Where to stay in Barcelona? 5 Best Areas & My Favourite Places to Stay 🏖

In this guide, we take a closer look at where to stay in Barcelona. I review the best areas in the city and provide links to book the best hotels.

where to stay in barcelona

Barcelona has hit me right in the heart, like so many other travellers who make a pilgrimage to the famous city on the Spanish coast every year.

I have now been to Barcelona two summers in a row and must admit that I love the city. Barcelona, however, is a vast city, and it’s essential to know a bit about the many different areas of town before booking a hotel.

So after this brief introduction, I will dive into the best areas to stay in Barcelona and recommend some great hotels.

h10 hotel barcelona city centre
The view from the rooftop pool at the fantastic H10 Hotel Cubik in Barcelona.

Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain (surpassed only by the capital Madrid), the prices for food and drink are low, and Barcelona is right next to the coast, so you can combine a city break with a beach holiday.

In other words, Barcelona is something close to the perfect destination. But where should one choose to book a hotel in a city with a good size and is visited by countless tourists every year?

We look at this in more detail in the guide on where to stay in Barcelona.

Best areas to stay in Barcelona

Click the links above to see the best places to stay in the given area. The guide on where to stay in Barcelona continues below.

1. The Gothic Quarter – the best area in Barcelona ⭐️

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I love the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona. It might be a bit touristy, but the best areas of the big cities in Europe always are.

It makes sense: the tourists want to see the best places, and in Barcelona, the best area is, in my opinion, The Gothic Quarter.

gothic quarter
Yours truly in the Gothic Quarter back in 2020 when face masks were a big hit for some weird reason 😀

This is an area that, on my first visit, made me think of the cosy, narrow streets in Prague, Covent Garden in London or Edinburgh‘s Old Town.

See the best hotels in the Gothic Quarter here.

Walking around the Gothic Quarter, you don’t feel like you’re in a big city but instead in a movie set for a film that takes place in the Middle Ages. And I mean that in the best way possible.

This is a unique area where tourist shops lie alongside local art museums, ancient churches and cosy restaurants with fantastic food at low prices.

It must be said that the Gothic Quarter is on every tourist’s “must-see” list when visiting Barcelona so you won’t have the area to yourself.

But you won’t get that anywhere in Barcelona, so why not stay in the heart of the best area?

This is the old town of Barcelona, so there is no Holiday Inn on every street corner, and if you’re booking your Barcelona hotel last minute, you might be unlucky searching in The Gothic Quarter.

However, I think it is a good benchmark for where to stay in Barcelona – if you are within 5-10 minutes walking distance of the Gothic Quarter, then you know your hotel is centrally located.

From The Gothic Quarter, it is a 15-25 minute walk to the beach depending on where you are.

Places to stay in The Gothic Quarter

There are quite a few places to stay in The Gothic Quarter, but here are a few of my favourite hotels in three different price ranges.

Ohla Barcelona is a five-star luxury hotel offering a premium experience in the city’s heart.

 Ohla Barcelona, best place to stay in Barcelona gothic quarter
One of the best hotels with a rooftop pool in Barcelona

Its biggest draw is the spectacular rooftop terrace with a swimming pool, from which guests can enjoy an unrivalled view of the city’s skyline.

The hotel’s modern, stylish rooms are all equipped with luxury amenities.

ohla barcelona room

In the heart of The Gothic Quarter, Ohla Barcelona is close to major tourist attractions, gourmet restaurants, and high-end shopping areas.

Its dedicated staff is known for their attention to detail, and they are always ready to accommodate the guests’ needs, ensuring a stay of the highest standard.

See more photos and book here.

Hotel Duquesa de Cardona is a well-placed hotel in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, just a short walk from the beach.

Hotel Duquesa de Cardona, a good hotel in the Gothic Quarter

One of the highlights is the rooftop terrace with a small pool, providing a panoramic view of the city and the sea.

