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Where to stay in Barcelona? Which is best area to stay in Barcelona? E-mail
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Where to stay in Barcelona - which area is best?

Which is the best area to stay in Barcelona, Spain

Accommodation guide to choosing the best area to stay in Barcelona for first time visitors. We have also included some hotel maps with tips for recommended hotels in 2017 in the most popular tourist areas. You might also be interested in our guide to planning 3 day Barcelona visit.

Where to stay in Barcelona?

Most first time visitors and tourist  choose to stay in four central Barcelona city areas. The most popular Barcelona areas are:

1) Barcelona city center near central Plaça de Catalunya

2) The 19th century modernist area called Eixample district 

3) Medieval historic area called Ciutat Vella district

4) Beach area neighbourhoods in former industrial district Sant Marti

Where to stay in Barcelona Spain? Best areas to stay

Barcelona is Spain's second largest city with 1,5 million inhabitants in 10 city districts. Most tourists generally prefer to stay in certain parts of 3 Barcelona city districts. The most popular districts to stay in are called Eixample, Ciutat Vella and Sant Marti.

It is in these 3 city districts that you can find the 4 most popular Barcelona areas, where many visitors like to stay.

The most popular area to stay is quite naturally the downtown Barcelona area, which is around the central city square called Plaça de Catalunya. Plaça de Catalunya is located inbetween the medieval old city of Barcelona called Ciutat Vella and the newer 19th century modernist area of Barcelona called Eixample, so if you are stay on or near Plaza Catalunya, then it is very central and convenient for access to attractions, trains, buses and tours, which makes it popular.

Next 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 bathing season - Mid-May to end September, another popular area to stay in Barcelona is near the Barcelona beaches which are mostly in the coastal Sant Marti district. Here many like to stay in the beach neighbourhoods called Vila Olimpica,  Poblenou or 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 the best area to stay in Barcelona?

It´s not easy to say which exactly is the best area to stay in Barcelona, but we will try and tell you a little bit more about the 4 popular places to stay in Barcelona. 

Plaza Catalunya is the most central area of Barcelona and very well connected to everything.  Ciutat Vella and Eixample areas have most of the Barcelona top sights and the Sant Marti area is popular in the summer because it is close to the nicest Barcelona beaches.

A) Stay downtown near Plaza Catalunya
Stay in the downtown 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. 

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 in the beach season from June to September.

Our tips for best area 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. 

A) Stay in downtown Plaza Catalunya

In our opinion, the very best area to stay in Barcelona is in downtown Barcelona on or near 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 gothic area Ciutat Vella
* Near Aerobus airport buses on Plaza Catalunya
* Many 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 being in Barcelona downtown in the 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 and Boutique Hotel H10 Catalunya Plaza - or you can stay on the quieter side streets to the Plaza Catalunya, like Bergera street, where you can find three very nice hotels called Hotel Catalonia Plaza Catalunya, Hotel Pulitzer and Hotel Regina

There are many hotels just a block or two from Plaza Catalunya. Here are some ideas for you. Look at the new hotel Midmost, 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 near Plaza Catalunya, Barcelona 

Stay in Eixample area of Barcelona

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 borders on the old gothic city and 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 designer shop street Passeig de Gracia, or near central square Plaza Catalunya, or near Barcelona's biggest attraction the Sagrada Familia unfinished church or near near Plaza Espanya with 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 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

Stay in Ciutat Vella oldest part of Barcelona

C) Stay in historic medieval Cuitat Vella district which has five neighbourhoods
Ciutat Vella district. 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 BarcinoThe 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 

Stay 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

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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