Beautiful Barcelona: where to stay in “the city of dreams”
With its mouth-dropping architecture, lively and friendly vibe, and beautiful Mediterranean beaches, it truly is one of the world’s most beautiful cities. As it is one of the older Spanish cities, it is full of historical sights. Fans of modern art and lifestyle will also appreciate it due to Gaudi’s fascinating contribution to the city landscape. Falling in love with Barcelona is quite easy: all you need to do is come visit it and it will steal your heart forever.
Photo credit: barcelona_barcelona
Where is the best place to stay in Barcelona — Our 5 favorite areas
Your experience in Barcelona heavily depends on the neighborhood you stay in. Although the city is well-connected, each area has a distinct vibe and lifestyle. To help you pick the best place, we’ve made a rundown of our favorite Barcelona neighborhoods:
- El Poble-Sec
- El Born
- El Raval
- El Gotico
|Where to stay in Barcelona, Spain|
|Best for budget travelers||El Poble-Sec||An affordable but lively area with plenty of bars and pubs|
|Best for party animals||El Born||The crowdest neighborhood where you’ll find all major bars and clubs|
|Best for cool kids||El Raval||An artsy neighborhood known for its bohemian vibe|
|Best for first-timers||El Gotico||The historical center of the city with major tourist attractions|
|Best for expats||Gracia||A peaceful, family-oriented area ideal for a long-term stay|
Photo credit: barcelona_barcelona
Where to stay in Barcelona for budget travelers: El Poble-Sec
El Poble-Sec is a safe, primarily residential neighborhood ideal for budget travelers. It is close to the city center and you can get to the major sights on foot. Even if you’re not a fan of walking, this area will suit you as it is well-connected with other parts of the city. It is located at the bottom of the Montjuïc hill, so it won’t take you more than a few minutes to reach its most wonderful attractions. There are plenty of economical accommodation options that will suit your budget perfectly.
What to do in El Poble-Sec
El Poble-Sec is surprisingly lively for such an affordable neighborhood. Although there aren’t any major sights to see, the area has many tapas bars, interesting pubs, and hip restaurants. If you decide to stay in El Poble-Sec, make sure to visit our favorite places:
- Bar Seco
- Caixa Forum
- Archaeology Museum of Catalonia
- El Molino
- Montjuïc hill
- The Magic Fountain
The Magic Fountain
The Magic Fountain is a true spectacle of sounds and colors. It was built almost a century ago and still remains one of the most beloved tourist attractions in Barcelona. The square below the fountains is especially lively and crowded, and it is where all major concerts are held. Who knows, maybe you’ll go for a walk around the fountains and accidentally run into Shakira’s concert!
Photo credit: livee_falco
Where to stay in El Poble-Sec
If you want to stay close to the city center without spending much money on accommodation, you will adore El Poble-Sec. There are plenty of accommodation options, both budget and high-end. On average, one night will cost you around $70. Take a look at our top picks:
Budget option: This lovely, comfortable private room.
Midrange option: This fantastic loft.
Luxurious option: This amazing apartment near La Rambla.
You can browse for more accommodation options here.
Where to stay in Barcelona for party animals: El Born
Once known as a shady, gangsta neighborhood, El Born has transformed into the most vibrant and exciting area in the city. While there are several great tourist attractions, nightlife is the area where El Born shines. It is crowded and lively at any hour of the day or night. There are hundreds of fantastic bars, restaurants, and clubs in this area, which makes it perfect for party animals.
Where to party in El Born
If you go for a walk around El Born, you’ll notice interesting night spots at every corner. From casual bars to cocktail lounges and exclusive nightclubs, El Born is where you will easily find your favorite party spot. If you’re not sure where to start, check out some of these places:
- Dr. Stravinsky Cocktail Bar
- Mamaine Mojitos
- Palau Dalmases
- Dans Le Noir
Dux is a true hidden gem of Barcelona’s night scene. This secluded speakeasy is a place any connoisseur of adult drinks must visit. The bar has its own, homemade gin that is an absolute treat for your tastebuds, and there are hundreds of craft cocktails that you can experiment with.
Photo credit: duxbarcelona
Where to stay in El Born
El Born is quite affordable for a neighborhood so close to the city center. A night in an AirBnB costs around $80 on average. Here are our top picks:
Budget option: This affordable apartment at the very center of the neighborhood.
Midrange option: This enormous room in a fantastic location.
Luxurious option: This elegant studio with a balcony.
Want more options? Visit this page!
Where to stay in Barcelona for cool kids: El Raval
El Raval is a neighborhood heaven-sent for art lovers and culture vultures. This area is lively, charming, and bursting with a trendy, hipster vibe. In El Raval, you will see lots of museums and galleries, as well as some stylish cafes, restaurants, and shops. This neighborhood is like a magnet for bohemian, artistic souls so it’s no wonder it’s known as the coolest part of Barcelona. Unfortunately, El Raval is not as safe as some other neighborhoods, so keep an eye on your belongings to avoid pickpockets, especially at night.
Major sights in El Raval
Whether you are looking for unusual architecture, unique art exhibits, or fancy restaurants, El Raval is where you will find everything your heart desires. If you can’t decide where to go first, check out some of our top picks:
- Sant Pau del Camp
- Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona
- Avenida del Paralelo
- Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona
- Mr. White Cocktail Bar
- Bar Marsella
Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona
Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) is one of the best museums of contemporary art in the whole of Spain. This museum is proof that Barcelona has much more to offer than just Gaudi. Besides the permanent set up, the museum regularly hosts temporary exhibitions of world-famous artists. There is even a section referring to The Rolling Stones!
Photo credit: lauraxiu
Where to stay in El Raval
El Raval offers plenty of accommodation options for both budget travelers and those seeking more high-end places. On average, one night in an AirBnB costs around $70. Check out our favorite places:
Budget option: this cute private room.
Midrange option: this amazing private room near the market.
Luxurious option: this beautiful room with a balcony.
Browse for more AirBnBs here.
Where to stay in Barcelona first time: El Gotico
El Gotico, also known as Barrio Gotico, is the very heart and soul of this fascinating city. We can call it the original Barcelona as it is the historical center and has many remnants of the ancient Roman village that it once was. Its charming streets are decorated with cobblestone and gorgeous architecture. This neighborhood is a beautiful blend of the new and the old, so you will experience the whole of Barcelona’s long history.
Places in El Gotico you shouldn’t miss
Barrio Gotico is an ideal location for first-time visitors as this area offers so many things to see and do. There are plenty of tourist attractions so sightseeing will be a true adventure. The area is also full of bars, restaurants, and shops, so you’ll always have something interesting to do. If you’re visiting the city for the first time, make sure to check out these places:
- La Rambla
- Guell Palace
- The Barcelona Cathedral
- Museum of the City of Barcelona
- Picasso Museum
- Plaza del Rei
Just like every part of Barcelona designed by Gaudi, Guell Palace is absolutely amazing. It’s an outstanding representative of the Art Nouveau movement and will swipe any architecture lover off their feet.
Photo credit: andrey_on_the_way
Where to stay in El Gotico
In El Gotico, you won’t have difficulty finding the perfect accommodation for you. The average price is around $80 per night. Take a look at our top picks:
Budget option: this apartment near the Picasso Museum.
Midrange option: this amazing room in the center.
Luxurious option: this gorgeous apartment at the very heart of the Gothic Quarter.
You can see more accommodation options here.