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5 must-see neighbourhoods in Barcelona

The Catalan capital is packed with things to do and explore. On your travels, though, it is essential that you stay in and explore the best neighbourhood for you. From the historical Gothic Quarter to the vibrant El Raval, this is our list of the top 5 best neighbourhoods in Barcelona. We’re sure you will find the perfect place suited to you!

Gothic Quarter

The Gothic Quarter in Barcelona is by far one of the most frequented districts for tourists. This neighbourhood is absolutely packed to the brim with cultural sights and wonderful history to discover. Here you will find the Barcelona Cathedral, the iconic Las Ramblas, the stunning Plaça Reial and hundreds of old winding roman streets, leading you to new avenues of discovery.

gothic quarter-bcn

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There are so many restaurants and bars to check out around here. The vibe is always fun and busy, especially as the weather gets warmer and warmer. There are many sophisticated rooftop bars to take advantage of here as well. With views of the romantic stone streets and gentle hum of the city, below, nowhere better is there to enjoy a cocktail and let the evening go by.


Architecturally, this is a very special neighbourhood in the Catalan Capital. Plaça Reial, for example, located right in the heart of the Gothic Quarter, is a popular destination among tourists. This gorgeous square, consisting of huge stone arches, dramatic fountains, palm trees and lights, is home to some great restaurants and a decent selection of nightclubs to enjoy after dark!


Gràcia was once a district in and of itself. Nowadays, it has remained a truly unique part of the Catalan Capital, worthy of exploration. The neighbourhood is well-regarded. It is packed with everything from Michelin star restaurants and local authentic boutiques to organic vegan cafés and sophisticated bars. The neighbourhood is safe and welcoming, making it the perfect place to wander around and immerse oneself in the Catalan culture.


Gràcia is home to Gaudi’s iconic Park Güell. This fabulous park is the perfect place to enjoy a nice stroll through the beautiful gardens surrounded by wonderful architecture. What’s more, during the month of August, Gràcia is packed with people, both locals and tourists alike, as they celebrate the Festa Major de Gràcia. As part of this delightful tradition, streets compete with each other for the title of best decorated street. There are murals, banners, and art hung from every corner. There are also dances, concerts and lots of food and drink on offer, making it an absolute must-see!

Festa Major Gràcia


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Eixample is one of the city’s most popular neighbourhoods. The word Eixample means ‘expansion’ in Catalan, representing its history as the first neighbourhood to be built during the city’s expansion in the 19th and 20th century. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate with its grid street structure, it is full of gems to discover. Like Gràcia, Eixample is home to several of Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces, such as Casa Battló and La Pedrera.


This neighbourhood is very central and, as such, well-connected to the rest of the city. It can be divided in two parts: the left and the right. In the Right Eixample (Eixample Derecho) you will find the city’s iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Sagrada Familia. This is one of the most, if not the most, popular tourist attractions in all of Barcelona. Its towering steeples and colourful glass interior are a true sight to behold.


In the Left Eixample (Eixample Izquierdo), to the left of the luxurious Passeig de Gràcia, is brimming with dining options and up-scale bars. This neighbourhood is one of the most popular destinations, due to its safe and homely vibe.


The neighbourhood of Barceloneta is the ultimate vacation spot. Connected directly to the magnificent Mediterranean Sea, this old fishing district is now a go-to spot for the sun-loving holiday goers among us. There are plenty of fresh fish and seafood restaurants located down in the harbour as well as some of the city’s most famous clubs such as Pacha and Opium.


Why not watch the sun go down on the beautiful sandy beach and grab some tapas while you’re at it! There is always something to get up to in this picturesque neighbourhood.

El Raval

El Raval is one of Barcelona’s most lively and vibrant neighbourhoods. Like the Gothic Quarter, this barrio is one of the city’s oldest. Though often regarded as a rather seedy part of town, Raval is on the up. The neighbourhood is home to many trendy boutiques and brunch spots, with plenty of art shops, vintage stores and super cool bustling bars to explore. Raval is the city’s urban centre, frequented by hipsters, skateboarders and all sorts of cool people!


El Raval is also home to two of the city’s most important art museums: the MACBA (The Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art) and the CCCB (Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona). These prestigious museums are located just off the Ramblas, and are both surrounded by plenty of dining options and lively bars. If you’re looking to walk on the wild side of life whilst soaking in some culture, then El Raval is for you!

Sandra Roig

Sandra Roig is Marketing Director at AB Apartment Barcelona. AB Apartment Barcelona is an apartment rental agency offering over one thousand short and long term apartments across Barcelona. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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  1. Nice idea for a post. Too many people base themselves around Las Ramblas and don’t explore enough. They never get to know the real Barcelona.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Ted. Yes, exactly. To really get a feel for the city you’ve got to widen your circle beyond just the Ramblas. There’s so much to see!

  2. Although it’s a bit of a pain to get to on the metro and with a walk too it’s well worth making the effort to get to Barceloneta. Always a good spot for a great fish meal.

    1. Hi, Freya. Yes, the journey can be longer depending where you’re staying on your trip but It’s such a lovely walk down to Barceloneta. Definitely worth it!

  3. I agree that they are all”must-see” areas which is why I always say that a long weekend isn’t enough to do Barcelona justice. You really need 5 nights or even a week.

    1. Thanks for you comment, James. Completely agree! Whilst it’s certainly possible to have a fabulous 3 day trip, a week in Barcelona is ideal if you don’t want to pack everything in so quickly.

  4. So painful reading this whilst it’s raining cold rain outside. I desperately need a break but no chance of getting away from work at the moment. When I can escape it will be for some sun and sangria in Barcelona.

    1. Hi, Zoe. I feel for you! Not too long till summer now though so hold out for that sangria!

  5. Many thanks for a really useful post. We love Barcelona and have visited three times now over the last decade.

    In September, we plan to step up from our usual long weekend to a full 7 days. We want to go beyond the usual tourist sights. This post will help us to dig a little deeper and to get to know the city a lot better. Thank you.

    1. Hi Paul, thank you so much for your comment! Barcelona has lots to offer and many hidden gems, good to know that you will visit this lovely city again!

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