Barcelona is a very touristic city and you have a large choice of hotels and apartments, ranging from backpackers' pensions to luxury boutique hotels.
Accommodation in Barcelona are generally quite expensive, in comparison quality wise to other European capitals. Prices vary greatly depending on the season, the tourist occupation and fairs, for example at the Mobile World Congress room prices can double or even triple…
It is therefore important to reserve as soon as possible if you are looking for good prices and a wide choice.
Decide first which neighbourhood is right for you: in the centre? near the sea?… you can consult our Barcelona neighborhood guide
Then you have to decide if you prefer to stay in a hotel or an apartment, we will explain later the advantages and disadvantages of both choices.
Booking a hotel in Barcelona
The choice of hotels is very large and covers all budgets.
The advantage of a hotel versus an apartment is that you have a reception, bar, restaurant, and many amenities. Some hotels have swimming pools on the rooftop, but these are often not very useful because of their small size. The reception is an important point as you don't have to make an appointment and wait on the street for the apartment key. You can also store luggage if you arrive early or have a late departure.
To book the best option, is to consult the major booking platforms on the internet. You can check comments from other hotel guests.
Prices are generally quite similar and even reserving directly on the hotel's website prices are usually not lower, but it is better to check.
Booking an apartment in Barcelona
Since the birth of internet booking platforms and with the emergence of giants such as airb'n'b, renting rooms and apartments has boomed in Barcelona.
This proliferation has negative consequences in most tourist districts in terms of the cohabitation between the locals and the tourists, and because of price increase in rentals which became too high for the residents. This situation is causing certain neighbourhoods to be deserted by Barcelonans and dedicated only to tourists.
To limit abuses skyrocketing rental rates, the Barcelona City council requires the owners of apartments dedicated to tourist rental (per night) to apply for a license and follow a series of guidelines to ensure the security of the apartment and cohabitation with neighbours.
Illegal tourist flat can be closed by the police at any time and you can lose the amount you have paid for the reservation.
For your safety, you can check on this official website that the apartment you are going to rent has a valid license -> https://meet.barcelona.cat/habitatgesturistics/en
There are two types of tourist apartments: individuals who offer their apartment, or rooms in their apartment, and companies who have bought entire buildings turned into tourist apartments. In the second case you have services similar to those of a hotel with sometimes rooftop swimming pool and some amenities, but generally no reception.
In comparison with the hotels, the apartments offer more privacy and the possibility of cooking,
Important points to check before booking
Remember that in Spain life is louder, if you are bothered by the noise check that your room does not overlook a major avenue (traffic noise) and that the hotel or apartment has sound proofing (double windows).
Also keep in mind that many tourists come to Barcelona to party, and can also be a nuisance when they come back late and drunk … If you want to sleep quietly avoid hotels near the party areas and hotels that host hen / stag parties and other festive and normally quite alcoholic events. This is particularly important for renting apartments because party groups prefer these because there is no control as in hotels.
In winter it can be cold, for a few months a year, old hotels sometimes have no central heating and only offer auxiliary heating. If you come between December and February make sure your hotel or apartment is equipped with a heating system.
In summer it can be very hot and humid in Barcelona, which is especially annoying at night because it is not always possible to leave the windows open because of the noise. If you plan to come during the warmer months, make sure that your hotel or apartment has air conditioning.
Buildings built more than 20 years ago often have few and small windows because they were designed to preserve heat rather than to benefit from natural light the view. It is common in old apartments to have few windows and littel light and in the case of old hotels to have rooms that overlook an interior courtyard which is not always very pleasant.
-> Best Barcelona tours…