Oct 21, 2022

Travel Inspiration

Where to Stay in Barcelona for First-Timers: the 5 Best Places

Fora Author Fora Travel

The Modern Travel Agency

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Barcelona, one of the top 15 destinations in Spain, is a special place. But with so many great options, you may have a hard time deciding where to stay in Barcelona for the first time. 

That’s where we come in. We’re going over the best places to stay in Barcelona, including five of the most exciting districts, as well as a few of our favorite boutique hotels in Barcelona

Or, feel free to skip this guide and connect with one of our Fora travel advisors for personalized recommendations. Fora Advisors are experts on the areas they cover, and can also get you awesome hotel upgrades and VIP perks when you book with them, all for the same price as booking directly. 

Plus, having a travel advisor for Spain will ensure that your vacation is nothing short of amazing. 

The 5 Best Places to stay in Barcelona

Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, one of the most unique places to visit in Spain, with centuries of relative independence from Western European influences to the north and Moorish influences to the south.

If you’re wondering where to stay in Barcelona for your first time, read on. While you’re at it, check out our Barcelona itinerary for recommendations on things to do.

1. Barri Gótic (the Gothic Quarter): where to stay in Barcelona if it’s your first time

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The Gothic Quarter of Barcelona is easily one of the best places to visit in Spain for first-timers, let alone the Catalonian capital. This medieval sector of the city has narrow, stone streets filled with food and flower vendors, as well as hints of the ancient Roman city that would later give rise to all of Barcelona.

Because of its central location, the Gothic Quarter is a convenient place to stay if you want easy access to the rest of the city and all it has to offer — that’s why it’s one of the best places to stay for first-timers.

The best places to stay in the Gothic Quarter, Barcelona

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Image courtesy of Mercer Hotel

From the Mercer Hotel to Hotel Neri, the Gothic Quarter is home to many of Barcelona’s best hotels. Accommodations tend to run a bit high, pricewise (you get your money’s worth here), but that’s the price for prime real estate and luxurious stays in one of the world’s most-visited cities.

The Barcelona Edition is also worth mentioning, but if you want the full scoop, you’ll want to speak with a Fora travel advisor. And remember: your advisor can personalize your trip and hook you up with premium hotel perks to level up your vacation even more. 

2. Eixample: where to stay in Barcelona for a taste of everything

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Trendy, worldly, beautiful, Eixample is the central district of Barcelona. From architectural wonders like the Sagrada Familia cathedral to the street vendors at the Plaça de Catalunya square, Eixample boasts many of the things that make Barcelona an exciting city to explore.

The best places to stay in Eixample, Barcelona

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Like the Gothic Quarter, many of Eixample’s hotels are world-class establishments. Casa Bonay is one of the most popular, but don’t discount Hotel Alma or Almanac, either. Chat with a Fora travel advisor to get more details on the best places to stay in Barcelona near Eixample.

3. La Barceloneta: where to stay in Barcelona if you’re a  beach lover

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As one of the best beachfront neighborhoods on the entire Mediterranean, La Barceloneta is on many Spain bucket lists. Dozens of seaside bars and restaurants overlook pristine beaches teaming with travelers from all over Europe and the world. Or, if you’re looking for a quieter place to stay or visit, forgo the central beaches for the local hangouts on either end of La Barceloneta. 

La Barceloneta also tends to be one of the starting points for seaside escapes from Barcelona to Mallorca, one of the islands off Spain’s Mediterranean coast. If you’re looking for a less-than-urban detox in Formentera or to party it up on the beach (there are so many things to do on Mallorca), the island offers a fun getaway that compliments a more refined stroll through Barcelona’s architecturally magnificent streets.

And remember, booking with a Fora Advisor means free upgrades and perks galore, so you can splurge elsewhere (like on a Spain bachelorette party in Mallorca).

4. El Poblenou: where to stay in Barcelona for the food

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El Poblenou used to be part of Barcelona’s industrial sector, but over the past few decades, factories have been converted into artsy rows of tapas bars, cafes and shops, all of which lead to the local hangout at Bogatell Beach. 

The accommodations here are a little more affordable compared to the Gothic Quarter or Eixample, but El Poblenou is still near the center of the city, providing quick access to much of the rest of Barcelona.

The best place to stay in El Poblenou, Barcelona

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The Hoxton is a charming hotel that encapsulates El Poblenou’s creative spirit. Staying at the conveniently located Hoxton puts you near the beach, El Poblenou’s top museums and nightlife.

5. El Raval: the place to stay in Barcelona for families 

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Whether you’re visiting Barcelona with kids or keeping things adults-only, the vibrant streets of El Raval offer a rich opportunity to immerse yourself in Spanish culture. Colorful street art and dazzling architecture, plus a slew of contemporary art museums, create the impression of an endless exhibit. 

El Raval’s vibes are chill and the tapas are on point, especially as you edge toward the beach, but there’s something here for every type of traveler.

Still wondering where to stay in Barcelona for the first time (or anywhere else)?

A Fora Advisor can help you decide where to stay in Barcelona for the first time. They can also help you figure out where to stay in Madrid, including at the best boutique hotels in Madrid

As travel experts, we have the lowdown on the best places to stay, see and experience whether you’re taking an express tour of the Iberian Peninsula, planning a seven-day itinerary for Asturias or checking out the best things to do in Seville

And when you book with us, you’ll have access to all sorts of exciting hotel perks and upgrades.

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