a semblance of home.

Life in Gracia is all about living. That’s probably why it has become a popular spot for digital nomads. But with the help of the Metro, you won’t find yourself disconnected from the inner city and Barcelona’s major highlights. If you’re in a rush, you can always grab an Uber in Barcelona.

As you explore Gracia, there are some memorable spots to stop and watch the world go by. Our favorites at Plaça de la Vila de Gràcia and Park Güell. The latter was the home of Gaudi until he passed.

Things to do in Gracia

  • Vasa Vicens Gaudi
  • Barri de Gracia
  • Placa de la Virreina
  • Mercat de la Llibertat
  • Carrer Verdi

Where to eat in Gracia

Enjoy a date night at La Brillantina. Tucked away on a side street, the intimate, cozy space is the perfect setting to enjoy some mouthwatering Latin-American cuisine.

Con Gracia specializes in multi-course dinners. If you’re looking to be surprised at every turn, then its Experience Menu lets your chef guide you on a Spanish culinary adventure. All with choice wine pairings.

Having a go-to coffee spot is a great way to immerse yourself in your new neighborhood. Origo Bakery can be that spot. Pair your coffee with fresh baked goods. You’ll also find wines and cheeses to bring to bring to the park.

Where to stay in Gracia

One of Gracia’s most iconic buildings, Hotel Casa Fuster G.L. Monumento, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Yes, the name is mouthful. However, the stunning modernist facade will have you excited to return home every night. The beautiful rooms come with a hydro-massage bath. You’ll also find a rooftop pool with great views. Plus an onsite Mediterranean restaurant and jazz bar. Book a room at Hotel Casa Fuster here.

BcnStop Parc Güell features the perfect location and amenities for a longer stay. It features a mix of apartment-style accommodations that can house 3 to 8 guests. These come with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, private balconies, and full kitchens. Plus Park Güell is steps away. Book a stay at BcnStop here.

Looking for great budget accommodation in Gracia? Rocket Hostels deliver with their modern pod bunks that provide guests with a welcome sense of privacy. With free WiFi, an on-site cafe, a kitchen, and a large communal space, it’s everything you’d want in a Barcelona hostel. Book a bed here.

sagrada familia in barcelona which is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Barcelona.

The famous Sagrada Familia in Barcelona should not be skipped on a trip to the city. Do you want to stay nearby? Then L’Eixample is the neighborhood in Barcelona for you.

3. L’Eixample – The Neighborhood in Barcelona to Enjoy It All

L’Eixample doesn’t miss. Featuring a great, central location, the area provides access to the neighboring Gothic Quarter. There is so much to see, do, and eat. The downside? It may not be for everyone’s budget.

There’s a higher barrier to staying in L’Eixample due to having more luxurious, high-end accommodations. But all who make this part of Barcelona their base will enjoy having the city on the tip of their fingers.

L’Eixample was developed as Barcelona grew beyond its historic city walls. The modern community is encapsulated by gorgeous, tree-lined boulevards and high-rise buildings. Just on the outskirts of Barri Gòtic, it provides travelers with the best of both worlds. You can enjoy all the action here, with a small dose of Gracia’s laid-back energy.

Being in the heart of 21st-century Barcelona, you’ll find yourself well-connected to the rest of the city. Plus you’ll be able to make your way around the area to the famous Sagrada Família church and Gaudi’s Casa Milà and Casa Batlló.

Nightlife in L’Eixample lacks the punch of other neighborhoods (El Born isn’t far away), the cafe culture thrives and the restaurants let your taste buds dance.

Things to do in L’Eixample

  • La Segrada Familia
  • La Pedrera
  • Rambla Catalunya
  • Fundacio Antoni Tapies
  • Carrer d’Enric Granados

Where to eat in L’Eixample

Looking to discover home-style Spanish recipes? Embat is a gastronomic bistro with home-cooking recipes splashed across the lunch menu. In the evening, this switches to a large collection of shared tapas.

L’Eixample represents vegetarian travelers well. A great example is Xavier Pellicer. Using biodynamic and organic produce, the outcome is fantastic vegetarian (there are some meat options) meals that provide the flavor others won’t.

You can’t leave Barcelona without trying some house-made vermut. The small, perennially packed Morri Fi is worthy of planning your day around. Vermut, beers, and delightful shared plates. What’s not to love?

Where to stay in L’Eixample

Ohla Eixample is a high-end boutique hotel. Your stylish rooms come with unique decor, ceramic walls, and rainfall showers. There is an onsite Michelin-starred restaurant if you feel like eating close to home. Book a stay at Ohla Eixample here.

On the edge of Rambla Catalunya, Mosaic Barcelona by Ona leaves you well-connected and very comfortable. Modern decor and a terrace or balcony await for an afternoon spritz with the action of the bustling boulevard just a few steps away. Book a stay at Mosaic Hotel here.

Despite being one of the more expensive parts of Barcelona, there are still some budget gems in L’Eixample. 360 Hostel Borne has all you need in a hostel. Plus, it’s 5 minutes from the Metro, and within walking distance of Plaça de Catalunya and the Gothic Quarter.

colorful street art with a green woman sitting on a wooden rocking horse.

