Barcelona is a densely populated city, its expansion checked by the Collserola Mountains to the west and the mouths of the Llobregat and Bèsos rivers to the south and north. Within the city are many different neighbourhoods with very different historical and physical characteristics.
In this page we offer a quick overview of the main residential areas of the city. See our city guide for more in depth information on Barcelona’s districts, activities, transport connections and much more.
Given its excellent public transport this makes Barcelona a very easy and convenient city to get around. You will not be inconvenienced in any way if you are not staying right in the centre.
The Old Town / Gothic Quarter
The Old Town is the historical core of Barcelona, the site of the original Roman settlement of Barcino. Densely packed, with narrow medieval streets, bursting with character and beautiful architecture, home to Las Ramblas, the Cathedral and numerous museums, it is without surprise that the Old Town is so popular with visitors. In recent years the Born district of the Old Town has risen to become one of the hippest in the city and the coolest place to hang out.
See: Las Ramblas, Cathedral Santa Eulàlia (La Seu), Santa Maria del Mar Church, Picasso Museum, Old Port, Hip Born District
The beautiful Eixample district forms the largest residential area of Barcelona and is art-nouveau town. Its wide, airy boulevards contrast with the dark winding streets of the Old Town, and its distinctive architectural style showcases some of the finest art nouveau building in the world – far more vivid in colour and form than its Northern European counterparts in Paris and Brussels. Formed in the late 19th century to cure overcrowding at a time of great prosperity in Catalunya, Architects such as Gaudi, Domenech I Muntaner and Puig I Cadafalch transformed the city, sites such as the Sagrada Familia, Casa Milà and Casa Batlló form a lasting testament to their unique vision.
See: Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló, Casa Milà, Passeig de Gracia
A village within a city, Gracia is super trendy and popular with the young and with families alike. Formerly an outlying village, Gracia was swallowed up by the Eixample in the 19th century though without any loss of its tranquil character, that of a village – low rise buildings, pedestrian streets lined with orange trees, plazas with terraces – generally a slightly bohemian and highly agreeable place to be.
See: Plaza Sol, Plaza Rius I Taulet, Parc Guell
The Beach –Barceloneta, Poblenou and Sant Marti
Blessed with over 4km of sea and sand, incorporating no less than seven distinct beaches, the beach district of Barcelona leaves little not to like. From the former fisherman’s district of Barceloneta, still technically part of the old town and replete with sea food eateries, to the vibrant Poblenou district, the beach front is the place for sun worshippers to stay to enjoy the sun, sea and sand. Chiringuito beach bars line the shore, the areas behind the shore are residential rather than lined with the giant all night discos infamous to some parts of the Mediterranean.
See: The beach!, Barceloneta, Port Olympic, some Chiringuitos, Rambla Poblenou
In prime location next to Montjuic Mountain, the Sants Railway Station (Barcelona’s main station) and the Fira de Barcelona conference and trade centre, Sants is big on convenience. Popular with business travellers for its quiet residential character and with families alike, Sants is a sure and safe option.
See: Montjuic, The Olympic Village, Poble Espanyol, Sants Market, Parc Miró, Miró Museum
Also next to Montjuic mountain on one side, and the Old Town on the other, the Poblesec district is removed from the hustle and bustle and boasts a laid back village like atmosphere. The prefect striking out point for Las Ramblas, the Old Town and the Old Port and the sea, you will enjoy all the benefits of a central location here.
See: Montjuic, The Olympic Village, Poble Espanyol, Miro Museum, Las Ramblas, Old Port
Les Corts / FC Barcelona
Home of the world famous FC Barcelona. The Camp Nou is the hallowed turf that is the home ground of the Blaugranas, or FC Barcelona, pride of the city. But there is far more than just football to Les Corts, where some of the best shopping in Barcelona can be found at L’Illa and at Pedralbes shopping centres. If neither shopping not football is your thing then the Museum of Decorative Arts in the grounds of a former palace is nearby.
See: Camp Nou, L’Illa, Pedralbes, Museum of Decorative Arts