A definitive guide to find accommodation, as told by locals
Last updated: december 2017
How to rent a place in Barcelona
Finding accommodation in Barcelona is certainly a challenge, especially if you’re international. Demand is high and it continues to increase, so a good and intense research session is necessary to find your next home. This, of course, can be a difficult process. Not being able to speak the language, not being familiar with the different areas in the city and not finding affordable prices are just some of many problems that you may encounter in your search for accommodation. However, we from Housing Anywhere are here to help and make things easier for you. We will facilitate the process by offering a vast range of accommodation and a secure service. Feel free to check our platform and good luck!
Hi everyone! My name is Natalia and on this page I'll give you some insights into Barcelona. With both Spanish and English roots I studied Business Administration at the University of Oviedo and University of Kent. I grew up in Spain and I am I currently living in Rotterdam. I was once an international student too so I can tell from experience that arriving in a new and unknown city can be overwhelming. New places, new faces, new language...and a feeling of chaos. For this reason, I am here to give you some information about the wonderful city of Barcelona, including the city's lifestyle, best neighbourhoods to live, transportation options and nightlife, among many other things. I'm sure that after reading these articles you have nothing to fear and you're ready for the time of your life in Barcelona!
Living in Barcelona and its neighbourhoods
Plenty of daylight, plenty of things to do
People in Barcelona can be hard-working and laid-back at the same time. They work hard in the office so they can leave early and meet with friends either in a terrace, in the gym or elsewhere. The city has many hours of sunlight and locals like to take advantage of it, so you can find yourself going out for lunch and end up also having dinner after an afternoon of chatting. However, never expect everyone to be on time when getting together – always give them 5-10 more minutes. Don’t be a guiri and adapt to the new schedule: locals will have lunch at 2-3PM and dinner at 9-10PM. Even later on the weekend.
Are you into sports? Barcelona has you covered
World class sports teams and sportspeople from Spain have had a big impact on the city’s and country’s popularity abroad. Football is the leader, with FC Barcelona being the most followed club in the world. Other sports such as basketball or tennis have also increased in popularity thanks to elite sportspeople such as Pau Gasol (NBA player) or Rafa Nadal (former ATP Top 1), among others. Do you want to watch a game? Just find a bar with a TV and there’s going to be sports in it. Do you want to practice any of these sports? Just look for a club near you. You’ll find anything you want. Otherwise, you can join a gym or go outside for a jog at the beach.
Eating and drinking in Barcelona
Don’t worry about anything when eating out – just enjoy it
Whether you’re down for a meal in a Michelin-starred restaurant or a quick bite in a local restaurant, Barcelona will satisfy your needs. You can find every kind of restaurant that you can imagine: Chinese, Indian, Greek, etc. Would you rather stay local? Then try the best pa amb tomàquet, calçots, tapas or paella at any local restaurant. At night, some local people stay in for pre-drinks. However, the city has many options for you to have a great time: ice bars, shots bars or rooftops bars, just to name a few. If you want to go out, you have a lot of options too: dance music, concerts or flamenco sessions will make you move your body until 6 AM. Don’t forget then to get some churros before going to sleep.
Getting around the city
The sun is shining – get on a bike or walk!
Moving around Barcelona traditionally meant getting on your car or motorbike. However, this is changing to better over time, as bike paths and broader sidewalks are being built every month. The public biking service Bicing will let you get a bike to go wherever you want and leave it there, without any worries of getting it stolen. If you don’t want to depend on the availability of Bicing bikes, you can also get a second-hand bike but be sure you have a good lock. Do you feel more adventurous? Just get your skateboard to move around! Bad weather today? Don’t worry, the metro and bus network will get you everywhere too. Just get your pass and use it in any of them.
Gràcia, one of the most populated and lively neighbourhoods in Barcelona, was once an independent village of Barcelona. For this reason it has kept a unique and warm atmosphere and its inhabitants have a deep feeling of belonging. It has what it can be considered as a bohemian nature, following the latest trends and becoming one of the main attractions for a great number of tourists. In Gràcia you’ll find all kinds of international and organic food and drinks as well as second hand books and vintage shops. Many young artists and professionals find inspiration in its streets and peacefully live together with the elderly population in the area.
Want to learn some history?
In contrast with the modern spirit of Gràcia, Born belongs to the oldest parts of Barcelona. Full of history and memories, its narrows streets invite you to get lost and wander around. You can find historic museums such as the Picasso Museum which is surely worth the visit and beautiful squares to relax. Very close to the neighbourhood you will also find the magical Ciutadella Park and Arc de Triomf. Due to its central location it is very famous for its nightlife. There are many options to choose from: you can either drink cocktails at its fancy bars or you can go for a few beers at its nice pubs too. The decision is on you!
This neighbourhood has become the home of the underground culture in Barcelona. It hosts one of the main cultural spots in the city, MACBA (Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona). If you are a skater lover, el Raval is the perfect place for you as it has many famous spots for skateboarding. It’s also well known for being multicultural which is reflected in the neighbourhood’s environment and locals. There are plenty restaurants, from Mexicans serving the best Mojitos and Margaritas in the city to utterly authentic Pakistani restaurants. The area has its own personality which makes it special. However, it can get a bit noisy sometimes and it must be taken into account that it is not as safe as the other neighbourhoods mentioned.
Best nightlife area
If you enjoy the pleasure of a good meal, this is the place for you. While walking through the seafront you will find several restaurants that serve quality food and dishes. From fish and seafood to the traditional well-known tapas you will find a wide variety of delicious dishes, all with the beautiful view to its beach. Restaurants during the day but clubs at night, you can also enjoy a crazy party time at these locals as it is also very well-known for its nightlife. The beach can get very busy with tourists attracted by its views and location.
Beautiful and impressive architecture
The Eixample is the main residential area in Barcelona. It is characterized by long straight streets, a strict grid pattern crossed by wide avenues, and square blocks with chamfered corners, a unique and pioneering design from Ildefons Cerdà back in the 19th century. The Eixample is filled with beautiful buildings from the catalan modernism epoque. The Eixample is divided in two by Passeig de Gràcia, which goes straight to Plaça Catalunya and holds the most luxurious stores of the city.
Remember to stop at Sants!
Sants was also an independent city until it merged with Barcelona in 1889. Sants is famous for its Festa Major, which is celebrated every year. During these days, people from the neighbourhood gather in the street to eat, dance and have fun. Sants is a tranquil area since it is a bit further from the city centre. Still, it is very well connected as Sants station is one of the biggest in Barcelona connecting to all the city districts as well as other cities from Spain and abroad.
Learn more about accommodation and living in the following cities around the world