WHERE to STAY in Barcelona for FIRST time Visitors. 2024 map and advice

Where to stay in Barcelona for first time tourists

Updated April 2024.

Four Barcelona areas are most popular and considered the best areas to stay in Barcelona for first time tourists. Scroll down this page for maps, tips, information and hotel recommendations for first time visitors.

 Near and around downtown central square which is called Plaça de Catalunya

2. In 19th century Eixample district. It has several neighbourhoods and considered the safest area.

3. In medieval gothic Ciutat Vella district It has several neighbourhoods.

4. In modern Sant Marti area near the beaches. It has several neighbourhoods.

You might also be interested in our popular Barcelona Top Ten attractions and our guide to planning 3 days in Barcelona.
If you are a family with children, see our guide to choosing the best Barcelona family areas 

Map best areas to stay - Where to stay in Barcelona - first time tourists

Four Barcelona areas are most popular and considered the best areas to stay in Barcelona for first time tourists
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Best place to stay in Barcelona

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

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A) Stay downtown near Plaça de Catalunya

Stay in Barcelona downtown city center area which is on and around Barcelona's most central square Plaça de Catalunya. This area is busy, crowded and quite noisy, but very well connected for sightseeing, shopping and rtransport making it the most popular Barcelona area to stay in for short stays.

It is called Plaça de Catalunya - often also just called Plaza Catalunya. This surrounding area does not have a specific name, but is considered to be the city center

It is popular to stay here because this is the most central and best well connected area of Barcelona.

Our tips for hotels in this area are brand new 3 star hotel Praktik Èssens - rated Superb by reviews. It's perfectly located near city center and offers luxury rooms, free WiFi, desk and airport shuttle. Also look at brand new 4 star Iberostar Paseo de Gracia rated Superb by reviews right on the square Plaça de Catalunya. 

Plaça de Catalunya square borders on both 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 staying on, or near Plaça de Catalunya, then you are very centralw with access to attractions, trains, airport buses, tourist office, day tours etc.

For maps and a more detailed descriptions of reasons to stay near Plaça de Catalunya scroll down the page

Map hotels Plaça de Catalunya

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 popular area of Eixample to stay in, is the Sant Antoni neighbourhood. Sant Antoni is quiet, residential, authentic and has a wonderful food market which just reopened in 2019 after many years of renovation.

Our tip for 2 good hotels in this area are new 4 star Hotel Casa Bonay - rated Superb by reviews - it's a little way from downtown central square of Plaza Catalunya, but in a nice area near metro station Tetuan. Also look at the 4 star Gallery Hotel - rated Superb by guests which is near central shopping boulevard Passeig de Gracia. The Gallery hotel has a free sauna, gym and roof-top terrace with a pool and city views.

Map hotels Eixample

C) Stay in 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. Popular here is new Hotel Cool Room Malda - rated Superb by guests for location, new and clean rooms and overall great value. Also H10 Madison - rated Superb by reviews. H10 Madison is just inside the gothic area, so also close to Plaza Catalunya. H10 Madison has modern, fully equipped and air-conditioned rooms and many facilities include free WiFi, a business center, family rooms and a small roof-top pool with nice view of the cathedral.

Map hotels La Rambla

D) Stay in Sant Marti area near beaches

The Sant Marti district is the former industrial factory area of Barcelona.  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.

Map hotels near Barcelona beaches

What is best place to stay in Barcelona

Detailed answer

A) Near 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

Iberostar Paseo de Gracia ★★★★ 4 star hotel on Plaza Catalunya
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 Pl Catalunya
PG3 Ático en Paseo de Gracia - Rated EXCEPTIONAL
St Anthony Market Nextdoor 
Centre Apartments Barcelona - Rated VERY GOOD
DestinationBCN Universitat  - Rated EXCEPTIONAL
Central Suites Barcelona  - Rated WONDERFUL
You Stylish City Centre Apartments - Rated EXCELLENT
Serennia Apartamentos Ramblas. Rated EXCELLENT
Aspasios Rambla Catalunya Suites. airport shuttle, rated SUPERB by guests.
Family apartments Barcelona

B&B guest houses near Plaza Catalunya

The Hotel 592 - Adults Only Rated EXCELLENT

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 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

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C) Stay in Ciutat Vella area 

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) Stay in Sant Marti area

Hotels and apartments here are modern and close to beaches. 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 popular 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 Monday, 08 April 2024 20:13