When deciding on the best place to stay in Barcelona, you will be spoiled for choice in this cosmopolitan city.
Barcelona is a city on the east coast of Spain, in the Catalonia region. One of the things I love about Barcelona is that it can be anything you want it to be.
It can be a city break with plenty of exploring to do, and art and architecture to experience. It can be a relaxing beach holiday with gorgeous sandy beaches and marinas. It can be a vibrant party location with numerous bars and clubs. It can be the ultimate foodies’ paradise with authentic restaurants, including seafood and tapas. And it can be a shopper’s dream with shopping centres, markets, designer labels and more to discover.
You can spend a couple of days or even a couple of weeks in Barcelona and still have plenty to see and do. Check out the following suggestions to find the best place to stay in Barcelona, whatever your interests.
Best place to stay in Barcelona for art and architecture
A visit to Barcelona wouldn’t be complete without admiring the stunning Gaudi architecture. Gaudi was influenced by nature, and this can be seen in his building designs throughout Barcelona. His architectural style is unique, contemporary, and often uses colour to create vivid designs.
Some of Gaudi’s buildings include Casa Batlló, the Cascada Fountain at idyllic Park de la Ciutadella, and probably most famously, the Sagrada Familia. If you only have time to explore one of Gaudi’s architectural works, make sure it’s the Sagrada Familia, on Carrer de Mallorca. From the Sagrada Familia underground station, it’s a 2-minute walk to the basilica.
The Hotel Ayre Rossellón is a 4-star hotel and is the perfect base to explore the art and architecture of Barcelona. It is only 200m from the Sagrada Familia, providing exceptional views from the hotel’s terrace. You can find the best rates here.
Best place to stay in Barcelona for the beach and marina
If you like to spend time on the waterfront when you’re visiting a new city, then you won’t be disappointed with Barcelona. With ports, marinas and sandy beaches stretching along the coastline, there are plenty of reasons to head down to the sea.
The Vila Olímpica (or The Olympic Village) was built in the Sant Martí district for the 1992 Olympic Games. Now, it is a vibrant area for food and drinks with lots of bars and restaurants. There are also beach areas where you can take a relaxing stroll taking in the fresh sea air or have a go at some watersports if you’re feeling adventurous.
Try La Fonda del Port Olímpic, which offers delicious Meditteranean cuisine in a relaxing, comfortable seafront setting. Relax while enjoying lunch or an evening meal. Choose from authentic dishes such as paella, seafood and tasty tapas to get your taste buds going. The seafood paella was incredible! You can also enjoy a cocktail or two…
If you’re looking for a luxury hotel, Hotel Arts Barcelona is the one for you. This hotel is hard to miss, being one of the two tall towers on the Olympic Marina, so you will be right in the heart of the Marina. With a spa and exceptional views of the city, while being close to the beach, Hotel Arts Barcelona has it all.
Or, if you are on a tighter budget, check out H10 Marina Barcelona. Being a little bit further out, this hotel will be quieter, but still only a short 10-minute walk to the Olympic Marina. It’s modern, comfortable and also provides a rooftop terrace to help catch the rays.
Best place to stay in Barcelona for nightlife
One of the more popular districts in Barcelona is Las Ramblas. Las Ramblas is a central Boulevard through Barcelona where both tourists and locals flock to. In the day, you will find street performers and musicians. At night, it is a popular destination for party night owls.
There are a high number of people walking up and down Las Ramblas at any one time. Therefore, make sure you keep your belongings safe. While I’ve never been targeted by pickpockets, it’s worth being aware, as it does happen. As it can in any city.
If you want to stay close to the action of Las Ramblas, consider Hotel España on Calle Sant Pau. The hotel was restored in 2o10 and offers elegant, modern luxury. It provides the ideal base to explore old Barcelona, as well as the new. Plus, it’s within stumbling distance from the bars and clubs!
Best place to stay in Barcelona for authentic cuisine
Okay, I’ll be honest. There isn’t one best place to stay in Barcelona when it comes to the cuisine. You’ll be able to find delicious authentic dishes in cafes and restaurants all across the city. The fun comes when discovering new places to eat and new foods to sample. Tapas is a great way to try new things as you can order multiple smaller dishes in one meal.
I spent a whole afternoon and early evening drinking sangria along with some tapas at En Diagonal Bar on Avenida Diagonal, 310. This bar/cafe has a relaxing feel, especially when sat outside as you can watch the world go by from the corner position of a bustling avenue.
For a hotel on Avenida Diagonal, try The Gates Hotel Diagonal Barcelona. This 4-star hotel provides a convenient base to explore the whole of Barcelona. It is a 4-minute walk from the Glòries underground station.
Best place to stay in Barcelona for shopping
As you walk around Barcelona, you will notice the abundance of shops tempting you to part with your money.
On Las Ramblas you will mainly find shops selling souvenirs and keepsakes. La Boqueria market is also in the middle of Las Ramblas offering typical market fares such as fruit, veg and fresh fish.
For designer labels, try Passeig de Gracia, which is one of Barcelona’s largest shopping areas. You could spend some serious amounts of money here! For more on this part of town, this guide breaks down some of the best things to do in the picturesque Gracia neighbourhood.
Barcelona also has a couple of shopping centres. I visited the Diagonal Mar Centre as I was walking towards the beach via Carrer de Josep Pla. Diagonal Mar has shops, restaurants and even a cinema for entertainment.
I stayed at the TRYP Barcelona Condal Mar hotel on Carrer de Sant Pau, which is a 12-minute walk to Diagonal Mar down Carrer de Josep Pla. The hotel is in a quieter area, in more of a business district. This was great as it was outside the tourist area but close enough to reach all Barcelona districts by underground. The hotel itself was truly impressive with modern decor and rooms. It even had a rooftop pool with loungers. You can find the best rates here.
As you can see, there isn’t one best place to stay in Barcelona. In fact, I was impressed with how good the transport links were. It’s easy to get around the city to the various districts, so if there are many parts of Barcelona you want to explore, it is convenient to do so.