Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia and the most visited city in Spain. It is located on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, making it a great destination for beach holidays. It consists of 10 districts, in which more than 1.6 million people live in total. All areas of Barcelona are special. Some of them are famous for their historic buildings and bright pedestrian streets, in another you will find youth hostels and beaches, in the third you will meet people from creative professions.
The city is popular with tourists due to its unusual architecture, dozens of museums and the proximity of the sea. Every year, more than 18 million foreign visitors come here to witness the famous buildings created by Antonio Gaudi, take a walk through the huge park of Ciutadella and take a look at the Sagrada Familia that is still under construction. In this article you will find a list of areas of Barcelona where is it highly recommended to stay as a tourist.
As for accommodation, the price for a room in a 3 * hotel can vary from 40 to 500 dollars, depending on the area and proximity of attractions. A room in a 5 * hotel will cost anywhere between $130-560 per day.
We previously wrote about when to visit Barcelona. We recommend that you also consult this guide before planning a visit.
So, where should you stay in Barcelona?
1. Gothic Quarter
The Gothic quarter is the most picturesque district of the city of Barcelona, in which the original buildings of the 14-15th centuries have been preserved. The narrow mazes of streets, temples in the Gothic style and the mass of old houses – all this is about the Gothic quarter.
Many tourists advise staying here – a terrific atmosphere and a very good location. It is also worth noting the developed transport infrastructure here, a number of colorful cafes and cozy home hotels.
The disadvantages are as follows: the lack of metro stations in the Old Town (you need to walk 15 minutes to the nearest one), high prices, the absence of ordinary grocery stores nearby, and crowds of tourists.
The main attractions:
- Jewish quarter
- City Hall of Barcelona
- Church of Santa Maria del pi
The Raval is one of the main areas of Barcelona, where there are many attractions, and less than 10 minutes to walk to the seashore.
Previously, it was a very disadvantaged area, known for its prostitutes and drug addicts. Over time, everything has changed, but many locals still do not recommend going here at night as now it is the home to many emigrants from Africa and Asia.
As for the advantages of the area, the prices are very low here and there a large number of second-hand and retro shops which are not found in other parts of Barcelona. There are few hotels, but a number of local residents rent their apartments to tourists. The nearest metro station is 5-10 minutes walk.
- Gallery of modern art
- Palau Guell
- San Antoni Market
3. Sant Pere
Sant Pere is a region of narrow noisy streets, fenced along the perimeter with tall medieval walls. It borders with the most popular tourist areas of the city – Barceloneta, Eixample and the Gothic Quarter. The main pedestrian street is Via Laietana Avenue, which links Sant Pere to the port.
There are always a lot of tourists in this part of Barcelona, because a unique historical building has been preserved here and there are a lot of cafes, restaurants, shops and hotels. Prices here are above average. Travelers are advised to visit local markets – an indescribable atmosphere reigns here.
As for the negatives, there are just too many tourists, a lack of normal transport links (due to the old buildings) and an abundance of pickpockets.
Main Attractions near Sant Pere:
- Old Bourne Market.
- The 18th century palace in the Gothic style of Lonja de Mar.
- French station.
- XIV century gothic church of Santa Maria del Mar.
- New Market Santa Caterina.
Barceloneta is one of the tourist areas of Barcelona, where tourists outnumber the locals several times over. The reason is simple – it is situated near the sea and most of the historic buildings are within walking distance.
A huge number of restaurants and cafes can be found here. We recommend trying the freshly caught fish. There are no problems with nightlife either – dozens of bars and nightclubs stretch along the coast.
As for the minuses, it is always very noisy and crowded here, the prices are quite high and it is difficult to book a hotel room if less than two weeks are left before the trip. Also in the Barcelonetta area, it is quite problematic to find grocery stores and museums.
- Museum of the History of Catalonia.
Eixample is one of the better areas of Barcelona to stay at. It is one of the most comfortable neighborhoods in terms of layout and infrastructure. This is the center of Barcelona, but it is not as noisy as on the promenade, and you can always find a cozy hotel. Prices are above average.
It is interesting that the district is divided into Old Eixample, New Eixample, San Antoni and Fort Pius (many Chinese live here). La Rambla and the Gracia area, the main tourist streets of the city, brought fame to this district.
Many tourists say that it is better to stay here, since all the attractions are within walking distance, and the local architecture (mainly houses of the 19th-20th centuries) is of considerable interest. For example, only in this part of the city can you see the buildings designed by Antonio Gaudi.
If your goal is to explore the most picturesque and interesting places in Barcelona, then it is better to stay in an apartment or rent a hotel in this part of the city.
The most interesting places:
- House with spikes
- Palace of Catalan music
- Casa Batlló
- Casa Mila
- Amalieu House
- House Calvet
- Boqueria Market
6. Sants Montjuic
Sants-Montjuic is the largest district of the city, located in the southern part. It also includes a port, Sants station and a number of villages that are part of the city. There are few museums and parks in this part of Barcelona, so not everyone will want to stay here.
The advantages include low prices, nearby beaches, beautiful sea views and many green areas. An important factor is that it is the easiest to get to this area as it is closest to the airport, and there is also the Sants station.
The only nuance that tourists should know about is that it is better not to visit some streets in the dark, because it can be unsafe. This mainly concerns the southern and western outskirts of the city.
- Montjuic TV Tower
- Montjuic fountain
- Olympic park
7. Les Corts
Les Corts is an elite district of Barcelona, where skyscrapers of famous companies and houses of wealthy locals are located. Here you can find popular chain hotels and a huge number of restaurants. Prices are high.
