Where to stay in Barcelona? Which is best area to stay in Barcelona? 2018 Accommodation guide with maps


Which is the best area to stay in Barcelona?

There are 4 main areas which are popular for tourists in Barcelona.

Welcome to our local 2018 Barcelona accommodation guide and map with tips and information for where to stay in Barcelona and which places are best for first time visitors and tourists. We have included hotel maps with our tips for recommended hotels in the most popular areas of Barcelona for tourists to stay. You might also be interested in our guide to planning a 3 day Barcelona visit. If you prefer to go straight to our hotel Booking page, then click here for Barcelona hotel and apartment deals 

Updated June 2018

Where to stay in Barcelona?

Most first time visitors and tourists choose to stay in four central Barcelona city areas which are as follows:

1) Plaça de Catalunya - city center central square 

2) Eixample district - 19th century modernist area

3) Ciutat Vella district- old medieval city center 

4) Sant Marti - beach area in former industrial district

Scroll down the page for more information about each area.

Where to stay in Barcelona - which area is best?

Barcelona is Spain's second largest city with 1,5 million inhabitants who live in 10 city districts. Many tourists generally prefer to stay in 3 of the 10 Barcelona city districts which are called Eixample, Ciutat Vella and Sant Marti. Within these preferred 3 city districts tourists stay in 4 popular Barcelona areas

The most popular area to stay is perhaps naturally the downtown Barcelona area, which is around the central city square called Plaça de Catalunya - often called Plaza Catalunya. Plaça de Catalunya borders both the ancient medieval Barcelona city center called Ciutat Vella and borders the more recent 19th century modernist area of Barcelona called Eixample, so if you are stay on or near Plaza Catalunya, then you are very central and it is convenient for access to attractions, trains, airport buses and day tours.

Another popular choice for first time visitors is to stay is inside the charming narrow winding streets of Barcelona´s medieval historic district called Ciutat Vella. The district Ciutat Vella is divided into several areas, or neighbourhoods, which we will describe in more detail for you below.

In the summer from mid-May to end September it is popular to stay near the Barcelona beaches which are mostly in the coastal district of Sant Marti. Here many tourists love the new beach neighbourhoods called Vila Olimpica,  Poblenou and Diagonal Mar. Sant Marti is generally a mix of 19th century industrial neighbourhoods currently being transformed and gentrified into new modern residential areas with hi-tech business and tourist facilties.

So those are, in our opinion, the best places to stay in Barcelona for short stays of 3 to 7 days. Like any city you have many choices and bear in mind that the central and popular areas are a little more expensive, more crowded and a bit more touristy. There are quite big savings if you stay in the less well known districts districts in the city.

It is worth noting that all of Barcelona's 10 city districts are safe for tourists and the metro system is cheap and safe. Violent crime is very rare but Barcelona does have a problem with pickpockets in popular tourist areas, especially on Las Ramblas street, so take a few precautions with your belongings.

Which is best place to stay in Barcelona?

There are several areas which are the 'best areas' to stay in Barcelona. We will try and tell you a little bit more about the 4 popular places to stay in Barcelona. The area around Plaza Catalunya is the most central area of Barcelona and very well connected to everything.  The city districts Ciutat Vella and Eixample areas have most of the Barcelona top sights and in the summer the Sant Marti area is popular because it is close to Barcelona beaches.

A) Stay downtown near Plaza Catalunya
Stay in the downtown city center area around Barcelona's most central square Plaza Catalunya. Well connected for sightseeing, shopping and transport.

B) Stay in Eixample area
The Eixample district is the 19th century modernist expansion area of the city. This emerged after Barcelona's medieval walls were demolished and the city grew. The area is quite big, so you can stay in Eixample and be near city center and central square Plaza Catalunya or in slightly off center locations. A new popular area is Sant Antoni, which is quiet, residential and has a wonderful market which has just reopened after years of renovation. 

