The Best Places to Stay in Barcelona for Tourists

Our curated guide to the best areas in the city.

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Barcelona captured at dusk

Travelling to Barcelona for the first time? There is so much to love about this coastal Spanish city. It boasts white sandy beaches on the Balearic sea; beautiful, wide boulevards; incredible architecture by Antoni Gaudí; a to-die-for food market and nightlife so buzzy it will make you wish you were young again. Reality check: you’re not so don’t even think about letting yourself forget how bad that hangover will be if you overdo it.

It can be overwhelming to decide where to lay your temporary roots when visiting this cosmopolitan capital of Spain’s Catalonia region, but thanks to our expertly curated guide of the best places to stay in Barcelona for tourists, you’ll have the answer right in front of you. Whether you want to wake up in the centre of town near all the sights, museums and markets or nearer to the sea, where sunbathing can become a daily ritual, Plum Guide’s ultra fastidious home critics have got you covered. Now all you have to do is pack your suitcase and figure out a way to stay awake late enough to have dinner no earlier than 11pm. When in Rome Barca...

In the city

If you want to be in the centre of the action, look no further than Eixample when it comes to the best place to stay in Barcelona for tourists. Located smack dab in the middle of the city, this is the neighbourhood you’re most likely to see gracing a postcard. Expensive elegant designer boutiques line the grandiose avenues and astounding architecture – particularly by legend and local hero Gaudí – abounds. In fact, some of the most world renowned examples of Modernista buildings can be found here.

Shops, cafes, bars and restaurants surround the Plaça de Catalunya square while nearby at the Mercat Els Encants flea market, local vendors sell antiques and vintage finds beneath a mirrored roof. Take in the splendour of Gaudí’s iconic Sagrada Familía, which is yet unfinished and attend a rooftop jazz gig at another of the architect’s master works, Casa Milà.

The Eureka Moment, Plum Guide home in Barcelona

The Eureka Moment, Plum Guide home in Barcelona

Crash at The Eureka Moment, a sparsely decorated yet utterly elegant Plum Guide home. The flat’s custom-made sound system will have you bringing the party home when you get back in the evenings and the thoughtful details like minimalist artwork and velvet theatre chairs on the balcony will certainly inspire your next home decorating project.

If you want to spend some time sunbathing without even going to the beach, this light-filled local apartment is the perfect place. A private, sun-drenched terrace overlooks the rooftops, while inside unique antiques and Catalan design features make this home one-of-a-kind.

The Congress of the Hundred, Plum Guide home in Barcelona

The Congress of the Hundred, Plum Guide home in Barcelona

By the beach

Would you consider yourself a beach bum? If so, there is no better place to stay in Barcelona for tourists than the Diagonal Mar area. What could be more luxurious than a beachside flat in an urban city? It’s the absolute best of both worlds, which is why this neighbourhood is so fantastic.

The long boardwalk is home to cafes, clubs and restaurants, which are the perfect shout when you want to sip an afternoon cocktail or enjoy dinner overlooking the sea. More than merely a beachfront however, Diagonal Mar has a rich history and feels a lot less touristy than the city centre, while still being a great base for discerning tourists like you.

Check out Torre de les Aigües Besòs, a landmark 1880s water tower, which contrasts almost magically with the area’s sleek modern hotels and office buildings. When you fancy some shopping, just hop over to the Diagonal Mar mall or check out the art, music and street food for sale at trendy Palo Alto Market.

Mar Terra, Plum Guide home in Barcelona

Mar Terra, Plum Guide home in Barcelona

Diagonal Mar is home to popular beach Platja Llevant, so staying here means you can literally wake up in the morning and head straight to the beach, whether it’s to sunbathe, swim or kite surf. Stay in this chic flat boasting a sea view from every room and a beautiful balcony perfect for morning coffee from which you can practically hear the waves.

Plum Guide home Fractal is another local crash pad worth considering when choosing from the best places to stay in Barcelona for tourists. This clean and crisp contemporary flat may not be the cosiest but what it lacks in old fashioned charm it makes up for in modern comforts. The apartment even boasts a residents-only private pool that’s perfect for a morning dip, and the whole flat is blessed with truly beautiful light throughout. You almost feel like you’re sleeping outside, minus everything that sucks about camping. 

Fractal, Plum Guide home in Barcelona

Fractal, Plum Guide home in Barcelona

Staying by the sea means you’ll have to grab a cab or take the train to get into the city centre, but that can be worth it when your home base is practically right on the sand. So book your stay at an expertly vetted Plum Guide home (we only list the top 3% of homes we inspect, so you know it's going to be good) and get started on your Barcelona itinerary and your guide to where to stay in Barcelona with family.

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