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:
- Exploring Barcelona’s Vibrant El Born Neighborhood
- The Raval: The Outskirts of Barcelona
- Gràcia: The Little Village Hidden Inside Barcelona
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:
- 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.
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!
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?