Barcelona Hotels Tips & Advice
Before we jump into the best places to stay in Barcelona, let’s first talk about some handy tips and bits of advice for anyone looking to stay in the lovely city:
- Call Direct: If you plan to book a stay at a hotel that is part of a chain, don’t call the chain’s official line. Directly call the hotel for cheaper prices.
- Use Metro Cards: The Metro system is essential to getting around Barcelona. But if you’ll be traveling around the city for more than three days with the Metro, you’ll be wracking up €2 per trip. Instead, purchase a 10-ride ticket for just €10. Alternatively, buy the Barcelona Hola Travel Card for unlimited train and bus rides over a set number of days.
- Ask For Discounts: Don’t be shy – ask accommodation locations if they have special prices, discounts, or promotions. You may also qualify for certain discounts, like student or corporate discounts. Group or long-stay discounts may also be available.
- Eat With The Locals: Barcelona locals eat lunch from 1 to 4 pm and dinner from 9 to 10 pm, which is later than you may be used to. If you don’t join them, you won’t be able to enjoy the full glory of Barcelona cuisine, as kitchens aren’t typically open at other times. You also should follow locals to their dining locations of choice instead of following tourist recommendations, which are sure to be more expensive.
- Book Online: Most hotels offer cheaper prices online than they do in person or over the phone. Compare prices from different websites and, after booking, call to ask about specific room requests.
- Go To Flea Markets: Flea markets have inexpensive, unique souvenirs, whereas markets popular with tourists have overpriced, repetitive offerings to take advantage of tourists.
- Book Wisely: Mid-week prices in hotels and hostels are typically much lower than weekend ones because fewer people book during those times. Book far in advance to secure your spot and the best prices.
- Book Attraction Trips Online: A lot of popular attractions in Barcelona have long waitlists and limited daily slots. Book online in order to guarantee that you’ll be able to see the best tourist locations. You can also opt to purchase a guided tour, which will usually have skip-the-line access included.
- Go When There’s A Festival: Yes, festivals are crowded and very popular among tourists – but most consider it worth the squeeze. Festes de la Mercè in September is a great option, and so is Festa Major de Gràcia in August. Both of these festivals are unique and have many interesting activities and events.
- Be Smart About Extra Charges: Ask the accommodation in advance what extra charges you may incur, and be extra careful when it comes to hidden fees. Use your own phone if the hotel one charges you. Ask about parking costs. Choose your own snacks over the expensive minibar options. Remember to keep service charges and taxes in mind.
- Join A Frequent-Stay Program: If you’re coming back to Barcelona often, these types of programs can give you points that grant free nights, extra amenities, attraction or event tickets, airline miles, discounts, car-rentals, other hotel nights, and more.
Barcelona, Spain, is a coastal city on the northeastern side of the country. Steeped in history, it is a vibrant, multicultural city with diverse architecture, ranging from ancient Roman to Modernista and from Gothic to Art Nouveau.
With narrow streets lined with quaint shops, bars, and eateries, Barcelona is a haven for tourism. Its charming whimsy is nothing short of delightful, and the unique and luxurious remnants of years past are more than enough to convince anyone to stop by and experience it themselves.
There are countless different neighborhoods in Barcelona and hundreds of hotels and hostels to choose from. So how can you pick the best one for your needs?
The huge range of choice can make the task of picking just one rather daunting, and thus, many travelers decide to stay in multiple different hotels. Need you do the same?
The 11 Best Areas To Stay In Barcelona
1. Gothic Quarter – The Charming Historical Center of the Old City
Known also as Barri Gòtic or Barrio Gòtico, the Gothic Quarter is located right between Laetana and Rambla. Despite its name, the Gothic buildings most famous in this area don’t necessarily date back to the Middle Ages. A lot of restoration was done around the 19th and 20th centuries to transform the entire area for the International Exhibition of 1929.
The mix of new creations and old led to the Gothic Quarter as it stands today: a blend of the old and the new, while still maintaining much of the charm it had as a more somber and mysterious neighborhood. You can easily see modern buildings fitted against the more dramatic, historically rich structures around the area, alongside some neo-Gothic buildings that were built later on.
