Living in Barcelona Pros and Cons 2024 (from an Expat)

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Wondering what living in Barcelona pros and cons are this year? You’re in the right place.

I’ve been living in Barcelona for almost three years. There are some incredible perks that go along with living in this coastal Spanish town. But, there are downsides to every living situation.

While I love it here, it may not be for everyone. So, I’m going to breakdown all of the pros and cons of living in Barcelona Spain so you can make a decision for yourself.

Living in Barcelona Pros and Cons from an Expat

Barcelona in an incredible place to live. The year-round warm weather, beautiful beaches, and exciting nightlife attracts people from all over the world.

Being such a popular city in Spain means larger crowds, more difficult housing searches, and a long list of requirements to maintain a visa or retain citizenship.

Let’s look at everything you need to about living in Barcelona pros and cons.

Living in Barcelona PROS

1. Warm Weather

Barcelona average temperature stats by month
Stat information provided by NOAA

Barcelona is known for it’s mild climate and warm weather throughout the year.

The city gets plenty of sunshine. Temperatures stay between 60°F80°F (15°C-26°C) almost all year.

The coldest months are January and February. But, even in the winter months, temperatures only drop to 50°F (10°C). The winter months can be cloudier, but the weather is rarely cold enough to be uncomfortable.

I always keep a sweater on hand, but the warm weather is one of my favorite parts about living in Barcelona.

To go along with the great temperatures, there’s a ton of outdoor activities to take advantage of. No matter the time of year, there’s rooftop yoga, parks for biking, and streets to wander around all day.

September in Barcelona is my personal favorite. The weather is perfect for outdoor activities, the humidity is cooling off from hot summer months, and tourist season is winding down.

2. Low rainfall

Average rain stats in Barcelona

One of the best pros of living in Barcelona is the low rainfall all year! Not every day is sunny, but it is rare to see more than 76 mm (3 inches).

The average annual rainfall in Barcelona 658 mm (25.9 in) per year. The month that gets the highest rainfall in Barcelona is March, followed by September, October, and November.

Overall, this is a very mild rainy season – especially when you compare it to other cities in Europe like the Netherlands or the UK.

3. Location

Tarragona Spain
Tarragona Spain is about a one hour train ride from Barcelona

Along with the warm weather, Barcelona is also an amazing city to live in due to its excellent neighborhoods and location.

Sitting on the coast of Spain, it offers stunning views and convenient access to the Mediterranean Sea and nearby mountain ranges.

It’s also close to other cities like Tarragona, Madrid, and Valencia. All of which can be easily reached with a short train ride.

This makes exploring different parts of Spain easy while still having a home base in Barcelona.

And of course, I can’t forget about everything located right in Barcelona. In addition, you can enjoy everything Barcelona city life has to offer without ever leaving town!

Lastly, Barcelona is completely walkable. From Gothic Quarter to Gracia, and El Born to Sant Martí, it’s easy to get to anywhere you need to be in the city.

But of course, if you don’t like walking, you can just as easily hop on a bike or train to reach your destination.

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    4. Affordability (depending where you're coming from)

    Depending on where you're coming from, life in Barcelona can be extremely affordable.

    Is you're asking, is it cheaper to live in Spain or the USA? The answer is Spain. Spain is significantly more affordable than the United States. From rent and utilities to groceries and dining out.

    On average, rent in Barcelona can cost anywhere from 800/month to 1500/month (approximately $850 to $1600).

    Comparing these rent prices to the average cost of rent in New York City, which starts at $2000/month, Barcelona is quite the money-saver! Even if you're living alone.

    Eating out can also be more affordable than what you're used to. Tapas and wine are filling and never break the bank!

    5. Beaches

    Not only is Barceloneta, the beach closest to the city center, a great place to cool off in the summer, but you're a short day trip away from some of the amazing coastal towns nearby.

    There are tons of beach towns near Barcelona. Here are a few of our favorites.

    • Costa Brava
    • Cadaques
    • Costa Blanca
    • Costa Daurada
    • Costa de Sol
    • Sitges
    • Valencia
    • Cadiz

    Pair all of the costa towns with the warm, year-round weather and it's easy to see why life is Barcelona is so sweet.

    The beaches in Barcelona are great for sailing and windsurfing along with other fun watersports.

    It wouldn't be fair to forget to mention that living in Barcelona Spain means you're a short and affordable plane ride from the Spanish Islands! This means you're less than an hour from Mallorca, Ibiza, and Menorca.

    6. Nightlife

    Fancy cocktails on a table
    There are bars and nightclubs all over Barcelona! No matter the time, you'll find a party somewhere in the city.