C) Stay in historic medieval Ciutat Vella area
The historic medieval city Ciutat Vella district has five neighbourhoods, Poblesec, El Raval, Gothic, El Born/Ribera, Barceloneta  

D) Stay in Sant Marti area near beaches
The Sant Marti district is the former industrial factory area, now transformed into a new and modern high tech district. It is near Barcelonas beaches and has popular neighbourhoods called Port Olimpic, Poblenou and Diagonal Mar. The Sant Marti area is most popular during beach season from June to September.

Our tips for where to stay in Barcelona

Scroll down to find read more about each area and find hotels tips and accommodation maps in each of these four Barcelona areas. If you are staying in apartments in residential areas, then after deciding where to stay then take a few minutes to read our tips for how to be a good tourist to help make the experience a pleasure for local residents and tourists alike.

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Barcelona hotels with airport transfer

A. Staying in downtown Plaza Catalunya

In our opinion, the very best area to stay in Barcelona, is in downtown Barcelona on, or near the city central square of Plaza Catalunya. We have indicated this area with a blue circle on the map below. 

Best area to stay in Barcelona Spain

There are several advantages to staying in downtown Barcelona near central square Plaza Catalunya or a few blocks away. This area is:

* Near famous Gaudi modernist buildings
* Near top fashion brand flagship stores
* Near famous La Rambla walking street 
* Near medieval city center of Ciutat Vella
* Near Aerobus airport buses on Plaza Catalunya
* Near hop-on-hop-off tour buses on Plaza Catalunya
* Many bus and metro lines on Plaza Catalunya
* Supermarket open till 10pm in Corte Ingles store on Plaza Catalunya
* Many top brand stores near Plaza Catalunya
* Main tourist office is on Plaza Catalunya

As you can see on the map above staying centrally in Barcelona's downtown city center is convenient for everything from shopping to sightseeing to getting around. There are a couple of excellent hotels on the Plaza Catalunya itself, including the Hotel Oliva - rated Wonderful - and Boutique Hotel H10 Catalunya Plaza - rated Excellent - or you can stay on the quieter side streets off  Plaza Catalunya, like Bergera street, where you can find three nice hotels called Hotel Catalonia Plaza Catalunya and the Hotel Pulitzer both rated Excellent - and the Hotel Regina with a guest review rating of Very Good. Close by is Pelai street, which connects Plaza Universitat with Plaza Catalunya and here too are a couple of recommended hotels popular for their convenience and value for money. Look at Hotel Lleo - rated Very Good - and the new hotel Midmost rated Superb by guest reviews.

There are many more hotels and apartments just a block or two from Plaza Catalunya and here are some ideas for you. Look at the hotel H10 Metropolitan, the Granvia hotel, the Catalona Square or Guesthouse The Corner 592 to name but a few. You can find more on the downtown Barcelona hotel map below. All these hotels are an excellent choice and in a great location. We like them because they are just outside the old medieval part of the city. If we had to choose, we prefer being just outside the old medieval city of Ciutat Vella, rather than just inside it. The old city can feel a little crowded and noisy compared to the quieter and more elegant 19th century Eixample area, so a hotel or apartment just outside the edge of the old city is in our opinion, the perfect choice for where to stay in Barcelona. Having said that, there are some very nice top hotels like the new Hotel Royal Ramblas, the luxury Hotel 1898 which are both near the top of Las Ramblas street and in the old city. If you prefer the historic charm of the the Gothic area's narrow streets then of course there are many fine hotels there too. But if you are in the gothic area, then check if your hotel has soundproofed rooms, especially if your room is facing out to the street.

We love Barcelona's old city and it is a charming and quaint to stay in, but for some guests, it can feel a little crowded and noisy to stay in compared to the quieter and more elegant 19th century modernist Eixample area, so a hotel or apartment just outside the borders of the old medieval city is, in our opinion, the perfect choice when choosing where to stay in Barcelona. 