The streets of the Gothic Quarter can be rather winding, but you’ll have no shortage of restaurants and bars to go to, and the nightlife is pretty impressive. On top of that, there are many lovely attractions to visit in the area, and from the center of the town, virtually all of them are within walking distance.
The Barcelona Cathedral and its beautiful façade, a mix of neo-Gothic and old Gothic, and the Museu d’Historia de La Ciutat (Museum of Urban History) are all scattered throughout the city amongst other enchanting features of Roman Architecture.
The Mercer Hotel Barcelona is among the most popular hotels in the area.
2. El Born – A Fashionable, Wealthy Hotspot Full of Lively and Historic Attractions
The richest part of La Ribera, El Born is known for being trendy and modern, but you wouldn’t think it if you were here when it was first built. The settlement was built over a medieval location that was destroyed during the 18th century’s secession war. Before that, it had been home to aristocrats and nobles, its humble roots a vast contrast to the celebrations and jousts that once took place on the land. It was also a trade center.
Today, El Born is electric, unique, and artisti c, nothing like it once was. Its nightlife is teeming and its streets are full of beautiful art, including the modernism art movement and its defining statue. It’s a great spot for shopping, too, though many of the stores are high-end and rather expensive.
Apart from shopping, you can take a trip to La Palau de la Musica Catalana and catch a show or tour the impressive structure. You can visit the Picasso Museum for a selection of the famous artist’s work, or view the Chocolate Museum for a quick look at cool chocolate sculptures.
Grand Hotel Central is one of the most popular hotels in El Born.
3. Eixample – The Trendiest, Most Modern Neighborhood in Barcelona
Eixample translates to Expansion District, and it’s easy to see why. Its streets are long and straight, arranged in a convenient and efficient grid-like pattern. Blocks are marked by chamfered corners in this relatively new portion of Barcelona, which was developed from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th. Its organization was designed to combat the housing crisis of the 19th century.
The district is now packed with high-end retail outlets and stores, as well as fancy restaurants and galleries. Its streets, despite their meticulous organization, are the widest and most spacious you may find in the other popular portions of Barcelona, exemplifying sophistication and modernity.
The bus and metro systems are extremely accessible here, providing you with easy access to other neighborhoods, too. La Sagrada Familia and Casa Milà are both along the way – two UNESCO World Heritage sites within close proximity.
4. Sant Antoni – A Historic Balance Between Old And New
Sant Antoni is one of the last remaining locations in Barcelona that shows a side of the city that is steadily disappearing with the years – one where city squares were a hotspot for life and socialization, where everyone knew each other’s names.
In its fragile tightrope walk between old and new, Sant Antoni holds resemblance to Eixample in its organized, grid-like street and building structure. Its center is the Mercat de Sant Antoni, a vibrant marketplace that covers an entire block with strong metal Modernista architecture.
La Barceloneta is a portside neighborhood. Its area is shaped in a triangle, with many expanses of sandy beach along one side of the triangle, the old harbor packed with sea boats along another, and Port Vell on the final side.
The neighborhood was built on narrow streets in a rectilinear, utilitarian style, based on a military grid structure. There’s a reason for this monotonous style – La Barceloneta was designed to house La Ribera residents whose homes were torn down for citadel construction. The low-rise houses that remain till today are a mark of the city’s previous priorities – small in size, so as not to block the grand city views.
Before it became a replacement residency, La Barceloneta was a fishing neighborhood, housing fishermen and factory workers, but it is now one of the most popular locations in the entire city. Its main draws are its many beaches, which open up into the gorgeous sea ahead. Bars and restaurants line the sandy shores, and you can see residents lounging on chairs by the street-side.
6. El Poblenou – The Coolest Neighborhood In Barcelona, By The Beach
El Poblenou was once the teeming center of the industrial revolution of Barcelona, and some of that history remains today in industrial estates mixed with tourist attractions. But there’s significant modernity to it all – lavish office buildings and co-working spaces take up what may have once been transport firms and textile manufacturers.
For the most part, El Poblenou has been able to avoid getting caught up in gentrification. Stores often close on Saturdays or Sundays and it’s a more humble place to stay. One of the most welcoming villages you’ll find in the area is Carrer de Marià Aguiló, packed with friendly residents who know each other well.