There are so many different neighborhoods in Barcelona worth exploring, but not all of them are great for staying.

4. El Born – The Best Area to Stay in for Nightlife

Travelers not looking to turn in after dinner will enjoy all that El Born has to offer. The district’s fantastic nightlife is encapsulated by its slew of Barcelona rooftop bars and speakeasies. Including Paradiso, which has ascended to a status of world fame.

Towards Barcelona’s eastern end, it remains surrounded by some of Barcelona’s best locations. You can continue to the east to find the leafy Parc Ciutadella.

Head the other way to find the historic center and north for L’Eixample and Sagrada Família. Or, if you’re looking for some sun and sand, make your way south to the beaches of La Barceloneta.

With all the fun and games after dark, it could easily be forgotten that the daylight hours here are equally rewarding. Narrow streets guide you to happening plazas flanked by mesmeric churches

Things to do in El Born

  • Picasso Museum
  • Born Cultural Centre
  • Paradiso
  • Pinzat
  • The House of Silk

Where to eat in El Born

Mosquito Tapas is a Spanish-Asian fusion that serves up delicious dumplings, Vietnamese pho, and a wide selection of Catalonia beers.

Short on time, or simply craving a good, juicy burger? Take a break from tapas and paella at Kiosko. This joint is fast, yet healthy, and vegetarians don’t get left behind.

Journey back from burgers to upscale, traditional cuisine at 7 Portes. Lively Catalan cuisine, with rich paella flavors, is served to a strong local following that gives you a taste of proper Barcelona life.

Where to stay in El Born

Looking out over the captivating Santa Maria del Mar, the Mercer Hotel is your taste of the 5-star life in El Born. Set on the Gothic Quarter side of town, you’re close to the highlights. But such is the luxurious setting, exposed brick and beam ceilings, and poolside bar, you’ll be in no rush to leave. Book a few nights at Mercer Hotel here.

Five minutes from the sunny waters of the Mediterranean, Duquesa Suites offers a rooftop terrace pool with exceptional views. Set in an 18th-century building, your elevated 4-star accommodation lies close to the Picasso Museum and the Metro. Book a stay at Duquesa Suites here.

On the budget side of things, Pension Ciudadela provides basic accommodation (with private bathrooms) for resting your head after a night on the town. The heart of the district is within walking distance, so is Barceloneta Beach. Book a stay at Pension Ciudadela here.

large brick building in Barcelona with blue skies above and a spire over the top like a church, although it was actually an old hospital.

There are lots of major sites to see in Barcelona, but some of the best places to see in Barcelona are tucked away in local neighborhoods.

5. El Raval – Great Area for Youthful/Local vibes

Just like Gracia, El Raval holds on to its own spirit and showcases a different side to your time in Barcelona. Gracia leans more towards the family side, while El Raval is full of hipsters and alternates providing a youthful and edgier experience.

While there is no getting beyond the sense of tourism here in Barcelona, El Raval unveils its own set of attractions. Along the way, you’ll find charming cafes, retro, thrift, and boutique stores, plus a healthy dose of street art.

The arts and culture is well represented here. It’s one of the best places to stay in Barcelona, Spain if you’re a creative. Within, you’ll find the Museum of Contemporary Art alongside the Centre of Contemporary Culture.

There is a hearty multicultural vibe here too. You’ll find your classic Catalonian cuisine served alongside worldwide fare. The edge of the neighborhood also connects to the La Rambla, for walking access to all parts of the inner city.

Things to do in El Raval

  • Rambla del Raval
  • Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA)
  • Maritime Museum
  • Sant Pau del Camp
  • Bar Crawls

Where to eat in El Raval

Whether you’re based in El Raval or not, Departure Coffee Co. does coffee its own way. Add on some great breakfast eats and friendly baristas, and you’ll have your morning spot sorted.

At A Tu Bola, you can enjoy the artistic vibes of El Raval on your plate. Healthy, delicious meatballs with a local twist, you’ll see your mouthwatering eats prepped in the restaurant’s central, open kitchen.

El Rincon de Aragon presents the best of Zaragoza and Aragonese cuisine to your base in Barcelona. Full of character, the restaurant serves up home-style cuisine, such as borage with clams paired with a specialty wine menu.

Where to stay in El Raval

Close to the Contemporary Art Gallery, Casa Camper is our pick for a luxurious stay in El Raval. Enjoy garden or city views from your modern room, each with a separate lounge. Dine on Asian-inspired tapas at the onsite restaurant and enjoy short walks into the Gothic Quarter. Book a stay at Casa Camper here.

Hotel Raval House comes with city views from both your room and the rooftop pool. Close to major boulevards, beaches, and the historic core, you’ll find it easy to get around. The modern rooms are spacious and the restaurant and bar come in handy if you’re short on time. Book a stay at Raval House here.

Two minutes from the Liceu Metro Station, Hostal la Palmera is as connected as it gets. On the edge of El Raval, you’ll be close to the Barcelona Cathedral, La Boquiera Market, and major plazas. All for a good price (let’s be honest, Barcelona isn’t cheap) and no shared accommodations. Book a room at Hostal La Palmera here.