Where to Stay in Barcelona: An Area Guide

When planning a trip in a new city, one of the hardest things can be choosing where to book your hotel. I think that location is everything when booking a hotel, so it’s important to do your research and get it right. If you’re planning a trip to Barcelona and want to work out where to stay, you’re in the right place. As one of the European cities that I feel I know best, I’ve put together this no-nonsense area guide to help you decided where to stay in Barcelona.

Barcelona is divided into different ‘barris’, which is a local term for neighbourhoods. The city is an enchanting mix of ancient and modern, meaning that each ‘barri’ can be very different to the next.

sweets, jelly beans of different colors, in baskets on the shelves, Spain

Las Ramblas
The Ultimate Tourist Hotspot

It seems logical to start with Las Ramblas, undoubtedly Barcelona’s most touristic area. Las Ramblas is the name of the famous avenue that runs from Plaza Catalunya down to the Port de Barcelona. Lined with cafes, souvenir stalls and street entertainers, tourists can’t help but gravitate towards this vibrant area. Hotels and restaurants in this area will never struggle to fill, but this means that the price can be higher and the quality can be lower (similar to London’s Leicester Square). A stroll down Las Ramblas is a must-do, but I’d recommend staying somewhere a little less saturated.

Tip: Be aware of pickpockets in this area, as well as in the Gothic Quarter.

Where to stay in Barcelona

Image credit: Peresanz

For Shopaholics and Luxury Travellers

If you’re looking for a buzzing modern area with elegant boulevards, designer shops and luxury hotels, the newer city district of Eixample is for you. The beating heart of Eixample is the Passieg de Gracia, which is home to modernistic buildings from Barcelona’s prized architect; Gaudi. Eixample sits above the Plaza Catalunya so is in easy walking distance to Las Ramblas.

Where to stay in Barcelona

Image credit: Jenifoto

Gothic Quarter
Barcelona’s Old Town. Full of Character and Culture

To me, the Gothic Quarter epitomises everything that I love about Barcelona. Think sun-drenched plazas, medieval streets and spectacular architecture. Foodies will love the small bars serving up authentic tapas with a side of live music. The Plaza Sant Jaume is home to two neo-classical government buildings, and all of this is a stone’s throw away from the more commercial Las Ramblas.

Barri Gothic Quarter and Bridge of Sighs in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Image credit: Anshar73

El Born
Charming and Romantic

A stark contrast to the wide and leafy boulevards of Eiexemple, El Born is a labyrinth of narrow alleyways and side streets. It’s the kind of place to put your map away, follow your nose and enjoy getting lost amongst the charm. It’s brimming with trendy cafes, bars and restaurants and is home to the Picasso Museum and Gothic Cathedral; La Santa Maria del Mar. El Born is artistic, romantic and timeless.

a view of a pedestrian street in the Born district, in Barcelona, Spain, with an old rocker in the foreground

Image credit: Nito100

Barceloneta Beach
Ideal for Sun Worshippers

Barcelona is one of the few metropolitan cities in Europe with its very own beach. If this is big part of Barcelona’s appeal for you, why not consider staying on Barceloneta itself? With more than 1100 meters of beach to enjoy and sea-view accommodation, Barcelona can equally feel like a beach break as well as a city break. There’s a long promenade stretching all the way from The Olympic Port to The W Hotel, which is lined with fantastic seafood restaurants and the odd rollerblader.

cross-processed background image of Barcelona beach on sunny spring day with shallow depth of field, Spain

Image credit: AygulSarvarova

Olympic Port
Great for Party Animals

Originally made to host the sailing events for the 1992 Olympics, The Olympic Port is now one of Barcelona’s most buzzing nightlife hubs. Within the port itself you’ll find casual bars that transform into wild clubs by the early hours of the morning. Surrounding the port along the beach front you’ll find a series of more upmarket lounge bars including Opium Mar, Shôko and catwalk. If you want to be amidst the party, The Olympic Port is a great area.

Where to stay in Barcelona

Image credit: Nickos

Browse the best tours in Barcelona.

Once you’ve picked decided where to stay in Barcelona, be sure to check out the Avis Barcelona Travel Guide, which is packed with hidden gems handpicked from UK Travel Writer Ben Holbrook.

What did you think of my Area Guide on where to stay in Barcelona? Are you planning an upcoming trip to Barcelona or do you have an area you’d particularly recommend? If you enjoyed this post, please leave a comment in the box below.

Disclaimer: This post has been sponsored by Avis, who specialise in car hire in Barcelona. All views are my own.

Jessica Ruth Gibson is the Founder and Editor of Travelista and an award-winning travel content creator of 10 years. She lives in York, UK with her son and has travelled to over 50 countries; her favourites being Italy, Canada and Vietnam.


  • Your post was really great ! Amazing photos and pictures … Thanks for sharing .. I’m planning to visit Barcelona. It’s on my bucket list …

  • I can’t believe that I’ve still never been to Barcelona!! Will have to squeeze in a weekend this year!

    • Ahh Angie you must go this year! It’s such a vibrant and colourful European city. And the tapas is to die for x

  • Loved this post girl – some fab recommendations! I stayed fairly close to Las Ramblas when I went last summer; such a stunning city, the Gothic Quarter is stunning!

    Hayley xo

    • Thanks Hayley! How did you find it staying close to Las Ramblas? The Gothic Quarter is definitely my favourite area! x

  • I loved Barcelona, the city has the electrifying verve and the architecture is priceless. We stayed on La Rambla with our balcony looking over the famous street and Placa de Catalunya. Very touristy indeed, although I still enjoyed the view. I wouldn’t recommend recommend there though, food was very disappointing to say the list.

    • Hey Nano! Thanks for your comment. I totally agree, the city has so much energy! But the food on Las Ramblas is extremely touristy – overpriced and bad quality. At least you know for next time! The best tapas places are always tucked away and full of locals xx

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