How to find your ideal Barcelona rental apartment

Oh-Barcelona apartment1

Barcelona as a European city break destination is hard to beat. Stretches of beaches and acres of art and architecture combine to make the Catalan capital a hotspot for all types of visitors and holiday makers.

If you’re planning on renting a Barcelona apartment while you’re here, you’re bound to have a few questions before actually going ahead with your booking. Here are our answers to some of the most common questions our clients ask. And if you have any others, feel free to comment below.

How do apartment sizes vary?

Oh-Barcelona apartmentIn general, apartments in Barcelona can feel quite compact. This is especially true in the older parts of town (the Gothic Quarter, the Raval, Born and Barceloneta) where properties tend to be smaller and more traditional.

In contrast, the more modern districts of the city such as L’Eixample, Sagrada Familia, Vila Olimpica and Sants tend to house more generously sized apartments.

When you’re comparing properties, always check for a floor plan and the number of m2 to get an exact idea of size (think metric rather than imperial!). 20-30m2 can work out well for a couple on a weekend away, but ideally a party of four will need around 50-60m2 to be comfortable.

What about the sleeping arrangements?

Apartments tend to be advertised with the maximum number of people who can be accommodated. “Sleeps six”, though, doesn’t always mean there are six beds – some guests may be on the sofa-bed in the living room.

To avoid the uncomfortable ‘who’s on the couch then?’ conversation when you arrive, it’s best to double check the bed situation beforehand.

Do Barcelona apartment buildings all have lifts?

More and more lifts are being installed in Barcelona’s apartments, and they’re now fairly common across the city, but many older buildings simply don’t have the space for them.

This can pose a problem, since a first-floor flat in Barcelona isn’t necessarily on the first floor. In reality, it might mean that you have to climb three flights of stairs to reach the front door.

If you’re travelling with a young family, older people or just can’t face trudging up the stairs in the heat, filter your search results to make sure a lift is included.

So how does this naming of floors work?

Just to make things interesting, floor names in Barcelona don’t follow the rest of Europe. The translations are easy enough:

Ground floor – planta baja
First floor – entresuelo
Second floor – principal
Third floor – primera
Fourth floor – segunda

and so on.

The trouble is, not all buildings follow this convention, and sometimes the first floor is simply known as the first floor (primera planta). Check for apartment profiles that clearly state the real level of the floor your apartment is on. Only then will you know exactly how many flights up you will be.

I’m coming with children. What should I be looking for in an apartment?

Travelling as a family obviously brings its own set of considerations.

Oh-Barcelona apartment3When you’re searching through apartments, check to see if the property has a lift (especially if the flat is located higher than the real first floor). Take your time looking through the photos of the apartment to assess whether the fittings and furnishings are particularly child-friendly (no glass tables, or high balconies, for example).

You might also be interested in whether the flat has a bathtub and washing machine, while its location in a relatively quiet street and neighbourhood may well be another point to look out for.

Do Barcelona apartments have heating/air conditioning?

Although Barcelona enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate all year round, winters can get pretty chilly and summers are hot and humid. So it’s important to check what the situation is when it comes to both heating and air-conditioning. (Neither come as standard in Barcelona flats, particularly in older buildings.)

Can I bring my dog?

Rental apartments occasionally allow pets but rules vary between sizes and species. If you’re planning a holiday with furry friends in tow, filter your search results for pet-friendly properties and check any notes from owners as to the kind of animals that are allowed.

How do I get a room with a view?

Oh-Barcelona apartment2Apartments with amazing views of the Sagrada Família, the Mediterranean Sea or the city’s horizon are all definitely possible (here at Oh-Barcelona, we have lots to choose from). When you’re scanning your search results, look out for mentions of views in the titles of the apartment profiles, as well as in the reviews left by previous guests.

Bear in mind that most Barcelona apartments will have at least one bedroom facing on to an interior patio, or lift shaft, so will have less natural light.

I don’t want to be too far from the city centre. Which areas would you recommend?