Parc de Ciutadella is one of El Poblenou’s defining features, sitting at the very foot of the lovely neighborhood. Don’t forget to take a trip to the beach, too, or enroll in water sports at La Base Náutica. Follow the locals to eateries with authentic, delicious Catalan cuisine!
Four Points by Sheraton Barcelona Diagonal is one of the best accommodation options in the area.
7. El Raval – An Infamous Neighborhood With A Diverse Community
El Raval is vibrant and multicultural. It is part of historic Barcelona’s second stage of development. It was once very highly populated, but that changed when Eixample was built and the walls of the city were demolished. The southern area was once Barcelona’s red-light district, and that only changed thanks to a 1988 urban regeneration project.
Though the neighborhood has a bit of an unfavorable reputation due to its wealth of brothels and cabarets and the sheer size of its nightlife scene, it’s an exciting representation of a real neighborhood in Barcelona. We don’t recommend staying here if you’re a new traveler, but seasoned tourists won’t have too much trouble fitting in and being a little more cautious in this area.
Museo d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona calls El Raval its home, as do Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona and La Boquería. There are many more tourist attractions in this shady neighborhood that attract plenty of guests.
8. La Vila Olímpica – The Modern Olympic Village
La Vila Olímpica del Poblenou is a relatively new neighborhood, just finished in the early 1990s. It was built for the Summer Olympic Games of 1992, serving as a residential spot among the working-class, industrial Poblenou district. Just like Eixample, La Vila Olímpica has a neat reticular grid structure. Over 2,000 new apartments have been built there.
The neighborhood has grown significantly in the last few decades, with boutiques, shops, eateries, and offices opening in the area. But even with its speedy development, it remains grounded with green havens like the Parc de la Nova Icària. Walk down to the seafront to see some impressive hotel structures not too far away, and a gigantic goldfish statue that looms ominously overhead.
Though no truly historical monuments call La Vila Olímpica their home, the tram system connected to the village is easy to navigate. Besides, you don’t need to leave the neighborhood to have fun – enjoy some watersports, bask in the sand and surf, or explore the port areas to make the most of your trip.
9. Gràcia – A Diverse District With A Down-To-Earth, Local Atmosphere
Gràcia is a beautiful neighborhood that began its life as an independent municipality in 1626. Today, it comprises five different neighborhoods in one: Camp d’en Grassot i Gràcia Nova, La Salut, Vallcarca i els Penitents, Vila de Gràcia, and El Coll.
Today, despite being the smallest district in Barcelona, it is the most densely populated with more than 120,000 residents. It is a cosmopolitan location, trendy and hip, and its streets are packed closely together in a narrow and intimate setting with low-rise Mediterranean architecture. This creates a whimsical and charming mix of plazas, old one-way streets, and modern offerings.
Unlike many other areas of Barcelona, most of Gràcia doesn’t have tourist attractions, but tourists often enjoy the district for its shopping choices and for the litany of local art that can be found here. Ethnic cuisines of all kinds are served in different restaurants throughout Gràcia, too.
10. Passeig de Gràcia – An Important Road For Business, Shopping, and Excitement
Yes, we’ve covered Gràcia and its different neighborhoods, but Passeig de Gràcia is important enough to mention again as a small area perfect for tourists to stay in. This avenue is a single road and is one of the most important ones in all of Barcelona. It links Plaça Catalunya to the rest of Gràcia.
Once upon a time, in the 19th century, this boulevard was a majestic and sophisticated hangout for the bourgeoisie class, and it is home to modernista buildings that truly exemplify elegance. The historical value of this road makes it akin to a museum, and it was once called Camí de Jesús, a mere quasi-rural lane that had its importance grow more and more with the urbanization of Barcelona.
While you’re here, visit the stunning Casa Batlló or Casa Milà, walk up to Plaça Catalunya, or go shopping for designer goods. Ornate street lights pepper the walk, as well as opulent benches flanking the Art Nouveau-style buildings.
11. Poble Sec – A Relaxed, Quaint, and Unassuming Spot Of Rest
Poble Sec is mainly a residential area, but back in Roman times, it is highly likely that it was much more bustling. Evidence indicates that the neighborhood was once a trade and shipping center, but it was not included within city walls.
