Alternatively, head to the more residential Sants district, to the west of Eixample, where, in a quiet pedestrian side street close to the railway station, you'll find modern studio-, 2- or 3-bedroom apartments (which we have yet to visit), most with parquet floors, some with balcony or large terrace.
Whichever location and size of apartment works for you, you can be assured of getting good value for money and you’ll be living like locals in the Catalan capital.
- The apartments are very well-equipped - full kitchens, free WiFi - though you'll have to buy your own food staples (seasonings, condiments etc)
- You get more flexibility and space than a hotel room; great for families and groups of friends
- The El Born apartments are in a brilliant location with restaurants, tapas bars and boutiques on your doorstep; staff have tips and recommendations to help you explore
- Great prices for a top-dollar European city
- Unusually for apartments, you can book for just 3 or 4 nights (according to season)
- The El Born apartments are in an area which is popular at night, so expect some noise - and occasionally sounds from adjoining apartments
- The Sants apartments are not in the central tourist areas - a more authentic Barca experience, you might say - so expect to take transport (links are good)
- Beds are a bit hard and not huge
- No parking in pedestrianised zones - taxis can drop you off 100m-200m away
- Bookings are non-refundable
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Apartments
- 11 1-3 bedroom apartments
- Self-catering (restaurants nearby)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Spa Treatments
- Beach Nearby
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Car not necessary
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Daily Maid Service
- Towels & Bedlinen
- Concierge Service
The apartments are split between converted 18th- and 19th-century buildings in the very charming and intimate El Born - on the Calle Esparteria and Plaça del Mercat - or in the Sants area, which is towards the west of the Eixample district.
The Esparteria apartments are tucked up one of the quieter alleyways 3 minutes from the Picasso Museum, easily found on our most-recent revisit; each apartment has 1 or 2 twin bedrooms, a bathroom, an open-plan kitchen and a spacious living room.
You get old stone walls, slate or wood floors, funky lighting and, in most, little balconies. The feel is open-plan - comfy contemporary city living. There are fluffy towels in the granite bathrooms (some have a shower only, others a bath with an overhead shower), and crisp white linen in the airy bedrooms. In the 2-bedroom apartments, both are twins, and cots are available for babies, while sofas open into double beds. All guests can use the communal roof terrace during office hours - sunbathing and views!
Set beside the antique market turned cultural centre nearby, the crisp Mercat apartments are 10 minutes' walk from the beach in one direction and Las Ramblas in the other. Walls are white, wooden floors gleam, furniture is minimalist and modern. There are pale sofas, leather armchairs, heated chrome towel rails, angle-poise lights, and French windows opening to small, pretty balconies.
The 2-bedroom apartments have 1 double room and 1 single room, and some are split over 2 floors. Some 1-bedroom apartments are also arranged as duplexes, with attic living areas and split-level roof terraces; we stayed in one of these on a recent revisit, and loved the alfresco dining table and roof-top loungers.
The newer Sants apartments, which work especially well for families, are on a quiet street only 400metres from Sants Barcelona station where the airport train stops. These come in Studio (sleeps 2), 2-bedroom (sleeps up to 4 + a child, the second bedroom has bunks) and 3-bedroom (sleeps up to 5 adults + 1 child, there are two shower bathrooms and a large private terrace) varieties. Studio and 2-bedroom apartments have parquet floors. We have yet to stay in these ones but are assured they are light-filled and comfortable.
- Safe box
The self-catered nature of the apartments means you have the flexibility to prepare your meals as and when you fancy. Kitchen facilities in each apartment vary slightly but all have ovens, hobs, coffee makers, microwaves, fridge-freezers and a goodly amount of cookware, gadgets, cutlery and glassware.
The Mercat del Born and Sants' kitchens are especially snazzy and well-equipped and come with washing machines. Most of the Esparteria apartments have washing machines but this cannot be guaranteed, there's a laundromat nearby.
Basics such as tea, coffee and condiments are not provided in the apartments (although washing up liquid and soap are supplied in all, and dishwasher tablets are supplied in the Mercat apartments), so you will need to stock up when you arrive. When it comes to food shopping, there are plenty of little grocery stores in the El Born area, as well as the fantastic markets of La Boqueria and Santa Caterina, both brimming with fresh produce. The area also has heaps of tapas bars and restaurants. Sants, as befitting a more residential than touristy neighbourhood, also has lots of choice for grocery shopping, and restaurants and bars.
- Coffee / tea making
- Coffee maker
- Family friendly
- Full kitchen
- Hob or stove
- Kids' meals
- Restaurants nearby
Note that there is an office beside the El Born apartments where staff can assist with ticket purchases and event bookings, this service is not available at the Sants apartments.
