Last updated on 14 November 2023 | by Stefan Hotel Follower
Like all vibrant capital cities, Barcelona can be an intimidating place, especially if you do not have an idea of where to go. Even then, it is impossible to miss the architectural streets, sceneries, and cultural attractions in this stunning seaside city of Spain.
This guide explores the neighbourhoods of the city. It also highlights some of the best places for those on holidays, shopping, romantic outings, and a family tour in Spain. There is a place and something for everyone. It also provides a highlight of the tourist attraction in five neighbourhoods of the city.
Old Town or Gothic Quarter or the historic “El Gotic” is the city’s oldest barrio, hence the most visited tourist destination. It is excellent for people who wish to dig into the historical archives of the city. Eixample is the centre for modernistic masterpieces and a state-of-the-art experience. It is the place to be if you are looking for more exceptional tastes of Catalonia’s capital.
Bery few beaches have survived the tourist abuse this place has gone through. The humble fishermen beach in Barceloneta is one of the few community-based neighbourhoods in Barcelona. Like the Gothic Quarter, El Born is the home of several artisan shops and medieval streets. It is also the place to visit if you wish to try exotic culinary.
It is rare to find a place where the locals are more loyal to the village than the city. Gracia Village provides an experience of the traditional village lifestyle of the Catalans, interspersed with tastes of modernity. El Raval is another traditional place to visit in the city. However, unlike Gracia village, El Raval is the home of several cultures, hence more fun.
Do you want a quiet neighbourhood away from the centres of attraction? Then stay at any of these three barrios; Sant Antoni, El Poble-Sec, and Paral.lel. Poblenou is also known as the Barrio of the Future or the New town. It is the place to be if you need to develop your business idea in Barcelona. It has been transformed into a technology, media and design hub.
Don’t know Where to stay in Barcelona? Read on below for best tourist neighbourhoods.
- What is the Best Area to Stay in Barcelona
- Best Area for First Time Visit
- Best for Romantic Trip
- Best Neighbourhood for Beach & Swimming
- Best Area to Stay for La Sagrada Familia and Park Güell
- Best Area to Stay for Foodies
- Where to Stay in Barcelona on a Budget
- 5 Best Neighourhoods to Stay for Tourists
What is the Best Area to Stay in Barcelona?
Best for First Time (Sightseeing): City Centre (Gothic Quarter, Eixample, around Plaça de Catalunya or near Las Ramblas)
Gothic Quarter is right in the middle of the city. Secondly, it is the home of Las Ramblas, which is the city’s social hub and the iconic Place de Catalunya. Close by are some luxury hostels and hotels. You can also find affordable accommodation around here, but it will take some searching. Eixample is another commonplace for first timers who are looking for a quiet weekend in the city’s most affluent hotels and bars.
Tip: If you need a quiet night rest, then you might need to find a different neighbourhood other than the Old Town as it has a very active and noisy nightlife.
Recommended Hotels in Barcelona City Centre
- Best Luxury Hotels in Barcelona
El Palace Barcelona • Hotel The Serras
- Best Great Value – Top Rated Hotels
Yurbban Trafalgar Hotel • Motel One Barcelona-Ciutadella
- Best Cheap Hotels in Barcelona
Hotel BestPrice Gracia • Hotel Omnium
- Best Bed & Breakfast in Barcelona
The 8 Boutique B&B • The Conica Deluxe Bed&Breakfast
- Best Budget Hostels in Barcelona
Yeah Barcelona Hostel • Hostel One Ramblas
Best Areas to Stay in Barcelona
Best area to stay in Barcelona for romantic stay (trip)? Old Town or Gothic Quarter
The Old Town of Gothic Quarter has several romantic squares, cultural attractions, and recreational places. If you wish to treat your spouse with a shopping spree, then take a walk down the streets through the high-end boutiques and fashion stores. At sunset, you can join the numerous group parties to reignite the flame in your romantic life.
