Things to do in Barcelona

Get a first-time tourist’s guide to where to stay in Barcelona

Last Updated:

Barcelona is an amazing city with a lot to offer, from stunning architecture and museums to vibrant nightlife and delicious cuisine. But with so much to see and do, it's important to pick the right area of the city for you. Whether you’re looking for somewhere close to the action or prefer a quieter neighborhood, this guide will help you find the perfect place to spend your time in Barcelona. We'll look at some of the most popular neighborhoods around town, discuss what makes them special, and provide tips on how to find a stay that fits your budget. With this information in hand, choosing your stay in Barcelona should be easy!

Where to Stay in Barcelona - An Overview

  • For Sightseeing

  • Your First Time

  • On a Budget

  • For Nightlife

  • For Shopping

  • With Family

Where to Stay in Barcelona for Sightseeing - Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter) or Eixample

Barri Gotic (or Gothic Quarter) is a beautiful and historic neighborhood located in the heart of Barcelona. It is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the city, due to its old architecture, cobblestone streets, vibrant culture, and amazing views. The area dates back to Roman times, but during the Middle Ages, it was the center of the city. It is home to churches, monuments, restaurants, shops, and cafés.

The Eixample district in Barcelona is a unique neighborhood and one of the city's most iconic areas, located just north of the historic Gothic Quarter. The area is known for its wide, tree-lined avenues and block-like layout featuring building facades with distinct Modernist styling, often characterized by curved balconies and intricate ironwork. In addition to its stunning architecture, Eixample is home to some of Barcelona’s top attractions including Gaudí’s La Pedrera and Casa Batlló, La Sagrada Familia, as well as luxury shopping areas on Passeig de Gràcia, numerous cafes and restaurants, and one of the city’s oldest markets. 

The Best Place to Stay in Barcelona - Gothic Quarter

Where to Stay in Barcelona

Barri Gotic, or Gothic Quarter, is perhaps the best neighbourhood to stay in Barcelona. Situated in the heart of the city, this ancient quarter oozes with Old World charm and is home to some of Barcelona’s most stunning architectural monuments. The narrow cobblestone streets are lined with historical buildings that date all the way back to medieval times.

Why is Gothic Quarter the Best Place to Stay in Barcelona?

Firstly, it is the oldest and most historic neighbourhood of the city, with a labyrinth of narrow winding streets and ancient buildings that date back centuries. Secondly, Gothic Quarter has a wealth of attractions including some of Barcelona’s most famous sites such as la Seu Cathedral, Palau de la Generalitat, Placa Sant Jaume and more. Thirdly, the area is relatively quiet yet still close enough to other tourist hotspots like Las Ramblas and Barceloneta beach. Finally, you will find plenty of accommodation options in Gothic Quarter, from hotels and guesthouses to apartments and hostels.

Where to Stay in Gothic Quarter

Located in the heart of Barcelona, Gothic Quarter boasts a plethora of options for your stay - from homestays and hotels to hostels perfect for solo travelers or backpackers. No matter what you're looking for, this vibrant neighborhood has something that caters to all your needs!

Where to Eat in Gothic Quarter

Come and tantalize your taste buds with Gothic Quarter's magnificent selection of culinary wonders! Visit Colom Restaurant for a casual dining experience, offering up paella, sangria, and other classic Colombian delicacies. With its Columbus-inspired decor, you're sure to feel like an explorer on the high seas! If you're in the mood for some artisan cocktails and Mediterranean-style dishes, make your way to Viana Barcelona. If you're in search of exquisite and innovative tapas, look no further than Gourmet Sensi nestled away in Barcelona's historic Gothic Quarter.

Nightlife in Gothic Quarter

Gothic Quarter is famed for its vibrant nightlife. A variety of bars, pubs and restaurants line the narrow cobbled streets, offering a range of local and international drinks. There are also plenty of places to dance the night away in the area – from traditional flamenco clubs to nightclubs with techno or live music. Some of the best places you can go to are Harlem Jazz Club, Sidecar, and Karma.

