Moving to Barcelona? Here is everything you need to know!

Known as Spain’s most cosmopolitan city—with comparatively low living costs, warm weather, and beautiful sandy beaches—Barcelona is a very desirable place to live. Moving to another country is a big decision, and before you pack your bags, there are a few important things you should know!

Moving to Barcelona with Freeda

A City with a Long and Colorful History

Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia and Spain’s second-biggest city, with around 1.6 million inhabitants. It was founded by the Romans in the first century BC and originally called Barcino.

The city has been home to many peoples, cultures, and religions. It was under Muslim rule for 200 years before becoming a part of the Carolingian Empire and then the Kingdom of Aragon.

These days, Barcelona is a well-known and well-loved international city, famed for its football team, contribution to modern art, and delicious cuisine. It is a popular holiday destination and new home to an increasing number of migrants from across Europe and beyond.

Why Moving to Barcelona is the Right Choice

Reason 1: Weather

Barcelona’s comfortable climate makes it a great place to study and live. Even in January, in the depth of winter, the temperature stays at around 10 degrees Celsius, compared to 5 degrees in Madrid. It’s perfect weather to enjoy Barcelona’s beautiful beaches and Montseny mountain.

Reason 2: Cost of Living

Barcelona is quite an affordable city compared to other places in Europe. For example, if you were to rent a 45m² furnished apartment in a regular neighborhood in Barcelona, you would pay around €800 + €100 utilities. While in Paris, the same apartment would cost about €1,400 + €150.

Of course, there are cheaper housing options, such as renting a room from our partner housing provider BSP Students. BSP offers FreeDa students fully equipped rooms (including WiFi) a short distance from our school. These rooms cost around €400-€500 per month and allow you to get to know other students in the common areas and make friends outside of school! Find out more here.

Aside from accommodation, buying groceries and going out is also very affordable. A week’s groceries for one person costs around €60 depending on where you shop. Similarly, if you want to go out to a restaurant once a week and/or have a few drinks at a bar, you can expect to spend a further €100 per month.

This means that if you choose to live in student accommodation, use public transportation, cook most of your meals at home, and go out once a week to eat and drink, having a budget of €750 should be plenty!

Reason 3: Art and Design

If you are interested in art and design, living in Barcelona will be a dream come true! The city is bursting with spectacular architecture and vibrant art culture. Catalan Modernism was established in the late 1880s and was made famous by architects like Casanovas, Montaner, and of course, Gaudi. The most famous of Gaudi’s works is La Sagrada Familia, which is one of the most photographed buildings in the world. Gaudi’s hand is seen across Barcelona, including buildings such as Casa Batlló, Casa Milà, Casa Vicens, and Park Güell.

In addition to an impressive collection of buildings and spaces, Barcelona is home to many art museums like the National Museum of Catalonia Art, the Picasso Museum, and the Joan Miró Foundation. Barcelona is truly a feast for your eyes!

What Do I Need to Know Before I Move to Barcelona?

One of the most important things to know before relocating to Barcelona is whether you need a visa. If you wish to study Spanish and are from the EU or a country with a 90-day visa-free entry agreement, you can take a course without needing a Student Visa (as long as the course is shorter than 90 days).

If you are from a country that does not have a visa-free entry arrangement, you will need to apply for a student visa at a Spanish embassy or consulate in your home country. You cannot apply for a student visa after you arrive in Spain, and short-term Student Visas cannot be extended under any circumstances, so plan carefully in advance.

How Do I Get Around Barcelona After I Have Arrived?

Getting from the Airport into the City

The largest and busiest of the region’s airports is El Prat. Hundreds of flights fly in and out of this airport every day. From the airport, getting into the city is simple. There are buses, trains, and metro services that run regularly. It takes around 40 minutes to reach the city center and costs around €7 one way. Of course, if your suitcase is extra-large or heavy, you could also catch a taxi. This would take around 30 minutes and cost approximately €35 + a small baggage fee.

Public Transport in Barcelona

Using public transport to get around Barcelona is very easy and inexpensive. In addition to buses, trams, subway trains (metro), and regular trains, you can rent a ‘bicing’ bike via your phone.

What Else Do I Need to Know?

If you have come on a student visa or intend on moving to Barcelona for a longer period, you will need to get both a Número de Identificación de Extranjeros (NIE)—which is like a social security number—and a Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE) or Foreigners Identity card. Neither of these processes is very difficult if you fill in the forms properly and provide the correct documents. For more information, refer to our website or contact us. We are here to help you if you get stuck!

Insider Tips: Make the Most of Life in Barcelona!

  • Avoid Tourist Traps: If you want to eat Spanish street food, don’t go to Las Ramblas! Avoid these tourist traps altogether and enjoy better quality food in the Gothic Quarter instead.
  • Nightlife Timing: Things start late in Barcelona. Aim to arrive at nightclubs ‘early’ at around 11.30 pm. By showing up when the doors open, you can avoid paying the sometimes-crazy door fees charged later in the night.
  • Affordable Dining: Try the local cuisine without paying a mountain of money by checking out the ‘Menu del dia’ or Menu of the Day. Many cafes and restaurants offer a set lunch menu for around €20.
  • Museum Visits: Save visiting museums until the first Sunday of the month. On this day, many are free or heavily reduced. Be aware that you may need to book an entry time, so check with the museum in advance.
  • Explore Beyond the City Center: If you are looking for the real Barcelona, then you must get out of the city center and head to one of the outer neighborhoods. Poblenou is a former industrial area and is home to many old factory buildings. These days there are a variety of nice little bars, clubs, and restaurants to be found there.

Moving to Barcelona, whether it be short-term or permanently, is very exciting! There is so much to do, see, and experience. If you need to brush up your Spanish skills or maybe even start from scratch, we are here to help. Our courses cater to a range of needs and levels and are highly practical and fun. If you would like to know more about us, what we can offer you, or any of the other topics mentioned in this blog, contact us via email: [email protected]

 We are sure that with the right help, you will fall in love with everything the city has to offer.

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