Decisions, decisions – we're here to help you make them. We asked our esteemed Home Critics what they thought were the best neighbourhoods to stay in Barcelona, and their answers surprised us (a little). Let's jump into it.
8. Sagrada FamiliaThere’s an alternative option for lovers of Modernist architecture, one that involves a slightly quieter location than Eixample. The area around Sagrada Familia is surprisingly relaxed, with only a few local cafes and restaurants (aside from the immediate vicinity, where you’ll find global restaurant chains). Aside from Gaudí’s masterpiece, you’ll have easy access to another epitome of Modernist architecture – The Sant Pau Recinte Modernista complex, which is a great way to spend an afternoon.
7. Barri GoticAh, the Gothic Quarter. The epicentre of all tourist life. If you’re a seasoned traveller, then you know that every city has an instantly recognisable must-see neighbourhood like it, and Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter stars in thousands of photos every day. We recommend you choose this one if you’re out to have some fun – because this neighbourhood never sleeps. Staying here will bring the city to your fingertips and make sightseeing effortless, but if you’re coming in the summer, be ready for impenetrable crowds of tourists.
6. Dreta de L’EixampleThere’s an easy way to describe this part of Eixample – rich. Dreta de L’Eixample is full of intricate Catalan Modernist architecture, commissioned by wealthy merchants over a hundred years ago. Most of the houses in the area have at least a few photo-worthy details, with the lower floors now containing upscale fashion boutiques, restaurants and beauty brands. We recommend staying in this neighbourhood if you like super central locations and city buzz, but not if you’re in town to relax (it’s quite busy).
5. SarriàSarrià was the last of the neighbouring villages annexed by Barcelona in the 1920s, allowing it to retain a lot of its individual flavour. For centuries, affluent families have been choosing the peaceful Sarria to escape the city noise, and many still choose the area for the very same reason. While it’s not central, Sarría has a good number of attractions in its vicinity, including the stunning Tibidabo mountain, as well as weekend markets and local events.
4. El PoblenouEl Poblenou is a fast-changing area known for its proximity to the beach – but you’ll be missing out on some hidden gems if you only focus on the seaside. Some of the best bakeries in town are hidden in El Poblenou’s streets, as well as some lovely bookstores, markets and speciality cafes that home the town’s creative population. Yes, El Poblenou is definitely a ‘no to mainstream’ kind of place, and we absolutely love it.
3. La Nova Esquerra de l'EixampleEixample is a huge neighbourhood that vastly changes when you travel from one end to the other. The affluent right side is the Nova Esquerra’s posh older sibling, which means that this newer neighbourhood has just found its footing and is quickly becoming the place to be. From Las Arenas, the old bullfighting that’s recently been turned into a beautiful shopping centre, to the Joan Miró park, this place is lively, well connected, and safe.
2. GràciaIt’s hard to believe that Gràcia is as central as it is – this level of authentic charm is usually reserved for suburbs. We find it easier to breathe in Gràcia, and the tostadas simply taste better the closer you get to Parc Güell. Gaudi’s fairytale park is the prime landmark in this neighbourhood, but Gràcia has a lot more to offer. Just like Sarrià, it used to be an independent city, which means it has a particular character that differs from downtown vibes. Lush, pedestrian streets, safe surroundings, and delicious restaurants that won’t break the bank make this a wonderful neighbourhood to stay in.
1. El BornEl Born was ‘the place to be’ in medieval times, and no matter how much time passes, this neighbourhood can’t seem to shake the sense of effortless cool. The cafes are always packed with locals, and if you happen to enter a store in this part of Barcelona, you’re much more likely to find unique designer pieces than generic brands – and a price tag to match. If you're a culture vulture, you'll quickly find solace in the Picasso Museum or El Born Cultural Centre, conveniently located in the iron-wrought building of former Mercat El Born. You'll also be close to the opulent Port Vell’s promenade, which is one of our favourite spots for an evening stroll or a seaside dinner. In short, the full package.
The verdicts are in and our Home Critics have spoken. But with Barcelona’s ever-evolving landscape, we’re seeing some exquisite developments on the horizon and our top neighbourhoods are bound to change. Looks like we’ll have to do this again next year...