Other Recommended Neighbourhoods to Stay in Barcelona

1. Eixample

Perfect for Sightseeing


Distance from Centre
Where to Stay in Barcelona
Family First TimersSightseeingMajor Landmarks

Eixample is a vibrant and bustling area that draws many visitors each year. The streets are lined with colorful architecture, unique shops and cafes, and plenty of green spaces to enjoy. Home to some of Barcelona's most picturesque landmarks such as La Sagrada Familia and Casa Milà, it's no wonder why so many people flock here.

  1. Meander around the soaring spires and intricate details of the Sagrada Familia, before delving into its fascinating history at the museum inside.
  2. Take a stroll down Passeig de Gràcia. Be sure to visit Casa Batlló, La Pedrera and other iconic buildings designed by Gaudí while you are there.
  3. From designer boutiques in Passeig de Gràcia to El Corte Inglés department store on Plaça Catalunya, shop till you drop!
  4. Top Attractions in Eixample: Casa Batlló, La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art and Casa Mila.
  • The closest metro station is Universitat.
  • Buses to Ronda Universitat - Pl Universitat will help you get closer to the neighbourhood.
  • Take a cab to Perros Park to be at the center of Eixample.

🇪🇸 Local's Tip 🇪🇸

With its pedestrian-friendly streets, Carrer d'Enric Granados is Barcelona's best-kept secret. Stroll down the avenue that stretches from Diagonal to near Universitat de Barcelona and immerse yourself in a world of art galleries, designer shops, record stores, eateries and more - all ready to be explored! Don't forget to pause for some delightful moments in one of the street's cozy cafes.

Top Attractions in and around Eixample

2. El Born

A Multicultural Neighbourhood

1.5 km

Distance from Centre
Where to Stay in Barcelona
Art Galleries BarsTapasHistoric Buildings

Living in El Born is an incredible experience. Located in the heart of the city, El Born is one of the most iconic neighborhoods in Barcelona and offers visitors a unique glimpse into its vibrant culture. There are plenty of things to do and places to explore, from historic monuments and churches, to trendy restaurants and bars. The streets are alive with the sounds of music and laughter, and the aromas of delicious Catalan cuisine fill the air.

  1. Stroll Through Ciutadella Park - Take a leisurely stroll through one of Barcelona's largest green spaces and take in its beautiful gardens, fountains, and statues.
  2. Wander La Ribera - Get lost in the winding streets of Barcelona's oldest neighbourhood and explore its unique shops, restaurants and bars.
  3. Dine at El Xampanyet - Enjoy a glass of cava, traditional tapas dishes and the lively atmosphere of one of El Born's oldest bars.
  4. Top Attractions on the Tridente: Museu de la Xocolata, Picasso Museum, Moco Museum Barcelona, Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar, Arco de Triunfo de Barcelona.
  • The closest metro station is Barceloneta. All L4 lines will lead you there.
  • There are multiple bus stops that lead you into El Born - Via Laietana - Comtal, Via Laietana - Pl Ramon Berenguer, and Via Laietana - Correus
  • A taxi to Pg. del Born will drop you right in the center of El Born.

🇪🇸 Local's Tip 🇪🇸

Make sure you visit the Chocolate Museum. This museum encapsulates centuries of chocolate-making history in Spain and presents it through a captivating display of statues made from cocoa mass. Plus, you get an edible ticket as a fun (and tasty) souvenir. The kiddos will love it and so will you!

Recommended Experiences in and around El Born

3. El Poblenou

Perfect for Budget Travelers

3.8 km

Distance from the Centre
Where to Stay in Barcelona
Budget Beach SideFirst Timers

Living in El Poblenou is a unique experience. Located just outside of downtown and only minutes away from the beach, this vibrant neighborhood provides a great lifestyle for locals and visitors alike. The area has an old-world charm that can be seen everywhere, from the cobblestone streets to the stunning architecture. There are plenty of parks and green spaces to explore, as well as a variety of shops and restaurants to satisfy even the most discerning palate. Public transportation is also easily accessible, making it easy to get around the city without much of a walk!

