The districts of Barcelona.

Find the one with your name on it.

Although small by the likes of London or New York's standards, Barcelona covers a fair amount of ground. The old town, the historic heart of the city, is where most tourists tend to base themselves, but with the city's excellent public transport options, don't be too hasty in discounting the outlying areas. On the other hand, having the beach on your doorstep is one of Barcelona's unbridled joys. The districts of Barceloneta, Vila Olímpica, Poble Nou and Diagonal Mar flank the Mediterranean coast and offer a range of beachside vibes.

Old town

Barceloneta

12 apartments in this neighbourhood
In brief:
laid-back beach-side barrio popular all year round.

Highlights:
small bars with cheap beer and loads of character, sampling seafood at a chiringuito beach bar, people-watching as the sun sets.

Getting there:
the Barceloneta metro stop, lots of local buses, or grab your skateboard.

Why stay:
great for sun seekers, beach babes, sports enthusiasts and clubbers who want to be close to Port Olympic’s nightlife.

Born

26 apartments in this neighbourhood
In brief:
historical, trendy but not overly touristy district to the right of the Gothic quarter.

Highlights:
the beautiful basilica of Santa Maria del Mar, the Picasso Museum at close quarters, hanging out in Ciutadella Park and trying not to fall into the water on the boating lake.

Getting there:
metro stops of Jaume 1, on Via Laietana, Arc de Triomf, near the top, and Barceloneta to the south. You’re also close to one of the city’s main train stations - the Estació de França. It’s about a quarter of an hour walk to the Ramblas.

Why stay:
very centrally located, unique shopping options, atmospheric streets, good range of bars and eateries. Plus Javier Bardem recommends it.

Clot

9 apartments in this neighbourhood
In brief:
traditional, mainly residential suburb bordering the district of Sagrada Família.

Highlights:
the colorful local food market, the Modernista complex of the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, and the charming park at the heart of barrio life (the Parc del Clot).

Getting there:
your choice of metro stations on different lines, plenty of buses, and the underground train station Estació de El Clot-Aragó. Regional trains run from here, as does a train to El Prat airport.

Why stay:
really friendly locals, great public transport connections with major city landmarks, quiet district if you value getting a good night’s sleep.

Gràcia

56 apartments in this neighbourhood
In brief:
a charming and fashionable neighborhood with a strong independent streak just north of Diagonal Avenue.

Highlights:
the Gaudí playground that is Parc Güell, the outrageously colorful annual street festival in August.

Getting there:
several metro stops on the main green line, with Joanic station on the yellow line going straight to the beach. Lovely area to walk around, with plenty of sociable plaças.

Why stay:
soak up an alternative vibe, hang out with artists and artesans, enjoy a village-like atmosphere.

Gòtic

22 apartments in this neighbourhood
In brief:
warren-like heart of the old town, complete with Roman ruins and Gothic architecture.

Highlights:
La Seu Cathedral and its 13 resident geese, getting lost in the historic Jewish quarter, shops that are one-of-a-kind and the colorful nightlife of the Plaça Reial.

Getting there:
metro lines run along both right and left borders of the Gòtico, while the transport hub of Plaça Catalunya (and its airport buses) sits just to the top. Mostly accessible on foot, through the windy medieval streets.

Why stay:
fit in with a young, international crowd and never be too far from the thick of things.

Horta-Guinardó

2 apartments in this neighbourhood
In brief:
residential area stretching from the Eixample up to the foot of the hills behind the city.

Highlights:
Hospital de Sant Pau, Parc del Laberint, the Olympic tennis courts and the velodrome.

Getting there:
Horta-Guinardó is well-served by the blue, green and yellow metro lines and an extensive bus network.

Why stay:
with easy access to the center, this area is worth looking at if you are on a budget and want to rub shoulders with the true locals of the city.

L'Eixample Dreta

94 apartments in this neighbourhood
In brief:
large, modern and uptown district to the right of the Passeig de Gràcia - the spiritual home of Modernista architecture.

