FAQ: Questions about visiting Barcelona

We ask correspondent Regina W Bryan some personal questions about hotels and visiting Barcelona.

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What are your favorite hotels?

For something higher-end Banys Orientals gets my vote. I love the Ribera location, dig the decor, and enjoy the restaurant. This is one of the best deals in Barcelona.

When it comes to hostals and B&Bs my vote goes to Fashion House and Hostal Goya, both located on the right side of the Eixample. Fashion House’s garden patio wins it major points and Goya’s tasteful decor is a refreshing change from Barcelona’s many Ikea-clad pensions.

If you’re after a youth hostel then my recommendation is Itaca Hostel, with a stellar location in the Gothic Quarter near the Cathedral. Also, HelloBCN is located in Poble Sec, an up-and-coming ‘hood that's not as picturesque as the Gothic Quarter, but the hostel’s many services and amenities make up for this. Table tennis match anyone?

What's the best/cheapest time of year to visit?

The prime time of the year to visit is May-July or September. During these months the Mediterranean is warm enough to swim in and Barcelona comes alive with concerts, street parties and festivals. August is too hot and humid for my taste, plus most of the metropolis is on vacation meaning fewer bars, restaurants and shops are open.

The least expensive time to visit is off-season. October to early December is off season, but then prices rise again swiftly for Christmas, New Year’s and Kings. By mid-January things have settled back down and prices stay low until late May, with an occasional spike due to a trade show in town or Easter/Spring Break. Outstanding deals can be found in February, March and April.

For more on this, read our article on when to visit Barcelona.

Do hotels have parking?

Generally, hotels do not have parking. If they do, it’s pricey. Most hotels that don't have parking will have an agreement with a nearby parking garage where you’ll be able to leave your Mini or Seat for €20 and up a day.

If you can avoid coming to the city by car, do. It’s not worth the hassle and is expensive. For more on this, see our article on renting a car in Barcelona.

What's cheaper than a hotel?

By far the cheapest option is a youth hostel, where you’ll have the option of staying in a low-cost dorm room.

After hostels the next cheapest option is a hostal or pension. Luckily, there are many hostals, pensions and hostels in Barcelona to choose from. Camping is not an option in the city, but you might find camping in the beach towns to the north of the city along the Maresme.

What's your favorite neighborhood?

Can I choose three? My faves are Gracia, La Ribera and La Barceloneta. However, since La Barceloneta offers almost nada in the way of hotels and hostals, I’d say the Gothic Quarter as a backup.

Gracia gets my vote because it's away from the tourist buses and scams of the old city. This is an unbeatable ‘hood to go out in, teeming with theaters, bars, cafes and unusual restaurants. In a word, "charming."

La Ribera is the ‘hood I send visitors to when they ask, "Where should I stay?" It’s got the best of both worlds in that is is near Gothic Quarter sights but removed from Las Ramblas. Many fine eateries are found in La Ribera as well as eccentric boutiques. Also, it’s about a 15-minute walk to the beach from La Ribera.

Finally, while I would not want to live there, I can’t help but love and recommend the Gothic Quarter. Cobblestones, the Roman history, iron street lamps casting their golden glow, and a mix of high and low (real low) end bars and restaurants give this ‘hood character. Tourists have to watch their belongings in the Gothic Quarter, but if you keep your wits about you it’s a superb area to stay in for a few days.

About the author: Regina W. Bryan is EuroCheapo's Barcelona-based correspondent. Read her reviews of hotels in Barcelona and her regular posts in EuroCheapo's Barcelona blog.

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