  1. Enjoy a refreshing beer and delicious food with a Polynesian feel at Vai Moana, an elevated beach bar.
  2. Go Paddle Boarding, Surfing or Kayaking at La Base Náutica.
  3. Visit Razzmatazz for a nightlife experience like no other!
  4. Top sights in El Poblenou: IDEAL Centre d'Arts Digitals de Barcelona, Palo Alto, Platja de la Mar Bella Beach, Playa de Bogatell Beach, Sala Beckett.
  • Take the T4 Tram to Pere IV. It'll drop you at El Poblenou.
  • The Subway stop is called Poblenou. Take the L4 line to reach here.
  • The tram stop is located on Piazza di San Giovanni in Laterano, and the tram number is 3
  • There are multiple bus stops that lead you to El Poblenou - Pere Iv - Bilbao, Pg Taulat - Jonquera, and Llull - Bilbao

🇪🇸 Local's Tip 🇪🇸

Explore the birthplace of graffiti art in Poblenou. Old industrial buildings have been redone with bright colors and murals to add life to this bustling city. Take the time out of your day to wander its streets and appreciate things like garage doors, walls and entire structures painted with vibrant hues.

4. El Raval

Best Neighborhood to Experience Nightlife in Barcelona

1.1 km

Distance from Centre
Where to Stay in Barcelona
For ExplorersNightlifeStreet Art

El Raval is a vibrant, exciting neighborhood located in central Barcelona. It's known for its nightlife, culture, dining and shopping options. The area has many bars and clubs along with a variety of cultural attractions such as the MACBA (Museum of Contemporary Art) and CCCB (Centre of Contemporary Culture). There is also an abundance of restaurants and cafes to choose from, offering a wide range of international cuisine.

  1. Enjoy an evening at Bar Marsella, the oldest bar in Barcelona situated in el Raval. This charming locale was favored by some of history's most iconic figures including Picasso and Hemingway.
  2. Go thrift shopping! Boasting a vibrant art scene, El Raval is an ideal area for thrift shops and second-hand stores to flourish in Barcelona.
  3. Revel in the vibrant nightlife of this city! If neon-lit dancefloors, thumping beats and upbeat vibes get your heart racing, you'll be spoiled for choice. Whether it's nostalgic 80s tunes or modern house music that entices you, there is a bar here to satisfy even the most discerning partygoer.
  4. Top Attractions in Testaccio: Palau Güell, Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, Sant Pau del Camp, El Gat de Botero
  • Take the L4 Metro line and get off at Jaume I
  • There are multiple bus stops that lead you into El Raval. Paral·lel - Drassanes, and La Rambla - Santa Mònica are some good options
  • Take a taxi to El Gat de Botero to get off right in the center of El Raval.

🇪🇸 Local's Tips 🇪🇸

Take a walk around the streets of Raval and learn more about the gritty past of this neighbourhood and its buildings. 

Recommended Experiences in El Raval

5. Sarrià-Sant Gervasi

The Neighborhood for Families

4.2 km

Distance from Centre
Where to Stay in Barcelona
Family friendlyNature ChurchesExpensive Stays

The affluent district of Sarrià / Sant Gervasi provides its inhabitants with an unparalleled quality of life. From the serene atmosphere to the close proximity to all that Barcelona has on offer, it's no wonder why this area is a beloved destination for families seeking tranquility and security. If you are a nature lover, Sarrià and Sant Gervasi is the neighborhood for you! This idyllic area offers plenty of stunning parks where one can take a leisurely stroll. Venture off the beaten path to Turó del Putxet Garden - with its sweeping panoramic views of Barcelona, it's an absolute must-see vista!

  1. Spend a day at the biggest metropolitian park in the world, Collserola Natural Park
  2. Have an omelette at the world famous Les Truites.
  3. Take in the views at Parc del Turó del Putxet, from 548 feet above!
  4. Top Attractions in Sarrià / Sant Gervasi: Casa Vicens Gaudí, Bellesguard Tower, Museu de la Ciència CosmoCaixa, Parc d'atraccions Tibidabo.
  • You can take the L6 Metro line to Sant Gervasi.
  • A train to Muntaner can take you to Sarrià / Sant Gervasi in the S2 Line.
  • A bus to Via Augusta - Muntaner will drop you inside this neighbourhood.
  • Catch a cab to Parc Infantil to be dropped off right in the center of Sarria Sant Gervasi.

