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Posted on Aug 3, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain | 21 comments

Where Should I Stay in Barcelona?

OK, I promised things would be getting back on track soon around here, didn’t I? :) Well, I’m back with an article I hope you’ll find useful – where to stay in Barcelona. There are so many choices that it’s tough to sort through them and figure out what’s good and what’s not.

Lately, I’ve had a few visitors, so I’ve got some insider tips that’ll help you figure out the best place to stay during your visit to my favorite city in the world.


Of course, if you’re going to be staying longer-term in Barcelona or Spain, check out How to Find & Rent an Apartment in Spain, which should be more up your alley.

Which area of Barcelona should I stay in? 


There are pretty much endless hotel choices in Barcelona. Some people want to be right in the city center, while others would prefer to spend a week on the beach. In general, I recommend staying somewhere central, or at least on a central metro line (Lines 3 & 4 are best for sightseeing; Lines 1, 2, and 5 are also good).

The Ciutat Vella (old city) and Eixample districts are both good places to stay. The Gothic Quarter and Born have lots of options, and the Raval is OK too (although it may be a bit dirtier than the other two). For the Eixample, I think the best places are close to Passeig de Gracia, Placa Catalunya, and Placa Universitat. 

You might also want to stay in a more traditional neighborhood like Gràcia, or in the fisherman’s district of Barceloneta if you’re hoping for a beach stay.

Read more about Barcelona neighborhoods:



It’s not exactly shocking that party-city Barcelona has its fair share of fun hostels. From my experience (either staying in or visiting a friend at) a hostel, here are some of my picks for good hostels in Barcelona:



Sant Jordi Hostel (Photo credit: TripAdvisor)


  • Sun & Moon Hostel – It’s pretty bare-bones and basic, but right in the middle of Barcelona. If you’re not planning on spending much time in the hostel, this is a great budget option.
  • Mediterranean Youth Hostel  – a little more chill than other hostels. The location is pretty central, though not in a highly touristic area. If you want to stay away from the wild party crowds but still want to be in the city center, this place is ideal.
  • Sant Jordi Hostels – the rooms are your usual hostel fare, but the common areas are really nice and comfortable. That means lots of people hang out there, making it super easy to meet people. They also do lots of activities and the staff are really friendly.
  • St. Christopher’s Hostel – this massive hostel just off Plaça Catalunya has air-conditioned rooms and beds with privacy curtains, outlets, and a reading lamp.  It sits on top of a bar and restaurant with a giant common area, so it’s always buzzing with people.

Budget traveler? Read more: 15 Cheap Things to do in Barcelona



Short-Term Apartment Rentals


Depending on how long you’re staying for in Barcelona, a short-term apartment rental may end up being a better deal than a hostel. Of course, if you fancy a bit of peace and quiet and tranquility, these are probably the best pick.

As far as apartments go, my friends have had success with GoWithOh and AirBnB. Although AirBnB is currently banned in Barcelona, you can still find housing through it.

One word of caution with apartment rentals: be very, very careful to read up on safety reviews. I’ve heard of a few cases where people got their apartments robbed, and it was pretty obvious that the thief had a key and easy access to the apartment. Do your research.




The famous Hotel Vela on Barceloneta beach. (Photo retrieved on SuiteLife)

OK, I’ve never stayed in a hotel in Barcelona, so I can’t offer much personal advice. But TripAdvisor has a great list of the best hotels in Barcelona. There’s something to fit most price points.

Even if you’re budget doesn’t stretch to stay in a hotel, you might like checking out their glamorous rooftop bars!


Couch Surfing




The ultimate cheapskate’s option! Apart from not spending any money on housing, Couch Surfing also gives you a great way to meet locals.

Finding a Couch Surfing host can be tough in Barcelona, because so many  travelers are interested in coming. As a former host, I’ll give you some suggestions:

  • Actually read the person’s profile to see what they like, and mention something like that in your email.
  • Don’t just copy and paste a form letter; at least include some personal details.
  • Be specific about dates, number of people, and arrival times.
  • Make sure your profile is filled out  and get somebody to give you a recommendation. I never hosted people who had bad recommendations or none.
  • Finally, be a nice guest! The only visitors I had who I disliked were two girls who shut themselves in my spare room, asked to use my laptop, and then sat in there with the door shut (and my computer) for an hour. They left for the night and decided to leave Barcelona early…without telling me. Treating my home like a hostel was not cool. If that’s all you want to do, book a room instead of asking somebody to invite you into their house for free.


