Where to stay in Barcelona? Which is best area to stay in Barcelona? 2019 Tips and Map

Where to stay in Barcelona?


There are 4 main Barcelona areas which are most popular and considered the best place to stay in Barcelona for first time tourists. Scroll down to get a quick overview and further down you will find all area maps, tips and information about where to stay in Barcelona - and which area is best to stay for first time visitors.
You might also be interested in our guide to planning a 3 day Barcelona. If you prefer, you can go directly to our Barcelona hotel & apartment deals

Updated November 2018

Where to stay in Barcelona - short answer

The short answer is that first time visitors and tourists choose to stay in 4 central Barcelona city areas. Scroll down the page to see a complete and detailed description of each area.

1) Plaça de Catalunya - central city square - near 19th and medieval parts of city.
Hotels Plaza Catalunya

2) Eixample - central city district with many neighbourhoods - architecture 19th century modernist.
Hotels Eixample area

3) Ciutat Vella - city district- medieval city area - narrow street - old architecture.
Hotels Gothic area

4) Sant Marti - city district - former industrial area - now office and residential area near beaches - modern architecture.
Hotels near beach

We think the area around the central downtown square called Plaça de Catalunya is the best place to stay in Barcelona for short visits and for first time visitors, because it is most central and best connected to many top sights. It is walking distance to the old medieval city and the 19th modernist area. 

Our second choice is the district called Eixample (pronounced Esh-sharm-pluh) This is the modernist area of Barcelona developed from late 19th century. 

Our third choice is to stay inside the medieval city district Ciutat Vella (pronounced (Si-oo-tat Vey-ya) which is rich in charm and historyFinally our fourth choiice, which is mostly for summer visits, is the  neighbourhoods of district Sant Marti because it's close to Barcelona's beaches

The two maps below will give you an idea of where the popular areas areas are with names of districts and popular neighbourhoods.

On the satellite map below you can see the city layout. If you zoom in on the map with your fingers then you can see that old city - Ciutat Vella -  is all narrow winding streets. This is the oldest city area that was inside the medieval city walls. 

The Eixample area is the newer expansion of the city. The oldcity walls were demolished in late 19th century and Eixample was born. It is laid out in a grid system with wide streets and elegant buildings.

Sant Marti was an old industrial area and has been transformed into a modern area with a beach coastline.The yellow dots indicate the top sights in Barcelona. 


Barcelona's Top 10 sights are mostly in the Eixample and Cuitat Vella districts. The reason that being near central square Plaça de Catalunya is because it is located between the Eixample and Ciutat Vella districts, which makes very central for most of the top sights and the transport connections.

Scroll down the page for much more detailed information, maps and photos about each of the four areas tourist prefer in Barcelona.

Of course the most central and popular areas of Barcelona are more expensive, more crowded and more touristy. so keep in mind that Barcelona is a small city of 1.5 million inhabitants and if you stay a little off center, then it will be cheaper, quieter and you can still easily get to all the top sights by metro, bus and taxi.

All Barcelona's 10 city districts are safe for tourists and the Barcelona metro system is safe and cheap.

Where to stay in Barcelona - longer answer

Scroll down the page for a complete and detailed description of each area.

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.

The most popular Barcelona area to stay in is downtown Barcelona city center area around the central city square, which is called Plaça de Catalunya - often also called Plaza Catalunya. This area does not have a specific name, but is considered the city center

This is considering one of the best areas because staying on or near Plaça de Catalunya is most central and very well connected. The square is between the ancient medieval Barcelona city area - called Ciutat Vella - and the more recent 19th century modernist area of Barcelona - called Eixample.

So if you are stay on or near Plaça de Catalunya, then you are most central which is most convenient for access to attractions, trains, airport buses, tourist office, day tours etc. Find a more detailed descriptions of reason to stay near Plaça de Catalunya by scrolling down this page

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 of Eixample is the Sant Antoni neighbourhood in the right side of Eixample. Sant Antoni is quiet, residential, wuthentic with a wonderful market which has just reopened after years of renovation.

C) Stay in historic medieval Ciutat Vella area

Another popular choice for first time visitors is to stay in one of the neighbourhoods in the narrow winding streets of Barcelona´s medieval district - called the Ciutat Vella. The district Ciutat Vella is divided into five neighbourhoods which are called Poblesec, El Raval, Gothic, El Born/Ribera and Barceloneta

D) Stay in Sant Marti area near beaches

The Sant Marti district is the former industrial factory area.  Sant Marti district is divided into several neighbourhoods and the most popular with tourists are Poblenou, Vila Olimpica and Diagonal Mar. This district is a mix of former industrial neighbourhoods and new modern residential areas,  hi-tech offices and hotels that serve both business and tourists. In the summer from mid-May to end September, it is popular to stay in Sant Marti because of its close proximty to the Barcelona beach area.

Where to stay in Barcelona - detailed answer

A. Stay 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 EXCEPTIONAL - 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 Excellent too.Close by is Pelai street, which connects Plaza Universitat with Plaza Catalunya are also 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 - rated Wonderful, the Granvia hotel rated Wonderful, the Catalonia Square rated Wonderful - or the Adults only Guesthouse The Corner 592 rated Fabulous - 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 rated Very Good or the the luxury Hotel 1898 rated Superb - which are both situated near the top of Las Ramblas street and just inside the medieval city area.

If you prefer the historic charm of the Gothic area's narrow streets, then of course there are several fine hotels there too. But if you stay inside the gothic area, then check if your hotel has soundproofed windows, especially if your room is facing the street.

We love Barcelona's medieval gothic areas, but for some guests, it can feel a little crowded and too noisy compared to the quieter and more elegant 19th century modernist Eixample area or the Sant Marti area, so a hotel or apartment just outside the borders of the old medieval city is, in our opinion, the best 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

B. Staying in Eixample area

Stay in Eixample (Expansion) 19th century modernist area of Barcelona. The Eixample is the area that was developed in Barcelona after the old city became overcrowded and the Expansion was planned. 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 very popular now is staying near Plaza Espanya in the Sant Antoni area near to attractions like Magic Fountain, the Spanish village Poble Espanyol 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

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 Friday, 23 November 2018 14:05