Living in Barcelona | Attractions, Gastronomy, Costs, and Tips

Charlotte Koks
Charlotte Koks

Did you know that Barcelona is one of the most visited? It has a harmonious blend of archaic and modern Spanish culture, beautiful beaches, and a variety of tourist attractions. The beauty and unique charm of Barcelona may lure you in, but it’s the adventurous spirit of the city that convinces people to stay. If living in Barcelona> sounds like the opportunity of a lifetime, we can help!

Discover the architecture, excitement, lifestyle, and more with our complete guide to living in Barcelona. In this guide, we’ll walk you through costs, housing options, work requirements, and everything else there is to know about the city.

We also provide tips and resources to help you achieve the best experience while living there. So, if seaside living and Catalan immersion sound interesting to you, keep reading!

Lifestyle in Barcelona

pedestrians in Barcelona

Two advantages of living in Barcelona are its diversity and openness to all who visit. Barcelona is a multicultural city where people of different cultures, nationalities, and religious beliefs live among one another. You will see people from all over the world who’ve immigrated there and call Barcelona their home.

Barcelona has a laid back, relaxed lifestyle where people enjoy spending time outdoors with their family and friends, such as at a local cafe. As an economically-driven city, Barcelona is busy and festive. There is plenty of shopping and dining throughout the city with an active nightlife. Clubs in Barcelona usually open around midnight and close at 6 a.m. If you’re a social butterfly and enjoy meeting new people, living in Barcelona is perfect for you.

Climate in Barcelona

beach in Barcelona

Located in northeastern Spain on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, Barcelona has a blend of mountainous, valley, and beach landscapes. The climate here is subtropical mediterranean, where you can expect humid summers and mild, cloudy winters.

During the summer, the hottest days occur between July and August, when temperatures average 26℃. Winter, on the other hand, is cooler, but not too cold. During January, Barcelona’s coldest month, temperatures fluctuate between 5℃ and 15℃. The city receives the most rain during autumn, spring, and winter, where rainfall is more frequent during October.

Cost of Living in Barcelona

city view of Barcelona

Before embarking on your adventure to Barcelona, as well as any new country, it is best to budget for living expenses. Your budget should account for the visa fee, plane tickets, housing arrangement, food, inner-city transportation, and personal expenses.

Below, we share an approximate cost of what you will spend on food, rent, leisure, and other general expenses while living in Barcelona.

Food and Personal Care

Whether you have no time to cook or simply prefer dining out, an inexpensive meal at a local Barcelonian restaurant can cost about 12 euros (€). If you decide to go grocery shopping, here is a list of prices for general items:

  • Milk (1 liter): 0.90€
  • A loaf of bread: 1.36€
  • Eggs (1 dozen): 2.19€
  • Rice (1 kg bag): 1.13€
  • Chicken (1 kg): 6.33€
  • Apples (1 kg): 1.98€
  • Water (1.5 liter): 0.74€

As for personal care, typical essentials such as deodorant costs about 3.40€ and toilet paper (4-pack) costs around 1.80€.

Rent and Utilities

The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Barcelona can cost between 7500€ and 1100€, where basic utilities, including electricity, water, and cooling, cost a total of 140€ per month. Depending on the speed and provider, the internet costs about 25€.

We will dive deeper into exploring accommodation options, as well as tips on how to save on rental costs, in a later section.

Leisure and Entertainment

It is almost impossible to live in Barcelona and stay at home. Barcelona is the city that never sleeps, so make sure to budget for fun and leisure in this busy, festive lifestyle. A cappuccino at a local cafe costs about 1.83€, and a beer from a bar costs around 3.00€. A ticket for the movie cinema costs about 9.00€, but if you enjoy live performances, a ticket at a theatre in Barcelona costs at least 57.00€.

Public Transport in Barcelona

taxis in Barcelona city

As a touristic city with many events and attractions, the public transport of Barcelona has many quick and convenient options:

  • >Metro the second-largest in Spain. The metro has 8 lines and 161 stations in key areas around the city. Each ticket costs 2.40€ one-way.
  • Bus the most common transport in Barcelona, the bus system has over 100 lines throughout the city. A one-way trip costs 2.15€. Fun fact: the letters “H,” “V,” and “D” on the buses mean their routes are horizontal, vertical, and diagonal, respectively.
  • Tram it runs seven days a week until midnight (and until 2 a.m. on weekends). The tram has six lines across two networks with 56 stops. Single tickets cost 2.40€ per zone/transfer.
  • Taxis the most expensive option, but more comfortable and faster. An 8km taxi ride at the basic rate can cost about 14€.
  • Cable Cars without a doubt the most favorite among tourists. With three stations, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city on a 752-meter ride up to the Montjuïc Castle.

