So you’re thinking of moving to Barcelona, a city of incredible beauty, traditions, innovation, art, cuisine, where there’s always something going on!
I can’t blame you because that’s exactly what happened to me almost seven years ago. Millions of people visit Barcelona each year on holiday, many more come here to study or for different other reasons, and what was supposed to be a short stay becomes a longer relationship with this beautiful city.
Maybe you have been here on holiday before, or maybe you’re even visiting Barcelona right now and you’re wondering what it’s like to actually move here. If you need some help with your decision, I’m sure these tips will give you a better outlook on how to prepare your move to Barcelona and what living in Barcelona is actually like.
My story is not so different from all these others: I arrived to Barcelona in September 2013 to follow a master’s course at Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Although I grew up in Uruguay, I had graduated from a bachelor’s degree in translation in Italy and I was looking forward to study and practice translation in Spanish this time.
Why did I choose Barcelona? I had been here before and I had fallen in love with this city. However, I was ready to enroll anywhere where the education program was best. When it comes to translation, Barcelona was a much better option for me. So, actually, it was a bit of a beautiful chance that I ended up here!
After what I think was not even a month living in Barcelona, my decision was taken: one year was just too short, I had so much to discover about this amazing place that I was so lucky I could call home. When I was about to graduate I found a job at a big travel company and that’s how the second part of my adventure here began… Did I think “I’m just going to stay here forever”? Never! But, somehow, one year became two, three, four… and I still think that my time in Barcelona is far from over.
Why move to Barcelona?
I don’t think you really need that much to be convinced, but here are some of the top reasons why moving to Barcelona is a great idea:
1. The weather
Let’s face it – this is a big one for many people, especially if you come from, well, anywhere else in Europe that’s not the Mediterranean or from some other colder corners in the world. Even for me, coming from Latin America, I had never had so many sunny days in my life!
2. Lots of things to do!
While many consider Barcelona as “the city of fiesta” (and, yes, there’s every day some party going on), there is so many activities and events for all tastes always going on. From seasonal events to art exhibitions, food markets, vintage markets, workshops, networking events, big holidays… You really have no excuse to ever get bored.
3. A place for creatives
One things I love about Barcelona is that you can feel creativity in the air! If you’re a creative, it will be easy for you to find your “tribe”, get inspired and come up with great projects.
4. History and architecture
Barcelona is like an open air museum for me, where every day I can discover something new. There are thousands of buildings, museums, cafes, corners full of beauty and history waiting to be discovered!
5. A place for entrepreneurs
The city makes an effort to create a good atmosphere and to attract businesses to settle here. More and more, Barcelona is a great place for entrepreneurs, founders, digital nomads and just anyone looking to do business.
6. A place for music lovers
Music has a big role in Barcelona, there are always concerts or festivals going on. All music styles are represented in Barcelona in venues that can be as big or as small and cozy as you prefer. The city’s most popular music event is probably Sonar Festival, taking place every year in June.
7. It’s a friendly city
People are generally very friendly and easy going, so you will feel welcomed from the beginning. It really helps, especially when you just arrive somewhere new, not feeling like a complete outsider!
8. Good food
Did you know that there are more than 7000 restaurants and bars in Barcelona? This being said, it’s highly unlikely that you won’t enjoy the food here. Tapas are probably the most popular food among tourists, but… there’s so much more than that! I love the fact there are restaurants from all around the world, so every time I can try something new.
9. Very well connected
If you fear you’re gonna miss your hometown, just think that Barcelona is very well connected with the world thanks to its airport located half an hour away from the city center. Every day there are flights to over 170 destinations, and it’s a two-hour flight away from most cities in Europe.
10. Quality of life
Barcelona has a high quality of living and it has been ranked among the best 50 cities to live in the whole world. We’re talking about really important, everyday things that you won’t need to worry about, such as having a great public transport system, lots of jobs, education opportunities, cultural life… Of course, depending on where you come from this might be different for you. But, all in all, when you consider all the pros and cons, it does sum up as a great place to live.
Finding an apartment in Barcelona
So you have taken the decision to move to Barcelona… now what? Normally, the first question that comes up is “Where am I going to live?!” Depending on your budget and your preference, it can be very easy or pretty complicated.
- Renting a room: the easiest thing to do when you just arrive is renting a room in a shared apartment.
- Renting a short term apartment: if you don’t like sharing, the best thing to do is to is to rent a short-term apartment on Airbnb or through one of the many specialized agencies. I strongly advise you not to rent a long-term apartment before actually arriving to Barcelona, as you might get a bad surprise.
- Renting a long term apartment: this can be quite difficult and frustrating. Why? Because there’s a huge demand, so when you see something you like you should call straight away, visit the place and put down your money, all within one or two days. Typically, an agency will ask you to pay in advance a 2-month deposit, that month’s rent and an agency fee that ranges between one month and 10% of a year’s rent. Sounds like a lot, right? Well, keep in mind they’ll probably also ask you to pay the VAT and any extra taxes yourself.
- Where to find a room or apartment for rent: I believe the best websites to look for housing are Idealista and Habitaclia, but you can also find a lot of offers on specific Facebook groups. Beware of scams and never pay anything in advance before having seen the place and having some written confirmation.
Finding a job in Barcelona
Finding a job in Barcelona can go very fast or very slow, depending on the sector and the type of job you’re looking for. Generally speaking, it’s very easy to get jobs in restaurants, tourism, shops and customer service. However, if you’re determined to stay in your field and demand the salary you deserve, this could take some time. Some things to keep in mind:
- Pros: in Barcelona you will find lots of companies from around the world, many of them have big offices or headquarters so there are opportunities for growth within the company.
- Cons: the average salary can be low compared to the same jobs in other locations outside Barcelona and Spain. Also, depending on the company, workers’ rights might be more or less overlooked, such as not paying you for overtime.
- Average salary: the average salary in Barcelona is most typically between 1200€ and 1600€ net per month, but it can of course vary a lot. Compared to many other places, it doesn’t sound like a lot. The one thing to keep in mind, though, is the lower cost of living.
- Where to look for job postings: the best places to look for jobs are Linkedin, Infojobs, Glassdoor… Also, some sectors have their own specific platforms.
Making friends in Barcelona
Some people are worried they’re gonna feel lonely and have a hard time making friends when they move abroad. This, of everything else, is going to be the easiest part. Barcelona is such a friendly city! And I honestly believe that people here are happier than in many other places and are (normally) always up for meeting new people. So how to make friends in Barcelona?
- Find people with similar hobbies: this is, for me, a great way to meet people because you know you can connect with them and have something in common to talk about, or even plan fun things to do with.
- Browse through FB groups: there are tens or even hundreds of Facebook groups for people who want to connect in Barcelona, either with other expats, fellow citizens from your home country, people with the same hobbies, etc.
- Sign up for Meetup: on this platform there are lots of things to do, many of them organize specifically by and for expats. Some of the activities you can find on this platform include day trips, volleyball on the beach and so much more.
- Go to language exchange events: this is how I actually made my very first friends in Barcelona! Whether you’re learning Spanish, Catalan, Chinese or Zulu, you’ll probably find a group of people who regularly meet to practice their skills.
- Ladies in Barcelona: join our community, Barcelona Travel Girls! We run daily women-only tours to explore the city and take beautiful pictures, as well as monthly events in Barcelona such as brunches, workouts and workshops.
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The post Moving to Barcelona: Tips, All You Need To Know & My Story! appeared first on The Barcelona Diaries.