i spent last night doing a bunch of research for our london / paris / spain trip in march.  is teaching in london and then i will be meeting arian in paris where we will probably eat cheese and drink wine from baby bottles again…and then to spain for a week. (it’s been so long since it’s been just the two of us!)

i have been trying to sort out the best neighborhood to stay in barcelona. something that i have learned through all this recent travel is the neighborhood is so important! can you walk to get coffee… are there options for food…is it near the public transportation to get around…because it sure is a bummer when you have to get in a cab or on a train for every meal!

do you have any tips? i am still trying to decide if i want to rent an apartment or stay in a hotel ( & look pretty cool and affordable.) or maybe we should spend half of the week in a hotel and half of it , so we can experince more than one area? i have noticed that with trips over 4 days it’s definitely nice to have the relaxation of a hotel room after a long day of exploring. clean towels, a made bed, room service french fries. but staying in an apartment really makes you feel like you are living in that city. i’m torn.

if you’ve been to barcelona or live there, what do you think? where to stay, where to eat, where to drink, where to hang? thank you, thank you!

as for paris, maybe i will stay here again…it sure was nice.


Add your own

    Brianna says:

    I lived in Barcelona for a while, and I think if you’re going to stay somewhere try the Barri Gotic. Its a hip inner area of the city with quick major access to all the metros and restaurants. So any area is a quick ride away. It’s a super easy town to get around in. Stay away from Las Ramblas. Make sure to try a cortado (a small espresso with steamed milk) very good! You’re going to love Barca!

    Brianna says:

    Sorry to comment again! But Raval is also a great area. Full of hip little restaurants and bars. Casa Camper looks like a good choice!

    Susan says:

    This is a wonderful, well priced, well located hidden gem of a hotel in Barcelona:

    Hotel Banys Orientals Barcelona

    I loved it when I stayed there – so easy to get everywhere and a pleasure to go home to at the end of a long and busy day. x

    bri says:

    thanks brianna! i am leaning in that direction. las ramblas is unsafe, right?

    Adria says:

    I lived in Barcelona for 2 years so definitely stay in Barrio Gótico, you’ll be in the dead center of everything, (food, coffee, shops, bars) and la Barceloneta which is the beach area is a 20 minute walk away. The metro is right there so you’ll be able to move around quite easily to other areas or to go visit Guadi’s Sagrada Familia. Las Ramblas is a big main street that separates two neighborhoods, Gothic and El Raval, it’s not unsafe, mostly pocket pickers but it’s a really busy street. You will love Barcelona and Spain all around. All the best always.

    Nalini says:

    I lived in Barcelona as well, and my favorite neighborhood and where I lived is Borne. It’s very chic with amazing shops, and cute restaurants, but it’s also close to the beach. You can take a bike ride from Borne, and have breakfast at the W hotel at Bravo. it’s amazing and spectacular views on their rooftops.
    I have had friends stay at Banys Oriental and some have said it very tiny and you can hear people taking a shower. I usually rent a flat when I go to Barcelona. You can find plenty on craigslist or search for agency’s who rent. Personally, I think Raval is not safe, and Barri Gotico is very touristy. However, it’s all by choice. I would definitely spend limited time on Las Ramblas below Plaza Catalunya. Above Plaza Catalunya walk down the middle Rambla Catalunya and it’s quite beautiful. I also love Exiample but it’s not as exciting as Borne or Raval. However, they have beautiful hotels like Hotel Om. I love to buy a Phaidon city book and that helps me as as a starting point, in addition to my research. Also, since you blog about products, you will love Vincon. Raval does have cute shops, but due to the economy in Spain, I was sad by many stores closing due to their economic harships. Have fun! It’s my fav city, and definitely have a cortado, and tortilla Espanola. Ciao!!

    Karen says:

    In Paris, I really like Hotel Bel Ami: . The hotel is great and the location is perfect for walking to anything. It’s a touristy area but that didn’t bother me.

    You must do the Fat Tire Bike Tour. It’s so fun and hits all the high points of the city. Park Guelle and Gaudi’s apartment are must dos as well! Have fun!

    Bailey says:

    We stayed in a tiny, cute little apartment in El Born for two weeks and loved it (). Wonderful area. Walking distance to the port, bakery, markets, restaurants, shops, Parc de la Ciutadella, Placa de Catalunya…One day we even walked all the way to Sagrada Familia and then Parc Güell (admittedly, a couple hours walk), but worth it. And lunch in the Textile and Costume Museum’s courtyard was fantastic and just minutes from our apartment (we didn’t actually go into the museum). The Teleferic to Montjuïc is a must. The views are amazing, though Montjuïc itself was somewhat uninteresting (deserted olympic grounds, a couple good museums, an old castle). We hit a sketchy area at a park in El Raval, but El Raval also had some pretty neat old buildings, like a monastery and a hospital. Watch your purse, especially on La Rambla.