🇪🇸 Local's Tips 🇪🇸

Explore the beautiful Jardins de Vil·la Amèlia, take a leisurely stroll around the lake and experience summer-like sights and sounds like frogs croaking (a rare occurrence in Barcelona) along with fragrances of ancient eucalyptus trees. Afterwards, relax under the canopy of one of many cypress tree pergolas or amble amongst alleys lined up with chestnut trees.

Recommended Attractions

Barcelona Neighbourhoods & Distances from Major Attractions

Trying to decide the best place to stay in Barcelona? This comprehensive table has all of the best neighborhoods marked with some of Barcelona's must-see landmarks! Don't miss out on any attractions - find your ideal spot now!

Where to stay in Barcelona Where to Stay in Barcelona Where to Stay in Barcelona Where to Stay in Barcelona Where to Stay in Barcelona Where to Stay in Barcelona
Casa Mila
Book Now
Casa Batllo
Book Now
Park Guell
Book Now
La Sagrada Familia
Book Now
Teleferic De Montjuic/ Montjuic
Book Now
Spotify Camp Nou Stadium
Book Now
Gothic Quarter 2.2 KM 1.8 KM 4.6 KM 3.2 KM 2.2 KM 5.7 KM
Eixample 450 m 70 m 3 KM 1.9 KM 3.3 KM 4.7 KM
El Born 2.4 KM 2 KM 4.5 KM 2.8 KM 2.8 KM 6.3 KM
El Poblenou 4 KM 4 KM 3.5 KM 2 KM 3 KM 3 KM
El Raval 4.1 KM 4.1 KM 5.1 KM 3 KM 5.5 KM 8.3 KM
Sarrià-Sant Gervasi 3.4 KM 3.8 KM 2.5 KM 4.5 KM 5.3 KM 3.4 KM
Where to Stay in Rome
Barcelona Public Transportation

Everything You Need To Know About Public Transportation In Barcelona

Read in further detail about the public transportation in Barcelona to make exploring the city much, much easier! From the metro in Barcelona, to cabs & the network of buses, there is much to be read about the extensive network of public commute in this city!

FAQs: Where to Stay in Barcelona

What are the best areas to stay in Barcelona? 

The main areas to consider when choosing where to stay in Barcelona are Ciutat Vella, Eixample, Gràcia, and Sarrià-Sant Gervasi. All these neighborhoods have their own unique charms and offer visitors a wide range of accommodation options. 

Is Ciutat Vella a good area for tourists? 

Yes! Ciutat Vella, also known as the Old City or Gothic Quarter, is ideal for those looking for an immersive experience in Barcelona’s history and culture. From ancient Roman walls to bustling modern marketplaces and museums along the waterfront, you’ll find plenty of things to do and explore here. 

What is Eixample like? 

The neighborhood of Eixample, also known as the “Right Side”, is a great place for tourists looking to experience Barcelona’s modern art and architecture. Here you will find some of Antoni Gaudi’s most iconic works such as Casa Batllo, La Pedrera, and the Sagrada Familia. If you are looking for trendy bars and restaurants, this area has it all! 

Is Gràcia a good location for nightlife? 

Absolutely! Gràcia is one of Barcelona's most popular nightlife spots with its many bars, restaurants, and clubs. It’s a great place to meet locals and experience the city’s vibrant culture. 

What are the most popular tourist attractions in Barcelona? 

The city is filled with iconic monuments and attractions such as La Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo, Park Güell, and Camp Nou. Additionally, you can explore some of Barcelona's best museums and galleries, stroll along its beautiful beaches or take a day trip to nearby attractions like Montserrat or Tarragona. 

What is the best area in Barcelona to go shopping?

One of the best areas to find a variety of shopping options is La Ribera in the Ciutat Vella district. This area is home to Barcelona’s most popular market, La Boqueria as well as El Borne and El Gòtic districts where you can find top fashion labels, trendy local boutiques, artisanal craft shops and everything in between. Also located close by are Passeig de Gràcia and Plaça Catalunya which are two excellent destinations for luxury brands and department stores. 

What is the safest area to live in Barcelona? 

Barcelona is a safe city and there are many areas that can be considered safe. The most popular and secure neighborhoods are the Old City (Ciutat Vella), Sarrià-Sant Gervasi and Eixample, which are centrally located near public transportation, shops, restaurants and other attractions.

Where to Stay in Barcelona - The Neighborhood Guide