It is safe here, but at the same time quite boring. The only potential entertainment spot is the nightclub Elephant, where a wealthy crowd gathers in the evenings.
The only place that is worth a look is the stadium of the FC Barcelona. Obviously soccer lovers will love to watch a match live here.
But perhaps this is the most boring and costly area for travelers, where not everyone wants to stay.
Pedralbes is the most expensive area in Barcelona, where you can meet famous politicians and stars of the first order. It is definitely not worth stopping here, because this part of the Catalan capital is completely built up with lovely houses and there are no attractions to see here. Only the most expensive tennis club in Spain and the very popular polo club should be included in the entertainment, but the prices are correspondingly high.
It is also important to know that local transportation links here are poorly developed as locals travel by car.
9. Sarria-Sant Gervasi
Sarria Sant Gervasi is the most luxurious area in Barcelona. Here you can find boutiques of the coolest brands, as well as the most expensive cars and meet the most affluent people. It’s impossible to stay inexpensively in this part of Barcelona – there are very few hotels, and all of them are 4 or 5 *. But you can have a bite to eat – fortunately, there are a lot of cafes and restaurants here.
As for the pros, it is very quiet here. This is the part of Barcelona where it is as safe as possible and there are noisy nightclubs. We can say that this is a “residential district” in which it is very comfortable. But there are no historical places here, so tourists rarely visit.
Gracia is Barcelona’s most creative district. Here you can find many artists, musicians and poets. Students and locals like to spend time right there. Despite the proximity of the city center there are very few tourists.
If we talk about the pros, it is worth noting that it is quite safe, there are a large number of cultural institutions and cafes and you won’t find many tourists. In addition, hotels are relatively cheaper, and many visitors will be able to afford to stay here.
The main and only negative is the low number of things to do or see.
Horta-Guinardó is not the most popular area in Barcelona, because it is far from famous attractions, and the local architecture is very peculiar. The positive aspect of this half of the Catalan capital includes the presence of three parks at once (the largest is Colserola), the absence of crowds of tourists and way of life not influenced by tourism.
Most of the population of Horta-Guinardó comprises of elderly people, and therefore there is very little entertainment, especially at night. You will also not find a large number of cafes and restaurants here. But this is one of those places where you can cheaply stay in Barcelona.
The most interesting places:
- Labyrinth of Horta.
- Bunker El Carmel.
12. San Marti
If you still don’t know which area of Barcelona is better to stay in, pay attention to San Marti. This is one of the most popular areas in which tourists like to live. The reason is simple – there are many beaches nearby, and at the same time, attractions can be reached on foot.
The largest number of hotels is concentrated in this part of Barcelona, the prices of which vary greatly. If you take care of hotel booking in advance, then you can save significantly.
Another plus is the abundance of cafes, restaurants, bars and clubs that operate until late at night. The area is quite safe, so you will not be afraid to walk along the promenade in the evening.
Negatives about this area include crowds of tourists (especially many Russian speakers) and very high prices in restaurants and shops in the season from May to September.
- Olympic village.
Poblenou is one of those areas that was given a new life in the early 21st century. It used to be a regular manufacturing zone, in which factories belched smoke day and night and hundreds of Spaniards worked for their living. After the closure of a number of enterprises, the area was unclaimed for some time, but in the early 2000s a project was developed, thanks to which Poblenou became one of the most creative areas of the Catalan capital.
Most of the population of the region are photographers, artists, directors, writers and other creative personalities. Now many Catalans dream of living here. For tourists, this location may well be considered ideal. Firstly, the apartments in this area are quite large. Secondly, it’s not far to go to the sea. Thirdly, there are not too many people. Prices are also quite reasonable.
If you still don’t know where it is better to stay in this area of Barcelona, choose a spacious loft – this is the cheapest and most atmospheric accommodation.
As for interesting places, there are no historical buildings here, but in recent years many cafes and restaurants have opened. There are also second-hand and vintage shops.
Places here that are worth a visit:
- Cemetery Poblenou. This is a historical cemetery in Barcelona, the first burial of which was made back in the late 18th century. Tourists love this place for hundreds of unusual sculptures and magnificent crypts.
- Parco del Poblenou is a park installation where you can see a lot of unusual objects.
- Agbar Tower or “Cucumber” is one of the most controversial buildings of the Catalan capital, which, nevertheless, attracts a lot of tourists.
14. Diagonal Mar
Diagonal Mar is the newest district of Barcelona, which appeared in the northern part of the Catalan capital after the 2004 Cultural Forum. Once there were plants and factories, but now it is one of the fastest growing areas of the Catalan capital in which wealthy Catalans live.
The advantages of this area for tourists are as follows: proximity to the sea and beaches, well-developed transport infrastructure, Diagonal Mar Park and a small number of tourists.
The disadvantages include the complete lack of historical attractions and a small number of hotels. But there are many cafes and boutiques of famous brands.
After reading this blog post we hope you find the answer to which areas of Barcelona are better for a tourists to stay.
To summarize, below are the 4 types of areas of Barcelona to stay in:
- For the youth, where you can have fun until the morning – Barceloneta, San Marti, Sant Pere and the Gothic Quarter.
- For families where it is cozy and not too noisy – Horta-Ginardo, Sants-Montjuic, Eixample.
- For high priced luxury locations – Diagonal Mar, Sarria-San Gervasi, Pedralbes, Les Corts. There are no attractions and or much entertainment, but these are the safest and richest quarters of Barcelona.
- For creative people – Poblenou, Gracia and Raval. Their main feature is not historical buildings and museums, but unusual and creative places to spend time at.
The districts of Barcelona, like other cities, are very different from each other in their history, culture and traditions, but each of them is interesting in its own way.