    And if you want a lovely day trip, go to Girona and walk along the city wall.

    Lindsay // Belle Belle Beauty says:

    I lived in Barcelona and agree with Brianna! Bario Gotic is the way to go or along Passeig de Gràcia. The metro is pretty great and you’ll have a blast. Definitely stay away for Las Ramblas and just west of there or just be watching your purse. Have fun!

    khali says:

    Be sure and talk to Kelty and Hannah of The Weaver House. They lived there and have family there. And they are just the best and any reason to talk to them is a good one. xox Please tell them I said hi!

    Everything is closed on Sunday, so get your shopping done by Saturday or you, like me, will go home with zero Barcelona shoes.

    Caroline says:

    I agree, the Barri Gotic quarter is the best! I lived in Madrid for the summer and when I went to Barcelona to visit some friends, this was definitely the coolest part of the city– really hip. I am so incredibly jealous! You are going to have the best time! Spain is magical.

    Caroline says:

    oh! And you haaave to go to the Picasso museum. Its amazing.

    Bridget says:

    Hi! We stayed at H1898 and its one of our all time favorite hotels in the world. Truly amazing. Rooftop pool and the breakfast were beyond. We walked absolutely everywhere, but it’s closet to Gothic and Raval areas which we loved. Have fun!

    Kat says:

    I also agree with Barrio Gotic and the suggestion to visit Park Guell.

    You HAVE to go to La Sagrada Familia. It’s definitely on the top of the list for BCN tourists, but the church is absolutely the most spectacular building I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen lots being an architecture student ha). Pay the extra fee to take an elevator to the top and walk down the stairs to get amazing views of the city and up-close looks at the mosaics! Palau de la Música Catalana is also quite wonderful with its stained glass ceiling.

    Michelle says:

    I stayed for a week in el Born, near the Santa Maria del Mercado which is beautiful. There was an ice cream shop downstairs – too perfect. It is basically a collection of little lanes which are narrow but full of shops and restaurants. A great guide is “Le Cool’s Guide to Barcelona”. They have a weekly newsletter of events too. There is one for London too and maybe Paris.


    Karianne says:

    Hi there!

    I just discovered your blog a few days ago and I’m in love! I live here in Barcelona, and hands down you should stay in El Born. Be sure and find a place next to the cathedral Santa Maria del Mar and Passeig del Born. The northern part is not nearly as charming. I’ve recommended the hotel “Hotel Banys Oriental” to a few friends and they have had great experiences. Also, “Inside BCN” (www.inside-bcn.com) has a few apartments that are right in this area. I see a few people have recommended the Gothic. While this is the heart of the Old City, you need to be careful about where you stay, as much of it has been taken over by tacky tourist shops. A big bummer. If you’re debating a place, feel free to send the location to me and I can tell you pretty quickly if the surroundings have the ‘old world’ charm you are likely looking for:) Born has this for sure.

    For places to drink and eat, I love “Zim” wine bar in the Gothic, “Collage” cocktail bar in El Born, “Llamber” for fancy tapas in El Born. All of the places on Passeig del born are great places as well. For walking around, I’d reco getting lost in the narrow alleyways of the Old City, notably the Jewish Quarter in the Gothic. Be sure to walk up Passeig de Gracia and admire the beautiful architecture in the Eixample.

    Geez, sorry for the overload!

    p.s. I’m starting a blog/company called “Street Collage” which is all about supporting small, cute, indie shops around the globe, but since I’m located in Barcelona, many will be here. Check us out, although note that we are just in the beginning! Much more great content to come…;)

    gudy herder says:

    I ‘ve been living for the past 23 yrs in BCN and can hopefully get you some valuable tips. Neighborhood: it depends on how much you want to take profit of every single moment and if you don’t mind being surrounded by lots of tourists. Raval is hip, not easy, a little unsafe yes but authentic. It is a nice area for me to stroll around, discover new places…and then go home!
    Born: they say it is the “Soho” of NY and yes, there so many cute shops, bars, the Picasso museum, the Ciutadella Park is located very close, interesting option. Charming area.”The Banys Oriental” has tiny, sometimes dark rooms but is very well located.
    My favorite area is not in downtown: the area is called Gracia and it is very off stream but still, lately more and more young designers are opening up all kind of shops with their own collections. It is close to public transport, loads of café, bars and restaurants, better prices and good vibe. Make sure you go to the Seneca street if you are over there. Small area but with the best eclectic furniture shops, few but great local fashion labels and accessories too. There are apartments in lofts-apartments.com in Gran de Gracia.
    But BCN is a small town, everything is close, you can catch the “Metro” or just go walking. Let us know any of us if you need some more information, places to go, stay, etc. I am happy to help you out with some more tips. Hope you are having big fun!