To save money on trips via bus, metro, or tram, you can use the Hola Barcelona Travel Card, which provides unlimited journeys for consecutive periods. For example, a travel card for three days costs 23.70€.

Work while Living in Barcelona

food deliverer riding bike in Spain

Obtaining a job while living in Barcelona can help you pay for expenses. The best part, since Barcelona is a melting pot and one of the most visited cities in Europe, there are plenty of job opportunities. Let’s review the requirements you will need to work there.

Requirements to Work in Barcelona

To work in Barcelona, and work in Spain in general, you will need the following:

  • Visa You can work in the country if you have a Residence or long-term visa for Spain. If you come to Barcelona on a Student Visa, you may be able to arrange an internship agreement with a company there. Keep in mind that some internships are unpaid.
  • NIE A Foreign Identity Number, or NIE, certifies you as a foreign resident in Spain and is generally assigned to you once you receive a visa.
  • TIE The Foreign Identity Card, or TIE, is the official card of the NIE that shows you’re allowed to stay in Spain for a designated time. It is like an I.D. card, which you need to keep on-hand at all times.
  • Social Security Number This number is mandatory for signing any employment contract. You must go to an office of the Social Security Treasury for this procedure, where they will assign you a number.

While having a bank account is not mandatory, it can assist in your hiring process and money management. Most companies in Spain distribute their payroll through direct deposit to your bank.

Tips for Finding a Job in Barcelona

You can utilize popular job search websiteslike Indeed and Jobs in Barcelona to find opportunities within your level of experience and first language. It is also good to create and routinely update a LinkedIn profile, which serves as a virtual resume to hiring managers and allows you to search and view job openings on employer profiles.

Jobs in the service industry are generally the easiest to acquire within a short timeframe. If you’re studying and can only work part-time, consider food delivery. It is a convenient way for international students to make money, set their own hours, and work within proximity of their neighborhood. Glovo is a popular food delivery service based in Barcelona, and UberEats is available there as well.

Accommodation in Barcelona

studio apartment in Spain

Barcelona has multiple types of accommodation< from which you can choose. The key is to select the best option according to your preferences and budget. Let’s explore the options.

Types of Accommodation

If you’re earning an income while living in Barcelona, you can afford to rent an apartment in a convenient area. Generally, there are two types of rental agreements: long-term and short-term.

You can also go the cheaper route and rent a shared apartment with a roommate. Sharing an apartment can help cut costs on rent and utilities, helping to save extra money for leisure and other expenses.

If you will be living in Barcelona as a student, you will most likely have the option to stay in a student residence. The advantage of living on campus is the convenience of amenities, such as school dining and library access. Also, student housing usually comes furnished with utilities included in the tuition.

Areas to Live in Barcelona

apartment building over restaurants in Barcelona

Once you have an idea of the type of accommodation you want, the next step is to choose an area to live in Barcelona. Below are a few popular neighborhoods within the city:


Known as the most residential and quiet area, Sants ranks as one of the best neighborhoods to live in Barcelona. The largest train station in Barcelona is in this area, making it convenient for you to get around town from home.


Sitting within an old industrial settlement, Poblenou is a neighborhood full of bars, cafes, and historical landmarks. Here, you can visit places such as the Barcelona Design Museum and Plaza de las Glorias Catalanas. <

Gothic Quarter

Another historical area, the Gothic Quarter is the remnant of the medieval Roman village that once settled in Spain. Centered in the Old Town of Barcelona, the Gothic Quarter is a bustling area full of cafes, lounges, bars, and shops. While rentals may be much more expensive here, you will be steps from the infamous Gothic Cathedral, dining at some of the oldest restaurants in Barcelona, and exploring the medieval architecture among cobblestone streets.

Best Places to Go Out in Barcelona

people dancing in a nightclub

If you are looking for the best places to go out for a night on the town, here are our recommendations:

Popular Areas


One of the most popular neighborhoods in the city, Barceloneta is a seafront boardwalk where you will find plenty of seafood restaurants, shops, and beach activities.


The most iconic district in Barcelona, Eixample is a compact area of streets full of impressive monuments and shopping centers. Everywhere you go, whether to a bar, restaurant, or famous landmark, is within a short walking distance.

