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Living in Barcelona?

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Matthew Brown

Living in Spain, from the UK

"The Internations Events in Barcelona are just the best: There is no better way to get to know fellow expats here in Catalunya."

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Living in Spain, from the USA

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Barcelona at a Glance

Living in Barcelona

Living in Barcelona is incredibly popular, particularly among younger expats. This is mostly due to the mild climate, the rich culture, and the exceptional architecture dominating life in Barcelona. Read our Barcelona guide and learn about neighborhoods, housing, healthcare, and more.

Living in Barcelona is an increasingly popular option for expats. A high quality of life, exceptional architecture, some of which was designed by Antoni Gaudí, and the fast-paced life are among the factors that make living in Barcelona such a special experience. Living in Catalonia’s capital also means experiencing the locals’ pride in their language and history firsthand.

Pick a Barrio That Fits Your Needs

Expats who plan on living in Barcelona can choose between one of the city’s ten districts to settle down in. A local councilor is responsible for running the districts which each have a say when it comes to making decisions about the city’s infrastructure, for instance. Some districts were independent municipalities before they were integrated into Barcelona in the late 19th and early 20th century. The ten districts of the city of Barcelona are:


Are you thinking about living in Barcelona’s most trendy and upscale district? Then Eixample is the place to go. The tree-lined streets and avenues boast a big selection of high-class restaurants, shops, and bars. The Plaça Catalunya separates the more affluent Eixample from the Barrí Gòtic in the Ciutat Vella district. Expats living in Eixample can choose between two main areas: Esquerra and Dreta (left and right). The former is the more residential area of the two and offers both parks and a good night life, while the latter is very well connected to public transportation and has great shopping opportunities.

The Golden Square (Quadrat d’Or) is the place which is most popular among tourists. This should not come as a surprise, as the most famous buildings designed by Antoni Gaudí are located in this area. In fact, Quadrat d’Or is often perceived as a treasure trove of modernista architecture.

The Gothic Quarter

If living in the historic center is more up your alley, why don’t you settle in the Barri Gòtic? This neighborhood constitutes the oldest part of the city of Barcelona. It is famous for its narrow alleys and cobbled streets. The area around La Seu (Barcelona’s Cathedral) is particularly impressive. The streets surrounding it were built around 10 BC, providing its historic flair. Various historic buildings, bridges, and museum complete the picture. Expats who are curious about the city’s historic past should feel right at home living in Barcelona’s gothic quarter.

Ciutat Vella: El Born and Barceloneta

Expats living in El Born have settled among up-and-coming fashion designers and artists. The area boasts nothing but innovation. The district is separated from the Barri Gòtic only by the Via Laietana, a long street running from Eixample all the way to the sea. If you are looking for one of the trendiest areas in this neighborhood, you need to make your way to Passeig del Born which used to be the main square of Barcelona.

The beautiful waterfront neighborhood district of Barceloneta was brought back to life in 1992 for the Olympic Games. Today the Platja Barceloneta is popular for its palm trees and the adjacent Parc de la Ciutadella. Life in Barcelona’s beach neighborhood Barceloneta is concentrated around its two ports. Port Olimpic is known for its restaurants and bars, for the beautiful marina, and the nightlife. Port Vell, on the other hand, is the city’s old port and the place where luxurious yachts and sailing boats dock.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

InterNations Expat Magazine