    Cl. says:

    During my trip to BCN I stayed in a small apartment in the El Born neighbourhood, which I think is a great location to stay. It’s not too far from Placa de Catalunya, which really is the main hub for public transport. The area is great for strolling, many very lovely & hip places, as said before. The apartment you found is a real go-for-it, because in these old buildings the apartments are usually very small. Plus it has a heating system (which is uncommon)! Tips: I enjoyed having the best freshly made fruit smoothie at the market La Boqueria (next to Las Ramblas). If you are having a relaxation day at Montjuïc (I agree with what was said about the Teleferic, do it!) head to the Botanical gardens, which is famous amongst landscape artists for its incredible spatial use of triangular shapes and therefor is a perfect foto location! Also a must see: the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion, pretty cool for pics as well… BCN is on my top 3 list of European cities, you will have a great time. Enjoy your stay!
    P.S. Maybe you’d like to visit Central Europe someday? I’d love to fill you in on Vienna!

    Jenny says:

    passeig de gracia! You’ll be in the midst of so many shops and cafes, but in walking distance to las ramblas and the barri gotic and transportation. Just close enough to a lot, but away from the sketchy people that roam la rambla and areas around it.

    My MUST-DO tips for first-timers (and I’m not asking much!), besides the obvious (like the boqueria and la rambla and gaudi stuff):
    -you must get gelato at Belgious
    -you must see a pop rock or jazz jam session at Jazz Si ()
    -churros and drinking chocolate from Petrixol or wherever else is good
    -catch a Barca soccer match in a pub cause those men are handsome

    In the end, pick a place to stay that you personally like. You can’t go wrong if you stay in the city cause it’s easy to get around and there’s so much you can walk to. Enjoy!

    hello! I live in Barcelona and I think all of the comments above are good 🙂 Born is one of my fave areas of course but I’d personally wouldn’t be staying there since you’ll have to walk a bit too much to explore the city. somewhere like Hotel Casa Camper would be much better located for you. don’t worry because it’s a relatively small city and you can walk almost everywhere. Yes, Ramblas is unsafe – although nothing bad has happened to me or anyone I know in 28 years…
    In case you’re looking for a nice place to eat, I’m recommending my TOP 10 restaurants in Barcelona and also my favourite places to have coffee. ENJOY!

    Lynne says:

    Casa Camper is cool – and next door is a great cafe with these rice balls. I just went to Paris and stayed here in the Marais – basic but very good and apparently cheap for Paris. You can read lots of positive reviews on Tripadvisor

    ah123 says:

    Barri Gòtic is fascinating and historic, but also can be quite cramped since it is an old part of town. If you stay there, make sure you get a flat with natural light.

    My favourite is l’Eixample with its wide streets and central location. l’Eixample Dreta will put you smack dab in the centre close to Passeig de Gràcia (Fifth Avenue of BCN), tourists sights like Sagrada Familia, transportation, restaurants, bars, clubs, etc. Gràcia is a neighbourhood slightly off of the main drag of Passeig de Gràcia, but is as local and Catalan as you can get if you want to live among locals. It has lots of restaurants, cafes, bars, transport, etc. Both of these areas are quite safe since they tend to be residential (unless you’re next to a tourist spot like Sagrada Familia). El Born is also eclectic and fun. El Raval is hip, edgey, multicultural, but does have a bit of safety issues. But the new Barcelo hotel is very nice…

    Tip: Be careful with your belongings, always hold your bag close to you, be aware of surroundings when in areas frequented by tourists or very crowded like the Metro. Go check out Les Rambles in the day, but try to avoid the main road at night when tourists and club goers are mingled in with pickpockets. And if you have an iPhone, be very careful with it. They are hot property among Moroccan pickpocket groups.

    Amelia says:

    I lived in barcelona for a semester and the only place I ever felt unsafe was in the raval. I would stay away from that one. Las Ramblas is really central and nice because there’s tons to do but be careful about pick pocketers because that area is especially bad for it. My favorite areas are Barri Gotic and Gracia! I lived near Plaza Catalunya and loved that because it’s super central and I felt safe there. Have so much fun 🙂

    Melissa says:

    you will LOVE Barcelona. The colors are amazing and the food delicious – most fancy restaurants do an insanely cheap fixed price lunch.

    Also, I warn this to everyone going to Barcelona – the petty theft on the streets is INSANE. I saw pick pockets pick pocketing everywhere and I got my purse grabbed from me (and stolen) my first day there. Also, the streets can get eerily quiet around Siesta time. So please, please, please keep your $, cell phone and passport in one of those neck things that go around your neck.

