A practical guide to show you a list of attractions of each neighborhood so you can choose the best places to stay in Barcelona.
Safety in Barcelona
Overall, Barcelona is a very safe city, but there’s no denying that there is a problem concerning pickpocketing and bag snatching, especially when it comes to tourists.
Many of these thefts occur in broad daylight in crowded places such as the metro, train stations and highly touristic places. Also, near important monuments such as La Rambla, Sagrada Familia or Barceloneta Beach.
It shouldn’t be a problem if you take measures and pay special attention to your surroundings when you open your bag or you’re browsing your smartphone.
Best places to stay in Barcelona
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Barceloneta is an historic barrio which is centrally located, right next to the beach of the same name and quite close to special places like the Barcelona Aquarium, Maremagnum, Catalunya History Museum and the Barcelona Zoo.
This neighborhood is quite popular among families and young people who take advantage to the proximity of the coast as well as the city center (La Rambla is just 10 to 15 minutes away).
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This whole area got renovated for the 1992 Olympic Games and completely transformed the beachfront.
Modern, chic, spacious and new, finding hotels by the Olympic Port may be a bit more pricey compared to other neighborhoods, but in return you have close access to several beaches, a top of the line location, restaurants and the best electronic parties.
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Poblenou has become one of the trendiest areas in Barcelona. It features a mix of old and brand new structures, located halfway between the beachfront, Glòries square and the ever present Agbar Tower.
There aren’t many touristic attractions in this large neighborhood, but instead there is plenty of commercial offices, shopping areas, the Forum Park, galleries and a growing offer of restaurants. Many of the new design hostels in Barcelona are settled all over Poblenou, as well as top notch hotel chains as Novotel Barcelona City.
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Location wise, this is definitely the best neighborhood to stay in Barcelona. The Gothic Quarter is the heart of the Old City and many of the places you want to see the most are at walking distance. To name a few, you have the Barcelona Cathedral, Catalunya Square, Jaume I Square and two of the most busiest avenues of the city for shopping: La Rambla and Portal de l’Angel.
Nothing beats the charm of the narrow old streets, hidden squares and historic landmarks. This neighborhood has every kind of hotel you can think of, like the exclusive Mercer Hotel.
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Located between the Gothic Quarter and the Ciutadella Park, El Born competes with the former in charm, fun, shopping and nightlife.
In this neighborhood you’ll be steps away from Palau de la Música Catalana, Picasso Museum or Santa María del Mar Church. If you choose to stay on the lower side, you’ll be quite close to the beach as well.
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El Raval is certainly a very interesting neighborhood in Barcelona, however it’s not the cleanest or the safest area of the city. However, the fact that you can be very close to La Boquería Market, La Rambla, MACBA and Universitat Square, makes it an interesting choice.
It’s very popular among young people and the atmosphere at night is very busy, so it’s not the greatest prospect if you’re looking for quietness.
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Located along Parallel Avenue, this neighborhood doesn’t have that much to offer touristically speaking. However, it’s well communicated with metro and is quite close to Plaza España, Montjuic and the Old City.
Prices are considerably lower in this neighborhood compared to other parts of Barcelona.
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Montjuic is with plenty of attractions, like the Magic Fountain, the Olympic Stadium and the Montjuic Cable Car. Even so, there are no accommodation options in this area. The closest options are the neighborhood of Sants and Plaza España.
Sants is mostly a residential neighborhood, therefore is a quiet option for couples or families. A big plus is having Sants train station within walking distance. Plaza España on the other side, is very well communicated with the city center and the airport bus line and has plenty of great hotels to choose from.
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The Eixample district has an infinite range of lodging options. Even though some parts of this neighborhood are very popular por partying (close to Universitat), this district is quiet at night.
Eixample is quite balanced regarding shopping areas, public transport and places of interest. Many of the biggest Modernista buildings by Gaudi are here such as: Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló and La Pedrera– as well as the fancy Passeig de Gràcia. Hotels tend to be a bit more costly but depending on the area, you can also find cheaper options.
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Gràcia has a large concentration of apartments for rent as well as a new generation of hostels. It offers a great mixture between local lifestyle, trendy boutiques and plenty of charmed-filled squares to go for a drink.
By mid august, the Gràcia Festival takes the neighborhood streets by storm and can be very hectic. Biggest attractions nearby: Park Güell and Gaudi Experiencia.
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Plenty of the financial district of Barcelona is located by Les Corts, as well as residential areas, so it’s easy to find accommodation options. Nonetheless, there aren’t that much touristic spots to visit in this zone, except for the Camp Nou Barça Stadium.
Staying close to Diagonal Avenue, you’ll have access to stores like El Corte Inglés and L’Illa Diagonal, but overall is a quiet neighborhood.
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Sarrià-Sant Gervasi is located in the upper part of Barcelona. Not too big on touristic attractions, except for Tibidabo, this elegant neighborhood has a larger range of first-class quality hotels and apartments that you could ever think of.
If you stay close to a FGC railway station, the communication with Catalunya Square is excellent, otherwise taking a taxi is the better choice to get there. Prices in this district are usually high.
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Accommodation in Barcelona
If you still haven’t found best place to stay in Barcelona, click here to browse for more options available. Feel free to read the reviews of the hotels we have visited.
Finally, check our selection of the best apartments in Barcelona. It will help you optimize your budget and live as a local as much as possible.
Poble Sec photo credit: Maximilian Goldmann
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