Hotels near Plaza Catalunya Barcelona

Olivia Plaza Hotel ★★★★ 4 star hotel on Plaza Catalunya
Catalonia Plaza Catalunya
 ★★★★ 4 star hotel on Pl Catalunya
Hotel Midmost ★★★★ 4 star hotel near Pl Catalunya
Hotel Pulitzer ★★★★ 4 star hotel on side street of Pl Catalunya
Hotel Regina  ★★★★ 4 star hotel on side street of Pl Catalunya
Catalonia Square hotel ★★★★ 4 star hotel near Pl Catalunya
Catalonia Passeig de Gracia ★★★★ 4 star hotel near Pl Catalunya
H10 Urquinaona Plaza ★★★★ 4 star hotel near Pl Catalunya
Margot House ★★★★ new 4 star hotel near Pl Catalunya
H10 Metropolitan ★★★ 3 star hotel near Pl Catalunya
Hotel Ciutat Vella  new ★★★ 3 star hotel near Pl Catalunya
Granvia ★★★ 3 star hotel near Pl Catalunya
Catalonia Portal de l'Angel ★★★ 3 star hotel near Pl Catalunya

Top self-catering apartments near Plaza Catalunya

Best reviewed Apartments near Plaza Catalunya
Ático en Paseo de Gracia - attic apartment near Plaza Catalunya
Apartamentos Barcelona Nextdoor - apartments near Plaza Catalunya
Inout Centre Apartments - Barcelona - apartments near Plaza Catalunya
DestinationBCN Apartment Suites  - apartments near Plaza Catalunya
Apartment Central Suites  - apartments on Rambla de Catalunya 
You Stylish City Centre Apartments - apartments near Plaza Catalunya

B&B guest houses near Plaza Catalunya

Guesthouse The Corner 592

Map best hotels near Plaza Catalunya

Blue markers show hotel and number of stars. Click on hotel map markers for links to hotel information

 Open FULLSCREEN Map hotels close to Plaza Catalunya

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B. Staying in Eixample area

B) Stay in Eixample 19th century "modernist" area of Barcelona

The Eixample is the area that was developed in Barcelona after the old city became overcrowded. In the late 19th century the ancient medieval Barcelona city walls were demolished and a new part of the city called the Eixample was built. The name Eixample means 'Extension' in the Catalan language. The Eixample district is very central and borders on the old gothic city and on the central square Plaça Catalunya. Eixample is a very safe, interesting, stylish and central area to stay in Barcelona with many sights, stunning modernist architecture on tree lined streets and many high quality shop, cafes and restaurants. The Eixample also has the most famous of the modernist buildings which were designed by Antoni Gaudi. Popular areas to stay in the Eixample part of Barcelona are near or on the most fashionable shopping street Passeig de Gracia, or near central square Plaza Catalunya, or near Barcelona's biggest attraction the Sagrada Familia unfinished church. Also popular now is staying near Plaza Espanya in the Sant Antoni area near to attractions like Magic Fountain, Poble Espanyol Spanish village and Montjuic hill.

Open FULLSCREEN map Hotel Eixample area

Hotels near Passeig de Gracia shopping street
Apartments near Passeig de Gracia shopping boulevard
Hotels near Sagrada Famila church
Apartments near Sagrada Famila church

Hotels near Plaza Espanya
Apartments near Plaza Espanya

Hotel America ★★★★ 4 star hotel in Eixample
Hotel Boutique Hostemplo ★★★ 3 star hotel in Eixample district
Hotel Casa Bonay ★★★★ 4 star in Eixample district
Hotel Praktik Rambla ★★★ 3 star hotel in Eixample
Villa Emilia ★★★★ 4 star hotel in Eixample
The One Barcelona GL ★★★★★ 5 star hotel in Eixample

