Best location to stay in Barcelona? A Complete Overview (with insider knowledge)

Where to Stay in Barcelona for a FIRST time visit? Full Map with handpicked Hotels 2021

What is the best location to stay in Barcelona? This is a question we always receive. Therefore, we created this guide on where to stay in Barcelona. It includes the best areas for the first time visitor, families and couples.

We even included a big map with all neighborhoods and handpicked hotels for couples, families and friends.

(This guide is always up to date, the last updated April 2021.)

But, first things first:

Question: Where to stay in Barcelona for a first-time visit?

Answer: stay central!

What does that mean? We highlight the recommended areas in the map below.

The very city center includes

  • Gothic Quarter (old town with the famous Las Ramblas)
  • El Born (old town)
  • Eixample around Passeig de Gracia

Here’s a full map for you to understand the different areas.

Why do I recommend these areas?

Those are the most convenient areas to stay and are the safety! They have direct access to the airport, public transport and many of the major sights nearby.

Please note: those are not the exact names of the districts, neither its absolute borders. I just tried to simplify this information.

We know it is hard to understand the district name when you have never been there. So we handcrafted several maps to help you. They are all in this guide. In fact, you won’t find any better and more detailed guide than this one. When reading this guide, you will stay at a great place in a safe neighborhood!

Do you prefer staying close to the beach? Then check our simple guide to best beach hotels in Barcelona. The website LesBoutiqueHotels collects also the finest boutique hotels in Barcelona.

In this guide we cover:

  1. Best areas and handpicked hotels for …
    1. Families
    2. Couples
    3. Luxury Traveler
    4. Design Traveler
    5. Groups
    6. Solo-Traveler
    7. Nightlife-seeking traveler
    8. Budget Traveler
    9. Beach hotels in Barcelona
  2. Top 10 Sights
    1. sights
    2. tickets you have to pre-book
  3. Neighborhoods and its differences
  4. safest area to stay in Barcelona
  5. FAQ

Read: is the Barcelona transport Card worth it?

1. Best areas and handpicked hotels for …

As mentioned, the city center of Barcelona is the perfect place for the first-time visitor.

I also understand that different travel styles match different needs. I created an overview of this. You will notice some areas are excluded or added to the previous recommendation.

Also, I would like to include an amazing discount on your stay. In case you prefer AirBnB, here you have a 35€ discount for your AirBnB stay.

Read43 alternatives to Airbnb – that might be even more interesting

This videos gives you a good insight on the neighborhoods in Barcelona. So if you’ve been wondering what neighbourhood to stay in Barcelona, this is your video to look at.

We go into detail of each district here.

1.1 Families

Let’s face it. Kids and adults have different priorities while traveling.

Kids love to play, parents want to do some sightseeing and experience the culture, the food… so there must be a commitment.

That is why, for families, I recommend to stay in the following districts:

  • Eixample
  • El Born (old town)
  • Gothic Quarter (old town)
  • Poble Nou and Vila Olimpica, near the Beach

This map shows you the areas, recommended for families:

Handpicked accommodations for families

Flexibility is a must while traveling with a family group, that is why the best option would be to look for an apartment centrally located or nearby the beach, depending on the family purposes.

Also, check if you need self-catering facilities, such as a kitchen. For me, this is always useful to have.

Durlet Beach Apartments

Located just 200 meters from the Beach, Durlet Beach Apartments is a great option while traveling with the family.

Spacious, with modern decor facilities, air-conditioned rooms, a fully equipped kitchen, and a swimming pool on the rooftop terrace.

The apartment is located in the Poble Nou area, one of the most family-friendly neighborhoods in Barcelona, surrounded by many bars, restaurants, and pedestrian streets.

Metro stop is just 10 minutes by walk.

This apartment is my #1 recommendation for families!

Check prices at Durlet Apartment here

Durlet Beach Apartments

STAY Bailen Apartments

By a walking distance to main modernist Gaudí attractions, STAY Bailen Apartments are located in a quiet and secure neighborhood.

The apartments are well equipped and spacious, perfect for large families.

Not only sightseeing building are close, but also a supermarket, bakery, bars and restaurants are around the area.

Check prices for STAY Bailen Apartment

BA81 Apartments

H10 Hotel near the beach (with roof top pool)

Are you traveling with teenagers who would love to hang at the beach while you explore the city? Then I would really recommend H10 in Vila Olimpica!

It comes with a roof top terrace swimming pool, a relaxing spa and cool rooms with a sea view. The rooms differ a lot, make sure you pick a room with a sea view!

For families traveling with independent teenagers, this is a great idea!

You can book a family room or a double room with an extra bed.

Good to know: The sailing boats leave from the port. So from here you are within walking distance. I always recommend Barcelonasailboats.com for sailing trips.

Book H10 Marina here

H10 Family Room near Marina and the beach H10 Family Room near Marina and the beach

 1.2 Couples

Barcelona is a romantic city, perfect for a romantic city break.