Highlights:
the otherworldly La Pedrera, window shopping on the exclusive Passeig de Gràcia, a liberal smattering of Modernista mansions.

Getting there:
line 4 of the metro will carry you straight down to Barceloneta beach, while purple line 2 stops right outside the Sagrada Família. Loads of buses to boot (the Estació del Nord bus terminal is nearby).

Why stay:
apartments tend to be large and high-quality, great transport connections, fairly quiet and safe at night.

L'Eixample Esquerra

52 apartments in this neighbourhood
In brief:
largely residential area popular with middle-class Catalan families, just to the left of the Passeig de Gràcia.

Highlights:
Casa Batlló and its townhouse neighbour Casa Amatller, having an evening meal al fresco on the chic Rambla de Catalunya, sunbathing in the Parc de Joan Miró.

Getting there:
the area has quite a few metro stations on different lines, meaning it’s easy to get around the city in any direction. The blue line will take you straight to the Sagrada Família. The grid layout of the streets means it’s also hassle-free to navigate on foot or by car.

Why stay:
brimming with nightlife, plentiful public transport connections, close to the central Plaça Catalunya and Passeig de Gràcia, tends to have large apartments.

Les Corts

35 apartments in this neighbourhood
In brief:
wealthy residential area dominated by Barcelona FC's home ground.

Highlights:
Camp Nou football stadium, the Polytechnic University of Barcelona and if you have contacts, the Barcelona polo club.

Getting there:
the green metro line run up through Les Corts and then along Diagonal. Buses from Paseo de Gracia are very frequent.

Why stay:
if you are looking for a nice residential area to stay in with easy access to Camp Nou this is for you.

Montjuïc

4 apartments in this neighbourhood
In brief:
mountain to the south of the city center, bordered by several residential areas. Site of the 1992 Olympic Games.

Highlights:
the evening’s Magic Fountain display, climbing over canons at the Castle, smelling the roses in the various gorgeous gardens.

Getting there:
the vertiginous cable car up to the Castle, some very handy escalators, good old-fashioned walking boots, or a horse-drawn carriage for two.

Why stay:
easy access to superb parks, gardens and museums, not to mention breathtaking views over the city.

Poble Nou

20 apartments in this neighbourhood
In brief:
a redeveloped former industrial area that retains a village-like atmosphere and boasts its very own (and very civilized) Rambla.

Highlights:
being by the beach, pleasant parks, a guided tour around the fascinating and highly artistic cemetery.

Getting there:
yellow line 4 of the metro runs right through Poble Nou, taking you to the city center in around 10 to 15 minutes. There's also the Glòries metro station, on the red line. It’s a nice area to jog or cycle in as well.

Why stay:
you’ll be close to the city center on public transport, but be able to enjoy the benefits of a fairly tranquil district when you need a break. Good range of locals shops, bars and restaurants as well as a massive shopping centre.

Poble Sec

32 apartments in this neighbourhood
In brief:
quiet, residential neighborhood at the foot of Montjuïc and just south of Plaça Espanya.

Highlights:
a short walk to the Magic Fountain, relaxing in the shade of the Laribal Gardens, allioli and house wine at La Tomaquera restaurant.

Getting there:
line 3 of the metro on Paral•lel Avenue, funicular from Paral•lel metro station to the Parc de Montjuïc, about 15 minutes’ walk to the Ramblas.

Why stay:
still fairly central without being chaotic, authentically Catalan feel, peaceful at night, great transport links, lots of local amenities (including well-known restaurants and bars), quick access to Montjuïc and nightlife of the Raval.

Raval

9 apartments in this neighbourhood
In brief:
diamond-in-the-rough whose reputation precedes it. Very central district but you might want to steer clear of certain streets.

Highlights:
the modern art museum MACBA, a whole host of bars and clubs, the oldest church in Barcelona (Sant Pau del Camp) and the Gaudí-designed Güell Palace.

