Which "Barrio" suits you best?
If you are planning to visit Barcelona, it can be a challenge to decide in which area you want to stay. Barcelona has a lot of different ´Barrio´s´ with all of them their own distinctive facets and characteristics. Below we will describe some of Barcelona’s nicest neighborhoods, some hotel tips and why they are worth your visit.
Gràcia is a very charming and kid-friendly neighborhood in Barcelona. Gràcia only became part of Barcelona 150 years ago. For this reason, it feels a bit like you´re in a village inside the city.
The neighborhood is somewhat alternative and is known for its many squares with terraces and affordable restaurants and bars. There’s a big range available from vegan bakery´s to Lebanese restaurants to traditional tapas and wine bars.
In here you will find less tourists then in the city center. Gràcia is also known for its local independent businesses including little (clothing) boutiques, organic grocery´s, and cozy bookstores.
Also, there are a lot of creative places that offer pottery classes, painting classes while drinking wine and multiple yoga possibilities.
Tips for where to stay in Gràcia:
Budget: The Generator Barcelona
This cool hostel is located nearby Passeig de Gràcia, where you have the Gaudi houses Casa Mila and Casa Battló. The interiors showcase a mix of styles and include a pretty winding staircase and a mezzanine chill-out lounge. The Generator offers a range of shared rooms but also some private terrace rooms and a penthouse apartment. Last one comes with fantastic views on the city.
Mid-Range: Le Palacete
La palacete is an elegant and exclusive boutique hotel set in a beautiful historic building. The rooms are enchanting and contemporary in design, where the best have free-standing baths. The pretty terrace and intimate bar make this a memorable stay.
Within walking distance of Casa Mila and Casa Batlló and close to Parc Güell.
Luxury: Casa Fuster
Casa Fuster is located in a monument itself on the Passeig de Gràcia. This stunning hotel was built in 1908, by the famous Modernist architect, Lluis Domènech i Montaner, renovated in 2004.
The hotel has its own jazz club, a unique café, an outstanding restaurant and a gorgeous terrace with nice views on the city.
If you love the beach and can appreciate some action, Barceloneta would be the place for you.Barceloneta is an old fishing area which was renovated but maintained its old feel. The area is lively and can be described as a fantastic blend of action and relaxation.
Barceloneta is considered one of the best places to try fresh seafood and paella in Barcelona. If you are traveling in summer, then what’s better than taking a dip in the sea.
Apart from its natural charm and the old narrow streets, the area has few attractions that are worth visiting. The Museu d´Historia de Catalunya and the Barcelona´s clock tower, which was built as a lighthouse in 1772 and is the oldest structure in La Barceloneta are interesting.
Tips for where to stay in Barceloneta:
Budget: Sea hostel
This hostel is a very good budget option and is located directly at the Plaça del Mar, the beach promenade. The shared dormitories are ideal when you are traveling individually or when you´re planning to meet other travelers.
Mid-Range: Hotel Oasis
Hotel Oasis opened its doors as a hostel in 1962 and turned into a hotel in 1990. It´s located close to the metro and just meters from the França train station. Located on the edge of Barceloneta, it´s also just a short walk to its neighboring districts, Born and Gothico. Being a low-key family run hotel with years of experience, you can be sure you are getting high quality service and comfort. Here you have value for money and top local knowledge to ensure your stay in Barcelona a truly enjoyable one. Includes a swimming pool
Luxury: Hotel Arts Barcelona
Many world-famous celebrities have laid their heads to rest in this iconic 5-star hotel, operated by Ritz-Carlton. The hotel is located right at the beachfront, in front of the Olympic port. It counts 44 floors and is an example of high-tech-architecture. The hotel includes a 2 Michelin-star restaurant and outstanding facilities. These include a Spa with sea views, two outdoor pools that overlook the sea and a nice garden.
3. El Born
The Born district is one of Barcelona´s liveliest and trendiest areas. El Born is located in the city center and is part of the Ciudad Vella (old city). The neighborhood is characterized by narrow medieval streets packed with cocktail bars, restaurants and historic buildings. You can wander around and get lost in these streets for hours.
El Born lays on a 15-minute walking distance from the beach and also contains the Parc de Ciutadella. Ciutadella is a beautiful park to have a picknick and watch all the colorful and creative people doing their thing. If you´re lucky, you could even enjoy a spontaneous concert as lots of people bring their instruments. In here you also have the Barcelona zoo. Must-see´s in the area are the Picasso museum and Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar.
Also, the Born centre de Cultura I Memoria – an archaeological museum inside a former 19th-century market. Mercat de Sant Caterina and Palau de la Música Catalana.
Tips for where to stay in El Born:
Budget: 360 Hostel Arts & Culture
The Hotel Arts & Culture is a practical and very affordable accommodation, set in a 19th-century building. The hostel is close to the metro and on a 10-minute walk from both Museu Picasso and Plaça Catalunya. Its located in the center of El Born and offers value for money when you want to stay in a budget place.