C. Staying in Ciutat Vella 

C) Stay in historic medieval Cuitat Vella district which has five neighbourhoods. The Ciutat Vella means Old City and is the medieval quarter of Barcelona which is the oldest area of Barcelona. This area of Barcelona is one of the biggest medievel city areas in Europe. It includes the five neighbourhoods of La Raval, Barri Gotic, La Ribera / El Born and Barceloneta. The most popular area to stay in the old city is the gothic area, which is the most central of the neighbourhoods. See pictures of Barcelona's gothic quarter. The Cuitat Vella neighbourhoods has charming narrow crooked streets full of small boutiques and cafes and this is where you can find Barcelona cathedral, several gothic churches, museums, markets and Barcelona's Roman history with fragments of ruins of the original Roman city called Barcino. The tree lined pedestrian street La Rambla cuts through the old city of Barcelona and has many hotels nearby. Each of the five neighbourhoods in the old city of Barcelona has its own special spots and atmosphere. The Raval area is a little more edgy than the others and not entirely safe in the very early hours of the morning in the area nearest to the harbour, but during the day and evening until 1am, it's safe, very colourful and bohemian. 

Another popular area to stay in the old city of Barcelona is near street Via Laietana, which is the street that divides the Gothic area and the El Born/Ribera areas of the old city. Via Laietana itself is a noisy busy street, but the location puts you between two of the medieval quarters close to sights of the Gothic area and the Born area. The Born area is very trendy with many restaurants, cafes and boutiques dotted around the famous gothic Santa Maria del Mar basilica. Barceloneta area is also popular for being near the beach and close to Port Vell marina. Barceloneta is the old fisherman's quarter in Barcelona and has many great fish restaurants and cafes. 

Map hotels Ciutat Vella district of Barcelona

Open FULLSCREEN version of this map
Hotels Gothic area old city Barcelona
Apartments Gothic area Barcelona
Hotels on La Rambla street
Apartments on La Rambla street 

D. Staying in Sant Marti area of Barcelona

D) Stay in modern Sant Marti district and be close to beaches.
Sant Marti district. Sant Marti is the district of Barcelona that borders the city coastline. It is the former industrial area of Barcelona and the most recently modernised and developed area of Barcelona. Sant Marti is a little off centre, but it's quiet, nice and quite easy to get to the city center by metro or taxi. Sant Marti is a nice mix of hi-tech business, residential apartments, a university campus and many new hotels. In the summer the Sant Marti area is perfect, if you also want to spend a few hours at Barcelona's beaches. Most popular areas in Sant Marti are the residential neighbourhoods of Poblenou and Vila Olimpic (the former Olympic Village) which have apartments and hotels. Before the 1992 Barcelona Olympic games Sant Marti was the industrial part of Barcelona called the "Manchester of Barcelona" because of the many factories. There were beaches on the coast, but before 1992 they were full of slums and shanty towns. Since the Barcelona Olympic games the entire area has changed into a trendy, modern new residential, business with a new beach coastline. See our guide to Barcelona beaches.

Hotel Arts Barcelona ★★★★★ 5 star hotel on beach
Hotel W Barcelona ★★★★★ 5 star hotel on beach
Barceló Hotel Atenea Mar ★★★★ 4 star hotel near beach
Hotel Hesperia del Mar ★★★★ 4 star hotel near beach
Hotel 54 Barceloneta ★★★ 3 star hotel near beach
Map Barcelona beach hotels
Guide to hotels near Barcelona beach
Apartments near Barcelona beaches
Guide Best Barcelona beach hotels

Apartments near Barcelona beaches Sant Marti
CasaGrand Luxury Suites

Map hotels near Barcelona beach

Cheaper accommodation Barcelona

Of course there are savings, if you stay further from the city centre downtown. The Barcelona metro system is very safe, clean and cheap, so you can also stay in a hotel a bit further from the most popular areas and still get around the city quickly and cheaply. 

Map all best Barcelona hotels 


Related pages for hotels

Barcelona Top Hotels
Best Barcelona Bed and Breakfast and guesthouses
Top Barcelona Boutique hotels

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Last Updated on Sunday, 01 July 2018 21:03