10 Reasons Why You Should Move to Barcelona

I’ve been based in Barcelona for 2 weeks now, and whether or not I can stay here permanently will depend a lot on how fast I can build up my freelance portfolio and/or whether a good job opportunity comes up, but already there are some things I really love about living here.

1. The Sunsets

rooftop sunset barcelona by runaway jane

barcelona palm trees by runaway jane

sunset palm trees barcelona by runaway jane

The sunsets in Barcelona are exceptional! They make photos captured on my phone (e.g. those pictured above) look a lot better than my limited photography skills would usually allow! Genuinely one of the most enjoyable parts of being here has simply been positioning myself in different parts of the city to take pictures as the sun falls. Whether I’ve been down by the beach, sitting on a rooftop terrace or up by the mountains, I’ve always been able to capture a really incredible sunset because of the way light hits the ground here. It’s definitely a major plus of living here.

2. The Metro Buskers

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Photo credit: Barcelona-metropolitan.com

Barcelona has a huge abundance of buskers on the metro and the standard of some of them has really surprised me! I mean, don’t get me wrong, there’s also some not-so-good ones out there too, but I’ve witnessed some really skilled musicians playing in the intersections of the metro stations here. Sometimes you almost want to wait on the next train coming instead just so you can listen to them! The best part for me is also the variety of music styles on offer. You’ll hear everything from rock n roll to the blues, reggae, classical, Spanish guitar and more! Even the old men with their accordions are still entertaining in their own unique way.

Often I find that the same spot over the course of one day can also play host to different musicians. For example, in the morning when I was leaving Parallel station there was a couple singing folk songs together. Later on that day when I returned it was a guy playing the saxophone. The metro station at Plaza Catalunya also tends to rotate acts quite often. It’s a really great attribute of the city and if they’re not doing so already, I think the local tourism board should consider paying some of the better musicians to play certain spots of Barcelona. It certainly brightens up your day, and I imagine if they had great music playing in some of the plazas on a daily basis it would add very much to the overall atmosphere.

3. The Hostels

casa gracia barcelona by runaway jane

Of course, if you’re living here permanently (or even just for a while) you’re probably not going to want to stay in a hostel or hotel. You’ll undoubtedly start looking for an apartment soon after you arrive. However, for that initial period when you do first arrive, you’ll be pleased to know that Barca has got some of the cheapest hostels in Western Europe. There are also just so many hostels here that get what hostel culture is, i.e. not just a place to stay but also a community of travellers who want to meet new people and have new experiences. Like the Sant Jordi Mambo Tango hostel in El Poble Sec. If they weren’t closing down in February for refurbishments I genuinely don’t think I would have left until I found a flat!

4. The Cost of Living (compared to the UK)

I expected Barcelona to be more expensive than it actually is. It’s a big city in Western Europe, so you expect to pay premium prices, but actually the cost of living here is quite cheap by Western European standards. It’s certainly a lot cheaper than the UK! The only thing that seems to match UK prices is the cost of entry to tourist attractions. In fact, I would say it may even be slightly more expensive on that front. At the same time, Barcelona has a lot of unique attractions that you won’t be able to experience anywhere else in the world. I guess in a certain sense you’re paying for the ‘uniqueness’ and quality of the tourist attractions on offer. Certainly in terms of accommodation, eating out and general transport around the city though, it’s cheaper than the UK and many other Western European places.

5. The Gaudi Architecture

sagrada familia by runaway jane

Casa Batllo Barcelona by Runaway Jane

casa mila by runaway jane

Gaudi was a genius who redefined what was previously deemed possible in architectural terms. I always describe his work like fantasy coming to life. I often think an under-rated feature of his work though is that, aside form the clear and almost surreal beauty of his creations, everything was perfectly angled and calculated to capture the optimum amount of light. You almost forget that this is a mathematical exhibition as much as it is an artistic one. It really does just blow your mind. I can only imagine what drug users in the city must feel when they look at some of this. Absolutely amazing.

6. The Beach

beach barcelona

beach barcelona by runaway jane

Coastal living is the best kind of living I think. Barcelona’s beaches might be busy at times, but having a beach nearby is always a nice thing to have.

