Where to stay in Barcelona without a car: 9 Best areas

I love to explore places without a car, and on my website, I cover many topics for car-free travelers. In this article, we will visit Barcelona and help you find the best places to stay in Barcelona without a car

I will share my recommendations for the top areas to stay in Barcelona without a car, along with a helpful map. I’ll also tell you about where I stayed in Barcelona and suggest some of the best hotels in Barcelona for all budgets.

Barcelona is a vibrant and culturally rich city located in northeastern Spain, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It is the capital of the Catalonia region and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. 

The city is famous for its unique architecture, particularly the work of Antoni Gaudí, including the Sagrada Família, Park Güell, and Casa Batlló. It is also home to the Picasso Museum and the Joan Miró Foundation, showcasing works of famous artists.

Barcelona also has a vibrant food scene with numerous restaurants and food markets, such as La Boqueria. You can enjoy tapas, paella, and various seafood dishes. 

The city boasts several beautiful beaches, including Barceloneta Beach and Bogatell Beach, making the city a great destination for those seeking a mix of city life and beach relaxation.

It is home to one of the most famous football clubs in the world, FC Barcelona. The team plays at Camp Nou stadium, and the city is passionate about football.

A famous pedestrian street in the heart of the city, La Rambla is known for its lively atmosphere, street performers, shops, and restaurants. It’s a popular place to take a leisurely stroll.

Barcelona’s historic center is home to narrow medieval streets, beautiful squares, and historic buildings. The Gothic Quarter is a great place to explore the city’s history and architecture.

If you are asking “Do you need a car in Barcelona as a tourist?” My answer is, No, you don’t need a car to explore within Barcelona city. The best way to get around is on foot, by public transportation such as the metro, suburban rail service (FGC), trams, and buses.

Barcelona has an extensive metro system that covers most parts of the city. It has 8 lines including L1 to L5, L9 to L11, operated by the TMB company. L6, L7, L8, and L12 are FGC suburban trains. 

Taking the metro is one of the quickest and most efficient ways to get around. You can buy single tickets or multi-trip cards, which offer a discount on the per-trip cost.

The city also has funiculars and cable cars that take you to Montjuïc, Tibidabo, and other elevated areas. They offer fantastic views of the city.

Taxis are available and are a convenient way to get around, but they are more expensive than public transportation. Make sure to use official taxis with a license and meter. Uber and Cabify operate in Barcelona, providing an alternative to traditional taxis.

Barcelona is a pedestrian-friendly city, and walking is a great way to explore the historic neighborhoods and attractions in the city center. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes, as you’ll likely do a lot of walking.

Many tourists and locals also use bicycles for short trips around the city. The city is becoming more bike-friendly with bike lanes and rental services like Bicing.

To get from the Barcelona-El Prat Airport to the city center, you can take Aerobús, A1 line terminates at Plaça Catalunya, and A2 terminates at Plaça Espanya. You can also use metro Line 9 (Orange Line) and the R2 Nord line of the Renfe suburban train to get to the city center. 

Where to stay in Barcelona without a car?

The best areas to stay in Barcelona without a car are Barri Gótic (Gothic Quarter), Plaza de Catalunya, La Barceloneta, Eixample, El Born, Poble Sec, El Poblenou, El Raval, and Gràcia.

These areas offer plenty of accommodations that are short walk or short metro/bus ride from major sights and amenities.

Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter) is one of the most popular areas to stay in Barcelona for first-timers and travelers who want to be in the center of the action, with easy access to landmarks like the Barcelona Cathedral. 

Plaza de Catalunya is the city’s central square, a major transportation hub and the starting point of the famous La Rambla. Staying near Plaza de Catalunya gives you easy access to public transportation, shopping, and many attractions.

Eixample is a modernist district known for its wide streets and distinctive architecture, including the famous Sagrada Família. It’s a great area to stay if you prefer a more spacious and upscale atmosphere.

El Born is a trendy neighborhood known for its artistic vibe, narrow streets, and cultural attractions like the Picasso Museum. It’s also close to the Gothic Quarter and the beach.

El Raval is a diverse and dynamic neighborhood with a mix of cultures, restaurants, and nightlife. It’s close to many attractions, including the Museum of Contemporary Art.

