Barcelona may not be the capital of Spain; that honor goes to Madrid. But this vibrant coastal city is the capital of the fiercely independent Catalonia region, and has all the sights and cultural treasures you would expect from such an important city.
It's also a very large city. And if you're wondering where to stay in Barcelona, you'll soon find that you're spoiled for choice. Whether you're after luxury hotels, boutique hotels, a fantastic hostel, or just anything with a central location, the best hotels in the city can provide excellent places to stay in Barcelona.
However, before you choose where to stay to get a good night's sleep, you'll want to know what the best neighborhood is. That's going to depend on what you want to do on your Barcelona trip and what kind of local vibe you best enjoy. Once you have a better understanding of the neighborhoods of the city, you'll have a better idea of where to stay in Barcelona.
So check out this guide to the city's neighborhoods. And don't forget that Bounce provides luggage storage in Barcelona so you always have a place to leave your things. Drop off your bags before you explore the best neighborhoods and best things to do at night in Barcelona, and you'll be glad you traveled light.
Where to stay in the Gothic Quarter
For most people wondering where to stay in Barcelona, the city center will seem like an obvious choice. Barcelona's Gothic Quarter, with its narrow streets, hip tapas bars, historic buildings, and impressive Gothic cathedral is hard to beat. After all, you're going to end up exploring this neighborhood anyway thanks to all the tourist attractions there are here. Why not stay somewhere centrally located where you'll have easy access to everything you want to do while visiting Barcelona?
As well as its famous Cathedral, the Gothic Quarter is known for Placa Reial, a great place to hang out and people watch, and the famous Las Ramblas street that runs through the center of the city, offering nearly infinite options for hip restaurants, tourist sites, and exploring the city's nightlife. For many people, that makes the Old Town the best location for where to stay in Barcelona. However, all these sights don't come cheap. Hotels in Barcelona's Gothic Quarter run the gamut from luxury hotels to bargain-basement hostels, but even the cheapest accommodation in this part of the city center will cost more than just about anywhere else. If that's a price worth paying to be within walking distance of so many great attractions, this is undoubtedly one of the best neighborhoods in Barcelona. Unfortunately, it's anything but a hidden gem. You'll be sharing the neighborhood with legions of tourists. This is not the place to soak up the local vibe, any more than it is the best choice for the budget traveler or people who want some peace and quiet.
If you're looking for luxury and outline spending some money, the Grand Hotel Central's location is almost impossible to beat. In the heart of the Gothic Quarter, this stunning hotel is within walking distance of the Picasso Museum, Las Ramblas, and the Barcelona City History Museum, along with other great attractions. This iconic five-star establishment has a stunning bar with a rooftop terrace and a heated rooftop pool that offers incredible views over the city and a fantastic place to relax. Of course, a luxury hotel like this doesn't come cheap, but if staying somewhere with a rooftop swimming pool in a great central location is important to you, it might be worth the expense.
If, on the other hand, you're looking for budget accommodation, you'll have a harder time in the old city. The Safestay Barcelona Gothic is an unpretentious two-star establishment that may not have the amenities of the best luxury hotels, but is located in a very central location that makes for a great option for where to stay in Barcelona.
Where to stay in El Raval
Located right next to the Barrio Gotic, the El Raval neighborhood shares much of the appeal of the old city. From El Raval, you'll easily be able to take a short walk to many of Barcelona's top attractions, and you'll never run out of things to do here. El Raval is the home of the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art and La Boqueria market, and the Maritime Museum is also only a short walk away. All these sights plus the lively nature of the area make El Raval a good option if you're wondering where to stay in Barcelona that is close to everything without staying in the Gothic Quarter itself. Plus, La Rambla del Raval is an excellent place to find laid-back cafés and restaurants that are a little off the tourist trail without being difficult to track down.
Located as it is in the city center, El Raval also offers a good range of hotels to suit all tastes and budgets. The Barcelo Raval offers modern rooms close to the old city center, and the hotel offers a lobby bar and a brunch restaurant so that you won't need to go far from your room have a good time. Then again, this is an area that isn't short of places to eat and drink, and is one of the best places for brunch in Barcelona. The Hotel Raval House is also a good place to stay in Barcelona, offering an infinity pool and rooftop bar, accommodation for pets, and a continental breakfast that ensures you get a good start on the day.
Where to stay in La Barceloneta
Barcelona is a coastal city that in the past has not necessarily made the most of its seaside location. However, in recent decades, that has changed. The reliably sunny weather and warm Mediterranean Sea ensure that, along with all the great attractions the city has to offer, Barcelona is also a surprisingly good place for a beach holiday.