Mid-Range: K+K Picasso Hotel
The K+K Picasso Hotel is a striking and beautiful oasis for guests to relax after a day of wandering around. The Hotel has a remarkable avant-garde architecture, combined with a unique contemporary interior design. It is located close to the Ciutadella park and is one of the few hotels in Barcelona with a rooftop terrace/pool. It also contains a restaurant and a really nice bar serving cocktails.
Luxury: The Barcelona Edition
This iconic hotel is located next to the Santa Catarina Market in the center of El Born. When you step inside you’ll enter straight into the elegant lobby lounge. It has high ceilings, wooden floors and timeless decor offset by modern artworks. The hotel includes a tenth-floor rooftop terrace, serving a menu of Latin-Asian food and offering great views of Barcelona’s Old Town. Here you will also be able to see the bright blue of the Mediterranean Sea sparkling in the distance.
4. El Poble Sec
Situated at the foot of Montjuïc, this district’s steep streets bust out of it seems with bars and restaurants.
Poble-Sec is a multi-culture district with 19th-century architecture. Here you have the lively theater strip of the Paral·lel street that features old-school playhouses staging musicals and cabaret.
While away from the buzz, locals gather out on Carrer de Blai.. This street is known for its tapas bars, serving ´pintxos´, an appetizer similar to tapas.
Poble Sec is only a 10 to 20-minute walk from Las Ramblas.
It’s an ideal location if you’re looking for somewhere that’s close to the city centre, but not as busy. Poble Sec also offers easy access to the Montjuïc.
Tips for where to stay in El Poble Sec:
Budget: Hostel One Paralelo
Hostel One Paralelo opened its doors in 2011 and is said to be cool, friendly and familiar. The hotel is located near Paral·lel metro station, close to the centre of Barcelona. Also,
it´s within a walking distance of the Placa d’Espanya and La Rambla. They have a fully-equipped kitchen at your disposal and a sunny patio with Jacuzzi and BBQ to rest and chill out.
Mid-Range: Hotel Concordia Barcelona
Recently renovated, the 4-star Hotel Concordia Barcelona is located in front of the Poble Sec metro station. Within 10 minutes from the city centre and just 800 meters from the Plaza de Espana and Fira. The Hotel features a terrace equipped with a swimming pool, sun terrace, cocktail bar and a sauna. Its strategic location makes it a good choice, whether you´re travelling with family, friends, or business.
Luxury: Hotel Brummel
This 4-star contemporary and trendy boutique hotel opened its doors in 2015 and is set in a restored 1870 building. It has been said that being here makes you feel like you´re living the life of a Barcelona local. The hotel style would be described as “tropical modernism,”. It has influences from exotic and Nordic regions, as well as Mediterranean elements. The features include a very stylish sundeck with swimming pool, a sauna, an indoor courtyard, and top-class restaurant. There’s also a cool little shop where you can buy unique gifts and they offer the possibility to rent bicycles.
Poblenou is an artistic, up-and-coming neighborhood in the eastern part of Barcelona. The area is a little less known with foreigners but becoming more vibrant every day. The Poblenou area used to be the industrial district of Barcelona.
It is now known for its trendy markets, cool concept stores and innovative festivals. A place where industrial tradition combines with modern and contemporary life
The Poblenou district is located between the big ‘Glòries’ mall and the beach. Two of those are the Playa de Bogatell & Playa Marbella.
Both of these are amazing beaches and are slightly calmer then the busy playa de Barceloneta. Poblenou counts loads of trendy and one of a kind coffee places and restaurants.
It has the Encants market, where you can buy second hand goods and the well known ´Razzmattazz´ club. Poblenou also has its very own promenade leading towards the beach, ‘La Rambla del Poblenou’. Here you will find lots of restaurants with terraces and bars.
Tips for where to stay in El Poblenou:
Budget: Hostal B&B Poblenou
This cozy boutique hostel was built in 1930 and managed to keep its original characteristics. The hostel is bright, stylish and offers pretty private bedrooms with a homelike feel. All rooms have a TV and a private bathroom and breakfast is offered on its terrace. It´s located on a 7- minute walk from the Bogatell beach and close to the Llacuna metro station.
Mid-Range: Hotel Motel One Ciutadella
The Hotel Motel one is situated on the border of the Poblenou district and close to the Ciutadella park. The Nova Icaria beach is at a walking distance and also quite close to the city center. The hotel offers bright rooms with private bathroom. It offers a continental breakfast at a good price that contains many local and bio products. There is a 24h Lounge-Bar and a roof top with amazing views of the sea and Barcelona skyline.
Luxury: H10 Marina Barcelona
You can´t go wrong with this hotel, which is a highly rated hotel chain with 63 hotels in 22 destinations. The H10 Marina hotel is located close to the Olympic Port and the beach. It offers a gym, a spa with swimming pools, steam baths and a sauna. The rooftop pool and sun terrace offer fantastic city and sea views. H10 hotels are well known for their comfortable beds.
Article by Esther VDB for Say Barcelona Bike tours