Where to Stay in Barcelona: 5 Top Neighborhoods

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Barcelona is home to some unique, trendy, historical and often quirky neighborhoods, and for those visiting the city for the first time, trying to decide on the right neighborhood for you can be a little daunting. From the Modernist Eixample to the unique El Born to the upscale Sarrià, there are so many options to choose from, meaning the trickiest part of planning your trip might just be can be deciding just where to stay, especially if you’re going for the increasingly popular option of renting an apartment in Barcelona.

But fear not; whether you’re on a weekend getaway for two, a break with friends or family or even if you’re traveling solo, at least one of the following areas is sure to be right for your stay in Barcelona.

The Old Town – El Born and El Gòtic

With an incredible history dating back to Roman times, these fascinating, maze-like neighborhoods are Barcelona’s oldest and the Old Town area itself offers visitors a vibrant insight into the rich and fascinating history that this buzzing city has to offer. With their winding alleyways and beautiful medieval architecture, staying in either the Born or Gòtic neighborhoods is like travelling back in time.

The Old Town area offers numerous opportunities for visitors to immerse themselves in Catalan culture and is home to some of the city’s most renowned attractions including the Picasso Museum, El Palau de la Música Catalana and Santa Caterina Market. It is also home to the famous Las Ramblas street and the amazing Passeig del Born, a magnificent walkway that was once the site of medieval jousting tournaments.

El Gòtic has its charms, with Roman remains and amazing Gothic architecture to be found all over the neighborhood. However, El Born in particular is popular with younger residents and is known as an über-trendy spot with plenty of boutique establishments, including spectacular rooftop bars, hip cafeterias, sought-after restaurants and curiosity shops. As well as this, many of the interiors of the neighborhood’s medieval buildings have been carefully converted into stylish, modern apartments and offer a unique stay in the city.


The center of life for city slickers and ‘must-be-seen-in’ bars, it should come as no surprise that this area is a favorite among tourists and locals alike. Eixample’s reputation as an architectural hotspot means that choosing to stay in one of the many apartments on offer here will leave you surrounded by some of the very best of what the city has to offer.

This district is one of the first extensions from the old city center and is separated into two neighborhoods: Eixample Esquerra (left) and Eixample Dret (right). Eixample is home to elegant turn of the century buildings today converted into swanky residences, swish restaurants and designer stores. Modernism and the Belle Epoque rule here, and the area is home to some of Spain’s most famous architecture, including much of Gaudís work such as the colorful Casa Batlló, the captivating Casa Milà and the unique Sagrada Familia. For fashion lovers, style gurus and those partial to the finer things in life, Eixample is the place to be.


Hidden behind Eixample you’ll find the quaint, up-market area of Sarrià. Known as ‘la zona alta’ or ‘the high zone’ this upscale neighborhood has a distinctive local atmosphere and a whole host of stylish restaurants, classy boutiques and exclusive clubs. This beautiful area is situated just outside the city center, providing you with a quieter holiday spot, but it is still close to all of the main attractions of Barcelona. Just a few stops away from Eixample and Plaça Catalunya, choosing an apartment in Sarrià means you’ll have all of Barcelona just a few minutes away.

Diagonal Mar

If basking in the Mediterranean sun and throwing in a bit of style is what you really enjoy when on vacation then Diagonal Mar is the place for you. With a wide selection of chic, modern apartments available and incredible views of Barcelona’s coastline, this is a fantastic place to stay. The lively seafront, lined with cool beach bars and authentic seafood restaurants, is one of the trendiest areas of the city and nearby Port Olímpic, with its range of top clubs, is one of the Barcelona’s best evening hot spots.

The city’s beaches would be on your doorstep when staying in Diagonal Mar. This plus its proximity to the city center make it the perfect location for those wanting to combine the metropolitan with the surf.

 So, whatever your preferences, Barcelona will come up with the goods. Whether you’re after a stay in an Art Nouveau-style building, a few days living like a local, a historic gem or a spot of beach life, you’re sure to find something for you in the Catalan capital.

This post was written by Laura Jenkins, a travel-lover and resident in Barcelona. She currently writes for ApartmentBarcelona.com, an apartment rental agency in Barcelona with over 1000 apartments on offer, as well as a blog packed full of tips and advice for visitors.

Photo credits: Creative Commons: Flickr: NeilSingapore (Eixample), Flickr/photos/jaumebcn (Old Town) and Flickr/photos/ilesh (Diagonal Mar).

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