This hotel is known for its blend of historical details and modern facilities offered in the spacious and air-conditioned rooms.

Duquesa de Cardona 4* Sup swimmingpool

Reviews from previous guests often focus on the hotel’s ideal location, combining the old city’s charm with easy access to the beach.

Hotel Duquesa de Cardona is rated highly for its comfort and location.

See more photos and book here.

Hotel Rialto is an economically affordable choice, situated in the heart of the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona.

Hotel Rialto in Barcelona's Gothic Quarter, cheap place to stay in the city centre
The hotel’s restaurant is charming.

Its simple but neat and air-conditioned rooms make it a practical choice for travellers seeking value for money.

Room at the Rialto Hotel in the Gothic Quarter
Room at the Rialto Hotel in the Gothic Quarter

The hotel is within walking distance of many of Barcelona’s major attractions, including Barcelona Cathedral and the lively La Rambla.

Previous guests have highlighted Rialto’s fantastic location, and many have commented that one really gets value for money, given its central location and comfortable accommodation.

See more photos and book here.

And now let’s look at another excellent area in Barcelona’s city centre.

2. Plaça de Catalunya – stay right in the centre 🏪

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If we have to talk about another landmark for where to choose to stay in Barcelona, then it must be Plaça de Catalunya.

In other words, this is the centre of Barcelona, so if you book a hotel close to Plaça de Catalunya and want to stay within walking distance of many of the popular things to do in Barcelona, then you’ve made the right choice.

barcelona rambla
La Rambla in Barcelona city centre.

At Plaça de Catalunya, the legendary Rambla starts and stretches down towards the harbour.

See the best hotels around Plaça de Catalunya here.

So if you want to stay in the centre of Barcelona close to attractions, shopping opportunities and, among other things, you could quickly get from Barcelona Airport to the city centre – Plaça de Catalunya is a perfect choice.

It is about a 30-minute walk from Plaça de Catalunya to the beach, but the walk goes through cosy streets and the Gothic Quarter, so it’s a great walk – or a short taxi ride if you’ve had too much sun and want to get straight back to your hotel after a day at the beach 😀

This is also an excellent area to stay in if you travel to Barcelona with children.

Places to stay in Plaça de Catalunya

Let’s look at some good places to stay near Plaça de Catalunya and La Rambla.

Iberostar Selection Paseo de Gracia is a luxury hotel located at Placa de Catalunya, in the heart of Barcelona.

iberostar rooftop pool
The hotel’s rooftop pool is overlooking Placa de Catalunya itself.

One of the hotel’s advantages is the rooftop swimming pool, which offers a nice view of the city’s skyline.

Moreover, it’s close to various attractions such as Casa Batlló, La Rambla, and Passeig de Gracia.

iberostar barcelona, luxury hotel in Barcelona city centre

Previous guests have praised Iberostar’s luxurious facilities and ideal location, making exploring the city on foot easy.

It’s an excellent choice for travellers who wish to indulge themselves with a stay right in the heart of Barcelona.

See more photos and book here.

Yurbban Ramblas Boutique Hotel is an elegant accommodation situated directly on La Rambla, which as mentioned earlier, is one of Barcelona’s most iconic streets.

Yurbban Ramblas Boutique Hotel room

The hotel offers beautifully decorated rooms, where every detail is carefully considered to create a comfortable and luxurious atmosphere.

The rooms are air-conditioned, and many have views over the popular street below.

Yurbban Ramblas Boutique Hotel rooftop bar

The hotel’s location makes it easy to explore Barcelona’s many attractions, and you can quickly get to the Gothic Quarter and the Boqueria market.

Reviews from previous guests often praise Yurbban Ramblas Boutique Hotel’s unique design and its ideal location in the midst of the city’s hustle and bustle.

See more photos and book here.

Hotel Nouvel is a cost-effective lodging option in the heart of Barcelona.

