Barcelona is one of the most popular cities in all of Europe. It has medieval neighborhoods, fairytale architecture (hello Gaudi!), Incredible restaurants, world-class art museums, and vibrant urban life, all embraced by the azure blue of the Mediterranean Sea.
The city has roots dating back to the Roman Empire, although it was in the Middle Ages (when it was its own country) that it became an economic powerhouse in the western Mediterranean.
Today, Barcelona is the capital of the autonomous region of Catalonia (which has sought separation from Spain on numerous occasions) and is the second most populated city in the country. I have loved the city since I first visited it as a backpacker in 2006. It lived up to all the expectations I had and subsequent visits made me love the city.
With a population of 1.6 million spread over 10 districts (and 73 neighborhoods), travelers have many areas to choose from other than the Gothic center.
To help you figure out where to stay, in this post, I’ll break down each neighborhood and give you suggestions for places to stay in each one.
But first, I want to quickly answer some frequently asked questions about Barcelona:
What is the best neighborhood for travelers on a budget?
Sant Antoni is packed with affordable accommodation options and cheap tapas bars.
What is the best neighborhood for nightlife?
La Barceloneta has a large number of bars, restaurants, and clubs that line the beach. The Gothic Quarter is also another good area if you want to party, although it is more touristy.
What is the best neighborhood for families?
Gràcia is a quiet and pedestrianized area of the city that is perfect when you (or your children) want to rest a bit from so much tourism.
What is the best neighborhood, in general?
The views of the beach and the lively atmosphere of La Barceloneta make it my favorite place to stay, although the Eixample is in second place!
Best neighborhood for nightlife: La Barceloneta
The iconic La Barceloneta beach along the coast of Barcelona, Spain
The coastal area known as La Barceloneta may not be for everyone, but if you are looking for fun clubs with the sea breeze, this is it. Just gravitate towards the iconic Hotel Arts building and you will come across a handful of bars, restaurants, and clubs. And be sure to stop and gawk at the Frank Gehry-designed sculpture of a fish named “Peix.” Make sure to keep an eye on your things on the beach!
The Best Places To Stay In La Barceloneta
BUDGET: Sea Hostel Barcelona – This hostel is right on the beach. The beds are nothing to write home about, but it is the only hostel in the area, which makes it the best affordable option for anyone who wants to enjoy La Barceloneta without spending a lot of money.
MID-RANGE: Hotel 54: This elegant hotel offers a terrace overlooking the beach, as well as free Wi-Fi and air conditioning. There is a bar on-site and the hotel is a short tube ride away. They also offer a continental breakfast.
LUXURY: W Barcelona – With an infinity pool, rooftop bar, and stylish rooms with Nespresso machines and Bose Bluetooth stereos, this is the peak of luxury in the neighborhood. The views are not bad either!
Best Neighborhood For Families: Gràcia
The view of the Gracia neighborhood and its residential buildings in Barcelona, Spain.
Gràcia is far from where tour buses and groups roam. It is quiet and peaceful, and many of its streets are pedestrianized, so you don’t have to worry about those pesky cars, especially if you have children in tow. And the neighborhood embraces Gaudí’s wonderful and strange Park Güell. Here you can also find his Casa Vicens, as well as the 19th-century clock tower in Plaça de la Vila de Gràcia.
The Best Places To Stay In Gràcia
BUDGET: Factory Hostels – Has dorms, mixed rooms, female-only dorms. And an excellent location right next to Park Güell. Breakfast is also included.
MIDDLE RANGE: Hotel BestPrice Gràcia – Ignore the generic name of this affordable and centrally located place in Gràcia and settle into one of the slightly original rooms that offer enough comfort to keep you happy for a few days. Families can opt for the Deluxe Family Room.
LUXURY: Sonder Le Palacete – Housed in a 1920s building, the 10-room La Palacete has a modern vibe. Some rooms have separate bathtubs and others have terraces.
Best Neighborhood For Foodies: Sant Antoni
Colorful Ventian Towers in Sant Antoni district in Barcelona, Spain
A relatively off-the-radar neighborhood for visitors, Sant Antoni is a modern part of the city and a great place for those who like to enjoy food and drink. Browse the dozens of food stalls at the Mercat de San Antoni (there will be fewer tourists there than at La Boquería) and then take a vermouth tour, sipping glasses of the cheap libation as you try to decide which of the best restaurants in the neighborhood. you are going to dinner. Be sure to snap some photos of the Venetian Towers, a 1920s Venice-inspired monument.
The Best Places To Stay In Sant Antoni
BUDGET: TOC Hostel Barcelona – The social hostel offers backpackers a super safe place to stay (they have fingerprint scanners at the door). There is a relaxed lounge and common area with games, an outdoor pool, and cozy capsule beds that guarantee a good night’s sleep.
MID-RANGE: Market – A stylish mid-range hotel in Sant Antoni, the Market’s 68 rooms offer all the perks you’d expect from a posh hotel, plus bathrooms with large walk-in showers and magnifying mirrors.
LUXURY: Eric Vökel Gran Via Suites: a series of luxury apartments with spacious guest rooms. Some apartments have balconies; all have complimentary breakfast.