Poble Sec doesn’t have any big tourist attractions, but it’s serene and quiet, perfect for retreating to for a nice, long rest after a day of exploring. If that kind of tranquility is what you need, Poble Sec has that is spades. But that’s not to say there’s nothing to see; check out Plaça España‘s art museums or visit one of the few theaters around the area.
There are two convenient metro stops leading in and out of Poble Sec, and they are a mere couple of stops away from more popular tourist locations, like the Mercat Sant Antoni and La Ramblas. There are also plenty of small eateries, bars, shops, and supermarkets that you can find in the neighborhood.
The 5 Best Hotels in Barcelona
1. Casa Camper Hotel Barcelona – 400 m from Mercado de La Boqueria
This boutique hotel has a four-star status and sits in Raval. It’s a “hipster”-type hotel and was the first one of its kind to be set up in the city. Admittedly, it’s not in the city’s most popular location, but the eccentricities of the hotel more than make up for it, and it has a reasonable price, especially when compared to other popular accommodation options.
Upon entrance, you’ll find that the hotel lobby is done over in red, black, and white – a modern color palette backed by sultry lighting greeting you as you walk in. Its rooms boast the same color scheme and are stylishly minimalist. Expect to see a lot of young patrons.
Different rooms have different bed sizes and different view options. A few look out over the quaint street while some overlook the vertical garden within the hotel itself. Some rooms may have lounge areas, but if yours doesn’t, there will be one within the same floor in a common area to rest in.
Bathrooms are furnished with walk-in showers and only use environmentally friendly products. Wi-Fi is complimentary, and a ground floor snack bar, open 24/7, offers plenty of little bites to eat, many of them free. The hotel also has a roof terrace with an honesty bar and a Japanese tapas bar that is run by a chef with Michelin stars.
Tel: +34 933 42 62 80 • View on Map
2. W Barcelona – 12 km from Barcelona Airport
The W Barcelona is a five-star hotel in La Barceloneta famous for its impressive luxury. It is almost always busy. Expect to see couples on their honeymoon, trendy youngsters, and professional business people staying at the W, many of whom want to party the night away.
The rooms at the W are nothing short of indulgent, with many stunning views that showcase panoramas of the city, beaches, and beyond. More expensive accommodation options within have delightful windows stretching floor-to-ceiling to show off the breathtaking sights around Barcelona. Many rooms also have large working desks and chaise lounges, often so comfortable and useful that patrons don’t leave their rooms for their entire stays!
Rooms have minibars that are stocked full of gin from local breweries, and bathrooms use luxurious products from Bliss Spa. Mood lighting switches allow you to change the atmosphere of the room at a touch and blinds are controlled via a switch next to the beds. You can also use their free limited Wi-Fi, but the W requires that you pay extra for higher speeds.
24/7 room service is available, as well as some dining choices within the hotel. Bravo24 is run by a Michelin-starred chef, and the rooftop floor has the popular and trendy Eclipse bar.
Tel: +34 932 95 28 00 • View on Map
3. Mercer Hotel Barcelona – 400 m from Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar
The Mercer Hotel Barcelona is located in the Gothic Quarter and is yet another five-star offering. It is set in a unique building that has parts of the original Roman wall, built back in fourth century A.D., incorporated into it. Some of the 28 rooms have those walls in them!
This teeming historical value makes it a popular choice among many vacationers, and its facade is equally attractive. You walk down the end of a cobblestone road in order to reach the hotel’s entrance. Its intimate, secluded location additionally makes it a favorite among many elegant, sophisticated visitors, creating a more serious and quiet atmosphere.
All rooms are spacious and speak of luxury, with large, king-sized beds fitted with soft Egyptian cotton sheets. Bathrooms are stocked with expensive Molton Brown products and there is free Wi-Fi for all rooms.
If you seek dining options, you may visit the Le Bouchon tapas bar to sample some delicious casual offerings. If you desire more fancy meals, the Mercer Restaurant has plenty that you may enjoy. The rooftop terrace also provides beautiful views.
Tel: +34 933 10 74 80 • View on Map
4. El Palace – 13 km from Barcelona Airport
The El Palace Hotel is virtually synonymous with opulence. It was once the Ritz and now stands as a “castle” of sorts. The grand dame hotel first opened its doors in 1919, and its five-star elegance makes it well-loved by mature visitors from across the globe. It sits on Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes in the heart of Barcelona.