Whichever area you settle on, you will never be too far from the city centre here. Most popular areas of the city are within walking distance of Plaça Catalunya, or else are likely to be well connected via public transport.

We’ve written detailed descriptions of each of Barcelona’s neighbourhoods, which you might want to browse through before you commit to any one area. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions and we’ll be happy to talk you through our suggestions.

What’s the easiest way to get to and from my apartment?

Public transport is very good in Barcelona, with the metro, train and bus networks effectively covering the city. Most apartments will be close to two if not all three forms of transport. There are also plenty of taxis around if you prefer to travel that way.

Will there be anywhere to park?

Realistically, few holiday apartments in Barcelona include a parking space. Parking on the street is a battle at night and by day virtually impossible for more than a couple of hours at a time. There are plenty of private car parks but they’re all pricey.

Our honest advice would be: leave the car at home. That said, we do have some apartments with parking facilities – to find them, just filter your search results.

What about being close to the shops?

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Barcelona has hundreds of small, convenience supermarkets throughout the city and a bakery on practically every corner, so picking up food is never a challenge.

If a proper shopping spree is more what you’re after, read our guide to shopping in Barcelona for the rundown on the top spots.

I fancy a flat with a swimming pool. Is that feasible?

Private swimming pools aren’t common in the city. The weather of course is great in summer, but most people head to the beach for a swim (or sunbathe on their apartment’s terrace, if it has one).

If you do have your heart set on an apartment with a pool, it’s better to look in the newer areas of the city, particularly Diagonal Mar. Or, alternatively, head to one of the public pools up on Montjuïc.

I want an apartment close to the beach. What are my options?

One of the most appealing aspects of Barcelona is the fact that you’re never too far from its urban beaches. The city’s slick transport system means that you can hop on the metro or bus and be there in no time.

If you want to be within walking distance, search for apartments in the areas of Barceloneta, Vila Olímpica, Poble Nou and Diagonal Mar.

Have we forgotten anything? Any questions at all, please leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you very soon.

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  1. Hi,
    we will be driving from Paris to Barcelona and require an apartment or villa with car parking.
    Because we have a car, it reduces my search dramatically, can you please advise what options we have with public parking in Barcelona

    • Hi Tracey,

      Great to hear that you will be coming to Barcelona! We have plenty of Apartments with Private parking. You will not unfortunately be able to get a villa in Barcelona itself but if you want to stay outside the city there are some. If you want I can send you a list of all the apartments we have available with private parking or parking very close by to your email address. Please do let me know and I can get you in touch with someone from our Customer Care department who will be more than happy to help you choose an apartment that suits your requirements.

      James (

      Marketing Assistant

  2. Hi James
    My partner and I arrive 03/08/2011, my adult daughter joins us on 04/08 & my adult son & fiancée arrive on 05/08.
    We leave on 10/08, so we need accommodation that will sleep 5 adults, 2 couples and 1 single.
    It would be ideal if we had beach views and close to casino, though not necessary if not near casino.
    Yes, please do refer me to your customer service, I appreciate the assistance.
    Tracey Murphy

  3. We are a family of six (mother, father, grandparents and two teenager kids)looking for comfortable accomodation in Barcelona from 16th till 20th Oct 2011.
    We would like three rooms, preferably two doube beds, and two bathrooms. We are looking for accomodation in a central area within a short walking distance from the Ramblas. We will probably rent a car for a couple of days and will need some parking place nearby.
    Pls can you contact me with some recommendations
    thanks Bonny

    • Hi Bonny,

      Thanks for the comment, you came to the right place! I will shortly send you a private e-mail (to the e-mail address you have given) with the contact details of one of our customer sales advisors. He will be able to assist you in finding an apartment with all the criteria you have stated. Take care.


  4. I have recently visited to Europe. It is very beautiful. Barcelona is one of those cities where you can enjoy a 10 day vacation or holiday, but also where you can also go for just a long weekend. This coastal city offers easy access to a number of facilities, a lengthy beach and plenty of interesting architecture and sites.

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