There’s no denying that Barcelona is one of the most popular European cities to visit, but what’s it like to actually live there? There are certainly benefits but it also comes with its drawbacks…
Pro: The Proximity Of the City Centre and the Beach
It’s not often you find a major city positioned on the coast. You can easily walk from the famous Plaça de Catalunya to the equally renowned Barceloneta beach in 30 minutes. This means you can head down for a sunbathing session after work!
Con: The Beaches
If you’re living in Barcelona during the summer months, good luck finding a spot on any of the beaches along the coastline. Filled with both tourists and locals, don’t expect your personal space to be respected and be prepared to listen to everyone else’s music blaring from speakers all around you. Not to mention the constant calls of beer, Cerveza, water, agua from the persistent beach tradesmen. And when you want to cool off in the sea, you’ll be accompanied by a gross amount of litter and angry jellyfish.
Pro: It’s A Multicultural Hub
As with many big cities, Barcelona is home to a diverse range of nationalities. You can be walking down the street and hear five different languages within five minutes. This is a great comfort for expats as you aren’t overwhelmed with total Spanish immersion and can make plenty of English-speaking friends. It’s also super culturally enlightening as you bond with people from all over the world who have usually also travelled a lot!
Con: The Cost Of Living
There is a common perception that living in Spain is a lot cheaper than living in the UK, but this isn’t always the case. In Barcelona, renting a room works out at a similar price to what you pay in a UK city. Weekly shops add up to just as much and eating out is equally as expensive as treating yourself at home. Club entries and drinks tend to be the same, if not more in this Spanish party city, so get ready to have your bank account drained a lot quicker than you’d like.
Pro: The Nightlife
Though on the expensive side, going out in Barcelona is great fun. You can party any day of the week to any style of music whilst enjoying the generous spirit measures until 6 am! Choose from massive beach clubs to chic cocktail bars, to niche inner-city clubs – there really is something for everyone. And don’t miss the street parties that pop up in new areas every couple of weeks!
Unfortunately, this perception of Barcelona is true. I’ve witnessed first-hand how smooth these operations can be, and how alert you need to be. Feeling on edge and not entirely safe when walking around the city is definitely one of the most negative aspects of living here. Carry minimal valuables with you when out and about, which is easier said then done in this technology-obsessed era, and hold on to your bag at all times.
Pro: You’re Surrounded By Epic Architecture
Gaudi’s work sure takes some beating in the world of architecture. Imagine being able to appreciate his buildings whenever you fancied, even stumble across them by accident. His unique, non-conformist designs are dotted all over the city and they have the effect of making you stop and gaze admirably at every detail.
Pro: The metro
I couldn’t end an article about Barcelona with a con, so here’s another pro. Public transport may seem like an odd thing to rave about, but the Barcelona metro tops the London tube by a mile. It’s super easy to use, reasonably priced and the trains are air-conditioned! It’s the best way to get around the city, with a live LED line map in each carriage letting you know exactly where you are and which station you’re approaching next.