Made up your mind finally to follow your dream and move to Barcelona. From the great nightlife to the city beaches and flourishing art scene, there are many reasons Barcelona is a right and fantastic place to live and work. Moreover, you’re almost guaranteed to have a great time when you save yourself from making a mistake with these 10 tips before moving to Barcelona.
The following are the top ten (10) things you should know before moving to Barcelona:
1.- Rent isn’t as cheap as you think: Four years ago, rents in Barcelona were still ludicrously cheap compared to other European cities such as; Paris, Amsterdam or London. Just in recent years, however, rents have unconditionally soared across most of Barcelona – some figures suggest an average of 27% per annum – pushing low-income households further out of the city center. A studio flat (50m²) in the El Born, Gracia, or Gothic Quarter can easily fetch upwards of €850 monthly.
2.- Watch out for dodgy sublets: Along the side of high rents, another cost associated with finding a suitable place to live in Barcelona is the hefty fee agencies impose: usually similar or equivalent to a month’s rent. A way to get around this is to get rent directly through the owner, though in many cases you’ll find you’re subletting. While this can work out cheaper, it also leaves you disclosed or exposed to being evicted or chase out with little to no notice, and no legal backup.
3.- Choose your neighborhood wisely: Some of the neighborhoods in Barcelona are as different as cheese and chalk. From the bustling streets of multicultural El Raval to the Modernist mansions of the Eixample, and modern apartment block, choosing where you live is key to some extent, and critical when determining how you want to experience the city. Providentially, if you do not find a place in your dream neighborhood, the city is small enough you can quickly get from one side to the other in no time.
4.- Don’t be discouraged by the admin: You’ll undoubtedly hear horror stories of people queueing for hours to get their resident’s ID (NIE) only to be turned away at the last minute. Or getting confused by the various offices you’ll need to visit to get your empadronamiento certificate and your Social Security Number (SSN). While most of these stories will be true, don’t let them put you off or get you down. It’s worth investing the time, and possibly even the money, to do this accurately, for peace of mind in the long run.
5.- Learn Spanish: Learning Spanish is very important before moving to Barcelona, this might seem like an obvious one, but you had been surprised by the number of expats (aliens) who don’t learn the local language. One of the reasons is that it’s indeed quite easy and simple to get by in English, by working as an English teacher or by of working for an English-speaking company, and by socializing almost exclusively with the international crowd. However, by not speaking Catalan or Spanish, you’ll miss out on so much of the local culture, as you won’t be able to interact with locals.
6.- Get a new lock and an old bike: Cycling is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to get around the city so long as you don’t have to keep forking out for a new bike every five months. Bike theft is highly prevalent in Barcelona, and most people who have lived in the city so far have had their bike stolen at some point. Furthermore, you can still opt for a less attraction by using a rather unremarkable bike and in addition, invest in a couple of sturdy locks. Bikes are stolen for scrap metal as much as for reselling whole, so low-hanging fruit, like saddles and wheels, are some of the first bits to go if unchained.
7.- The City is incredibly noisy: One of only two European cities to feature on the list of the eight cities worldwide with the worst and excessive noise pollution, Barcelona’s noise problem is no news to locals. The high concentration of people living in the city centre, hordes of a buzzing nightlife and tourists, as well as traffic, are the significant factors that make Barcelona such a noisy place to live, particularly if you choose to live in the touristy areas. Hold and keep this in mind when picking a flat and pay attention to how much noise you can hear from the bedroom, for instance.
8.- Pick up a new hobby: Barcelona is a city where people like to follow their passions, and you can find people to share pretty much any hobby with, from great sports, yoga and dance lessons, to street art activities and workshops. Choosing a hobby to pursue will not only enable you to meet new people, but it’s also another way to get to know yourself better and give yourself the chance to be the person you always dreamt.
9.- Get out of town from time to time: While Barcelona has a lot to offer regarding shopping, nightlife, food, and culture, make sure you get out of the city often and often or from time to time. Weekends on the Costa Brava or in the Pyrenees (around 1,5 hours drive) is where those who can afford it like to spend their free time. The Catalan countryside is incredibly beautiful and a couple of days away from the city buzz will assist you to appreciate it all the more once you are back.
10.- Still, it genuinely is a fantastic city to live: Whatever its flaws – and every city has them – Barcelona is honestly good and a great place to live. Apart from its many attractions, events, and sights, it’s the lifestyle and quality of life and its gastronomy that many people appreciate. Barcelona is an incredibly creative city, through which attracts open-minded people who have a desire to pursue the good things in life.
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