Barcelona Crush: Ítaca Hostel in the Gothic Quarter

Itaca Hostel -- the most welcoming hostel in Barcelona. Photos by Regina W Bryan
Itaca Hostel -- the most welcoming hostel in Barcelona. Photos by Regina W Bryan

By Regina W. Bryan in Barcelona—

I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge fan of sleeping in a dorm room unless there’s no other alternative. Those days of communal snoring are pretty much a thing of the past for me, and yet here I am, crushing on Ítaca Hostel in Barcelona.

Of all the hostels I’ve visited in Barcelona (and I mean hostel like youth hostel, not hostal) Ítaca stands out in my mind as being the most welcoming. Plus, its location is unbeatable.

Cristina and Nuria own the hostel and have created a cool, communal vibe while offering lots of perks to guests. I can see how it would be easy to meet other travelers at Ítaca over free coffee and tea in the downstairs lounge area or upstairs in the ample communal kitchen. I also like the arty flair at Ítaca, its walls adorned with colorful murals.

Finally, a communal bathroom without any ick! factor.

Tidy points

One of the reasons I tend not to like hostels is the grime factor (and the lack of privacy). I’m not into a messy communal bathroom – no gracias! So Ítaca gets points from me for being tidy, plus having separate bathrooms for ladies and gentlemen.

Hang-out room at the Itaca.

If you’re not into hostels in any way, shape or form, Ítaca also has a few apartments for holiday lettings in another building. While these are more expensive, they are of course private and have kitchens, which could save you bucks in the long run.

Location, location

Ítaca is about a block from one of the top tapas bars in all of Barcelona. I kid you not, the patatas bravas at Cala del Vermut are some of the best in town. And I’m not the only one who thinks so – inside you’ll see photos lining the walls of random famous people who have come to drink a beer here and munch a brava or two. Better yet, get a Vermut here, which is a liquor drink served on ice with a orange slice that happens to be all-the-rage and go well with tapas.

As if Cala del Vermut was not a good enough reason to book at Ítaca (and it is), the Cathedral is also right around the corner, as are many Roman ruins, great shopping, the Santa Caterina Market, and El Born neighborhood. Just up the street a bit on Via Laietana you’ll find the impressive Palau de la Música, and going the opposite direction on the same street you’ll get to the Port and beach.

A breakfast room that’s spic-and-span.

Yes, Ítaca is in the middle of it all, and yet removed on a little side-street that few venture down (meaning quiet nights).

Perfect for budget travelers

I’ve recommended this hostel many times over the years to shoe-string travelers. There are tons of hostels in Barcelona but few can check off as many boxes as Ítaca.

The only other hostel that I’ve seen come anywhere close to Ítaca is Hello BCN Hostel, and it’s on the other side of town without Ítaca’s top-notch location. For the time being, I’ve only got eyes for Ítaca.

Also in our guide: Our editors have inspected and reviewed budget hotels all over central Barcelona. Read more in our guide to cheap hotels in Barcelona.

About the author

Regina W Bryan
About the author: Regina W.Bryan is a Barcelona-based freelance writer and photographer. When not eating tapas and exploring Europe, she is tending her balcony veggie garden and practicing Catalan. For more of her thoughts on Spain, check: www.regwb.com and www.thespainscoop.com.
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