Visiting Barcelona for the first time is always an exciting experience. There’s so much to explore in the Catalan capital, from world-famous landmarks, to the miles of golden beaches. Planning what to do when you visit Barcelona is important so that you can make the most of the time you spend here!
For a new visitor to Barcelona, another key aspect to consider is where you will stay in the city. Once you have an idea of the things you want to do, you can have a better idea of which location works best for you. You may want to be centrally located, to have easy access to all of the sights and be well placed to transport. Or, you may want to have the beachy experience and stay by the sea, to enjoy every last drop of Mediterranean sunshine.
Another choice to make is the type of accommodation that you wish to stay in. Barcelona is home to countless hotels at a variety of price ranges, which is always a popular choice for travellers. However, you also have the option to rent an apartment in the city, which can offer more privacy and give you more value for money. The choice is yours, but let us give you the rundown on where to stay in Barcelona for your first (but certainly not the last) visit to our beautiful city!
Location, Location, Location
Barcelona’s neighbourhoods are each very diverse from one another, meaning there’s the perfect location for any traveller that visits. Despite being the second largest city in Spain, the city is compact and easily navigable for visitors.
The city centre is the most popular choice for tourists on their first visit, as it means you can be in walking distance of the main sights and also be well-connected by public transport. This includes areas such as: The Gothic Quarter, El Born, Plaza Catalunya and El Raval. Due to the location, the prices can sometimes be a bit higher in these areas, but it’s well worth it to be able to get around the city with ease.
Best for: seeing the sights, easy access to the city
Gothic Quarter, El Born and El Raval form the Ciutat Vella (old town) district of Barcelona, the historic centre of the city. So, if you’re someone who wants to experience an authentic Barcelona, with some of the oldest buildings of the city, then this is your spot!
Best for: authentic Barcelona, history lovers
Eixample is another excellent area to stay on your first visit to Barcelona, being one of the most modern and safest districts of the city. Here you can find many of the most iconic landmarks in Barcelona, such as the Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló and La Pedrera. The iconic Passeig de Gràcia street cuts through the heart of Eixample, where you can find many luxury stores as well as many high-street brands too. Eixample is good for if you are travelling with family, or simply want a more relaxed stay.
Best for: shopping, sightseeing, families
Once a separate town to Barcelona, Gràcia offers a peaceful, small-town experience for visitors to the city. It is slightly out of the centre, but is a chic neighbourhood full of local people, independent shops and many excellent bars and restaurants. It has a distinct bohemian and artsy feel, great for those that want somewhere less touristic.
Best for: peaceful, bohemian, local experience
For beach lovers there is no better area to stay than in Barceloneta! Known for its sandy beaches and welcoming atmosphere, Barceloneta is the perfect place for those wanting to spend their days relaxing by the shores and soaking up the sunshine. You can also find many chiringuitos (beach bars) for a drink and some tapas as you watch the sun set. Bliss!
Best for: beach lovers, water sports
Types of accommodation
There is a wide variety of accommodation to choose from in Barcelona, at a range of price points. Many visitors choose to stay in one of the city’s many hotels, but it has become increasingly popular to rent a private apartment in Barcelona too. If you are less bothered by staying in the centre and are coming with a large group, there is even the possibility of renting an entire villa in Barcelona!
Staying in a hotel can be a good option if you enjoy the little luxuries such as having an on-site restaurant and room service. There are many luxury hotels in the city, with rooftop pools and Michelin-starred restaurants, as well as hotels on the cheaper end whereby you will just receive a room with no extras.
For a more private experience while staying in Barcelona, renting a holiday apartment is another fantastic option. Apartments are often far cheaper than staying in a hotel, particularly when you are travelling with a family or large group. Having your own kitchen to prepare meals instead of always eating out also saves a lot of money for your trip!
Staying in an apartment is the best way to discover the city, as you can feel part of the community rather than simply just being guests. You can behave more as a homeowner, with more flexibility on check-ins and check-outs and with more privacy during your stay in Barcelona.
If you are interested in renting an apartment for your stay in Barcelona, we have hundreds of apartments all over the city for you to have the perfect stay! Search our website to find an apartment in Barcelona, in which you can filter by area if you have a better idea of where suits you after reading our blog. For any queries or questions, contact our friendly team who will be delighted to help you find your perfect apartment for your first stay in Barcelona with us.