The Eixample neighbourhood in Barcelona

Barcelona is a beautiful city to live in. It offers a vibrant cultural scene with miles of great beaches, a warm climate, and everything you want. This only leaves the question of which Barcelona neighborhoods (barrios de Barcelona) offer the best lifestyle for you. Here are our top picks of the best Barcelona neighborhoods for Expats living in Barcelona.

The 6 Best Barcelona Neighborhoods to Live in

1. Downtown Barcelona / City Centre / Ciutat Vella

If you are accustomed to visiting Barcelona for holidays, this is part of the city you will be most familiar with. Ciutat Vella means Old City in Catalan. Nestled between the sea and the neighborhood called L”Eixample.

It is a beautiful, historic neighborhood of traffic-free winding streets and tall buildings. If you dream of having atmospheric bars and restaurants on your doorstep, this could be the place for you. Properties tend to be characterful apartments with beams and beautiful tiles. Many of these buildings will not have an elevator. Keep this in mind if you rent an apartment sight unseen. You may not relish climbing five flights of stairs with your shopping! Also, it’s not ideal for anyone with pushchairs. The other downside is the noise late at night. Barcelona is known for its nightlife, but this will mean people walking and talking through the streets until dawn. On the plus side, you will escape the traffic that impacts much of Barcelona.

You can find a beautiful 2-bed apartment to rent here for under 1500 euros per month. If you hope for a larger family-style property with outside space, you will struggle to find it here.

2. L’Eixample

Eixample was constructed in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Long, straight streets define it in a strict grid pattern crossed by wide avenues. The buildings are grand, and many are Modernista in style, influenced by Antoni Gaudi. Two of his most famous buildings, Casa Batlló and Casa Milà, are on the famous Passeig de Gràcia. And his masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia, is also in this neighborhood.

You are on the right track if you are conjuring images of elegant apartments with high ceilings, tall windows, and period features. This is the area to live in if you want to be in the thick of things and don’t mind the traffic! Apartments in this area range upwards from around 1400 euros for a lovely 2-bed apartment.

3. Sarria / San Gervasi / Tres Torres

Once a town in its own right, Sarria was Incorporated into the city of Barcelona in 1921. You will discover pretty parks and exclusive apartment buildings in this affluent area. The many prominent schools and excellent medical centers make the area popular for well-to-do families. Many apartments are large and luxurious, with price tags to match. Expect to pay more than 3000 euros for a spacious three or four-bed apartment. There are large houses with six beds and a pool for 15,000 a month. However, some small flats are still available for under 1500 euros if you are on a budget. Of all Barcelona neighborhoods, these are the swankiest.

4. Sant Marti / Poble Nou / Diagonal Mar

Poblenou is located in the Sant Martí district of Barcelona, just east of the city center. The Mediterranean Sea borders the neighborhood to the east and the Besòs River to the North. Known for its industrial heritage, it is now home to several technology companies and startups. This is arguably the trendiest of Barcelona neighborhoods.

With its modern architecture and lively arts and culture scene. It is home to several museums, galleries, and theaters, as well as a variety of great restaurants, bars, and cafes. It also boasts many boutiques and designer stores. A bonus is Palo Market Fest, a sophisticated street market held the first weekend of every month in a unique space in Poblenou. You will find street food and stalls selling new designs, vintage fashion, and more here. Life here is accompanied by live music, bringing color and fun.

This is an excellent place for hipsters and those with young kids, particularly if you plan to send them to a local school. It is a bit of a hike to the international school form here. But there are a lot of young families and many amenities for them in this Barcelona neighborhood.

It is also by the beach, with waterfront developments, many with shared pools. This can be a lifesaver in the heat of the summer. And it’s a nice flat bike ride into the city’s center. Bonus!

2-bed apartments start around 1500 euros, but for a modern luxury flat with more space, you are looking upwards of 2500 per month.

5. Nou Barris

If you want a cheap place to live in Barcelona, Nou Barris is an excellent option. It is located in the city’s northeast and has a significant immigrant population. The neighborhood is safe and friendly, and there is plenty to do and see, with several parks and green spaces as well as a variety of shops, restaurants, and bars. The average rent in Nou Barris is around €800 per month, significantly lower than the average rent in other parts of Barcelona.

Nou Barris includes the landscaped Central Park and wilder pine forest trails in the Collserola mountains. It is a diverse and multicultural neighborhood with a strong sense of community. It is also well-served by public transportation, making it easy to get around. It takes approximately 25 minutes to reach the center of Barcelona by bus or metro.

6. Gràcia

In my opinion, Gracia incorporates the best parts of all the above neighborhoods. It has a lot of the traditional atmosphere of the Ciutat Vella. It has the trendiness of Poble Nou with hip options for shopping, eating, and drinking. It has a diverse, multicultural population with a strong sense of community. There are festivals and fiestas galore! It is close to the international schools in the upmarket areas at the top of the town. But the rental prices are not eye-watering. There are smaller apartments that are still suitable for families and couples. You can find beautifully present 3-bed apartments for under 2000 euros a month.

Barcelona Neighborhoods Map

File:Districtes de Barcelona.svg
Barcelona Neighborhoods Map (

How to Choose Your Barcelona Neighborhood

The main criteria to consider when choosing the right Barcelona neighborhood are:

Budget: Obviously, your monthly budget is a primary consideration when choosing where to live. The most expensive areas tend to be in central Barcelona, stretching along the coast immediately North of the center of Barcelona and above Barcelona near the International schools. If money is no object, Sarria or Eixample has all the glitz and glamour you need.

It is possible to find more affordable Barcelona neighborhoods away from these hotspots. On a tight budget? Head further out to Nou Barris.

Convenience: Where do you need to get to quickly? Next, you may need to consider proximity to good schools or to transport inks. Or maybe you crave the beach life or want access to a swimming pool. Or perhaps you want peace and quiet and less air pollution?

Barcelona gets hot in the summer, so do bear that in mind. Can you live without a pool or easy access to the beach? If not, the Diagonal Mar area of Poble Nou has some great modern developments with shared pools, and the beach is right there, too.

And, of course, if you are a die-hard city dweller, Ciutat Vella or L’Eixample are the right Barcelona neighborhoods for you.

Our Tip: Nothing beats walking around a suburb to get a real feel for a place. Check out where the locals are going, stop for a glass of wine, or pop into the local market. And if you can come back at different times, you’ll get a better overall picture – a weekday morning or weekend evening may be different worlds on the same street!

See our guide to Madrid’s suburbs if the capital is on your radar.

Which Barcelona Neighborhood Will You Choose?

Chatting with Expats in Spain with experience living in your perfect barrio is priceless. To get a feel for what is available, I recommend using and Or start with our guide to short-term rentals in Spain. We always recommend reaching out to Expat forums on Facebook or Reddit to get an insight into the best Barcelona neighborhoods.


  1. This is an incredibly helpful resource. Clear, practical and comprehensive. Great job.

    1. Thanks Jermery – much appreciated. If there’s any thing else we can help with, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Regards, Alastair

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