Neighborhoods of Barcelona are very different from each other, which is why it's important to distinguish each one of them. One of the key aspects, when you think of where to stay in Barcelona, is to think whether you want to stay near the beach or not. If the beach isn’t your priority, it's worth searching for hotel deals from neighborhoods like Sant Antoni or Poble Sec, but on the other hand, if the beach is your main priority, then you might consider the Poblenou neighborhood.

where-to-stay-in-barcelona-1Gotic

The Gothic Quarter consists of narrow streets, to which many people connect Barcelona. These streets are filled with trendy bars, clubs and restaurants and big crowds of people, especially in the summer time. If you wish to stay in a quiet area, it’s better to avoid the Gothic Quarter.

In Gothic you will find shops from smaller artisan shops to big chains. The area called Portal del Angel, close to Catalonia Square, is one of the main shopping district of Barcelona and you will find most of the big clothing brands there. Gothic Quarter has a pretty busy nightlife, so one might like the vibrant streets and another might wish to stay far away.

Pros:

+Central location

+Great selection of bars and restaurants

+Great shopping possibilities

Cons:

-Crowded streets

-Pickpockets

where-to-stay-bornBorn

Born is probably the trendiest neighborhood of all Barcelona neighborhoods, no matter whom you ask. You will find a great selection of cocktail bars and fusion tapas restaurants. It’s among the most expensive parts of Barcelona, but no need to be afraid, as the price level is still much more affordable compared to London or Paris.

Born is somewhat more open space than the Gothic Quarter so you don’t get the same claustrophobic feeling, though in the summer time the streets are very full in Born too. On the eastern side, you’ll find the Ciutadella park, which is a nice place to go for a picnic or a stroll.

The lower Born, that is closer to the harbor, is already in a walkable distance to the beach.

Pros:

+Lots of fresh and trendy bars and restaurants

+Ciutadella park

Cons:

-Somewhat higher price level than the average

-Crowded streets

ravalRaval

Raval is a lively neighborhood day and night, so if you're searching for a peaceful place to stay, you better look elsewhere. Here life happens at the streets. A big part of Raval's population is of ethnic minorities and you will notice the difference to other neighborhoods in bright colors and exotic aromas filling the streets.

Raval has a huge variety of bars and restaurants of all cuisines represented. Here you will find especially a lot of North African and Indian/Pakistani restaurants. The upper part of Raval, vaguely between streets Tallers and Carme, is cleaner and more touristy than the lower parts of Raval, from street Carme to Parallel.

Raval has a fame of being ragged and run down, dangerous neighborhood. Though it has lifted up its face a lot in the recent years, you will still see marks of the not-so-bright side of life more often. You will have to pay additional attention to pickpockets in Raval, as the narrow streets attract a lot of them. Staying in Raval, you stay pretty much in the center of Barcelona.

Pros:

+Great selection of nice restaurants and cheap bars to choose from

+Central location

Cons:

-Crowded streets

-Pickpockets

Poble Sec:

Poble Sec is one of the neighborhoods of Barcelona that is becoming trendier every year. Earlier known as ragged and poorer neighborhood, the new Poble Sec hosts some of the newly opened gourmet restaurants and trendy bars. The lower part of Poble Sec that is close to the harbor is only 5-10 minute walk away from La Rambla, but the upper part next to Plaça d’Espanya is already quite far from the center.

The heart of Poble Sec is the Blai street, that is full of very affordable pintxo and tapas bars. The best way to enjoy the street is to have a tapas or two in one place and move to the next place. The streets in Poble Sec are steep as it lies in between the Montjuic hill and Parallel street. The closer to Parallel street, the less you have to climb.

The metro line L3, that stops both at Parallel station and Poble Sec station, takes you to Catalonia Square. It takes half an hour by walking to Barceloneta beach or buses go along Parallel street and take you directly to Barceloneta beach and Nova Icaria beach.

Pros:

+Reasonable price level compared to the proximity to the center

+Close to Montjuic mountain where you have a lot of possibilities to do outdoor exercise

Cons:

-Lots of steep streets if you don’t stay right near Parallel street

-Far away from Barcelona beaches

Sant Antoni

The neighborhood of Sant Antoni belongs to Example district and you’ll find it just between Raval and Plaça d’Espanya. If you stay closer to the Raval end of Sant Antoni, it doesn’t take longer than 15-20min to walk to Catalonia Square, so it’s pretty central. You can find lots of small trendy cafes and cosy bars in Sant Antoni. Also, there is a great restaurant selection and the prices are cheaper than in the center. Some of the finest restaurants of Barcelona, owned by the famous Adriá brothers,  are located in this neighborhood.

The streets of Sant Antoni are significantly bigger than in Gothic Quarter, Raval or Poble Sec, which gives a feel of security. You will find the metro lines L2 and L3 connected with Sant Antoni. Such like the other neighborhoods West from the Catalonia Square, the beaches are a bit far away.

Sant Antoni is very recommendable if you want to stay close to the center but stay away from the most hectic streets. In the summer time, especially the center of Barcelona gets very crowded but those masses of people don’t reach Sant Antoni.

Pros:

+Great selection of bars, cafes and restaurants

+Reasonable price level compared to the proximity to the center

+Peaceful streets

Cons:

-Lacks nightlife

-Far away from Barcelona beaches

SantsSants:

Sants is mainly a residential neighborhood, located in approximately in a 30-minute’s walking distance from Catalonia Square (Plaça de Catalunya). Sants is well connected with Barcelona center.

