The Ultimate Guide to Barcelona's Best Neighborhoods
Compared to other metropolitan cities around the world, Barcelona may be significantly smaller, but that doesn’t mean to say that the city doesn’t have variation. In fact, Barcelona attracts all sorts of people hoping to take advantage of its mild year-round climate, explore Gaudi’s striking architecture, and sample some foodie delights. And, that’s not to mention the city’s numerous beaches and easy access to the breathtaking Andorra Mountains.
In this guide to the best neighborhoods in Barcelona, we’ve organized our listing into family-friendly areas, neighborhoods for young professionals, and more, so you can find the perfect location for your wants, needs, and budget.
The 13 best Barcelona neighborhoods at a glance:
- El Raval. Trendy neighborhood with affordable housing and a thriving arts scene.
- Sants-Montjuic. One of the greenest districts in the city with a small-town atmosphere.
- Horta Guinardo. A quiet community neighborhood on the outskirts of the city.
- Gracia. A family-friendly neighborhood with lots of green spaces and public transport.
- Les Corts. Upmarket residential area with a huge choice of international schools.
- Sarria – Sant Gervasi. Wealthy neighborhood with spacious homes and top-performing schools.
- Barrio Gotico. Vibrant area home to a wealth of expats and popular with tourists.
- El Born. Authentic neighborhood with an international community.
- Barceloneta. Sleepy village atmosphere with prime access to Barcelona’s beaches.
- L’Eixample. Popular neighborhood home to wide boulevards and a variety of housing.
- Poble Sec. Quiet local community with ample green space to explore
- Poblenou. Up-and-coming former industrial neighborhood with chic living spaces.
- Saint Marti. A large district with huge stretches of beach and modern living amenities.
Best neighborhoods in Barcelona for families
Barcelona’s best neighborhoods are full of culture, green spaces, and affordable, spacious homes: the perfect combination if you’re looking to settle down with your family.
Famous for its markets, shops, restaurants, and social scene, Gracia has become an independent city in its own right. Catalan in style and friendly in character, Gracia has become one of the most popular neighborhoods to live in Barcelona amongst expats, families, locals, and young professionals.
Not only is the neighborhood of Gracia known for having its fair share of squares and gardens, but it’s also home to Gaudi’s Park Guell, which makes for a treat for the eyes. And, if that wasn’t enough for families, Gracia is known for its fantastic choice of schools.
2. Les Corts
Les Corts is one of Barcelona’s more expensive neighborhoods with a mixture of large family homes, stunning townhouses, and luxury apartment blocks. It’s home to two university campuses and Barcelona’s business hub, which leaves it with a varied community made up of families, students, and young professionals.
The neighborhood is also home to Barcelona’s main football stadium and excellent shopping complex, making it a popular place among locals and tourists. And, for when you want to escape the busy streets, it’s just a short walk away from the fringes of Parc Natural de la Serra de Collserola.
3. Sarria - Sant Gervasi
Considered to be one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in Barcelona, Sant Gervasi offers residents stunning green spaces, a community atmosphere, and quiet streets. Houses in Sant Gervasi are some of the most spacious in Barcelona, with many boasting large gardens and swimming pools. They are also some of the most expensive around.
Popular amongst families, the neighborhood boasts excellent connections to the central business district and plenty of international and local schools of superior quality. With all of the shops, services and amenities on your doorstep, you’ll need a good reason to leave Sant Gervasi.
Best shopping options in Sant Gervasi
Mercato Sarria and Carrer Major de Sarria
Best neighborhoods in Barcelona for expats
It’s undeniable that Barcelona is a great city for expats. There’s a vibrant city, stunning beaches and a friendly community of expats to go alongside. But choosing where to live in Barcelona is where it gets a bit tricky. Here are a few great picks.
4. Barrio Gotico
Sitting smack bang in the middle of the busy city centre, Barrio Gotico offers up residents the very essence of Barcelona. Its streets are hectic, its architecture unique and the food out of this world. The popularity of this central barrio makes it difficult to find a nice place to call home, but the effort is worth it when you stumble upon the perfect terrace house.
The convenience of living in Barrio Gotico should not go underestimated. Yes, it’s close to shops, bars and restaurants, but it’s also a quick walk away from the beach and Barcelona’s main train stations that can take you out into the suburbs and beyond.
5. El Born
Authentic and full to the brim with old world charm, El Borne is exactly what you might have imagined from Barcelona. Stone buildings line the street, hidden courtyards appear around every corner and independent boutiques and local cafes rule the roost. If you’re looking for a slice of authentic Barcelona, this is it.
El Born is also one of the city’s most international neighborhoods. Expats gather here from all over the world, so you’ll have no problem finding some friends if you’re new in town. With everything in walking distance, you won’t need to worry too much about public transport either. If you do fancy exploring a little further afield, El Born is one of the most well-connected neighborhoods in Barcelona.
Best shopping options in El Born
Passeig del Born
What was once a sleepy fishing town on the edge of Barcelona has now become a residents dream. Offering up access to the beach, a vibrant enough social scene and more than reasonable rent prices, Barcelona doesn’t get much better than Barceloneta. Housing is simple and modest in Barceloneta, but most flats have stunning sea views which is what most people in the area tend to come for.
