We now have these 3 cities on our itinerary for late May 2020 - wondering the best neighborhoods to consider for families? Our kids are teens and we'll be using public transportation - we like easy access to amenities. We plan to use AirBnB in each city. Thanks!
We enjoyed staying at the Apartamentos Suites Santa Cruz, which is very centrally located and within walking distance of everywhere we went. We did walk to Triana one day because we wanted to walk through various neighborhoods, but we did take a taxi back. If you look on a map, the apartments reception building was in Plaza de Dona Elvira. The apartments were around the corner. But this will give you a good idea of how central this area is.
In Barcelona, we stayed in Eixample, another centrally located neighborhood. And in Madrid we stayed near the Prado and Reina Sofia on Calle Lope de Vega.
Thank you! Any neighborhoods we should avoid in Barcelona or Madrid?
In BCN we stayed with our teens in the Gracia neighborhood (closer to border of Eixample than Park Guell, although we walked from our apartment to PG and loved the quieter 'uphill' section of Gracia we walked through too). We walked everywhere from our apartment: from the main train station, to PG to La Sagrada, to Las Ramblas, and beyond. But bus stops are plentiful so wherever you stay you'll have easy access to everywhere else. The only time we took a train was to the beach. Tons of cute untouristed restaurants near us, although that's true anywhere in the city. We didnt visit MAD, so cant speak to that
In Barcelona part of El Raval (west of La Rambla) had a rather gritty feel as I walked through it on a few occasions back in 2016. I remember thinking that some tourists would be uncomfortable there. I don't know that it's unsafe, but I believe some concern about that area was expressed on this forum within the last year. I trust that one of our Barcelona residents will comment here soon.
I agree with Jessica that Gracia would be a nice neighborhood to stay in Barcelona. It is a residential area where families live, and you see children playing outside. There are quite a few restaurants and cafes. We enjoyed spending a leisurely afternoon there. I do think, however, that Eixample is more centrally located.
When we were planning our trip, I do remember reading that Raval is "gritty" and it was not recommended to stay there, as acraven mentions.
As mentioned El Raval is an unsavory part of town, I personally wouldn't walk there at night. The area around the Palau de la Musica, upper part of Sant Pere, has also deteriorated these past few years. I'd also be weary of the area around Camp Nou, unless there is a match on. All these places a relatively ok during the day, but at night the drugs and prostitution can make these parts of town quite a bit "rough" and "dodgy".