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Barcelona, one of the major Spanish cities, is located in the Mediterranean region. Its climate and environment make it very popular among expats. In fact, thousands of tourists and expatriates from across the globe travel there every year. Barcelona not only has a rich cultural heritage, but also offers interesting job opportunities and a range of accommodation, although the cost of living can be quite high compared to other regions. Its inhabitants' lifestyle is warm and relaxed.

Barcelona can offer all that you have been dreaming of if you wish to settle there. Being the Barcelona province's and Catalunya's capital city, it is known worldwide for its economic and financial situation, as well as for trade.

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Barcelona could be the perfect expat destination for its Mediterranean climate and prime location by the sea, the Costa Brava and the Pyrenees’ mountains. However finding reasonably well paid work with a steady income remains a challenge for long-term expat stays.

Neighbourhoods in Spain

Barcelona's population amounts to more than 1,6 million inhabitants, including thousands of foreign residents and non-residents. Barcelona is divided into ten districts, namely Ciutat Vella, Eixample, Sants-Montjuïc, Les Corts, Sarria, Gràcia, Horta, El Nou Barris, Sant Andreu and Sant Martí. These districts are in turn divided into several barrios (quarters), including residential, industrial and commercial zones.

Barcelona's most popular barrios are El Born, Gràcia, L'Eixample, Ciutat Vella, as well as Poblenou, Sant Antoni and Poblesec near Montjuïc. The barrio de Barceloneta right by the beach and close to downtown, is a very touristy but also residential area. You are likely to find cheaper housing a little further away from the city centre such as Barcelona Sants. Eixample, for its part, hosts the city's best shops, restaurants, bars and pubs, among others.

Moving closer to the beach, Poblenou, Bogatell and Ciutadella remain connected to the city centre. Meanwhile, Barrio El Born is a historical and traditional neighbourhood with a great offering when it comes to Spanish culture and fantastic nightlife. Barrio Gotico, of Gothic origin, is part of the old town. You will simply be amazed by its ancient streets and architecture, with plenty of cafes and restaurants. Equally the barrio Gràcia is renowned for its cafes, bars and nightlife – it’s a vibrant and trendy area with its own identity, which makes it a popular place to live. Another up and coming barrio is Poblenou, which is still very Catalan, however current gentrification is about to make an impact.

Les Corts is known to be a financial and commercial district, but it does host some tourist infrastructure. Finally, Plaça Espanya and Montjuïc are rather touristy neighbourhoods with museums, fountains, as well as the Barcelona Olympic Stadium.

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The city’s popularity among tourists has caused rent prices to rise continuously, forcing more and more locals to move to the outskirts. Gentrification is taking its toll, and equally living in the touristy areas can be tough when tourists party until 4am in the streets and you are trying to get sleep to be ready the next day of work.

Types of accommodation

You can choose from different types of accommodation: apartments, houses, apart-hotels and hostels, as well as studios. If you are looking for cheaper accommodation, you can rent a room or opt for flat sharing, which is now quite widespread in the country. For short stays in Barcelona, you can rent a hotel room or short-stay apartment. In fact, you will find plenty of hotels and hostels all around the city.

You can check accommodation offers on the internet and in classified ads in local newspapers. If you are already in the area, you could also register with a real estate agency.

Rent prices in Spain

Just like Madrid, Barcelona is also considered as one of the most expensive Spanish cities in terms of housing.

Nowadays, renting a studio or small flat in Barcelona can cost between 600 and 800 euros a month while bigger three-bedroom apartments start on average at 850 to 1000 euros per month (plus charges). Of course, rents are higher in and around the city-centre than in the outskirts. To rent a house, on the other hand, it will cost you around 3,000 euros per month. To rent a room in a shared flat, you’ll pay 350 to 500 euros monthly.

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Apartment rental contracts usually last for three years, with a minimum 1-year rental. After the 3-year period, landlords can adjust the rent as they please. Currently (in early 2017) many rent prices are being raised by 30%.

Finding accommodation in Barcelona

While looking for accommodation in Barcelona, do not rely solely on online ads, especially if you are searching for a long-term rental. It may be best to settle for a short-term rental at first. Once you are on the spot, you can take the time to look for accommodation as per your criteria and get a feel for your preferred area. Word of mouth is a good way to find what you need to find what you need in Barcelona.

It is not too difficult to find accommodation in Barcelona given its huge expatriate population. The local real estate market provides for all tastes and budgets, provided you act quickly. By touring different neighbourhoods, you may notice a few “Piso en alquiler” or “Pis en lloguer” signs indicating vacant housing units. You may also seek the help of a real estate agency for better chances of finding accommodation that suits your preferences

 Good to know:

The most frequented search portals are Idealista, Habitaclia, Fotocasa, and, for shared flats, Piso compartido.

 Useful links:

Idealista www.idealista.com
Habitaclia www.habitaclia.com
Fotocasa www.fotocasa.es
Piso Compartido www.pisocompartido.com
Gabino Home spain.gabinohome.com
Tu casa www.tucasa.com
Mil anuncios www.milanuncios.com
Idealista www.idealista.com
En Alquiler www.enalquiler.com
Yaencontre www.yaencontre.com

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.