Hotel Nouvel, great location hotel in Barcelona city centre

This hotel is also located just a short walk from the iconic La Rambla and is therefore ideal for those who want to be close to the city’s lively atmosphere, yet want a budget-friendly hotel.

The hotel has a wide range of room types catering to different needs and budgets, from standard single rooms to larger suites for those travelling in groups.

hotel nouvel, cheap hotel in Barcelona city centre with a rooftop

Guests have praised its comfortable decor, clean surroundings, and its location, making it easy to explore the city. Hotel Nouvel is thus an excellent choice for those seeking value for money and a central location.

See more photos and book here.

3. Gràcia – the best place to stay for a bohemian vibe 👩🏻‍🎨

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While the first two areas have been classic places to stay in Barcelona, we now jump to a slightly different area – Gràcia.

Gràcia is an area that continues to be referred to as a bohemian area of Barcelona without tourists.

This is no longer the case, as any self-respecting travel blogger has now visited Gràcia and written about it (myself included).

Still, there is no doubt a different atmosphere than in the more classic tourist areas.

See the best hotels in Gràcia here.

I loved the atmosphere, cosy streets, local bars and restaurants around Plaza del Sol.

It is perhaps an area you should stay in when you have been to Barcelona a few times and now want to get a little more under the city’s skin.

If it’s your first trip to Barcelona, I’d probably still recommend one of the other areas on the list, where you’ll be closer to the sights and the beach – but consider Gràcia if you want to experience a different side of Barcelona and still be relatively close to the centre 🙌🏻

I’ve got another post called “Is Gracia a good place to stay in Barcelona?“, but the short answer is a massive yes!

Places to stay in Gràcia

If you’re looking for a luxurious, classic hotel, then Radisson Blu 1882 is a good choice.

Radisson Blu 1882 Hotel, Barcelona Sagrada Familia

The hotel is stylishly furnished and located right near the famous Sagrada Familia.

The hotel is known for its spacious, beautiful rooms that invite relaxation after a day of sightseeing in the city.

Radisson Blu 1882 Hotel rooftop pool

The hotel’s most popular facilities are the inviting outdoor pool, offering a great view of the city, where you can cool down, enjoy the sun and rest your legs after a busy day.

Radisson Blu 1882 Hotel is ideal for travellers who don’t want to compromise on style, luxury, and convenience, and other guests have particularly highlighted the hotel’s modern design with beautiful details and unique location.

See more photos and book here.

Suites Centre Barcelona is an excellent choice if you travel with family or in a larger group.

Suites Center Barcelona, nice holiday apartment

Here, spacious and well-equipped apartments are offered, ideal for anyone looking for homely comfort in Barcelona.

Suites Center Barcelona apartments

Each apartment has its own fully equipped kitchen, allowing you to prepare your own meals and save a little money on the holiday budget.

Pool at the hotel in Barcelona Gracia

Guests can use the neighbouring hotel’s facilities which include a nice little swimmingpool.

And if you want a break from cooking, you can purchase a breakfast buffet.

See more photos and book here.

Hotel Balmoral, here in the lively Gracia area, offers its guests a welcoming base for their stay in the city.

hotel balmoral barcelona gracia

The rooms are nicely decorated and have modern conveniences like air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, and a flat-screen TV.

The hotel is within walking distance of famous sights like Gaudi’s masterpieces, La Pedrera and Casa Batlló.

balmoral barcelona breakfast
Breakfast options at the Balmoral Barcelona

In addition, Hotel Balmoral has a private terrace, which is an ideal place to relax with a drink after a day full of sightseeing.

See more photos and book here.

4. La Barceloneta – stay right by the beach 🏖

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Another area that could interest you who travel to Barcelona to enjoy the city’s beaches is La Barceloneta.

Barcelona has several beaches, but the most famous (and closest to the city) is called Barceloneta.

barceloneta beach
Your travel blogger enjoying the sun at Barceloneta Beach.

