Tourist Information Guide

Where to Stay in Barcelona For A First Time Visit?

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Q: We wish to visit as much as possible of Barcelona probably by public transport so we would like to stay in a hotel centrally located (3 or 4 star hotel). What is the best area I should stay in for a first time visitor? Thank You.

A: For a first time visitor we would recommend you stay in the most central locations, with the best transport connections and ready access to sightseeing and attractions. These areas are:

Plaça de Catalunya
Las Ramblas
Gothic Quarter (the old town)

These areas have ready access for transport to the rest of the city via the metro and bus systems and to Barcelona Airport with the Aerobus or TMB bus running from Plaça de Catalunya.

However if budget is a concern and you want to find cheaper accommodation you may wish to consider staying out from the heart of the city centre but still with good access e.g. Poble Sec, or Montjuïc / Plaça España. Poble Sec to La Rambla is only 8 minutes away on the metro yet the hotels in this area are considerably cheaper than in the heart of the city centre.

Barcelona city is actually a lot smaller than you might imagine. You can reach Plaça de Catalunya (the epicentre of Barcelona) by metro in no more than 45 minutes maximum travel time from the furthest metro stop from the city centre. However most of the time your metro journey to the city centre will be considerably less than this - typically 10 to 15 minutes.

We recommend that you ensure your hotel is a short walk to a metro stop. You could then stay in a hotel almost anywhere in the city centre (Zone 1) and still have ready access to the attractions via the metro system.

Our Insider Tip

How to Calculate The Durations of Your Metro Journey

All approximately 2 minutes per metro stop. If you need to make a change to a different metro line on your journey then add an extra 10 minutes for the change. Use our Barcelona metro map to plot your route.

What are Barcelona neighbourhoods like?

We have produced several resources that will help you decide which is the best area for your hotel.

The first is our Barcelona neighbourhoods guide (Barrios Guide). This guide gives you an overview to the main neighbourhoods in Barcelona enabling you to decide if that area has what you are looking for.

Most central Barcelona areas?

The following areas have excellent transport, picturesque streets, right in the heart of the city centre and good for nightlife and sightseeing.

Las Ramblas (Barcelona's most famous street).
Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter, Historic Quarter).
Plaça de Catalunya.

Best Barcelona beach areas?

Barceloneta area - best area for Barcelona beaches.
Icària beach area.

Best Barcelona shopping areas?

Good for shopping and nightlife.

Passeig de Gràcia in Eixample area.
Rambla de Catalunya. (a boulevard running parallel to Passeig de Gràcia).
Eixample area

Best Barcelona areas for a family visit?

Barceloneta is popular with families. The reason is that it provides ready access to Barcelona's beaches, and has a good number of apartments to rent, with plenty of mini markets for buying groceries and supplies. Families often want additional facilities over a hotel and for this reason apartment rental are popular with families. Barceloneta also has a "community feel" to it which may be a preferable environment for a family.

Barceloneta Beach Area

How to find my hotel?

We have produced a Barcelona hotel map that links hotel reviews to specific sections of a Map of Barcelona. This way you can easily select which hotel you would like to stay in during your visit. We have also provided links to online booking and reservation of the hotels.

Barcelona hotel map - show the locations of hotels in each Barcelona area and is linked to detailed reviews of each hotel.

If you want to stay in the heart of the city centre then here are the pages you need:

Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter) guide
Hotels near La Rambla

Safest Barcelona area to stay in?

The areas we mentioned above are well lit with plenty of people around at all hours. There is a pickpocketing problem in the city due to its popularity as a tourist destination however if you follow our Barcelona safety tips you will be well prepared for a safe visit to the city.

We hope you found this page helpful to choose the best location to stay on your visit to Barcelona.

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