Getting there:
the metro is your best friend in this neighborhood. Plus, the Raval is right next to the Ramblas, the old port and Plaça Catalunya, so exploring on foot is another option.

Why stay:
to be based in the city center, to experience the grittier side of Barcelona, to take advantage of the jumping nightlife.

Sagrada Família

53 apartments in this neighbourhood
In brief:
part of the extended Eixample area with the Sagrada Família basilica as its center point.

Highlights:
suffice to say, the Sagrada Família is the number 1 attraction in Barcelona.

Getting there:
the purple and blue metro lines give easy access to the centre and Sants station. Also plenty of buses.

Why stay:
clean, central without being overly busy, food shopping at the big traditional market.

Sant Andreu

3 apartments in this neighbourhood
In brief:
very Catalan area popular with local families. Like Gràcia, began life as a small town before becoming part of Barcelona.

Highlights:
brushing up on your Catalan, shopping in La Maquinista center, having a coffee in one of the cafes on Rambla de Fabra i Puig.

Getting there:
15 minutes from the center by metro (red line) or train (from Plaça Catalunya and Passeig de Gràcia). The train to the airport stops in Sant Andreu Comtal station.

Why stay:
quaint streets, good local shopping, lots of celebrations in the main squares.

Sant Antoni

16 apartments in this neighbourhood
In brief:
modern, lively district bordering L’Eixample and the Raval.

Highlights:
the colorful Modernista market of Sant Antoni, good choice of cinemas, dipping churros into hot chocolate on the pedestrianized Mistral Avenue.

Getting there:
the many metro lines (red, green and purple) and only about a 10-to-15 minute walk to Plaça Catalunya and the Ramblas.

Why stay:
central location but not touristy, apartments tend to be spacious, lots of local amenities.

Sant Martí

1 apartments in this neighbourhood
In brief:
area to the north of the center.

Highlights:
a very homogenous residential area.

Getting there:
purple and yellow metro lines run through the area. Easily accessed by car from the north.

Why stay:
for those do not mind being away from the hustle and bustle of the center.

Sants

36 apartments in this neighbourhood
In brief:
former industrial town outlying the city center, nowadays a busy residential area with a mind of its own.

Highlights:
the landscaped Parc de l’Espanya Industrial, being close to Camp Nou and the sights of Montjuïc, the Sants annual street festival in August.

Getting there:
the large train station, Estació de Sants, is the main transport hub, and is connected to the Sants metro station. National and international trains run from here, as well as a train to Barcelona’s El Prat airport. Otherwise, several different metro stations and lines, bus routes, and a bright and breezy area to navigate on foot.

Why stay:
brilliant public transport connections with the rest of the city, some great local restaurants, and easy access to a couple of cool parks.

Sarrià - Sant Gervasi

10 apartments in this neighbourhood
In brief:
affluent area spreading from Diagonal up to Tibidado.

Highlights:
lots to see closer to the hills behind Barcelona including the Cosmo Caixa science museum, the Tibidabo fun fair and tram and the Barcelona observatory.

Getting there:
two local trains cover this area, starting in Plaça Catalunya. They are very frequent and function very much like the metro.

Why stay:
close to Tibidabo attractions and well covered by public transport.

Vila Olímpica

2 apartments in this neighbourhood
In brief:
modern residential development by the seafront that was built specifically to accommodate the 1992 Olympic athletes.

Highlights:
mingling with millionaires at the swanky marina, eating a freshly caught seafood dinner by the beach, Frank Gehry’s bold bronze Fish sculpture.

Getting there:
there’s one metro station, Ciutadella Vila Olímpica, on the yellow line 4, as well as the tram line. Several bus routes, including the Tourist Bus, also service the area, and you’ll see plenty of people on two wheels, whether cycling or rollerblading.

Why stay:
apartments here are generally spacious and modern, neighbors are a peaceful bunch, easy access to the beaches and seafront that offers unrivalled nightlife.