Where to stay in Barcelona for beach enthusiasts? Barceloneta – El Poblenou (Mar Bella Beach, Nova Icaria Beach, Bogatell Beach)
The city’s main beaches are located in Barceloneta and El Poblenou. It might not be your typical white sand and azure water beaches, but you can stay here if you wish to visit other beaches. It is close to some of the city’s fun marinas and beaches such as Nova Icaria and Bogatell. They are cleaner and have several fun activities for family and couples. Adult couples who want a quiet beach experience always go for Mar Bella beach.
The two bear the masterpieces of the surrealistic signature of the famous Spanish architecture Antonio Gaudi’s. If you wish to take a trip to the two places, then Eixample and Gracia are the best neighbourhoods to find accommodation respectively. La Sagrada Familia is a district in Eixample, so why stay anywhere else if you are not on a budget? If you wish to explore the Park Guell and enjoy other bohemian charms, then reside at Gracia. The best time to be here is in August when the barrio comes to life with a month-long bohemian festival.
Best area for foodies in Barcelona? El Born – El Poble-sec – Sant Antoni
El-Born offers the full taste and feeling of what it is like to stay in Barcelona. It has several cultural sites and has an unlimited supply of eating places and food markets. Other locations for food-focused visitors are San Antoni and Poblesec. The life in the leafy streets of these places comprises primarily of eating, drinking, live music and night partying.
Where to stay in Barcelona on a Budget? Sants-Montjuïc – El Poble-sec – Raval
Raval has the cheapest rental rates on average in Barcelona. Besides, it still has something for art-lovers, culture tourists, creative thinkers, and traders. It is also another hotspot for food adventuring, thanks to its international cuisines. Poble-sec is another preferable low-budget neighbourhood because it is close to the city centre and the beach. Its proximity to Sant-Montjuic also makes it a perfect point for those who are on business trips.
The 5 Best Neighbourhoods in Barcelona for Tourists (First Time)
It is the spiritual and secular attraction centre of the city hosting several historic buildings of the Roman Empire a well as Middle-Age monuments. The town’s architectural masterpiece, the Cathedral is the place where Catholic Monarchs received Christopher Columbus after his debut voyage to the New World.
Another must-visit place is the Picasso Museum. It houses numerous collections of the celebrated Spanish artist of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso. It is lined with beautiful and sometimes-scary mazes of narrow alleyways and cobblestone streets.
It is the most significant and most planned neighbourhood in Barcelona and has much attraction sites to visitors especially architecture and design. The first one is Passeig de Gracia, which has many beautiful types of scenery for architectural lovers from the work of Antonio Gaudi and Pere Falques. They include Casa Mila and Casa Batllo, Casa Lleo-Morera, and Casa Fuster.
Other places to visit in Eixample are Arc de Triomf, Rambla de Catalunya, Palau Robert, and Mercat dels Encants Vells — Fira de Bellcaire, the flea market among others.
- Best Hotel (Great Value): Olivia Balmes Hotel
- Best Cheap Hotels: Hotel Constanza • Chic & Basic Lemon Boutique Hotel
The former fisherman village has four beaches, Sant Sebastia, Sant Miquel, Somorrostro and the beach of Barceloneta. It also has some of the most eye-catching structures of modern Europe, albeit the controversies surrounding them. They are the W Barcelona Hotel and the Marenostrum Tower. Tourists interested in the Catalan history flock the Historical Museum of Catalonia.
Other tourist sites in Barceloneta are Port Vell, The Aquarium, the historical centre of Barceloneta, the market of Barceloneta, and the French train station.
4. El Born
It is a popular neighbourhood of most locals, probably because of its religious history, rich art, and a vibrant nightlife. The 700 years old, Basilica of Santa Maria Del Mar is the most popular spot in this area.
Other places are the Barcelona Cathedral, Palau de la Musica Catalana, Centre Cultural I de Memoria, and not forgetting, Picasso Museum.
It is the first landmark that tourists recognise in the city. It cuts right through the city offering the full experience of the jostle and bustle of Barcelona. From the North down south is Ramblas de Catalunya that is adorned by high-end shops and cafes. The Boqueria market, Maritim Museum, and Ramblas of the birds are some of the places along the boulevard.
Another distinguishing feature of the street is the high number of human statues, from that of the father of astronomy, Galileo Galilee to scores of street performers.