I also collected 54 romantic things to do in Barcelona in case you need some inspiration to surprise your partner in Barcelona.

The best areas for couples to stay in Barcelona are:

  • El Born – in green
  • Gothic Quarter – in blue
  • Sant Antoni – in yellow
  • Eixample – in red

This map shows you the areas, recommended for couples:

Handpicked accommodations for couples

Traveling as a couple who wants to spend time together, you need a more intimate accommodation. That is why I would recommend staying at hotels during your trip.

What is better than simply enjoy Barcelona, no worrying about cleaning or cooking?

Hotel Mercer Barcelona

Located in the heart of the Gothic Quarter, Hotel Mercer Barcelona is set in one of the city’s ancient buildings, next to the Roman walls.

It has a chic decor, high ceilings with exposed brick walls, and an interior country yard with orange trees.

Could it be more perfect?

It is, the Cathedral is just a 5 minutes walk.

Check prices for Hotel Mercer here

Mercer Hotel in Barcelona

Hotel Casa Camper

A stylish boutique hotel located in the multi-cultural heart of the city, between Las Ramblas and MACBA Gallery.

Casa Camper is located in a 19th-century Gothic building, and the rooms have garden or city views.

It offers many complimentary services.

Their restaurant, named Dos Palillos is a very famous restaurant in Barcelona.

Dos Palillos serves Asian dishes in the Spanish tapas-style, and in case you want to try it, you should make a reservation.

Also: Some of the rooms come with cool hammock. It’s really stylish place!

Check prices for Casa Camper here

Hotel Casa Camper

Airbnb Apartment near Sagrada Familia

A cute Airbnb near Sagrada Familia (just 2 minutes walk) with Barcelona flair. Not only the decoration is cute, the host, Mari is very nice and will share with you her best local tips.

The apartment is in a walking distance to the famous modernist buildings:

  • Sagrada Familia
  • Hospital de Sant Pau

The metro is also very close, making it very convenient to move around the city.

Check prices for this cute Airbnb here

Cute Airbnb Barcelona Eixample

1.3 Luxury traveler

Barcelona has got it all, trendy restaurants with the best cooks in the world, luxury shops, culture, sightseeing.

For those who have more money to indulge, this city becomes a dream came true.

For the luxury travelers, I would recommend staying in the following areas:

  • Tibidabo – in light green
  • Barceloneta – Beach area
  • Passeig de Gracia – in yellow
  • Gothic Quarter – in blue
  • El Born – in green

This guide collects the best luxury hotels in Barcelona city center and around.

This map shows you the areas, recommended for the luxury traveler:

Handpicked accommodations for the luxury traveler

W Hotel

Designed by Ricardo Bofill, a world-renowned architect, W Barcelona sets the scene for a spectacular stay.

Located along the famous Barceloneta boardwalks, directly on the beachfront, its rooms boast panoramic views over the Mediterranean sea and the city.

The W Hotel is my #1 recommendation for the travel in pure luxury.

Seriously, nothing beats this view. Have a look on the photo below.

Check prices for W Hotel here

Nothing beats this view - W Hotel in Barcelona

Mandarin Oriental Hotel

Set on Barcelona’s fashionable Passeig de Gràcia, Mandarin Oriental does not offer only quality accommodation, but many services:

  • Spa
  • bathrobes
  • sleepers
  • innovative cuisine restaurants

The location is perfect, just 5 minutes walk from Gaudi’s Casa Batlló and La Pedrera.

Check prices for Mandarin Oriental here

Hotel Mandarin in Barcelona

Hotel 1898 (my top recommendation!)

My favorite rooftop terrace and luxury place is the Hotel 1898.

You cannot be more central since this hotel is located on the famous La Rambla. It is a restored 19th-century building. The highlight for me is the heated rooftop pool with a sun terrace – and the panoramic view!

The rooms are super elegant, free and fast WiFi and on top of that, marble bathroom.

Check prices and availability for Hotel 1898

Best Luxury Hotel in Barcelona: Hotel 1898

Best Luxury Hotel in Barcelona: Hotel 1898

1.4 Design-lovers

There is a lot to enjoy for the design-lover in Barcelona.

For the design-oriented traveler, I sum up boutique hotels and other design spots.

You will feel inspired all around the city, it is actually the city motto:

Barcelona Inspira

For the design lover, I would not recommend any specific area, as I am sure you will do your research. But I can give you a couple of ideas for design accommodation.

Handpicked accommodations for the design lover

I have looked all over the place and tested several central design hostels in Barcelona. Here is my two favorites I enjoyed most.

Praktik Vinoteca – wine-themed

Praktik Vinoteca is a Hotel dedicated to the wine world.

It is no secret, that Catalonia (the area around Barcelona) is one of the best wine producers in the world.

In this hotel, you can learn a lot about wine, as well as join many activities.

Like the concept, but you don’t drink wine?

No worries, this hotel chain has another hotel dedicated to bakery stuff: Praktik Bakery.

Check prices for Praktik Vinoteca here

Praktik Vinoteca