La Barceloneta is a popular choice for those who want to close to the beach, enjoy seafood restaurants and beach bars. El Poblenou is another option for being close to the beach. It’s also known for its tech hub and cultural scene.

Poble Sec is a quieter, more budget-friendly, and more residential area with a local feel. It’s close to Montjuïc, a hill with parks and museums, and is well-connected to the city center.

Gràcia is a lively neighborhood with a village-like atmosphere. It’s a bit further from the city center, but it’s a great choice for long term travelers and those who prefer a more relaxed and local experience.

On my trip to Barcelona, I stayed in the Gothic Quarter (the old town) at the 3-star Catalonia Avinyo. The hotel has a super central location, within easy walk from major attractions, metro stations, close to the famous La Rambla and Plaza Catalunya. Lots of restaurants, bars, and shops nearby.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Barcelona for car-free travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the best areas to stay in Barcelona without a car
Map of the best areas to stay in Barcelona without a car

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Barcelona, especially for travelers without a car. I’ll explain to you how to reach each area and how to get around. I’ll also provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Barcelona have been carefully selected by me, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

9 Best areas to stay in Barcelona without a car:

1. Barri Gótic (Gothic Quarter)

The Barri Gòtic, or Gothic Quarter, is one of the most popular and iconic neighborhoods for tourists to stay in Barcelona. It is the historic heart of the city, characterized by its narrow, winding streets, medieval architecture, and a rich historical ambiance. 

The Gothic Quarter is known for its well-preserved medieval buildings, including the Barcelona Cathedral and the Plaça Sant Jaume, where the City Hall and the Palau de la Generalitat (government palace) are located. The streets are full of history and character, making it a unique and charming place to stay.

Staying in the Gothic Quarter also puts you within walking distance of several major attractions and neighborhoods, including La Rambla, El Raval, El Born, and the beach.

The Gothic Quarter is great for shopping enthusiasts. You’ll find a variety of boutique shops, art galleries, and markets where you can buy local crafts and souvenirs.

The area is dotted with traditional Spanish and Catalan restaurants, tapas bars, and cafes. In the evenings, you can experience the lively nightlife scene with plenty of bars, clubs, and live music venues.

The Gothic Quarter is a popular tourist destination, so it can get quite crowded, especially during the peak tourist seasons. Accommodations in the area vary from luxury hotels to budget hostels, so you can find options to suit your budget and preferences.

Best places to stay in Barcelona in Barri Gótic without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): Mercer Hotel Barcelona, 5-star boutique hotel centrally located in Old Town of Barcelona, in Gothic Quarter, within only a few mins walk from Las Ramblas, Barcelona Cathedral, and the Jaume I Metro Station. There are also numerous cafés, bars, and restaurants nearby.
  • Mid-range ($$): Boutique Hotel H10 Montcada, great 4-star hotel, located on Via Laietana, in Ciutat Vella, offering views of the Gothic Quarter. It is walking distance from the Ramblas, the Cathedral, and the Picasso Museum. It’s also a short walk from Plaza Catalunya where you can catch a bus to the airport.
  • Budget ($): Catalonia Avinyo, a very popular 3-star hotel located in Central Barcelona, a short walk from Las Ramblas, Barceloneta Beach, as well as the Liceu and Jaume I Metro Stations. It has a rooftop pool, bicycle/car rental services, and an Outdoor swimming pool.

2. Plaza de Catalunya

Plaza de Catalunya is one of the most central and well-known squares in Barcelona, making it a convenient and popular area for tourists to stay. 

Plaza de Catalunya is situated right in the heart of Barcelona, making it an excellent starting point for exploring the city. It’s within walking distance of many major attractions, including La Rambla, the Gothic Quarter, and Passeig de Gràcia.

The square is a major transportation hub with multiple bus lines, metro connections, and regional train services. This makes it easy to travel to other parts of the city or even venture outside of Barcelona.

Plaza de Catalunya is surrounded by high-end and popular shopping areas, including Passeig de Gràcia, Portal de l’Àngel, and El Corte Inglés department store. If you’re a shopaholic, this is a great location.

Plaza de Catalunya is a vibrant and bustling place, day and night. It’s great for people-watching and soaking in the energy of the city.