    I still had a great trip there and I can’t wait to go back!

    Brandy says:

    My husband and I stayed at a bed and breakfast called the 5Rooms. It was awesome. definitely look it up….i highly recommend it. It’s beautiful and the hosts were delightful.

    Jeanine says:

    I’ve stayed at Hotel 1898, the location is great, (so is the rooftop pool). You might want to also check out Hotel Omm, I stayed there on a prior trip… really great design & graphic details. They also have a fab rooftop pool.

    Brandy says:

    I forgot to mention that the 5Rooms is in Barcelona

    Brandy says:

    Oh and down the street there was an amazing tapas restaurant Ciudad Condal that is a must for sure. I’d recommend sitting at the bar where you can view all the yummy food on display in front of you. You’ll want to try everything in sight! we enjoyed our five year anniversary visiting spain and france. when we go to paris we always stay in the st. germain neighborhood which we enjoy. have fun on your trip and i love your blog btw

    magalerie says:

    If you have time I’ll definitely recommend you to go to Figueres to visit the Salvador Dali’s museums and then to Cadaques (lovely village on the coast) and Port Lligat where Dalí’s house-museum is located

    Flicky says:

    We visited Barcelona last October and found it to be a wonderful, safe, easily navigated city. We stayed here and I would really recommend it, it was lovely and the staff were really friendly & helpful. There is an amazing tapa’s bar just a few blocks away, Cervecería Catalana , seriously you have to try it!! We also ate in on of the seafood bars in the beautiful market off Las Ramblas, La Boquieria, it was gorgeous but pricey.
    We wandered the empty, cobbled streets of Gothic Quarter, at night, no problem at all, it was fabulous. You’re going to love it!
    ps. you must try the ice cream too, nobody does ice cream like the Europeans 🙂

    kellie says:

    I stayed at Hotel 1898 in 2009 and it was my favorite hotel experience ever. I took pictures of everything, from the radio in the room to the rooftoop chaise lounges. I’ve never forgotten the smell of the lobby, either.. incredible. I’ve tried Googling to figure out what it was, but haven’t yet. You should ask at the front desk. 🙂

    I’m so jealous! Barcelona is absolutely magical. Like others have said, Barrio Gotico is a great place to be. But the city is super easy to get around no matter where you end up, and you’ll never be far from great restaurants, shops, and bars. The Picasso museum is a MUST. It’s really incredible. Hope you have an amazing time!

    Ko-Shin says:

    HI! I follow u on Instagram, and also here – I am from NYC, have lived also in SF, and for almost 2 years here in Barcelona – and can get a feel for your vibe/passions thru your posts n pics, & you are so blessed to have this forum, because you got some great advice, and some eh-eh advice. #1 – Dont be scared of the Ramblas, Just as always in a big city, watch your bag. You should definitely stroll through The Ramblas it has great energy and tons of shops!

    I feel very safe in general here, however parts of the Raval are sketchy especially at night, and alone – BUT there are some of the coolest little shops/galleries/cafes in the Raval. There’s also alot of crappy places that u wont care about! (I am gonna look a place up for you, and tell u when I find the card). Definitely NOT the place to stay. I noticed a few amazing hotels in the Barri Gotic, and that area is more centrally located than El Borne, Which is a cool place for a stroll, with some nice shops and restaurants and bars. Stay away from the obvious places like Hotel W – which is in a horrible far away location, THOUGH there are some adorable restaurants on the beach that are totally your style right under the hotel – with good food, but catered to tourists, though worth a trip to see if you have a car – the bus goes there, but its a bit of a hike.
    I’m not gonna repeat about things people told you – but add by saying, that one of the things u will love is the architecture and the presence of visual art here. This is a place that is passionate about these things – so a trip to several museums are a must – picasso, miro, & MOSTLY u will drool at the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. Also Caixa Forum ( a bank) has an amazing FREE museum/exhibitions.

    Stay away from any obvious chains – the secret here is in the small, quirky, one of a kind and unique – in all things – especially food. I dont know your eating habits, but there are some amazing restaurants and a lot of reallllllllly bad ones, so research before you come.

    ALSO – people barely speak English, dont let anyone tell you otherwise. This is Catalunya and the main language is Catalan, the second language is Castellano, know to you as Spanish. Make sure you have at least a translation book. Yes, u will find some English speaking people, magikally perhaps, but dont even count on it, and I would revel in the opportunity to practice/learn some Spanish. People are very very nice to foreigners, especially if you even just try to speak some spanish.

    also – if you can, I would recommend a day trip with an overnight stay in Cadaques, along the Costa Brava – it is UNBELIEVABLE! Dali, Picasso, Miro, and many many other artists spent summers creating here, and it has an aura of majesty and creativity that will stay with you for the rest of your life. There is also a museum of Dali’s home in Cadaques.