7. The Variety of Things to Do

You’ll never be short of things to do in Barcelona. I think what I like most though is the variety as well as the abundance. Whether you want the beach, the mountains, the city night life, the classical art galleries & museums, the Gaudi works, the food, the water sports, skateboarding, gardens, urban art, walking tours, tapas tours or even if you just want to go around all day taking pictures of the beautiful buildings, it’s all there. Everything you could want in a city is right here. And of course the weather is nice most of the year too which makes getting out about more enjoyable.

8. The €1 and €2 Tapas

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Eating out on the cheap is really easy in Barcelona because there are many cheap tapas bars. You just need to know where to find them. For example, head to Carrer d’Elkano and you’ll find a string of them, some even serving tapas for a mere €1! Even in the tourist district though, I still found some cheap deals. For example, ‘Bar International Beer’ just off La Rambla was serving tapas for €1.80 when I was there a few days ago. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t the greatest quality of food, but if you just want a cheap bite to eat to fill your stomach then it did the job!

9. The Nightlife

It’s apt that this city should have the word ‘bar’ in its name because you will never be short of a good drinking spot in BARcelona! The city has a huge abundance and variety of nightlife on offer every night of the week. Whether you want a massive beach side club, €1 shots, a laid back atmosphere or a fancy city centre nightclub. Everything is here if you want it and more. My personal favourites so far have been La Oveja Negra and Chupitos, but there really is such a huge eclectic range here that there will be something for you no matter what your personal tastes are. As far as budgeting for nightlife in Barcelona is concerned, clubs are very expensive here (usually around €15 entry, €6 for a beer and €10 for a spirit + mixer.) However, bars are usually quite a bit cheaper and if you pre-game before you go out you’ll still have a cheap night out whatever happens.

10. The City Views

museu nacional de catalunya by runaway jane

barcelona city view by runaway jane

barcelona city view statue by runaway jane

Barcelona’s position between coast and mountain offers some spectacular miradors to view the city from. I haven’t even visited the best ones yet and I’m already over-awed. It’s definitely a major plus of living here.

– I’m going to be writing a few blog posts on how to get yourself set up in Barcelona if you do actually want to move to the city. However, I want to go through every process first before I do! In the mean time, I couldn’t help but share some reasons why you should be considering it!

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6 Responses to “10 Reasons Why You Should Move to Barcelona”

  1. Hey Jane,

    How would you say your Spanish is helping in Cataluna? Are you finding it difficult to adapt to the different Spanish languages?

    How’s living costs, like apartment rentals? When I stayed, I actually stayed just across from the Paral.lel metro station & loved it there. Such a great area to stay in and the bars were soooo cheap, had a lot of fun there. I just took a weekend break and think in 4 nights I managed to get a total of 12hrs sleep, haha!

    • Jane Meighan says:

      Hey Sammi, knowing Spanish does definitely help, especially on the work front. Although, if I’m honest, a lot of people have actually been speaking to me in English before I even opened my mouth (for some reason I don’t pass as a local here like I do in other parts of Spain!) Everything so far that has been written in Catalan has also been written in Spanish so that hasn’t been too much of a problem for me either. Of course, to make connections with local people, learning Catalan is important.
      If you’re looking for the average price of an apartment or room in Barcelona, check out Loquo.com. It’s like the Spanish Craigslist and will give you an idea of the price for each area. It really depends on where you want to live and the quality of place your staying in. For just a room in flatshare though it’s around €350 a month from what I’ve seen.

  2. RobRob says:

    Hi Jane – Great post! Thought I’m not considering moving to Barcelona (at least, not seriously) it was great reading and reminiscing about the city. It will be interesting to see how the rest of your time there goes. Enjoy it!

  3. Meghan says:

    What an epic city, and glad to hear that living costs are reasonable!

  4. Thanks for your insight into Barcelona living! Did you manage to stick it out here?

    I moved over (from London) with my family 2 years ago and we haven’t looked back. Living here provides us with endless entertainment – often free, if you like outdoor activities, plenty of sunshine and a relaxing atmosphere. What’s more I managed to secure a remote work position, so

    I’ve written up my own little article about remote working in Barcelona. Hope you like it!
    https://carouselapps.com/2015/12/15/remote-working-barcelona/

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