The area next to the beach is called La Barceloneta and is excellent!

There are, of course, lots of tourists here, but this part of town has a unique and somewhat local atmosphere. Not having been to South America, I got South American vibes for some reason – in a good way.

See the best hotels in La Barceloneta here.

Get a taste of the area for yourself in the video here:

The area is packed with restaurants, cafes, bars and, of course, beach clubs down by the beach.

The main reason to stay here in the La Barceloneta area is that you are only a small stroll from Barcelona’s famous beach. But you are also very close to the Gothic Quarter and the next place on the list (El Born).

So if you can find a good hotel deal here in La Barceloneta and know that it’s only a 20-25 minute walk to the Rambla, then this will be an excellent place to stay in Barcelona.

Especially if you expect to spend a lot of time on the beach! 🏖🍹

Places to stay in La Barceloneta

If you dream of a beach holiday in Barcelona, then, of course, you should stay in La Barceloneta. Below I have found some of the best hotels in the area down to the beach in Barcelona.

W Barcelona, also known as “Hotel Vela” due to its unique shape reminiscent of a ship, is an iconic landmark along Barceloneta beach.

W Hotel, best beach hotel in Barcelona

The hotel is known for its exceptional architecture and luxurious decor.

This is arguably the most famous hotel in Barcelona, so it naturally comes with a price to match – consider yourself warned 😀

W Hotel, room with beach view
Decent view from the room, right?

The rooms are modern, spacious, and feature panoramic windows that offer a breathtaking view of the Mediterranean Sea or the city.

Guests can enjoy a range of facilities, including a rooftop terrace with an infinity pool, a fitness centre, and several restaurants and bars.

W Hotel pool with beach view

The hotel’s location is unmatched, right by the beach and just a short walk from the city centre.

Reviews often highlight the spectacular view and the luxurious experience that W Barcelona offers.

If you’re seeking luxury and unforgettable experiences, W Barcelona is the perfect choice.

See more photos and book here.

Hotel 54 Barceloneta is a somewhat (to put it mildly) cheaper hotel located in the lovely Barceloneta area.

Hotel 54, near the beach and marina in Barcelona
The hotel’s rooftop bar overlooks the marina in Barcelona – the beach is just on the other side.

The hotel also has a rooftop terrace where guests can relax with a drink and enjoy the view of the city.

In addition, it’s only a short walk from the Gothic Quarter, making it easy to explore the city’s historic sights.

Hotel 54 room

The hotel offers modern, air-conditioned rooms, many with a harbour view.

Reviews from previous guests highlight Hotel 54 Barceloneta for its clean and comfortable rooms and its central location that makes exploring both the beach and the city easy.

See more photos and book here.

H10 Port Vell is a stylish hotel located on the edge between the charming districts of La Barceloneta and El Born.

h10 port vell rooftop pool
Rooftop pool overlooking the marina in Barcelona.

The hotel has delightful rooms with modern amenities and minimalist decor.

Many rooms have a private balcony from which you can enjoy the view of the harbour.

Room at H10 Port Vell in Barcelona

One of the hotel’s highlights is its rooftop terrace with a bar and a small swimming pool that offers a spectacular view of the city and the harbour.

H10 Port Vell is within walking distance of the beach and many of Barcelona’s historic attractions in the Gothic Quarter, making it a great place to stay if you want the best of both worlds.

Previous guest reviews highlight the hotel’s luxurious atmosphere, the helpful staff, and the fantastic location.

See more photos and book here.

5. El Born – best place to stay for nightlife 😎

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El Born, situated just northwest of La Barceloneta and east of the Gothic Quarter, is an exciting part of Barcelona teeming with history and cultural activities.

So, whether you choose El Born or the Gothic Quarter for your stay doesn’t make much of a difference, as both areas are brimming with cultural treasures waiting to be explored.

