The best neighbourhoods of Barcelona: where to live in the city
Moving to Barcelona but not sure where you’d like to settle down? It all depends on what you’re looking for! From bustling nightlife to peaceful views of the city, the Catalan capital has something for everyone.
El Gótico (Gothic Quarter)
The charming, labyrinthine streets of the Gothic Quarter make you feel like you’re living in history itself. This can also be a downside as a lot of apartments aren’t very well maintained or are simply too old to so things often break. The small streets also make it hard for light to enter the apartments that are lower down so you should consider that if you’re affected by lack of sunlight in the home.
This Barcelona neighbourhood is well-communicated with public transport – you have busses and metros closely as well as Plaça Catalunya which connects you to the Rodalies and the FGC. One thing to consider when living here as well is the amount of tourists. Because it’s such a popular place for people to visit while on vacation in Barcelona and because it’s so small, the Gothic Quarter can feel overwhelming. Where there are tourists, there are also pickpockets. You’ll have to be extra careful when walking at night – best to go with a friend.
✅ close to the beach, charming & beautiful
❌ tourists, pickpockets, old buildings
El Born, located on the other side of the Gothic Quarter from Via Laietana is a popular place for young people. Still part of the original walled city its streets are small and charming, but again – many of the buildings are over 100 years old. It’s also very well connected to the yellow L4 metro line and the Arc Triomf train station. You’re right next to Ciutadella Park as well as the beach. If you’re looking to be in the middle of the action, Born is for you as it’s full of bars, small designer boutiques and restaurants.
✅ beach and park nearby, lots of nightlife, bars and restaurants
❌ can be more expensive than other nearby neighbourhoods, pickpockets, old buildings
Another neighbourhood of the Ciutat Vella, Born is a multicultural, edgy neighbourhood in Barcelona. You’ll find bars along the Rambla de Raval as well as the famous Joaquin Costa street so there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the nightlife. There are lots of cultural opportunities too – museums and cultural centres like the MACBA (Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona) where skaters usually gather. After the sun goes down, it’s important to be careful here just like in the Gothic Quarter.
✅ central, good nightlife
❌ can be dangerous, older buildings
Before becoming the up-and-coming, hip neighbourhood that it is, Poblenou used to be the neighbourhood of industry. You’ll still see remains of old factories or warehouses and even some old water towers and and car dealerships. One of the pros of living here is the easy access to the beach – it’s right there. Although some people complain that there isn’t that much happening in terms of bars or young people, that’s changing. There are plenty of restaurants, larger supermarkets and a bit more space than in the older neighbourhoods of Barcelona. Poblenou has also started implementing “superblocks” where they’ve transformed parts of streets or intersections into pedestrian-friendly parks and public spaces.
✅ beach close by, quiet, family-friendly
Eixample is the part of the city designed in the famous grid pattern once the old medieval walls of the city were torn down. The octagonal blocks are synonymous with this neighbourhood and offer a more sophisticated feeling. Large, beautiful buildings from the beginning of the 20th century are more spacious than some of the cramped apartments in the old part. Eixample is so large that it’s actually divided into 2 – l’Esquerra (left) and Dreta (right) where you’ll find the Sagrada Familia. It’s definitely a nice feeling walking by such grand buildings and being able to explore nice restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries and more in the large blocks of l’Eixample.
✅ more space, bars and restaurants
❌ lots of cars
The residents of Gràcia adore it for its town-like feel. In fact, that’s what all of the barrios once were before they all came together to form the city of Barcelona. Come to this neighbourhood and you’ll have gorgeous views overlooking the city as it’s higher up in the hills. Some may complain that it’s “too far” from the centre, but if you end up here you may never want to leave. There are lots of restaurants, bars, young people, and Gaudi’s famous Parc Güell ! Plus, you have access to the metro as well as the FCG trains.
✅ small village-like feel, nice views
❌ far from the beach
If you like nice views and living higher up in the hills, the areas of Sarrià and Sant Gervasi are for you. They say that anything above Diagonal is uptown and in these neighbourhoods you’ll usually find places to live with more space and light, although the prices will also match these conditions. The nice thing about living here is that you’re still well-connected to the centre and you’re close to Gràcia if you want to get near some action.
✅ more space, nice views
❌ farther away from the centre, more expensive, family-friendly