Best places to stay in Plaza de Catalunya without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): Ohla Barcelona, great 5-star hotel, centrally located, easy access to major sights and transportations, close to the Cathedral, the Palau de la Música Concert Hall, and Ramblas.
  • Mid-range ($$): Catalonia Square 4 Sup, popular 4-star hotel located in the historic center of Barcelona, a few mins walk from Plaça Catalunya, and metro stations of Passeig de Gracia,  Urquinaona and Plaça Catalunya, offering services to most areas of Barcelona.
  • Budget ($): Room Mate Pau, great 3-star hotel located just a few steps from Plaza Catalunya, a short walk from Las Ramblas and Passeig de Gracia. Also easy distance from Catalunya Metro/ FGC Train Station, and Urquinaona Metro station.

3. La Barceloneta

La Barceloneta is a vibrant and popular neighborhood in Barcelona located right by the sea. It’s an excellent choice for tourists who want to enjoy the beach and the seaside atmosphere. 

This neighborhood is famous for its seafood restaurants and beachside chiringuitos (beach bars). You can savor fresh seafood dishes, traditional paella, and other Mediterranean cuisine.

La Barceloneta has a unique maritime ambiance with its colorful houses, promenade, and fishing history. It’s a great place to take leisurely walks along the waterfront.

In the evenings, La Barceloneta comes alive with a vibrant nightlife scene. You’ll find plenty of beach bars, clubs, and restaurants with a lively atmosphere.

In addition to the beach, you can explore the Port Olímpic area, which offers further dining and entertainment options, as well as a casino and the Port Vell marina.

Best places to stay in La Barceloneta without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): W Barcelona, great 5-star beachfront hotel located in Barceloneta Beach, offering paid airport shuttle services,  infinity pool, rooftop bar, and Very good breakfast. You can easily access bus stops right outside of the hotel or 20 mins walk from Barceloneta Metro Station.
  • Mid-range ($$): H10 Port Vell 4 Sup, 4-star hotel located in Barceloneta, a short walk from Port Vell Harbour, offering a rooftop terrace with plunge pool, Fabulous breakfast, and 24-hour front desk. It is also within walking distance from  Francia Railway Station, Las Ramblas and Plaza Catalunya.
  • Budget ($): Hotel 54 Barceloneta, 3-star beachfront hotel, located within only a few mins walk from a variety of good seafood restaurants, Barceloneta Beach, and Barceloneta Metro Station.

4. Eixample

Eixample, which means “extension” in Catalan, is a well-known and centrally located district in Barcelona. It’s a popular area for tourists to stay due to its mix of modernist architecture, upscale shopping, and cultural attractions. 

Eixample is renowned for its beautiful and iconic modernist architecture, with the most famous example being Antoni Gaudí’s Sagrada Família. Staying in Eixample allows you to admire the stunning architecture of this neighborhood, including the Casa Batlló and Casa Milà.

The district features upscale shopping streets like Passeig de Gràcia, which is lined with designer boutiques, luxury brands, and high-end department stores. It’s a great place for shopping enthusiasts.

You can visit cultural attractions such as the the Fundació Antoni Tàpies, the Casa de les Punxes, and other art and cultural venues.

Best places to stay in Barcelona in Eixample without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): The One Barcelona GL, 5-star hotel centrally located easy walk from major sights and train stations such as La Pedrera, Casa Batllo, and Passeig de Gracia Metro Station. It has Fabulous breakfast according to guests’ reviews.
  • Mid-range ($$): El Avenida Palace, popular 4-star hotel, located on Gran Via, featuring a rooftop terrace, a sun deck and a swimming pool. Easy walking distance from Passeig de Gracia Metro Station.
  • Budget ($): Praktik Èssens, great 3-star hotel located on Passeig de Gracia, within a short walk from Casa Batllo, Tivoli Theatre, and Plaça Catalunya. It has a daily evening happy hour offering free wines and snacks.

5. El Born

El Born is a trendy and historic neighborhood in Barcelona, located in the Ciutat Vella (Old City) district. It’s a fantastic choice for tourists looking for a mix of history, culture, and a vibrant atmosphere.

The neighborhood is home to several cultural attractions, including the Picasso Museum, the Palau de la Música Catalana, and the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar. You’ll also find numerous art galleries, shops, and artisan workshops.