    Another incredible trip would be to Figueras, the birthplace and home to his astonishing museum which will shock and delight you to see how many forms of painting he was a master in.

    email me if you want to know more, I hope this guides you, because i am in Barcelona – right now! 🙂

    Melinda says:

    I love Barcelona! My favorite plave to stay is the Claris Hotel. It is near a very large transportion center and there are great spots around the hotel too!

    Bri, you absolutely have to go to Ferdi (32 Rue du Mont Thabor 75001 Paris France) Risotto+mojito+playmobile = unforgettable

    Ranu says:

    YAY! Fun Euro trip 🙂 I’d split my time between hotel and Airbnb I think, but either way, you’ll be happy.

    I was able to visit Barcelona for the first time last summer, and really enjoyed where we stayed–a hotel in Dreta de L’Eixample. Walking distance to Las Ramblas, but with lots of shops and cafes nearby.

    Also, don’t miss Bar Lobo for amazing tapas, rights off Las Ramblas on Pintor Fortuny, and of course, La Boqueria during the day (delicious juices for less than 1 euro!). We got some jamon iberico and cheese from the Boqueria, then headed to Parc Guell for a picnic one day, which was perfect. Also, I’m sure you’ve heard, but find La Champagneria when you head to the beach for cheap champagne and tapas, and a fun crowd.


    Kendall says:

    I hope you can visit Mama Shelter Hotel in Paris.. AMAZING PLACE!!!!

    Meg says:

    I don’t have tips for barcelona.. But you MUST eat at L’avant Comptoir in the french quarter of Paris. I had the most delicious food there! Eat the foie gras in a macaroni, the breadless sandwich and the blood patty. sooooo yummy!

    Roxt says:

    La Escriba is an incredible pastry shop near La Boqueria. Their chocolate tart is…memorable, even after 5 years.

    Lauren says:

    We rented an apt in El Born, and I’d agree with everyone above that it’s the best area to stay. Cocoon Barcelona has a ton of cool properties for rent:

    Also, take a day trip by train to Sitges, the Saint-Tropez of Spain. It’s a beautiful, artsy seaside town. Fun to just hang out there for the day.

    We didn’t feel unsafe anywhere, even in the sketchy areas. Just be smart about how you hold your bag and stay alert. Enjoy!

    Kelcey says:

    My goodness. In Barcelona, don’t miss Parc Guell. I spent 6 months working all over Europe and the day I spent there was one of the best. Gaudi had it going ON. Have so much fun, I miss it!

    stephanie says:

    that’s so exciting bri! barcelona is a great city.

    i’ve stayed at the praktik rambla hotel, which is cool and affordable and smack in the middle of everything.

    if you want to go get drinks with your guy, i definitely recommend bobby gin – famous for their gin tonic variations, but they have other delicious cocktails, too. and the bar food is ah-mazing. my favorite place for tapas is bar lobo, favorite museum (it’s really worth your time) is the macba (with the obligatory kewl gift shop). a trip to the top of montjuïc with the télépherique should also be on your to-do list: gives you fantastic views over the city. and the horta laberint park is not as touristy as parc guëll, and superbeautiful and rela.

    and if you have time to pick up only one souvenir, definitely head to almacen marabi. she has a teeny tiny little shop in the nicest creative boutique area in barcelona, and she hand stitches felt toys and pins. it’s so you, i guarantee you’ll love it. you can check out her stuff here: almacenmarabi.blogspot.com.

    i’m sure you’ll have a great time, enjoy!

    I have never been to Barcelona but I heard that it’s a great place. Now that I have read some of the comments, I can’t wait but to visit the place. You posted such nice photos. I love the design and architecture. Thanks for sharing.

    Hannah says:

    L’Eixample district is lovely. It’s very cultural with cool bars and cafes and you can walk to most of the main spots. The architecture is also very nice in that area. I love Barcelona, enjoy! x

    Jordan says:

    I’m studying in Barcelona right now! I totally agree with the recommendations of staying in either El Born or El Raval. Both super cool places with lots of tiny alleys to wander through and cool little shops and restaurants. Historically El Raval has been considered sketchier, but I’ve never had a problem with it. There’s lots of cool little boutique hotels in both areas. El Raval is a cool place to knock around and grab some lunch – they have the MACBA (contemporary art museum) and some university buildings, so there’s lots of young Spanish people and hip stores/galleries. El Born has great restaurants – I recommend La Luna (get the cava sangria). Make sure you try churros y chocolate at any little cafe and eat lots of tapas – I recommend patas bravas and croquettas. Someone recommended Bar Lobo, which is great; La Xampanderia is a little hole-in-the-wall place with cheap champagne and sandwiches; and Cal Pep is one of the most famous tapas places in BCN. For beer or sangria, try La Ovella Negra off of Las Ramblas – you get towers of beer/sangria, and sit at long tables with other people and always make cool foreign friends. Pickpocketing is really bad in BCN, so always always always watch your bag; Las Ramblas and the metro stations are the worst. In addition to some of the Gaudi spots recommended above, I suggest you go to Casa Batllo – amazing architecture. No matter what, Barcelona is such a cool place and you’re bound to have a great time!