    Barcelona is one of the best cities in the world for nightlife. There are plenty of options to keep you entertained after dark.

    For party animals, there are bars, night clubs, and lounges open until sunset, and yes, I really mean sunset.

    If you prefer a more laid back atmosphere, tapas restaurants are open late into the night and terrace parties are an every day occurrence. If you search hard enough, you'll find hidden dive bars that make out of this world cocktails.

    From rooftop lounges with epic views and Salsa clubs for dancing – no matter what your preference may be, Barcelona has something for everyone.

    It's even home to some of the best bars in the world.

    Plus, parties happen every day of the week so you’ll never have a dull evening in this vibrant city.

    7. Culture

    Light up sign "Create your own reality" living in Barcelona
    Dive bar in Barcelona

    The city also boasts over 1.6 million people from all over the world, making it a melting pot of different cultures and beliefs.

    There are hundreds of museums. You can take a tour of the Sagrada Familia, one of the most visited attractions in Barcelona. Experience the famous architecture of Antoni Gaudi at Casa Batllo and Gaudi House Museum.

    Moco Museum or the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art are in the city if you prefer new-age art.

    There's so much to learn, so many people to meet, and so much to do in Barcelona.

    With such a rich history and diversity of culture, living in Barcelona can be an unforgettable experience that will stay with you forever!

    8. The people

    Outdoor tables at a restaurant in El Born Barcelona

    Barcelona is home to a warm and welcoming community of people from all over the world. With so many different cultures and backgrounds, you'll never be short on interesting conversations or new friends.

    Whether you plan on living and working in Barcelona or living in Barcelona for 3 months to study abroad, there are plenty of opportunities to meet new people. More than 300,000 foreigners live in Barcelona. You can find someone from just about anywhere.

    The friendly atmosphere makes it easy for newcomers to feel right at home in no time. There are also plenty of ways to get involved, like attending yoga or fitness classes.

    You're sure to make lasting connections with locals and transplants who share you're interests.

    9. Cuisine: Food, wine, and tapas!

    A variety of tapas on a table

    Another one of my favorite parts of Barcelona is the cuisine. Specifically, tapas and wine! You can find tapas restaurants on every corner, each offering their own unique spin on famous tapas.

    Popular tapas dishes included potatas bravas, croquetas, steak tartar, and octopus, just to name a few. If you prefer vegan meals, we've got tons of those for you here too! Add some delicious cava and local red wine and you have yourself a world-class Spanish meal!

    Some of my favorite tapas restaurants are La Pepita, Teleferic, La Flauta, Bistrot Local, and more. These are just the beginning of the best tapas restaurants in Barcelona.

    On the costas, you can find local hole-in-the-wall shops serving up giant bowls of paella.

    Being from America, sometimes, I need a good hamburger. If you're like me, you can sleep peacefully knowing that the beef in Spain is absolutely delicious.

    10. Dog friendly

    This goes on the top of the list for why I live in Barcelona. I have going anywhere without my dog!

    Barcelona is a great city for those who love their four-legged friends. The weather in the area makes it perfect for walking dogs, and there are plenty of expats with dogs living in Barcelona.

    There are also some dog parks around the city, though they tend to be small. You will even find a few dog friendly beaches around Barcelona.

    Another reason it's easy to get around Barcelona with a dog is because regional trains allow pets on board. But, busses and high speed trains do not permit them.

    With all these perks available to pet owners, anyone looking for a new home should definitely consider Barcelona as an option!

    11. Public transportation

    Barcelona and Spain are known for their excellent public transportation systems, which make it easy and affordable to get around.

    The city is served by a network of buses and regional trains (also known as commuter trains). High-speed trains are also available when you want to leave the city. You can take a high speed train to Valencia or Madrid in just a matter or hours.

    Moreover, there are several options available when it comes to purchasing tickets – whether one-time passes or multi-trip passes – making the cost even more affordable.

    With all these benefits combined with low prices, using public transportation in Barcelona Spain is definitely a pro on my list.

    12. Everyone speaks English

    Barcelona is well-known for its diverse cultures. But, a unique feature of this town in Spain is that everyone speaks English.

    Spanish, Catalan, and English are the primary languages spoke in Barcelona. You'll run into a few different dialects around town. However, everyone has a good grasp of English.

    A frequent question I get asked is do people speak English in Barcelona? They do! In fact, most people speak English in Barcelona.

    Not needing to learn English before arriving is a pro to living in Barcelona vs Madrid. It's can be slightly more difficult to live in Madrid without having a grasp on basic Spanish.

    Almost all restaurants in Barcelona provide menus in Spanish or English, which eased my nerves when I first moved to Spain.

