Barcelona is a perfect city to explore on foot – it’s full of unexpected pleasures, and you’ll really miss out if you shoot from one highlight to another. So choosing the best places to stay in Barcelona is important – you need to know which area you want the most opportunities to meander through. We have a wide range of hotel suggestions that should suit everyone from five star luxury to budget chic.
WHERE TO STAY – WHICH NEIGHBOURHOOD?
- Atmospheric, dramatic and historic, the medieval, Gothic heart is an obvious choice for one of the best places to stay in Barcelona. Barri Gotic surrounds the cathedral and the city’s history museum.
- From there the Old Town spreads to the east and the Born District, which was once the textiles district. There are still numerous boutiques in the area, but now there are also cool bars and great restaurants beside the Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar.
- Not quite as pretty, but still historic, the Raval district is a story of successful gentrification – for this neighbourhood of galleries, shops and restaurants was pretty grimy until the fantastic MACBA museum of modern art arrived.
- If you’re here to appreciate Gaudí’s work, Eixample is the district for you. The building of this area coincided with the Modernista movement, and this is where you’ll find the Sagrada Familia and the Casa Batlló, plus numerous less well known architectural treasures. And these days the shopping is good too.
- Or, if you’re here for a summer city break, you might want to stay by the beach? In Barcelona this is an option.
Barcelona is a beauty like no other, thanks to her lovers, a collection of famed artists and architects. But it’s also a sultry city, where long, hot evenings are ripe with flavours to sample and rife with pleasurable entertainments of all kinds. And those appeals are probably thanks to its Catalan nature.
WHAT NOT TO MISS
- La Boqueria, or the niche markets during the day – or possibly a cooking lesson? Then evenings spent sampling pintxos – the Basque tapas Barcelona is known for.
- Barcelona is a rewarding city break because the ever-evolving architectural landscape – from Gaudi’s epic Sagrada Familia to Jean Nouvel’s imposing Torre Agbar – is a highlight you don’t have to look for.
- The other highlight which surrounds you is the foodie scene, which is varied, colourful and caters for every budget.
- This city’s cosmopolitan history is written all over the her as well and the busy port is a reminder of Barcelona’s importance as an historic trading post.
- Much of the action is centred around La Rambla, a world famous mile packed with visual treasures. There are lavish flower stalls, a cultural and exhibition centre, the jolly La Boqueria market, a Miró mosaic, newspaper kiosks and oodles of cafés. While they’re not cheap, these cafes offer one of the best shows in town, morning, noon and night.
- You’ll arrive in Barcelona knowing Miró and Picasso, but leave having met a whole load of other interesting artists – this is an artist’s kind of city, and this love of art is obvious. It’s not just the architecture which makes Barcelona beautiful, there’s generous quantities of public art on display as well, one of the most popular being the gigantic plump cat by Colombian Sculptor Fernando Botero.
- Barcelona’s beaches aren’t the most beautiful, but just along the coastline there are some stunners, and in the other direction you have the Monserrat mountain range.
HOTEL DUQUESA DE CARDONA
Polished and chic, this townhouse with rooftop terrace and views to the port of Barcelona. Contemporary rooms decorated in wood, stone, and natural colours offer a great place to rest your head. Enjoy Catalan dishes at the lively rooftop restaurant. Relax at the pool or head to the nearby harbour.
A cool and collected industrial conversion in Barcelona’s Eixample district. With rooms ranging from basic singles to quadruple duplex’s all boasting clean fresh space, exposed bulb lights and comfortable beds. The lounge offers an eclectic mix of books and art and the bar is well stocked with wine.
While this chic boutique prioritises its cuisine over the hotel factor, it nevertheless inspires with its elegance and no frills decoration. Positioned just outside the old city walls it leads the way in an increasingly hip quarter of the city. A cool, less mainstream destination for foodies.
An intimate and chic hostel set in an Art Nouveau building, ideal for those on a budget with sophisticated tastes; offering shared bunk rooms as well as private rooms, and a shared kitchen. Centrally located it is a perfect yet practical haven from which to explore the city.