The building is steeped in history with its Baroque design, old-fashioned room keys, doormen outfitted in top hats, and classically lavish décor and furniture. Its rooms offer the same elegant luxury, many of which are accompanied by lovely views. All rooms are soundproofed for added privacy, serenity, and relaxation.
Rooms have comfortable, large beds that use Egyptian-cotton sheets. Bathrooms have an attractive, classical Roman style, complete with mosaics, and come stocked with high-end Chopard brand products. There is free unlimited Wi-Fi, too.
The hotel has decent food offerings, especially in winter, when the roof terrace opens up a garden restaurant reminiscent of a lovely greenhouse. On a lower level, the Bluesman bar waits, serving cocktails and showcasing original artwork for the Rolling Stones. There is also a Mayan-themed hotel spa, which offers volcanic stone treatments.
Tel: +34 935 10 11 30 • View on Map
5. Hotel Arts Barcelona – 1.3 km from Ciutadella Park
Hotel Arts Barcelona is located in La Barceloneta. It is a five-star, designer hotel that attracts people of all ages, from all over the world, and from all walks of life. When you enter, you’ll find huge floral arrangements decorating the lobby, greeting visitors who walk in.
Rooms have large beds fitted with high-quality sheets of pure cotton, with views of the Mediterranean beyond just the city and the beach. A flat-screen television provides entertainment. Bathrooms are stocked by Asprey, an upscale brand, and made with a hydro-shower, bathtub, and bidet.
Wi-Fi is free with no strings attached in common areas. If you want free Wi-Fi within your room, you have to sign up for the Ritz-Carlton Rewards program. The Rewards program is free to join, however, so you can still avail of free internet connection.
The dining options in Hotel Arts Barcelona are impressive. The Enoteca restaurant has earned two Michelin stars in its lifetime. The Arola bar’s cocktails are made by a mixologist who has won multiple awards. Outdoor spaces have a number of different dining options, too, and – most interestingly – the hotel also has a hair salon and high-end fashion boutiques, for your shopping and beauty needs.
Tel: +34 932 21 10 00 • View on Map
The 5 Best Hostels in Barcelona
1. Casa Gràcia – 300 m from Casa Milà
Located in Passeig de Gracia, Casa Gràcia is a youth hostel in a Modernista townhouse that is designed in such a way that it hardly resembles the typical, standard hostel. Though it is slightly far from the old city’s sights, it remains a good spot for Modernista tourism with its location between Eixample and Gràcia. It is also close to a metro station.
The hostel has a sunny, trendy style, with spacious rooms and high ceilings. Its architecture is especially unique for a hostel, with an antique lift, columns in a Corinthian design, marble floors, and antique chest and plant displays lining the walls and corridors. Outside, the terrace is green and perfect for relaxing in and soaking up the sun.
Common areas and rooms within Casa Gràcia are classy, elegant, and pristine, with bright lights and friendly staff ready to help. Lounges have books and computers. Dorm rooms are mixed, mostly for six people, with en-suite bathrooms. Stepped wooden drawers provide storage and seating. You can also opt for simple double rooms or one of the more expensive suites. Wi-Fi is free across all areas.
If you can cook, a kitchen comes equipped with plenty of things to make meals from scratch. But if you’re not much of a chef, you can buy snacks from the vending machines, and there’s a relatively well-priced restaurant called La Paisana on site that serves cocktails and Catalan fusion meals, including tapas. The hostel even hosts special nightly events several nights a week!
Tel: +34 931 74 05 28 • View on Map
2. Generator Barcelona – 600 m from Casa Milà
Generator Barcelona is a very modern boutique hostel in Gràcia, with an impressive interior that looks like it came straight from a magazine. Concrete tiles paired with unpolished wooden furnishings offer a mix of contemporary sleekness and warm hominess.
The lounges and common areas within the hostel offer plenty of options for fun relaxation, like a foosball and pool table, comfy sofas, computers, and a patio with a vertical wall garden that basks in natural light. Wi-Fi is available in all of them, and in the dorms.
Dorms are bright and airy, if small. Their modern design, paired with personal lockers, air-conditioning, and clean linen make for a comfortable stay. Dorms can fit four, six, or eight people, with the option of women-only dorms. If you really want to jazz it up, you can book a private room, some of which open up into lovely private terraces with fantastic panoramic views.