    other than all the touristic, yet amazing stuff –

    5rooms in barcelona, stayed there a couple of years ago, centrally located, you will feel like home 🙂

    mercat santa caterina, you will love the architecture of this market, and the cuines santa caterina, the restaurant located inside, delicious local food and great atmosphere (they have a vegetarian corner)

    escriba xiringuito, best seafood and paellas, loved the fideua (paella made with noodles), located by the beach

    Malin Selin says:

    For you!:)

    Ps. I say Gracía! U´ll love it… check it out!

    dee says:

    i love this. now i can get ideas from everyone too! ha

    Daniela Manzotti says:

    Casa Camper is a great choice and its location is amazing (near museums, restaurants and cool bars). If you choose to rent an apartment, try the Born area –it’s lovely and a bit more quiet than the Gothic. Avoid any hotel in the Ramblas: it’s loud as hell!

    ldykathryn says:

    The neighborhood El Raval is where you want to be!! Most travel websites will call it sketchy but that’s how you know it’s good. It’s near Las Ramblas which is the big tourist neighborhood so you can walk there and get the obligatory touristy things seen and done. It also has access to subway/public transpo, Barcelona is great with all that. El Raval is the arts district – you’ll find live music EVERYWHERE, coffee shops, and organic eateries. You MUST dine at Dos Trece. I had my most memorable meal of my life there – saffron lobster risotto.

    Pippa says:

    You HAVE to stay at Casa Camper!! It is an unbelievably awesome hotel. You have your bedroom / bathroom etc on the one side of the hallway, then you get a key to a room on the OTHER side of the hallway (directly opposite your room) where you have a chill area. The windows in the bathrooms overlook a plant and greenery courtyard which is just divine.
    Then as you walk out of the doors of the hotel, you are already inside the very small side roads of the best part of Barcelona – the loveliest stores are right on your doorstep.

    I highly recommend it!
    Pippa from South Africa

    Alice says:

    I grew up there and go there often cos my family still live there and I would recommend the following neighbourhoods:
    – Eixample – this is classic Barcelona, lots of art deco. It’s big so I’d go for something near Passeig de Gracia (one of the main boulevards)
    – Gracia – more homefully/villagey feel. Cool arthouse cinema and cafés, narrow roads but you have to walk to get to the metro.
    – El Born – this is right in the heart of town, close to lots of sights. Maybe a bit too lively if you want to sleep though!
    And what I always recommend is Granja La Pallaresa, a traditional café where they serve the BEST hot chocolate in the world, unmissable!

    quieroposh says:

    you should totally stay in the born, it’s the design-y district, right in the barrio gotico. the raval is a great option too, but you’ll see a lot of crackheads at night. passeig de gracia is a gorgeous high-end zone but totally worth checking out too.

    Pax Martín says:

    Wow, Bri. You got so many tips and suggestions that I think I shouldn’t add any more. I live in Barcelona myself, in Gothic Quarter to be exact. All the suggestions seem great to me, Barcelona center is not that big and whether you stay in Raval, Gothic quarter or Borne, you will be able to walk to most places.

    Regarding safety, most of the problems we have come from pickpocketers, so it’s just a matter of keeping your bag safely closed and holding your camera tight! Honestly, you will be fine.

    And last and more important, when is blogshop coming to Barcelona for a course???? Please tell me and I will start saving inmediately!

    Congrats for your blog and your work.

    txell says:

    Hi! I’m a Barcelonean so I’m pretty sure that I can help you.
    The most trendy quarter is “el Born” plenty of anice cafés, tiny & cozy shops runed by local artisans and artists and so close to the sea. There are many Airb’n’b option there. There is another quarter which is getting trendy lately “Sant Antoni” near the market called Sant Antoni. There you can find very nice cafés like Federal Café or Café Cometa and the amazing Fàbrica Moritz (and old factory rebuild by Jean Nouvel and turned in a gastro-space).
    Casa Camper is great but the area is pretty dirty and too noisy.
    And, trust in me, the best option to get around is riding a bike!
    Good luck!

    rich says:

    we stayed at h1898 and had a great experience. but for food – you must must must check out inopia!

    kat says:

    1. when you go to see The Sagrada Familia church (which is a must), get there early — right when it opens — and buy tickets to the church + towers and audio guide. if you get there early enough the church should be empty. you can take the elevators up to the top for a spectacular view & then enjoy the beauty of the cathedral on the ground floor in some peace and quiet.
    2. our concierge recommended a restaurant called Rias de Galicia for some excellent seafood & it was fantastic! so fresh!