    However, if you do plan to stay in Spain, you will want to learn Spanish eventually! There are language exchange groups on Facebook and plenty of virtual or in-person Spanish classes to take.

    13. Bank holidays

    Barcelona is a city full of culture, festivities, and traditions. One of the most notable aspects about life in this vibrant city are the numerous bank holidays that occur throughout the year.

    In addition to national public holidays, each district celebrates its own local festival days with traditional activities such as parades, music performances, food fairs, and more.

    This means that there is always something to look forward to in Barcelona! Whether you’re looking for an excuse to take a break from work or just want to join in on some fun celebrations, you can find plenty of opportunities here.

    With so many different events taking place all over town during any given month, it’s no wonder why people love living here!

    Cons of Living in Barcelona

    Moving to Barcelona isn't an easy choice. And, like any city, living here has some drawbacks. Now that we've gone over the pros of living in Barcelona, let's go over the biggest cons of living in Barcelona.

    14. Tourist season

    One of the main cons for me, and many other Barcelona expats, is tourist season. Tourist season begins in June in Barcelona and will go until August or September.

    During this time, the city can be overcrowded with visitors from all over the world. This makes it harder to get reservations at restaurants, crowded beaches and lines for bars and nightclubs around the streets.

    Many Europeans summer in Barcelona in addition to the influx of tourists. It's also recently turned into a hub for digital nomads.

    This isn't ideal for locals as they may feel overwhelmed by a surge of new people. For those looking to move to Barcelona, it's important to be aware of a crowded tourist season before making your move!

    On the other hand, it's a great opportunity to meet new people and experience the city in a new way.

    15. Apartment hunting

    Street lined with Palm Trees in Barcelona

    Apartment hunting in Barcelona can be a challenging process for both locals and expats. The city is known for its competitive market, which can make it difficult to find an apartment that meets your needs.

    Additionally, many leases require a two-month security deposit plus 10% of the annual rent when signing a lease agreement through an agency. It’s also very difficult to find an apartment without an agency. There are risks to signing without an agency, so most people opt for the higher upfront costs.

    As such, it’s important to carefully research available options before committing to anything long-term.

    16. Visa and Bureaucracy

    Moving to Barcelona can be an exciting experience, but it also requires a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy. Obtaining the necessary visas for living in Barcelona is a complex process that involves navigating numerous laws, rules, and regulations.

    It's important to understand the visa requirements before starting your move or else you could risk being denied entry into Spain.

    Furthermore, due to high demand for visas and appointments with Spanish authorities, there can be long wait times which can add stress and frustration to the process.

    While hiring an immigration lawyer may be costly, it will help make this process much smoother. Immigration lawyers are knowledgeable about all the steps involved in obtaining proper documentation and appointments required.

    17. Heat and humidity

    Of all the pros and cons to living in Barcelona the heat and humidity, the heat and humidity was the biggest adjustment for me.

    With temperatures already in the 80s F (27 C), high levels of humidity can make outdoor activities uncomfortable.

    During summer months, humidity can reach up to 80%, making it difficult to enjoy any kind of activity outside for extended periods of time.

    This isn't ideal for locals who are looking to move to Barcelona from cooler climates. It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the heat and humidity, especially during peak tourist season.

    18. Cost of living

    Photo of an arepa with plantain chips

    While Americans will find Barcelona to be extremely affordable, Spaniards may not. Barcelona is one of the more expensive cities to live in in Spain. Of course, when you factor is being one of the liveliest cities in the country, the incredible location, and lack of housing, you can see why costs are higher.

    There are cheaper options if you want to go further out into the city, but most expats prefer to be centrally located.

    19. It's a small city

    Barcelona is a small city, and many who have experienced life in larger cities find this to be both a pro and con.

    On the one hand, it's easy to get around by foot or on public transportation due to its compact size.

    This makes it perfect for those who value convenience without sacrificing their quality of life. However, there are some drawbacks that come with living in such a small city - namely fewer job opportunities and places to go compared to bigger cities like Madrid or Paris.

    If you're looking for an ideal balance between big city amenities and small town charm, then Barcelona may just be the place for you!

    But, if you're looking for the New Yorks, Paris, and Londons of the world, this small city isn't for you.

    20. Salaries

    Salaries are much lower than what you may be used to in Spain.

    • Minimum salaries in Spain come out to just 14,000 Euros/year.
    • Average salaries in Spain are around 34,000 Euros/year

    This, of course, depends on your field of study and job experience. Lately, tech companies have been moving their base offices to Barcelona. Unsurprisingly, this is causing a slight rise in average salaries.

    It's important to look into your profession and see what jobs are available, and what the average pay is before moving to Barcelona.