El Born comes alive in the evenings, with a vibrant nightlife scene. There are numerous bars, clubs, and music venues, making it a great spot for those looking for entertainment after dark.

El Born is within walking distance of the beach, so you can easily enjoy both the historic city and the seaside. You’ll also be close to Ciutadella Park and Barcelona Zoo.

The neighborhood has several local markets, including the Mercat de Santa Caterina, where you can shop for fresh produce and local products.

Best places to stay in Barcelona in El Born without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): The Barcelona EDITION, 5-star hotel, featuring an on-site restaurant, outdoor swimming pool, bar and currency exchange for guests. It is centrally located in the Old town area, close to Jaume I Metro Station, and a short distance from the beaches of Barceloneta, Sant Miquel, and Somorrostro.
  • Mid-range ($$): Decô Apartments Barcelona-Born Apt., great 4-star stylish apartment, located a short walk from Passeig del Born, Picasso Museum, as well as many trendy bars, cafés and restaurants in the Born district. Also close to Ciutadella Park, the old port, and Barceloneta Metro Station.
  • Budget ($): Park Hotel, 3-star stylish hotel, located in Born district, within walking distance from Barceloneta Beach, Estació de França Station, Mercat del Born market, and Barcelona Zoo. It features soundproofing rooms, very good breakfast, and Private parking for those who drive.

6. Poble Sec

Poble Sec is a lively and diverse neighborhood in Barcelona located just south of the city center. It’s a great choice for tourists who want to experience a more authentic and local side of the city and more choices in budget-friendly accommodations.

The neighborhood is famous for its tapas bars and local restaurants. Carrer Blai, in particular, is known for its “pintxos” bars, where you can sample a variety of small dishes.

Poble Sec is home to cultural venues like the Teatre Lliure and El Molino, a historic cabaret theater. The neighborhood often hosts live music performances and art exhibitions.

Poble Sec is located at the base of Montjuïc Hill, which is home to several attractions, including Montjuïc Castle, the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc, and the Olympic Stadium. These are within walking distance from Poble Sec.

Best places to stay in Barcelona in Poble Sec without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): InterContinental Barcelona, an IHG Hotel, great 5-star hotel, offering airport shuttle service, a short walk from Magic Fountain, Poble Espanyol, and Joan Miró Foundation. Easy access to the Poble Sec and Espanya Metro Stations.
  • Mid-range ($$): INNSiDE by Meliá Barcelona Apolo, 4-star hotel located in Sants-Montjuïc, at the base of Montjuïc, 7 mins walk from Ramblas. It is right next to Parallel Metro Station, offering metro to the Fira Convention Centre and many other attractions in the city.
  • Budget ($):  Hotel Lugano Barcelona, a great 3-star hotel, conveniently located in Avinguda Parallel, easy access to bus and metro stops. The Poble Sec Metro Station nearby offers trains to Drassanes Metro Station on Las Ramblas.

7. El Poblenou 

El Poblenou, often referred to simply as Poblenou, is a dynamic and up-and-coming neighborhood located in the Sant Martí district of Barcelona. This area has undergone significant transformation in recent years, evolving into a hub for creativity, technology, and modern urban living. 

Poblenou is home to some of Barcelona’s most pristine and less crowded beaches. Bogatell Beach and Mar Bella Beach are popular options, providing a more relaxed and local beach experience.

The area is known for its “22@ District,” a hub for technology companies, startups, and co-working spaces. It’s a great choice if you’re in Barcelona for business or are interested in the tech sector.

You can find the Palo Alto Market, which hosts design and artisan markets, and the DHUB (Design Hub Barcelona) Museum. There’s also a strong street art and mural scene throughout the area.

It has a budding nightlife scene with bars, clubs, and live music venues. The area around Rambla del Poblenou is particularly known for its restaurants and bars.

Poblenou has its share of local markets where you can shop for fresh produce and artisanal products. The Mercat de Poblenou is one of the most notable.

The neighborhood has parks like Parc del Centre del Poblenou and Parc de Diagonal Mar, which are great for outdoor activities and relaxation.

