First things first: if you hanker after a Ramblas view, you’ll pay for the privilege – generally speaking, there are much better deals to be had either side of the famous boulevard, often just a minute’s walk away. Most of Barcelona’s cheapest accommodation (as well as some classy boutique choices) is found in the Barri Gòtic and El Raval neighbourhoods, which can both still have their rough edges – be careful (without being paranoid) when coming and going after dark. East of the Barri Gòtic, in Sant Pere and La Ribera, there are a number of safely sited budget, mid-range and boutique options, handy for the Picasso museum and Born nightlife area. North of Plaça de Catalunya, the Eixample has some of the city’s most fashionable hotels, often housed in converted palaces and mansions and located just a few minutes’ walk from the modernista architectural masterpieces. For waterfront views look at Port Vell at the end of the Ramblas, and at the Port Olímpic southeast of the old town. If you prefer neighbourhood living, then Gràcia is the best base, as you’re only ever a short walk away from its bars, restaurants and clubs.

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