El Born is a hub of nightlife activity, often buzzing with life well into the wee hours. It’s essential to remember this when planning your stay, especially if you are travelling with children.

However, if you’re a group of friends looking for an exciting base to explore Barcelona, El Born could fit the bill.

See the best hotels in El Born here.

As you explore El Born, you’ll find a plethora of bars, restaurants, and charming shops, similar to the rest of Barcelona. What’s more, the beach is within walking distance, as are several historic sights and metro stations for easy public transport.

However, it’s not just about the nightlife or the beach.

El Born has a rich history, and you can find traces of it in the architecture of the buildings, the layout of the streets, and the many museums in the area. The Picasso Museum, for example, is a key landmark in El Born, and it showcases some of the artist’s most significant works.

El Born is also an excellent place for shopping, with many unique stores and boutiques lining the streets. Whether you’re looking for vintage clothing, handmade jewellery, or local artisan crafts, you’re likely to find it here.

In summary, El Born is a lively, historical area with a lot to offer. It’s rich in culture, filled with great places to eat and shop, and well-connected to the rest of Barcelona.

Whether you’re looking for a base to explore the city, or a place to relax and soak in the local culture, El Born is worth considering for your stay in Barcelona.

Places to stay in El Born

I’ve mentioned a number of really great luxury hotels in Barcelona, so here in El Born, I will mention some that might be a bit cheaper – but they are still really delightful and receive positive reviews.

Chic&basic Born Boutique Hotel is a gem in the trendy El Born district.

Chic & Basic Born Boutique Hotel

The hotel is known for its unique and stylish decor, blending modernity with authentic, historic details.

The rooms are bright and airy, with high ceilings and unique design elements, creating an atmosphere of relaxed luxury.

Chic & Basic Born Boutique Hotel bar
The cosy bar in the El Born hotel

Reviews from past guests particularly highlight the hotel’s impressive decor and central location.

If you’re looking for a hotel that combines comfort with creativity and style, chic&basic Born Boutique Hotel is the perfect choice.

See more photos and book here.

Park Hotel Barcelona is a delightful hotel with reasonable prices in the El Born area.

Park Hotel Barcelona, rooftop pool hotel in the El Born area

One of the hotel’s most significant selling points is its rooftop pool surrounded by sun loungers, where you can relax and enjoy a fantastic view of the city skyline.

park hotel el born room

The rooms are bright, airy and tastefully decorated, with comfortable beds and modern conveniences.

Park Hotel Barcelona’s location is ideal for exploring El Born’s cafes, shops and sights whilst also within walking distance of the beach.

Reviews from past guests often highlight the hotel’s beautiful pool area and its excellent location.

See more photos and book here.

Ciutat de Barcelona is another charming hotel in El Born’s heart.

Rooftop pool hotel in El Born

One of the best things about the hotel is its rooftop pool, which is an ideal place to relax and enjoy the view of the city.

ciutat de barcelona bar
There is also a cool bar at the hotel.

Past guests’ reviews often praise the hotel’s cleanliness, comfortable rooms, and excellent location.

See more photos and book here.

I hope you can use this travel guide for where to stay in Barcelona and that you are now ready to book your hotel in the fantastic city.

If you have any questions about Barcelona, please leave a comment below.

FAQ:

Where to stay in Barcelona first time?

I’d recommend staying in the city centre on your first trip to Barcelona. Look for hotels in areas such as The Gothic Quarter or close to Placa Catalunya, and you’ll be within walking distance of many of the best things to do in Barcelona.

Which areas in Barcelona are best for families?

For families visiting Barcelona, two excellent options to consider for your stay are the Gothic Quarter and the area near Plaça de Catalunya.

The Gothic Quarter, with its labyrinth-like narrow streets, old-world charm, and central location, is a family-friendly choice. You’ll find a host of attractions right at your doorstep, including the stunning Barcelona Cathedral and the history-rich Museum of the History of Barcelona. It’s an exciting area to explore on foot, and children will likely enjoy the sense of adventure that comes from wandering its winding streets.