Best shopping options in Barceloneta
Parquing Shopping Mall
Best neighborhoods in Barcelona for young professionals
With ever-rising opportunities in the business world, Barcelona is quickly becoming the new kid on the block when it comes to young professional’s favourite cities.
With a name that means ‘extension’ in Catalan, L’Eixample was one of the first areas to be built after the old town of Barcelona. It’s wide streets and grand architecture are reminiscent of the late 19th century when this neighborhood was built.
With an excellent location, unbeatable transport connections and all of the amenities you could wish for, L’Eixample is arguably the best neighborhood to live in in Barcelona. It’s home to Gaudi’s most famous works, the Sagrada Familia and Casa Batllothis and plenty of other attractions that will help you to fill your evenings and weekends. And, when it comes to housing, there’s something for everyone in this lively enclave.
Best shopping options in L'Eixample
Passeig de Gracia
Best green spaces and parks in L'Eixample
Placa del Doctor Letamendi
8. Poble Sec
Sitting at the foot of Montjuic and next to the Raval neighborhood, Poble Sec is part of the Sants-Montjuic district. While Poble Sec may not have the busy streets and lively atmosphere of some of Barcelona’s more popular residential areas, it offers up a quiet life and an authentic look into the local’s way of living.
You’ll still find a few family-run restaurants scattered around the streets, and there’s plenty of green space to enjoy. For those nights when you’re looking for livelier streets, it’s only a hop, skip and a jump into Barcelona’s more happening neighborhoods.
Best green spaces and parks in Poble Sec
Jardins de Laribal and Jardins de Joan Brossa
9. El Poblenou
Poblenou was once a thriving industrial neighborhood, laden with large factory warehouses and communities of factory workers. Many of these factories are now closed, and there are plans to renovate them into trendy warehouse loft spaces. Work has begun on some of these housing units, but there are plenty more in the pipeline.
Away from the houses, Poblenou benefits from a stunning beachfront park and very easy beach access, perfect for anyone who wants to be within walking distance of the sea. For this reason the neighborhood has become popular with surfers and the like.
Best shopping options in Poblenou
Rambla Poblenou and Vila Shopping Centre
10. Sant Marti
Having so many beaches nearby is definitely one of the perks to living in Barcelona. But which Barcelona neighborhoods offer up the easiest access to the sweeping beaches? The district of Sant Marti.
Home to the impressive Olympic Park and a community of watersports lovers, Sant Marti is about as close to the beach as you can get in Barcelona. This sprawling district boasts a handful of different neighborhoods all offering up a range of housing options, and all of which are within walking distance of Sant Marti’s five beaches.
Recently, business has begun to boom in the area, so you’ll find numerous modern shopping centres around as well as modern apartment blocks and pristine beach-side parks.
Best shopping options in Sant Marti
Rambla de Poblenou and Diagonal Mar
Best green spaces and parks in Sant Marti
Parc de Sant Martí and Parc Diagonal Mar
Affordable or Cheap Neighborhoods to Live in Barcelona
Looking for cheap areas to rent in Barcelona? It’s true that Barcelona isn’t one of Spain’s most affordable cities, but there are plenty of nooks and crannies where you’ll find a bargain without compromising on location. Here are our top picks for the most affordable places to live in Barcelona.
11. El Raval
Rewind two decades, and El Raval was Barcelona’s no-go zone, known for its high crime rates. Fast forward to modern-day Spain, and the neighborhood has become one of the city’s hippest barrios, with a thriving social scene and an underground arts and culture movement that’s on the rise.
With housing options ranging from the affordable to the luxurious, this trendy corner of Barcelona attracts a young crowd made up of both students and young professionals. You’ll find the historic cobblestone streets alive with people no matter what time of the day, making this perfect for night owls searching for where to live in Barcelona.
Best shopping options in El Raval
Les Galeries Malda and Mercat de la Boqueria
Best green spaces and parks in El Raval
Jardins de Rubio i Lluch and Jardins
The sprawling district of Sants-Montjuic is, in fact, Barcelona’s largest district and covers several neighborhood areas. It takes its name from the looming hill that watches over Barcelona, also known as Montjuic. While much of Sants-Montjuic is taken up by green spaces, Sants’ neighborhood, sitting at the foot of the mountain, is the most popular residential area.
As a busy port town with excellent transport connections to the city, some say the neighborhood lacks a community feel. However, if it’s affordable housing and green spaces you’re looking for, Sants might just be the location for you.
Best shopping options in Sants-Montjuic
Arenas de Barcelona and Carrer de Sants
13. Horta Guinardo
If you love the idea of being within reaching distance of Barcelona, but you don’t want the noise, or the price tag, that comes with it, the neighborhood of Horta Guinardo is a great choice. Sitting just seven kilometers outside of the city center, residents can reach the city within twenty minutes while also enjoying the peaceful mountains on their doorstep.
While Horta Guinardo is a self-proclaimed quiet neighborhood, Spaniards come from all over the country to live here. Despite this, house prices and rentals have remained more than affordable, and you’ll even have the added luxury of street-elevators, so you don’t have to tackle the hilly terrain every single day.
Best hospitals in Horta Guinardo
Best shopping options in Horta Guinardo
Carer del Tajo