Barcelona - Neighborhoods
The “city centre” is often the obvious choice when answering the vital question of where to stay in a new city. Barcelona’s superbly well-connected and easy to use subway system coupled with the sprawling layout of the city make the decision less obvious. Take heart in the fact that the city is extremely well mapped and easy to navigate and with quick access to a metro stop, you have the entire city at your doorstep. That said, let us look at the entire range of options that the city offers and the other factors you may want to consider before deciding where to stay in Barcelona
Placa Catalunya is the unquestioned heart of the city. Apart from being the city’s core transport hub, two of the most important avenues in the city, the famous La Rambla
and the Passeig de Gracia, originate from the central plaza. Several city attractions, medieval quarters, cafes and restaurants are short walks away and the surrounding quarter is indisputably the liveliest area of town. Things to keep in mind are that most hotels in this area will be priced significantly higher than other locations and the noise levels at night may not be conducive to a restful slumber.
North from Placa Catalunya, a couple of metro stops away, lies the swish Eixample neighborhood. La Sagrada Familia is most close to hand but you also have easy access to both Passeig de Gracia and the restaurants of the Gracia neighborhood. Boasting several high end restaurants and lounges, Eixample offers a sparkling night life of its own.
Gracia is also a lovely alternative if you do not mind moving a little further away from the centre. With many small shops and cafes, Gracia has a quaint charm of its own and offers several excellent dining options, priced more modestly than their Plaza Catalunya counter-parts. Gracia also comes with many open squares, perfect for idling away the evening in while lingering over a meal or a cup of coffee.
Diagonally opposite from Gracia, on the other side of the Avinguda Diagonal lies the Les Corts region of Barcelona. Perhaps best known for the FC Barcelona home stadium Camp Nou, this neighborhood is home to numerous hotels and inns. With several metro stations and bus lines, Les Corts is well connected to the city centre and a more reasonably priced option than most.
La Rambla cuts through the centre of Ciutat Vella, with Placa Catalunya to the north and the Columbus statue to the south. It is difficult to separate the northern region from Placa Catalunya, but the southern end may be of particular interest to visitors going on or returning from any of the several cruise ships docking in Barcelona’s Port Vell. Served by the Drassanes metro stop, the area offers excellent options to guests requiring easy access to the Port. Be warned however, that the Raval district (north of the Port and to the left of the mid-section of La Rambla) is a scruffier area of town and may be less desirable, especially if you are traveling with family.