Hopefully this will help get you started on finding a great place to stay in Barcelona!



If you’ve been to Barcelona, where did you stay? What tips do you have for travelers coming to Barcelona? 






  1. We stayed at the W hotel – it was a company shindig; I would never stay there at my own expense, I think. The location is awesome – the Beach with Frank Gehry’s golden Bird sculpture on one side, and a great party street on the other (we were there on some sort of student holiday and the fountain in the middle of the street was a busy attraction for young vacationers in various stages of inebriation and dis-robing!)

    The best bargain for tourists are the red and blue tourist buses with on/off privileges which take you on one loop from the beach to the Cathedral of the Holy Family, on the other loop up into the hills via various historic/artistic landmarks. Each loop can easily take up a whole day.

    • I wouldn’t actually stay at the W myself either as a visitor, simply because it’s not very close to public transportation so it takes a while to get places. But like you said, the beachside location is great!

      The tourist bus is a fun way to see the city. My mum and sister did it and they had a great time! Thanks for your suggestion.

  2. Excellent post! When I visit Barcelona this year I’ll be checking out this article again to look at your recommended places to stay. Thank you!

  3. I stayed at St. Christopher’s twice now. The first time was two weeks after they had opened and it was one of the BEST experiences. We were treated like royalty, has one of the best breakfasts, clean bathrooms, you get the picture. Six months later I stayed there again (April 13′) and it was one of my worst hostel experiences. Problem after problem, a horrible stench on our floor and in our room, rude people, and NO breakfast. So I may be trying out a new hostel next time I go to beautiful Barcelona!

    • Ooh that’s not good! A new hostel sounds like a plan, that would definitely make me change places. My friend who’s staying there right now loves it, but I’ve never stayed there myself (only visited).

  4. We stayed at Hotel Denit two years ago, and loved it! It was really cute and modern and the staff was lovely. We also booked a place through airbnb and had good luck there as well!

    • Hotel Denit looks adorable, I just checked it out. Air B&B seems to have a ton of great finds, everyone I know who’s used it really likes it.

  5. We stayed at the Hotel Abba Sants. It was a nice hotel in a quiet location yet less than a minute walking distance to an underground station and only about 5 minutes to Barcelona Sants, the main railway station. I’d certainly recommend it.

    • Sants is nice, and super easy to get into the city center because of the train station. Thanks for your input!

  6. Bookmarked! Thanks for that Jess. Though I have to say that hostels for me will forever be secondary to couch surfing!!! Unless of course I need to crash and not care about being awake and attentive. I stayed at HelloBCN a couple of years ago and was impressed.

  7. I stayed at the W with my parents last Summer. It was absolutely an incredible atmosphere but obviously very expensive (If I can ever afford it, I’ll stay there again). Very incredible experience.

  8. Excellent post, as I have found others of yours. I’ve looked at “Home Away” and have used “VRBO” and others in Florence, Buenos Aires, Paris and New York. My latest favorite is Airbnb. It brokers deals between apartment and home owners (or lease holders) and holiday or long-term renters providing a secure payment system and peer-to-peer reviews (which I think Couch-surfing also provides). You can rent an entire house, villa, houseboat, treehouse, apartment or a room in any such accommodation that may be offered. My partner and I have used it over the past year to stay in Seattle, Chicago and Boston. We will likely use it for our scouting trip to Spain in December. (We recently became hosts and have had guests from France and Zurich, New York, Florida, Victoria BC). Look forward to reading more of your posts on living in Barcelona. Ciao!

    • Thanks very much! AirBnB is definitely a great idea, and you’re right, Couch Surfing also has the peer reviews. Some friends of mine were just visiting and rented an apartment and it was excellent (really central and very inexpensive). Maybe I’ll have to go for the treehouse you mentioned on my next trip somewhere!

  9. Article very interesting ! i REALLY like Barcelona, such a great city !! But i can’t unserstand why the W is so famous?


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