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The cost of living in Barcelona

For those who are considering whether to settle in Barcelona, one of the most common concerns refers to the cost of living in Barcelona: "Will I be able to live comfortably in this city?" they ask themselves.  In this article, you will find some of the necessary information which may assist you in making the decision with greater ease so that you don't have to give up on your dream.

Money saved in Barcelona
Money saved

What it costs to live in Barcelona 

Living in Barcelona can be expensive, but not for everything.  Undoubtedly the most expensive thing is the rental of an apartment or the purchase of a house in the city.  It is possible to end up paying €700.00 for a one bedroom apartment and the price of a medium sized house can exceed this three times over as we explain in the article entitled how to find a house in Barcelona. Obviously much depends on the area in which you have chosen to live: the most attractive neighborhoods are inevitably the most expensive, particularly those in the center where the houses are quite small and demand outstrips supply.  However, there are certain districts in Barcelona, such as Sant Martí for example, which are quite a distance from the main tourist areas, the properties are spacious, recently refurbished and benefit from being well connected to the public transport network. This kind of choice will enable you to live well without having to abandon the city: some people wonder if it is worth finding somewhere to live in one of the small towns in the outskirts of Barcelona, the "little gems" that are full of history and are nestled in the lush greenery of Catalonia. However, it you think about the labor market, it is better to try and find work in the city of Barcelona itself, especially for those who don't speak Catalan, because some knowledge of the language would be a necessity in order to find work in the towns surrounding the city. 

A Spanish supermarket
A Spanish supermarket

When it comes to day to day living, it's not as expensive as you might think: when shopping in Barcelona, the advice is always the same: look for the special offers in the supermarkets and get a loyalty card in order to benefit from any discounts that are on offer which will help to save money.  If you are living in a nice property, one of the advantages of living in Barcelona is that you won't have to worry to much about the cost of central heating, (in fact, a lot of the houses don't even have central heating installed).  On colder days, (and there aren't many of those), you would just have to rely on the gas cylinders for your stove.

How much does it cost for entertainment in Barcelona 

Entertainment in Barcelona is more or less free.  There are numerous public initiatives that are organized by the city's Town Council, (l'Ajuntament) such as, for example, being able to take part in the wide variety of fiestas that are organized during the course of the year, most of which can be attended for free.  You will often find food and cold beers available, (a bottle of Estrella Damm will cost you at most €1.00) and there are plenty of opportunities to socialize and have fun.  A great recommendation would be to enjoy an aperitif at the Mirador del Carmel, one of the best viewpoints in the city, and then you'll understand what we're talking about! 


A Fiesta in Barcelona
A Fiesta in Barcelona

Obviously, "classy" restaurants and discotheques aren't lacking in the city: luxury is one of the many features that contribute to making Barcelona so colorful, the perfect city for different life styles for all those who live there.  For example, at the weekend, in one of the most famous discotheques  on the coast, such as Pacha or Opium, it will only cost you €20.00 to get in. Of course, everything depends on the value you attribute to different things and being able to find the right balance between having fun and saving money.

In order to stay updated on all the events that are being organized in Barcelona during the course of the year, have a look at the section that focuses on this on our web site where you will find all the necessary information.  

Useful tips for living in Barcelona and not spending too much.

The first thing you can do to reduce your expenditure when you are trying to live in Barcelona is to save as much money as possible when it comes to renting accommodation: obviously, you should try and avoid the more expensive neighborhoods, such as the fabulous villas of Pedralbes and Sarrià) and opt for a neighborhood that's slightly further out but still well connected to the city center such as Sant Andreu. We would also suggest that you avoid the area of  L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, a better idea is to look in the business districts of Cornellà de Llobregat, Sant Just Desvern or Sant Joan Despí: all these areas are well connected via the metro system and there's also the wonderful seaside town of  Badalona which is on the other side of the city on the east coast of Barcelona. 

If the aim is to stay long term in the Catalan capital, you may wish to look at renting an unfurnished house: this choice will mean incurring some significant expenses initially, but you can amortize the expense over time.  Obviously unfurnished rentals are a lot cheaper than furnished accommodation.  When it comes to eating out, you can also follow some rules which will help you to save money without having to give up on the pleasure of eating out at a restaurant: for example, why don't you download the App for El tenedor on your phone?  With this, you'll be able to find out about special discounts that are on offer at restaurants in Barcelona ... which is often very useful!  In addition to this, if you don't have time to prepare food due to work commitments, you can always try one of the numerous bars in the city.  In Barcelona, there are also plenty of restaurants that are run by non-locals such as Chinese and Indian and these are also worth trying.  You can also always have a couple of delicious sandwiches with a fresh drink and really spend very little If, however, you are a fan of the traditional cuisine, you can try one of the numerous Nostrum restaurants: this is a restaurant chain whose production is based in the city of Girona, which is where they prepare dishes that just have to be heated up in the microwave, or which you can eat on site or take away with you.  The variety and the quality of meals on offer is really excellent and if you sign up to a loyalty card, (€15.00 a year), you will always get a €1.00 discount on every product that you buy.  A real bargain! 

A street in Sant Andreu
A street in Sant Andreu

And a last bit of good news about saving money? The majority of the beaches on the coast around Barcelona are free! 

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