It's not hard to see why La Barceloneta is quickly becoming one of the most popular options for where to stay in Barcelona. This former fishing village is home to dozens of excellent seafood restaurants, and offers a laid-back charm that can be hard to find in other areas of this big and bustling city. That makes it a great option for beach lovers and young families, along with anyone who just wants to enjoy a more scenic side of the city.
La Barceloneta was virtually uninhabited until the 18th century, so you won't find the medieval ruins of the Gothic Quarter here. However, the narrow streets of the fishing village that was first established on this spot are a great place to wander on a sunny afternoon, and are home to some of the city's best restaurants. As you get closer to the city, you'll see the more modern side of La Barceloneta. You'll also find the city's aquarium and the Maremagnum shopping center, which is a great place to spend some money and indulge in some retail therapy.
Above all, though, La Barceloneta is a place to enjoy the sun and the sea in what can feel very much like a separate village from the rest of the city. Most of Barcelona's best beaches are in this area, so if your idea of a fun holiday involves stretching out on the sand, catching some rays, and bathing in warm water, this is the best place to stay in Barcelona for you. This is the only place in Barcelona where you can get direct beach access, so beach lovers flock here during the summer months.
You'll find that hotels in this area tend to embrace the beachside lifestyle. Forget about the grand luxury hotels of the city center. Think beach umbrellas, outdoor bars, and coastal views. For example, La Barceloneta Hotel Arts has sea and city views from rooms that ooze contemporary luxury, and the outdoor swimming pool is the perfect place to relax when you want to take a break from the beach. Many travelers consider it the best luxury hotel in the area, and it's a hard argument to dispute. If you prefer more of a boutique hotel atmosphere, the H10 Port Vell is located in a refurbished historic building and offers a gorgeous terrace with a rooftop pool where you can enjoy the view over the city.
Where to stay near Barcelona El Prat Airport
For some travelers, convenience trumps everything else. If you're only in Barcelona for a couple of nights or you have an early flight to catch, it can make sense to stay close to the airport. And while the industrial neighborhood around Barcelona El Prat is unlikely to win any beauty awards anytime soon, you can find a few hotels that will give you a good place to sleep and rest up for your travels.
Barcelona's airport is located on the coast, and so you'll find some decent beaches in this area, including a nudist beach if that's your cup of tea. You'll also find some interesting nature reserves once you travel a little outside the airport and away from the city. Also, there is a shuttle bus that connects the airport to the city in around half an hour, so it's not hard to reach all the main tourist attractions from this area. And if you're wondering how to get around Barcelona, we have a guide for that.
Because El Prat is such a big and busy airport, you'll find a range of hotels in this area to serve various needs. If you just need a cheap place to stay in Barcelona, Airhostel BCN is close to the Metro station, and you can choose a bed in a dormitory or a private room. At the other end of the scale, the Renaissance Barcelona Fira offers luxurious rooms in a contemporary tower close to the airport.
Where to stay in Gracia
For those looking for somewhere a little quieter to stay in Barcelona while still being close to the city's top attractions, the Gracia neighborhood is just about perfect. Home to Barcelona's iconic Park Güell, this mainly residential area is perfect for families and those who want little peace and quiet while visiting an amazing city. It's one of the better parts of the city to stay in if you want to experience life like locals do, and you'll find the prices here are far more competitive than you would get in El Raval while the Gothic Quarter. This is also a great neighborhood to choose if you would like to stay in a boutique hotel, as you'll find plenty of them here. If you're wondering where to stay in Barcelona that will let you experience the best of the city and still get a good night's sleep, don't pass up the chance to explore the Gracia neighborhood.
Where to stay in L'Eixample
The name of this neighborhood means the Expansion, and it was added to the city during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As a result, you'll find it a neighborhood of long straight streets laid out in a grid system, unlike the labyrinth of the old city. However, you'll also find this one of the best neighborhoods in Barcelona to explore the city's unique architecture, including some of the most significant works of Antoni Gaudi. The Eixample neighborhood is home to the impressive Casa Mila, as well as one of Barcelona's top attractions, the stunning Sagrada Familia Cathedral. Eixample also contains the Plaça de Catalunya, a lively square full of fashion boutiques and great restaurants where you can enjoy the incomparable buzz of the modern city.
If you're looking for one of the best luxury hotels in Barcelona, Eixample is home to the Monument Hotel. Right on the edge of Eixample where it meets Gracia, this five-star establishment combines peace and quiet with a central location that makes it easy to get around. But if your budget doesn't stretch to that kind of luxury, you'll also find plenty of sleek modern midrange hotels and even a few hospitals in this lively area.
Wherever you choose to stay in Barcelona, you can guarantee you won't be bored. The best hotels in the city offer great places to stay while you explore, and whether you're interested in history, architecture, or just spending a day on the beach, Barcelona won't let you down. Drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage and explore the best neighborhoods in the city.