24-hour front desk service is a staple at Generator Barcelona. A travel shop within hostel grounds lets you book tickets for many different attractions across Barcelona, and you can wash clothes at their 24-hour laundrette. For food, a restaurant and bar within the hostel provides high-quality food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, including decent tapas. Vending machines for drinks and snacks are also available.
Tel: +34 932 20 03 77 • View on Map
3. Free Hostels Barcelona – 11 km from Barcelona Airport
Free Hostels Barcelona in Calle de Londres is a simple yet sophisticated hostel option, often hailed as being good for couples. An attractive modern design, seen through bright flashes of color and attractive art offerings, makes the hostel feel trendy and unique.
Mixed dorms come armed with shutters over each bed so you can enjoy your time there in privacy, and private double rooms are also available with ensuite bathrooms, outfitted with free toiletries. Wi-Fi is available throughout all rooms and common areas.
For food, a café cooks up decent meals, or turn to the state-of-the-art cooking facilities to make yourself your own lunches and dinners – breakfasts are totally free and on the house, always! If you need to transfer to the airport, the cost is relatively cheap and the process is fairly simple and straightforward.
Tel: +34 933 15 47 09 • View on Map
4. St. Christopher’s Inn Barcelona – 160 m from Plaça de Catalunya
In the heart of Barcelona, St. Christopher’s Inn at the very top of La Ramblas is modern and strategically located, just a stone’s throw away from many major tourist attractions. The entire property is wheelchair-friendly and the property is newly renovated to include plenty of technologically advanced amenities.
Dorms are furnished with individual pod beds, providing them with a reading lamp, plug, USB socket, and storage space within a contained area for better privacy. Padlocks can be purchased if you don’t have your own, and free Wi-Fi is always available. You can rent towels from the 24-hour front desk, too.
Dining options are aplenty in St. Christopher’s Inn. You can partake in a continental breakfast buffet for a reasonable price or visit Belushi, the bar and restaurant on site that offers 25% discounts to guests on their tapas and international menu. Additional discounts are available for drinks during happy hour. You can also store your own food in communal refrigerators and cook with the available kitchen facilities.
Common areas are comfortable and relaxing. Games, a pool table, a foosball table, and an Internet lounge can fill your hours. You can also spend time on the outdoor terrace. A welcome meeting is hosted every day with free sangria, where you can meet other visitors over a glass. Hostel events are varied and happen every night. You can also avail of complimentary walking tours every day!
Tel: +34 931 75 14 01 • View on Map
5. Yeah Barcelona Hostel – 1.4 km from La Sagrada Familia
The Yeah Hostel Barcelona is a backpackers’ hostel that has won awards. It has an artistic style that makes it trendy and modern, with pop art and Scandi-inspired designs blending together in a lovely mix of fashion and classic.
Mixed dorms, female dorms, and private rooms for two or four people are all available, each with key card access for added security. Elevators lead the way upstairs. All rooms are air-conditioned and quiet, even though the bar on site can get quite loud, meaning you can always have a good night’s rest no matter how wild the party is close by. All bunk beds come with reading lights and lockers.
The common room lounge is spacious, clean, and bright, with comfortable seats, a television, board games, and even a PlayStation. You can embark on organized free walking tours or night tours, and the hostel also organizes pub crawls. The bar offers tasty drinks and bites, and there are communal stainless-steel kitchens you can use to cook with. Wi-Fi is free throughout the hostel.
Tel: +34 935 31 01 35 • View on Map
Best Places To Stay in Barcelona
The best accommodation choice in Barcelona – or anywhere else – depends entirely on you, your needs, and your preferences. Who are you traveling with? What are you most interested in seeing?
Drawn in by the intrigue and mystery of the Gothic Quarter? The Mercer Hotel is a great option for a comfortable stay that is entrenched in the rich remains of Barcelona’s Roman roots.
Interested in Gracia and its lovely, trendy streets? Seek out Casa Gracia and Generator Barcelona for affordable hostel stays that are sure to meet your desires for comfort and convenience all in one!
Love the beach in La Barceloneta most? Enjoy the views in luxurious opulence at the W Barcelona or Hotel Arts Barcelona, where you can soak up the sun by day and stretch out over large, cozy beds at night.