Aribau Street

Located near the Paseo de Gracia, Aribau Street is a busy and exclusive area for nightlife. Here, you can indulge in the finest bars, restaurants, and clubs Barcelona has to offer!


Speaking of clubs, be sure to visit the following dance clubs, the most popular ones in the city:

  • Ice Barcelona the first ice bar on a beach in the world!
  • Opium a famous, beachfront bar and nightclub with VIP guest lists and bottle service.
  • La Alcoba Azul a tapas bar within the Gothic Quarter, great to grab drinks with friends!

Things to Do in Barcelona

tourist walking through Barcelona

Once you’ve spent time in Barcelona, you will discover it is nearly impossible to get bored. Aside from shopping, nightlife, and beaches, you can explore some of the city’s infamous landmarks and food delicacies.

Tour Cultural Landmarks

There are plenty of historical monuments and landmarks to see, visit, and tour for free. You cannot live in Barcelona without visiting the Picasso Museum and the Joan Miró Foundation museum, both of which have permanent exhibitions throughout the year.

You can also visit the Palau de la Música Catalana and the renowned La Sagrada Familia temple, two monuments most recognized for their striking architecture. We will explore these monuments and more must-see places in the next section.


Living in Barcelona means having access to tasty dishes from all over the world. With that said, make sure you try traditional Catalan cuisine. Popular Catalan dishes include the escalvada, which are various grilled vegetables, and the botifarra amb mongetes, a plate of sausages and beans coated in fresh spices.

Places to Visit in Barcelona

inside view of Palace of Catalan Music

The advantage of living in Barcelona is being in constant awe of architectural and cultural masterpieces. Below are some of the most famous attractions in the city to visit:

Temple of the Sagrada Familia

Designed in 1882 by Antoni Gaudí, La Sagrada Familia is one of the most visited monuments in Spain. Although unfinished, the temple receives worldwide attention for its marvelous architecture.

Palace of Catalan Music

Known in Catalan as Palau de la Música Catalana, this auditorium is another must-see in Barcelona. Developed in 1908, the Catalan Music Palace represents modernist architecture and hosts the most famous musical shows in Spain.

Catalonia Square

>With 30 thousand square meters of area, Catalonia Square is one of the largest outdoor areas in the country. You can expect massive outdoor events and shows to take place here every year.

Camp Nou

Also known as the Club Barcelona Stadium, Camp Nou is the fourth largest football (soccer to Americans) stadium in the world. It is the home stadium of FC Barcelona and has a seating capacity of over 99,000.

Study while Living in Barcelona

student with backpack in Spain

Would you like to study in Spain? The country has a quality education system and the lowest tuition in comparison to other European countries. After reading about the best experiences Barcelona has to offer, you can take advantage of studying in the city!

Requirements to Study in Barcelona

Aside from a valid passport, you must have the following:


Depending on the length of your course, you’ll need a short-term student visa or a long-term student visa. Refer to the website or call a Spain’s embassy in your country or origin to check all the requirements.

Approval of Studies

Certain postgraduate studies require approval from the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sports (MCED) department of the Spanish government. Here, the department will determine if you meet the study level and, if not, the entrance exams you must take.

Letter of Admission

Once you enroll in your school or university, a letter of admission can guarantee your intentions of staying in Barcelona. In case immigration wants documentation as proof, the letter is good to have at hand.

Courses to Study in Barcelona

Did you know that some of the best universities in Spain are in Barcelona? There are different courses you can take at several universities and schools within the city.

Degree Programs

Students studying in Spain can pick from a variety of degrees and programs at all levels. Most of them are offered in English in order to accommodate international students from all around the world.

Vocational Courses

If you already have a college degree or are looking for an alternative educational program, these vocational courses are a great option. Vocational programs are an excellent way to gain experience in a specific job sector and earn a certification.

About the author

Charlotte Koks
Charlotte Koks

Hey there! My name is Charlotte, and I'm working as an International Project Manager at GrowPro Experience. My goal is to help students all around the world to live the experiences of a lifetime 🙌🏽. I'm trying to inspire students by means of telling the story of former growers, showing what we are doing at each destination and writing about our cities and tips on our blogs. I got a big passion for adventures, doing sports in the park, learning new languages and seeing new places 🌏. That's one of the reasons why I studied European Studies and why I currently work for GrowPro, to expand my horizons. Hopefully, I can inspire you to do the same!