You will find metro lines L1, L3 and L5 going through Sants as well as various bus lines. You find often good hotel prices from Sants when the prices in the center are been sky high.

The Barcelona main train station Barcelona-Sants is located here, so if you’re only staying for a night or two in Barcelona and continuing your journey further by a long-distance train, you might think of staying here. Sants is also convenient if you want to go the beach in Castelldefels, where you will find finer sand and cleaner water than in Barcelona beaches.

You will find local bars and restaurants in Sants, but it is not famous for nightclubs or trendy bars. You will find also decent shopping possibilities in Las Arenas shopping center and Carrer de la Creu Roberta.

Pros:

+Cheaper accommodation, restaurant and bars than in the centre

+Close to Sants railway station

Cons:

-Far away from Barcelona beaches

-Quiet nightlife

EixampleEsquerra de l’Eixample (Eixample Left)

The area from Passeig de Gracia shopping street to the west is called Eixample Left. You will find more trendy bars, nightclubs and restaurants in the Left Eixample as in the Eixample Right. The area ends to Plaça d’Espanya, so if you choose to stay closer to that side, the distance to the center is already significantly longer.

At the same time, you will most likely find better hotel deals from closer to Plaça d’Espanya. The Eixample left is known as the center of gay scene of Barcelona. You will find a lot gay bars and night clubs around the neighborhood.

Pros:

+Great selection of bars, nightclubs and restaurants

+Proximity to the centre (areas closer to Passeig de Garcia)

Cons:

-Somewhat higher price level to the average

Dreta de l’Eixample (Eixample Right)

The area from Passeig de Gracia shopping street to the east is called Eixample Right. The area can be described as an even mix of residential apartments, local businesses, hotels, bars and restaurants - none of them standing out more clearly over another. Characteristic to Eixample are the big and broad streets.

You will find a nice selection of restaurants & bars, and the price level is above the average.. You will metro lines L2, L3 and L4 going through the area, so it’s well connected to everywhere. The neighborhood is suitable for people looking for a nice quality and peaceful accommodation, yet staying close to the city center.

Pros:

+Good selection of nice hotels

+Proximity to major central sites such as Sagrada Familia and La Pedrera

Cons:

-Higher price level to the average

-Lacks nightlife

Gracia

Gracia neighborhood is located to north of Eixample. It's lower parts are quite close to the center, those streets that are close to the Corsega street. Gracia is a very local neighborhood and the atmosphere is quite hippy. The local people there are very easy going as long as you respect the local norms and don't act rudely. You will find lots of small local bars and a good selection of restaurants. The price level in Gracia is also cheaper than in the center.

The benefit of Gracia, is that you can stay cheap locally, yet the center is in a walking distance. If you stay further away from lower parts of Gracia, the streets get more hilly. If you don’t want to walk uphill, it’s better to stay elsewhere.

Pros:

+Cheaper price level to the average

+Local neighborhood

Cons:

-Lots of uphill

-Far away from Barcelona beaches

Barceloneta

where-to-stay-barceloneta
The neighborhood of Barceloneta lies right next to the beach. It probably not worth staying in Barceloneta, if you’re not interested in the beach life, as it's not right in the city center either. Since Barceloneta beach is closest beach to the center, the whole neighborhood is very busy during the summertime. The restaurants in Barceloneta are mainly seafood restaurants and generally you’ll get the freshest catch of the whole city in these restaurants.

The metro line L4 takes you from Barceloneta metro station to Urquionaona, 5-minute walk to Catalonia Square.

Pros:

+Proximity to beach

+Great variety of seafood restaurants

Cons:

-Crowded streets in the summer time

Vila Olimpica

Another neighborhood located right at the beach is Vila Olimpica. The beaches are slightly less crowded than the ones in Barceloneta. The music fills the beach promenade in the evening when the nightclubs open their doors. The most famous nightclubs of Barcelona area located in this area, such as Opium and Pacha.

The entrance to Barcelona Zoo is basically on Vila Olimpica side of Ciutadela Park. The streets in Vila Olimpica are big and not crowded, so it's a family friendly zone, where you can combine the beach and the city. The metro line L4 has a stop in Vila Olimpica.  There are many nice seafood restaurants in the Olympic harbor in an attractive setting onlooking at the harbor.

Pros:

+Proximity to the beach

+Streets aren’t very crowded in the summer time, apart from the beach promenade

Cons:

-A bit off from the city center

-Somewhat higher price level to the average

Poblenou

Poblenou is a vast area and it’s vital to plan out where exactly you want to stay there. The sea surrounds Poblenou throughout so you have plenty of beach line where to choose from. The further away from the center you go, the less people there tend to be. In general, Poblenou works well for families or people who wish to have a quiet holiday at the beach and occasionally go the the center of Barcelona.

The immediate surroundings around Rambla de Poblenou and the street is a very attractive area. Rambla de Poblenou is full of nice cafes and restaurant with terraces. You will have also Poblenou metro station along the L4, going to central Barcelona.

Another suitable area is the Diagonal Mar area, where you have a good selection of nice hotels, located very close to the beach. One of the biggest shopping centers, Diagonal Mar, offers great shopping possibilities and a variety of restaurants.

Pros:

+Proximity to the beach

+Calmer neighborhood compared to the center

Cons:

-Far away from the city center

-Lacks nightlife