Just on the edge of the Gothic Quarter is Plaça de Catalunya. This is considered the city centre and is a hub of activity, with large department stores, shopping centres, and plenty of dining options. Staying near Plaça de Catalunya also means you’re extremely well-connected for public transport, making it easy to access the wider city’s attractions, such as Park Güell and the Sagrada Familia.

Both areas also offer a variety of accommodation options, from family-friendly hotels with multiple bed suites to self-contained apartments for more independence.
Do remember, though, that the Gothic Quarter can get quite busy and may be a bit noisy at times. For a quieter stay, consider accommodation on the outskirts of the Quarter or towards Plaça de Catalunya.

Where should I stay in Barcelona for a beach vacation?

If you’re planning a beach vacation in Barcelona, La Barceloneta is an excellent choice. This neighbourhood is famous for its sandy beaches, boardwalk, and plenty of seafood restaurants. A former fishing district, La Barceloneta is home to the city’s main beach area and has a lively, casual vibe that makes it perfect for a beach holiday.

On the other hand, El Born and the Gothic Quarter are also quite close to the beach, and these locations might be an excellent choice if you’re seeking a balance between city sightseeing and beach relaxation. Both neighbourhoods are rich in history, have plenty of restaurants and bars, and are within walking distance to the beach.

El Born, famous for its nightlife and artisan shops, is a 15-minute walk from Barceloneta Beach. The streets in El Born are quieter and less crowded, giving it a charming, local feel. If you’re someone who enjoys an active nightlife after a day on the beach, El Born could be an excellent fit for you.

Similarly, the Gothic Quarter, renowned for its historical landmarks, is a 20-minute walk to the beach. Staying here means you’ll be surrounded by stunning gothic architecture and some of Barcelona’s major tourist attractions, including Barcelona Cathedral and the Ramblas.

Where to stay in Barcelona for a romantic trip?

The best hotel for a romantic stay in Barcelona is H10 Cubik which is centrally located and has a rooftop terrace with a pool and bar.

Is it safe to stay in La Rambla?

La Rambla is not an area but a street in downtown Barcelona. It’s one of the most famous streets and places in general in Barcelona, and therefore, it attracts pickpockets and scammers late at night. I would not classify La Rambla as unsafe, but you should have your wits about you in the area if you’re out late at night.

Is Barcelona a walkable city?

Yes! Barcelona is one of the best cities in Europe if you enjoy walking and getting a feel for the city. There aren’t too many hills and plenty of pedestrianised areas.

Where should I stay in Barcelona for nightlife?

For an active nightlife in Barcelona, El Born makes a great base. Known for its lively night scene, El Born boasts a wide array of venues to cater to different tastes. You’ll find wine bars with tastings, cocktail bars with expert mixologists, and live music venues showcasing both local and international talent.

But the appeal of El Born doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. One of the many benefits of choosing to stay in El Born is its proximity to some of Barcelona’s top attractions. The neighbourhood is home to cultural sites like the Picasso Museum and the Santa Maria del Mar church, offering plenty to explore during the day.

Furthermore, El Born is within easy walking distance to the beach, making it a fantastic choice if you’re hoping to balance city exploration with some relaxation by the sea. It’s also well-connected to other parts of the city with several metro stations, making it easy to explore beyond the neighbourhood.

Do remember, though, that the nightlife scene in El Born tends to be quite active and can sometimes be noisy. So, if you’re a light sleeper or prefer quieter evenings, you might want to opt for accommodation away from the main streets or ask for a room that doesn’t face the street.

Websites I use to book my trips 👇

Booking.com has the best offers on hotels and unique places to stay
GetYourGuide is the best place to book tours & activities with free cancellation
This power bank is the only thing (apart from my passport) that I always bring on trips
Welcome Pickups is the best & safest place to pre-book airport transfers

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