Ciutat Vella

The old center of Barcelona is subdivided into different parts. The famous Barri Gòtic & La Rambla, with its narrow streets, is full of bars, shops, students and tourists. Lots of tourists! But if you don’t mind herds of camera-equipped people stepping down your street while you still have to fight the hangover from the party last night, then the Gothic Quarter might be a good place for you. It’s very international, you will definitely not have to walk more than 50 meters to the next bar, and you can easily go out every night!

You like the old center, but you don’t like tourists taking fotos of you coming home in the morning? You want to live a bit off-mainstream and you don’t care about what tourist guides call “dangerous areas”? Then go to the Raval. The part close to the Ramblas has changed much in the last years and is very nice. The part closer to the Av. Parallel still has a bad name. It’s a nice place to live, cheaper than the rest of the center, and with less pickpockets.

Raval doesn’t match your idea of quality housing? You have money and you want to be “fashionable”? Maybe El Born is your neighbourhood. It’s lovely, has the beach nearby as well as the Ramblas. Most apartments here have been renovated. But you should have a rich daddy!


Gràcia is the typical student quarter. There are less tourists, the architecture is lower and funny enough, so are the prices. There are as many bars here as in the Ciutat Vella and the “Festa major de Gràcia” in mid-august is legendary – probably the best party in town. You are next to Eixample and Passeig de Gràcia, and the Gothic Quarter is just a 20 minute walk away.

Sounds like the perfect place? Unfortunately, you are not the only student. The result of this is that prices are rising quickly here, too. Be also aware that Gràcia is a large district – it makes a big difference whether you live near its heart, Plaça de Sol (Metro Fontana,) or up the hill towards Parc Guell (Metro Lesseps).


The rooms in Eixample tend to be bigger and better than in the Ciutat Vella and Gràcia. It’s a bit calmer at night (provided you don’t have a room facing one of the big avenues) and in some cases you may even have heating. That’s of big advantage during the colder winter months!

Just like Grácia, also the Eixample neighbourhood is also very big. If you want to live in the center, you should take a look around the Plaça Universitat, Plaça Catalunya, Pg. de Gràcia or Carrer Arribau.

Barceloneta (part of Ciutat Vella)

Barceloneta is a beautiful former fishermen´s neighbourhood. Quite calm, with nice houses and authentic bars and restaurants. It’s located next to the beach and only a 15 minute walk away from the Rambla. This district has one Metro station and many buses that connect it to other parts of the city. During the summer the beach can get very crowded. Apartment´s tend to be smaller, so it is not the typical student district with shared apartments.

Other districts

Another district to live in is Sants, which is a bit out of the city center. Most Universities (link) are not located in the city center, therefore if you want to focus on your studies it might be a good idea to just take a room closer to the source of knowledge!