    I lived on c/Montcada in the Born. But I also like the Raval. I think any of the accommodations you are considering would be fine. Barcelona is safe and easy to get around by cab or metro when you need to. My favorite thing to do is to just wander through the streets or sit outside in a plaza or cafe, but I’ll add…

    Someone mentioned this shop and I have to second it. I try to wander through it whenever I am in town. It should appeal to your design sensibilities and is on Passeig de Gràcia which is a nice stroll through the Eixample anyway.

    Best pintxos (tapas) I’ve had outside of the Basque region and I recommend washing it down with Txacoli, a really nice white Basque wine. (Down the street from the Picasso Museum in the Born)

    I think this place was already mentioned. Even if it isn’t here, I definitely second that churros con chocolate are worth a try somewhere.

    4. una clara = beer + lemon soda.
    It is better than it might sound.

    5. Gracia.
    Someone already mentioned this, but it is a great neighborhood away from the touristy areas so I’ll second it also.

    I better not write more or soon I’ll be packing a bag and buying a plane ticket! I miss BCN!! Enjoy.

    Hannah says:

    Been a few years since I was last in Barca but I would definitely recommend staying in El Born, it has a great, friendly vibe about it which totally encapsulates the feeling of Barcelona. We stayed at Inside BCN which some others have mentioned and could not fault it! It is opposite the Santa Maria del Mar church which is beautiful and it is easily accessible to the rest of the city with great transport links and lots of great restaurants and shops, cafes and bars near by. I feel jealous just talking about it – think I need to book a flight to BCN myself soon!!

    Hello, Bri! It’s exciting to know you’ll be coming to Barcelona. I’m an architect and a designer and I’ve been living and working here for a couple of years, but originally I’m from the northeast of Brazil.

    I think that a very authentic place to stay in Barcelona is in the Gracia neighborhood. The city center is very trendy, especially El Born, but it’s very touristy as well. I like Gracia because it’s full of character (the LeCool guide says that “everything cool that Barcelona did, Gracia did it first”), full of catalan residents and families and full of incredible little shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, plazas, a vintage movie theater and just an all-around efervescent energy that I believe you’ll appreciate. It’s also really close to the city center by metro! Be sure to stay near the Fontana subway stop if you do go there.

    I myself live near the beach, and can tell you there is plenty to do and see near Barceloneta (lots of terrace cafes and the amazing cava – that’s the Spanish sparkling wine – place, La Xampanyería). Be sure to go to La Font Del Gat in Montjuic before an afternoon at the Miró Foundation Museum! And of course there will be lots to do in the city center (I love the Picasso museum in El Born). Have lunch in the Santa Caterina market restaurant if you can, the roof is a wave of colorful tiles and I believe you’ll love it.

    I hope this is helpful! Let me know if you need anything else, I’d be happy to help and even show you the best Bailey’s coffee in town. 😉 Have a wonderful trip!

    Ane says:

    As Spaniard that has been on holidays in Barcelona very recently (I´m from Basque Country), just some information:
    This is a great city, I´d say that one of the most/or the most interesting in Spain! but…it´s too touristy, and you should be careful to enjoy the “real” city, so stay away from bars and restaurants of “typical tapas and paella” and go for this: here is my list!

    Neighbourhood: El Born -centrical and touristy, but incredibly beautiful- in one of the beautiful studios (love the one you chose, for example)

    Sighseeing: day 1: in the morning explore the old town (barrio gótico, shop around in the trendy shops of el born, visit the Picasso museum, the church Santa Maria del Mar, and in the afternoon walk until the Palau de la musica…and just very close to the palau, ask for L´Antic Teatre, and have a beer in its beautiful patio…)

    day 2: Passeig de Grácia (Grácia Avenue) and Gaudi´s architecture -visit La Pedrera or the Casa Batlló -buy the tickets online in advance!- and from there, take a bus to the Park Güell, also by the incredible Gaudí!