Best places to stay in Barcelona in El Poblenou without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): The Level at Melia Barcelona Sky, 5-star family-friendly hotel located in Sant Martí, within walking distance from Poblenou Metro Station and the beach area. It has Fabulous breakfast, Outdoor swimming pool, as well as a Spa and wellness center.
  • Mid-range ($$): Hotel Paxton Barcelona, great 4-star hotel, conveniently located close to a metro station, so you’ll have easy access to major attractions. It is also close to  Port Olimpic, Mar Bella Beach, and Nova Icaria Beach. 
  • Budget ($): Acta Voraport, a very popular hotel located in Poblenou, a short distance from Mar Bella Beach, Somorrostro Beach, and Nova Icaria Beach. It is also close to Llacuna Metro Station.

8. El Raval

El Raval is a historic and diverse neighborhood known for its eclectic and vibrant atmosphere, making it an interesting choice for tourists who want to experience a mix of cultures and urban life.  

However, it’s also essential to be aware of your surroundings as some parts of the neighborhood may have a rougher side.

El Raval is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Barcelona, with a rich mix of cultures, making it an exciting place for those interested in multicultural experiences.

The Carrer de Joaquín Costa and Carrer de Joaquín Costa streets are popular nightlife spots. The area is also an excellent place to explore the culinary diversity of the city.

El Raval is home to cultural venues such as the CCCB (Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona) and the MACBA (Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona). You’ll also find a variety of art galleries and street art throughout the area.

El Raval offers unique shopping experiences, including vintage stores, second-hand shops, and quirky boutiques. The Mercat de Sant Antoni is known for its Sunday market selling books, stamps, and collectibles.

Best places to stay in Barcelona in El Raval without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): Hotel Bagués, a Small Luxury Hotel of the World, 5-star boutique hotel, located in the heart of the city, on La Rambla, featuring Fabulous breakfast and an outdoor swimming pool.
  • Mid-range ($$): Barceló Raval, 4-star design hotel located in Raval district, only a few mins walk from  MACBA Modern Art Gallery, Liceu Metro Station, Boqueria Market, and Las Ramblas. It has a roof terrace with a pool, family rooms, and Very good breakfast.
  • Budget ($): Hotel Raval House, great 3-star hotel, centrally located, easy access to import sights and public transportation.

9. Gràcia

Gràcia is a charming and bohemian neighborhood known for its artistic and creative atmosphere. It’s a great choice for tourists who want to experience a more local side of the city while still having easy access to the city center. 

Gràcia maintains a strong sense of community, and it feels like a separate village within the city. The atmosphere is more relaxed and local compared to some of the more touristy neighborhoods.

Gràcia is known for its charming plazas (squares) such as Plaça de la Vila de Gràcia, Plaça del Sol, and Plaça de la Revolució, which are perfect for enjoying a coffee or a meal at an outdoor cafe.

Gràcia is home to the beautiful Parc Güell, designed by Antoni Gaudí, and other parks and green spaces that provide a tranquil escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.

Best places to stay in Barcelona in Gràcia without a car:

  • Budget ($): Hotel BESTPRICE Gracia, popular 1-star good value for money hotel located in a quiet location in Martí in Gràcia, 20 mins walk to Parc Guell and easy walk to Joanic Metro for L4 for links to the city center. There are lots of restaurants, bars and shops nearby.
  • Mid-range ($$): Hotel Ronda Lesseps, 4-star hotel set in a quiet area, 10 mins walk from Antoni Gaudí’s Park Güell. Close to a metro station for direct links to city center.
  • Budget ($): BcnStop Parc Güell, 3-star accommodation, located in the quiet Gracia district, within a short walk from Park Güell and Vallcarca Metro Station. Easy access to shops and restaurants.

In conclusion, Barri Gótic, Plaza de Catalunya, Barceloneta, Eixample, El Born, Poble Sec, El Poblenou, El Raval, and Gràcia are the best places to stay in Barcelona without a car. They are all easily explored on foot, and public transportation, so you don’t need a car when staying there.

If you are new to Barcelona, you can continue reading this article: Safe areas to stay in Barcelona for first time. If you travele with kids, you can read this Best places to stay in Barcelona for families.

There you have it, my recommendations for the popular areas that you can stay during your car-free trip to Barcelona. I hope you found my article helpful and enjoy your holiday!

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality travel guides.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

Leave a Comment