    21. Pick pocketers

    Unfortunately, pick pocketers have become an issue in Barcelona. This is one of the cons to living in this beautiful city. It can be a major problem for locals and visitors alike.

    Pickpocketing has been on the rise, especially in overcrowded areas such as El Born and at late night bar and club scenes.

    It's important to keep your belongings close when out in public places or move around with a group if possible. You definitely don't fall victim to any opportunistic pick pockets looking for easy targets!

    I don't go anywhere without a secure bag or fanny pack/bumbag.

    22. Sundays

    Sagrada Familia at night

    For those who are considering a move to Barcelona, it's important to be aware of the fact that almost everything closes down on Sundays in this Spanish city.

    From grocery stores and restaurants to many things to do, most places will be shuttered on Sundays.

    This can turn into a big inconvenience for people that are used to stocking up and running errands on Sundays.

    Therefore, if you're planning a move here, you'll learn to plan ahead and stock up on essential items during the week instead of Sunday!

    23. Languages

    Living in a city that speaks multiple dialects and languages from all over the world can be quite challenging. Barcelona is home to over 300,000 people from different countries and cultures. This means you could run into locals speaking Spanish, Catalan, or English. And, you'll find expats speaking any other language you can think of!

    While this diversity is one of the best aspects of living in Barcelona, it can also be a bit overwhelming if you don’t understand the language or dialect. And, there is a cultural shift that goes with that as well. Learning about the local languages, dialects, and culture will make the move a little better.

    Is Barcelona a good place to live in?

    Yes, Barcelona is a great place to live! With its lively culture, beautiful scenery, and plentiful things to do, it's no wonder people flock to the area.

    The city offers a variety of delicious cuisine from all over Spain and beyond, as well as plenty of activities for all ages.

    Plus, with its mild climate year-round and easy access to nearby vineyards and beaches, it's hard not to love living in this Mediterranean paradise.

    However, it is important to be aware that every place comes with it's disadvantages. You may be bothered by pick pocketing coming increasingly common, or that almost everything closes down on Sundays. Nevertheless overall Barcelona remains an excellent choice for those looking for an exciting new home!

    Is it difficult to live in Barcelona?

    Living in Barcelona can have its challenges, but overall it is not too difficult for most people. The city is relatively affordable compared to other places in Europe. And especially affordable if you're moving to Barcelona from the US, so that can be a plus.

    Living with Barcelona with family can also have its downside. Smaller living spaces and fewer outdoor areas for children to run away may not be idea for some families.

    However, job opportunities are not as abundant as some of the larger metropolitan areas, so finding work might prove more difficult than in other cities.

    On the flip side, adjusting to life and culture should be easy due to Barcelona’s cosmopolitan feel with Spanish and Catalan influences.

    All-in-all, living in Barcelona could provide an amazing experience with beautiful sights and plenty of navigating while you try to make a home there!

    What is it like living in Barcelona as an American? My personal experience

    Personally, I've had a great experience living in Barcelona. I've met so many amazing people from all over the world!

    I've tried new food, learned new languages, and visited numerous towns around Barcelona and all over Spain. Each day, I learn something new about the culture.

    Overall, it's been incredible and I hope to be here for a long time!

    FAQ: Living in Barcelona Pros and Cons

    How much money do you need to live comfortably in Barcelona?

    The average salary in Barcelona is about 34,000 euros. So, that's a good starting rate to live comfortably. Of course, this also depends on what kind of apartment you want, whether or not you want roommates, and how often you plan to spend your nights at restaurants or expensive night clubs!

    Can I live in Barcelona as an American?

    Yes, though it will require a long process of visas and immigration documents. I'd highly suggest contacting an immigration lawyer if you want to begin your move to Barcelona.

    Where do American expats live in Barcelona?

    There's no one place that American expats live in Barcelona. Most locals opt for Gracia or Eixample. Eixample offers a small, neighborhood vibe and is close to the city's most popular areas.

    How many Americans live in Barcelona?

    About 8,000 Americans are currently living in Barcelona.

    What are the best areas to live in Barcelona?

    Most locals live in Gracia or Eixample. Both are located with Barcelona's city center.

    Final thoughts: Living in Barcelona Pros and Cons

    There you have it - 23 living in Barcelona pros and cons! Are you ready to move to Spain yet?

    There are so many reasons to live in Barcelona, these are just a few of them! This lively city is a popular place for Europeans and Americans alike. It's a melting pot of people, cultures, and nightlife.

    Overall, it's a great place to live. But, it may not be for everyone. The heat and outdoor culture may not be for everyone. That's for you to decide!

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