    Day 3: You could just relax and go to the Barceloneta (the beach), and if the weather it´s not nice, you could see some exhibitions in the Macba (great great modern museum!)
    Shooping: Apart from the little trendy shops from el Born, I recommend you Vinçon in the Grácia Avenue, the laie book shops -there is one in the Picasso museum and other one in the Macba- and the Davinci color in the Boqueria street -they only sell ballerinas made by themselves in every color, material and shape!- 🙂
    Eating: I just show you this link from one of my favourites bloggers here in Spain, he´s Basque but lives in Barcelona, he recommends these places (it´s in Spanish, but you can use gogle translator) …aaaaand, you cannot leave Barcelona without going to one of its markets: if you stay in a studio, you can enjoy your shopping at home: La Boqueria is the famous one, but the mercat of Santa Caterina is also nice.
    GOing out: You´re in Spain, darling! This means lots of options: bars, pubs, discos, concerts, dancing, any kind of music until late at night and nice drinks…..soooo ENJOY!!! Have a great trip!!!

    Hannah H says:


    I apologize if I get repetitive. I didn’t read through every single comment before I put in my two cents 😉 I studied in Barcelona for quite some time and there is really no other city like it. Everyone has suggested el Borne and I quite agree. It is a beautiful part of the city. However, it is VERY easy to get around here and not hard to navigate public transportation. I lived in the Putxet area. It is a bit far from the center of the city (20 minutes on the metro), but a little quieter and further away from the craziness that takes over Barcelona at night. If you’re looking for something quieter, I definitely recommend this area.

    Be SURE to check out Champagneria near Barceloneta! Oh my gosh, the Cava does not stop flowing and the ham sandwiches are to die for. I still dream about this place.

    Have fun 🙂

    P.S. I don’t think any part of Barcelona is “unsafe” per say. Theft is common in Las Ramblas, but just be aware and you’ll be fine.

    Natalie says:

    I just went to Barcelona over the holidays and had an amazing time. We rented scooters, which was a really great way to get around and see everything. The company is called VESPING. The Vespas come with GPS and they come pre-loaded with tours also. We had a few amazing food experiences. We had a friend who lived in Barcelona and suggested them, they are filled with hip locals, not tourists. Just make sure that you make reservations ahead of time anywhere you plan to eat or you may not get in!

    -Bar Canete:

    -lo de flor: – this was by far the best restaurant we went to. Flor is the owner, chef, waitress, and is amazing. She helped us choose what to order, picked out wine, and then hung out and entertained us.

    -La Panxa del Bisbe (the gut of the bishop)

    Natalie says:

    Also — for anything that requires tickets — ie: Segrada Familia (you have to go, it’s crazy), Gaudi apartments, Picasso museum — get tickets online ahead of time. You’ll be able to skip the 1-2 hour lines!

    Ko-Shin says:

    A new hotel opened recently that is famous in NY – The Mercer – and its in the Gotic Quarter – and its gorgeous- look that place up!

    laura says:

    Hey, I know a lot of people are saying stay away from La Rambla but it is just like with any big city, if you are careful, don’t flaunt money around and keep an eye on your bag you will be fine! Now onto the important stuff, I have been to this restaurant twice on two separate trips and i would say it is the best restaurant I have ever been too! I will say the potions are small(ish)but get a bread basket and then one of their gorgeous desserts and it is just the right amount. It is called La Crema Canela, it is on a side exit of Placa Reial which itself is off La Rambla, if you are looking down towards the seafront end it is on your left! And i highly recommend the duck breast with sweet potato puree and strawberries! Have an awesome time, one of my favourite cities in the world!

    Kelly says:

    It’s been ages since I’ve been to Barcelona, but if you’re looking for up-to-date tips to the hot spots on your trip’s destinations, I’d suggest you visit . It’s my go-to website for travel information! offers great travel tips as well! Enjoy your trip, looking forward to read about it (and seeing photos of course).

    noemi says:

    …i wish i had discover you before!! I rent some apartments in Born and it has been just lovely to host you!! So plsee!! If coming back anytime, let me know…or any friend with same amazing sense of beauty as u do!
    P.D- Always send link to your site and ask about advice to your hosts. U know? i really prefer make the best price i can to great people like u and i m sure all people who host will do!

    Excelente POst,

    Barcelona es la Ciudad más bonita del Mundo. os deseo lo mejor a todos los que visiten esta bonita ciudad no importa donde te alojes.

    Best wishes

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    Anonymous says:

    I have never been to Barcelona. My wife and I are planning to go to Barcelona in July with our 9month old infant. We would like to rent an apartment that is close to restaurants and cafés. From this post, I believe Born or Barrio Gottico seem stop be an good option. What’s the difference between these two cities?

    Thank you!

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    Robin says:

    So where did you end up staying. We are going next summer so I found so many of these comments helpful! Please let me know what a first timer must see and where we should stay.

    Marco says:

    here’s a great list of activities in Barcelona 2015

    It’s awesome designed for me to have a web page, which
    is good in favor of my experience. thanks admin

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