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Katie
Los Angeles

Barcelona

What's the best neighborhood in Barcelona for a first time visitor?

I've never been to Barcelona and I'm a little overwhelmed by all the hotel options. I'd like to stay in a hotel that is central and gives me good sense of what Barcelona is like. I'd love to know where locals tell their friends to stay when they visit, and why those areas and hotels are special. thanks!


12 Answers

top answer by
Jahn from Barcelona

Hi Katie,

If I have friends visiting I like to ask two questions...

Are you the ocean type? i.e. love to wake up with a view, take a run in the morning at the ocean side,...

Do you want to be where the vibe is big city? i.e. walking distance to everything "on", no I am more the type to hang out on little squares and listen to street musicians,...

After there answers I can tell them which district.

My personal favorite stays Gracia.

For tipps what to do on your first days, check my free guidebook #BCN - weekend

Enjoy the city, it is amazing, best, Jahn

oh, a foto of Gracia has to be included in this post:



Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Gracia (neighborhood)
4 thanks


answered first by
Neill from Barcelona

Katie, I'd try the following areas for a first-time stay: Poble Sec, Born  or Gracia. They are all very central, very well-kept areas, but not as overwhelmed by tourists as the main Gothic Quarter. Hope that helps! 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Poble Sec (neighborhood)
  2. Gracia (neighborhood)
4 thanks


answered by
Joey from Katy, Texas

I lived in Barcelona while studying abroad and what seemed like the most central place to me was Plaça de Catalunya. Hotels in that area and near La Rambla will probably be more pricey but are close to all the action. As far as neighborhoods go, BarcelonetaEl RavalEl Barri Gòtic, and El Poblenou were some of my favorites. While in Barceloneta, check out Can Paixano for really good and cheap sandwiches and cava. 

Go early to see any popular tourist attractions, as they can get pretty crowded if you wait too late in the day. The Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Barcelona is worth a visit if you enjoy art. 

Get a T10 pass for the Barcelona Metro. This pass will allow you ten one-way trips along the subway. Although walking the city is great, some things are quite far apart and the Metro is really easy to use to get around quicker. 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Plaça de Catalunya (attraction)
  2. La Rambla (attraction)
  3. Barceloneta (attraction)
  4. El Raval (neighborhood)
  5. El Barri Gòtic (neighborhood)
  6. El Poblenou (neighborhood)
  7. Can Paixano (attraction)
  8. Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Barcelona (attraction)
2 thanks


answered by
Krista from San Francisco

Hi Katie!

I recently went to Barcelona for the first time and had the good fortune of a roommate who had lived in the city for a few years and was able to advise. She was right on with her suggestions, which included El Born or Eixample

El Born is Barcelona's Gothic Quarter, home to tiny alleys, individually owned boutiques and shops and Museu Picasso . It's also super close to Arc de Triomf and Barcelona's harbor. It's within easy walking distance of Barceloneta too. 

Eixample features lots of wide open space and big boulevards as well as more commercial shops and eateries. It's perched at the top of La Rambla and is an easy walk to La Pedrera as well as Casa Batlo . The Metro is clean and extremely easy to use, and located all throughout this zone.

We stayed in an Airbnb rental in Eixample (pic of our rooftop above!) and, as avid walkers, accessed almost all of the city on foot (with the exception of Parc Güell, which we took a taxi to on the last day.) You can walk to the harbor in ~30 minutes, as well as the El Born area. Both locations are excellent places to stay as a 'local'. :)

I hope you have an awesome time!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. El Born (metro area)
  2. Eixample (metro area)
  3. Museu Picasso (attraction)
  4. Arc de Triomf (attraction)
  5. Barceloneta (attraction)
  6. La Rambla (attraction)
  7. La Pedrera (attraction)
  8. Casa Batlo (attraction)
  9. Parc Güell (attraction)
2 thanks


answered by
Ieva from Jurmala

Stay away from La Rambla and El Borne - not a safe neighborhood!

Passeig de Gràcia, Barcelona and Rambla de Catalunya area is the best central location you can wish for! Eixample, St Gervasi - Galvany and Sarrià (Barcelona) are not bad either, but a bit far from the center.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. La Rambla (attraction)
  2. Passeig de Gràcia, Barcelona (attraction)
  3. Rambla de Catalunya (attraction)
  4. St Gervasi - Galvany (neighborhood)
  5. Sarrià (Barcelona) (neighborhood)
1 thanks


answered by
Christina from Los Angeles

I second El Born area, my favorite is all of Barcelona and close to everything! 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. El Born (metro area)
1 thanks


answered by
Isabella from Sao Paulo

Hi Katie. La Rambla is a great place for first timers. It's a walking distance to the beach, near very touristic areas and its soroundes by subways and bus stops. It's a place where walking around is already a great experience. I was very young and stayed at Kabul Backpackers Hostel.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. La Rambla (attraction)
  2. Kabul Backpackers Hostel (hotel)
1 thanks


answered by
Andrés from Montevideo

Hi katie.

The Eixample is a nice option.
Lots of pubs, great night life.

Also, Gothic Quarter neighbourhood. Personal opinion, most beatiful and colorful neighbourhood in Barcelona. Taking a walk through its narrow streets is awesom. You´ll get lost for hours.

But I wouldn´t worry about that. transport service is great in Barcelona. You will go from any place to any other with no major effort.

Enjoy Barcelona!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Eixample (metro area)
  2. Gothic Quarter (attraction)
1 thanks


answered by
Vikalp from New Delhi

Hello, Katie,

You can book youth hostel  in case of a lone traveller) or a hotel in the nearby areas of the port. A major landmark is La Rambla or Mirador de Colom. This area is near to all hot spots in Barcelona like Beaches, Malls, La Rambla street and the port (Famous for nightlife and party).

It is well connected by Metro as well so you won't find any difficulty in travelling to other parts of city.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. La Rambla (attraction)
  2. Mirador de Colom (attraction)
1 thanks


answered by
Rocio from Costa Rica


Hi Katie! My opinion is that when you travel and want to get to know the city it is very important to stay in a comfortable, clean, and not very expensive hotel.   Back in 2012 I visited Barcelona and found Las Ramblas a very nice area to move around. I stayed at Hostal BCN Ramblas and found it super modern, clean, and comfy. It is so important to find a nice spot to rest after a long day visiting the city (and remember that Barcelona is an enchanting city with boundless culture, fabled architecture and exquisite gastronomy) . Another advantage about staying in Las Ramblas area is the many restaurants and food alternatives such as La Boqueria  that are located pretty close to the hostel.

Loved Barcelona!! Saludos.




Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Barcelona (city)
  2. Las Ramblas (attraction)
  3. Hostal BCN Ramblas (hotel)
  4. La Boqueria (attraction)
1 thanks


answered by
morvan from Barcelona
I would say either Poble Sec or El Born

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Poble Sec (neighborhood)
  2. El Born (metro area)


answered by
Francisco from Barcelona

Eixample. It's near everything.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Eixample (metro area)




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