- The Esparteria and Mercat apartments are within easy walking distance of the Paseo del Born, the sights and sounds of the Gothic Quarter (the Picasso Museum is 3 minutes' away), the famous thoroughfare of Las Ramblas, the vintage shops in Raval, Parc de la Ciutadella, and the beach of Barcelona. There's a cycle hire outfit on the doorstep too
- If you're staying in the Sants Apartments, Plaça Espanya is only a 10 minute walk away, beyond is Montjuic Hill, where you can find the MNAC (National Museum of Cataluña) Museum and Miró Foundation. The famous Camp Nou football stadium is also nearby
- Staff can put you in touch with a Brit who runs a wide range of interesting tailored walking tours, such as Bohemian Barcelona by Night, Gaudi, Modernisme, tapas and cookery; ask for her details when you book, a cool way to get to know the city
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Historical sites
- Museums / galleries
- Private guided tours
- Shopping / markets
- Wine tasting
All apartments are a great option for families in Barcelona. The Esparteria and Mercat apartments are set near Parc de la Ciutadella (home to Barcelona's zoo, and site of an annual children's festival, La Tamborinada, held each May) and close to Barceloneta beach. The Sants apartments are very well located for public transport, Montjuic Hill and close to the Nou Camp for football pilgrims.
The various sizes and layouts on offer provide plenty of flexibility for families. Note that some, but not all, apartments have a bathtub, and baby cots are available in all apartments on request.
Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)
Family friendly accommodation:
The 2-bedroom Mercat del Born apartments work well for families with 1 child as they each have a double bedroom and a single bedroom. The 1-bedroom apartments in Esparteria have sofabeds in the living areas.
For larger families, the 2-bedroom apartments in Esparteria are a great option (some have bunk beds), as are the 2-bedroom apartments in Sants, which have 2 bathrooms. All of these have a double sofabed in the living room, so can sleep a family of 5. There are also 3-bedroom Sants apartments which have two double bedrooms and a single so can sleep 5
English-speaking babysitting is available by arrangement through an agency. See Rates; book in advance
- Cots with mattress and bedding
- High chairs on request
- Stair gates on request
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
The kitchens are well equipped but note that they don't have blenders for baby food; all have microwaves and ovens. You can buy everything you need nearby; there are also child-friendly eateries within walking distance, and you can order takeaways.
Kids Activities nearby:
- Playground in Plaça Palau
- Parc de la Ciutadella (zoo, boating lake, plenty of room to run around)
- Barceloneta beach
- Maritime Museum (complete with full-size replica warships)
- Gaudí's fairytale architecture at Casa Batlló, La Pedrera, the Sagrada Familia and Park Güell
- Cable-car rides up Montjuic
- Walking tours can be tailored for families, such as themed Columbus tours to seafront tours on scooters
- Light shows at the Font Màgica on Montjuïc (days and times vary according to season; check in advance)
- Barcelona Aquarium
- Tibidabo Amusement Park (perched on a hill overlooking the city)
Families Should Know:
Some apartments are duplex, although stairgates can be provided on request. All apartment buildings have elevators
- Airport: 30 minutes
- Hospital: 15 minutes
- Shop: 1 minute
Two sets of apartments (Esparteria and Mercat) are located in El Born, easily walkable from Las Ramblas, the beach and a metro station (Jaume 1, Urquinaona or Arc de Triomf). The Sants apartments are on the western side of Eixample, between Estació de Sants train station and Plaça Espanya, next to the Carrer de Sants shopping street.
> Google map showing all locations (in a new window)
Barcelona's El Prat Airport (14km away) is served by many international carriers; see the links below.
From the Airport
You can take a taxi, or jump on the regular buses and trains which run from the airport to the city centre for the El Born Apartments. The buses stop at Plaça de Catalunya, and the trains at Passeig de Gràcia; you can then take a taxi or hop on the metro. Note that some apartments are on pedestrianised streets, so taxis may have to drop you off 200-300m from the entrance.
For Sants apartments please contact the property directly 72 hours before your arrival informing about your estimated check-in time and instructions and directions will be sent.
For a more eco-friendly trip, take the mid-afternoon Eurostar from London to Paris, then transfer to the overnight sleeper to Barcelona. The sleeper trains arrive at the Estació França, which is located near the apartments. See Seat 61 for more information.
It's unlikely you'll want a car in Barcelona, but if you wish to hire one to explore the surrounding countryside, see our car rental recommendations.
Detailed directions to your apartment will be sent when you book through i-escape.com, as will arrangements for key collection.
More on getting to Barcelona and getting around
- Barcelona El Prat 14.0 km BCN
- Beach 0.5 km
- Shops 0.1 km
- Restaurant 0.1 km