Moving to Barcelona discussion

Negative reviews


I'm gonna give you the negative view. Grew up Barcelona, right in the city center. Moved away to study and I'm not coming back. Short explanation: Barcelona is too full for me. Too many cars, noise. Almost no parks and while there is the beach, it's pretty boring once you know the real ocean and I didn't use it that much. In the end, Barcelona for me was a city where I didn't have a way to relax in a green-ish environment in my day-to-day live (as green as you can get in a city, of course). I couldn't come home after a long day, throw my stuff, change clothes and go down to drink a beer under a tree. I'm a keen runner, and Barcelona is a nightmare for that (except a few areas).

I guess LA is also pretty dense, so that might not be a problem to you, but for me it's a reason to stay away. Even though I miss (spanish) food.

the housing market? is it possible to get paid less than I would in the US, and still have extra money to save, pay bills, travel, and do other things?

The housing market is really crazy. There is another bubble building up, also thanks to airbnb. Hard to find a room under 400€ and often it's only shitty stuff.


Ive been in Barcelona for two years. The place is great for a holiday but its also incredibly superficial and the government admin is a mess. Its impossible to get anything done. Im increasingly concerned by the Mayor repeatedly saying “tourists are not welcome” and her attempts to close hotels, rentals, venues and discos.

People in the North of Spain have strong french traits. If you need personal space, this is not the city for you.

The city is becoming more unstable and more unsafe due to extreme poverty and these days no Spanish government. Please think twice before you move here. Underneath the party theres a lot of problems which are starting to boil to the surface. Anger, aggression, abuse and violence. Laws are quickly changing to stop tourists renting property here. Please make sure you have a full understanding of Spanish before you enter into agreements with anyone including banks. Get advice from someone who has gone through this. Its not worth the risk of simply packing up and moving.

Neutral reviews


Totally doable. My wife and I moved from LA to Valencia and we love it here. Regarding Barcelona it would be easier to adjust because a lot of people speak English there. Cost of living is cheaper than LA but not as cheap as other Spanish cities. The problem for getting jobs would be the language. In Barcelona there would be more English speaking jobs but you would probably will need to learn Catalan which you wouldn't use outside of the Catalunya region. Couple of visas you can look into would be student one, self employed, non lucrative and an employment visa with a job lined up. Not easy dealing with bureaucracy but if you really want to leave LA and look for a better quality of life IMO then it's totally worth it.


Community member

I live in Gava Mar which is around 20km from Barcelona and about 10km from the airport. it is a wonderful, beautiful area with lovely beaches and veery residential...ideal for children too. I love living here, but from Gava Mar there is only a bus service to barcelona which takes around 40mins, if not you have to go to the nearest village to catch the train. Within Barcelona, not many areas are green or quiet.. woud not know which area withing the city to recommend for the children..and all the areas near the beach in the centre are not the most desirable ones.

Positive reviews


Sorry to hijack another user's thread, but you seem really knowledgeable about this.

Do you know if you can get a visa just by working remotely? I work for a company based on LA, but outsources to other countries. I really loved Barcelona on my vacation there last year. I make a little more than 1000 euros a month. I know it's not much, but I think it will be enough to live there, or maybe a cheaper city close by.


in terms of most expensive cities in Spain but still not as expensive as Los Angeles.

1 br in Los angeles in a good neighboord/suburb - $1300-$1700 a month. Which is about €1100-1500, so in terms of that i assume a decent 2 br in good area of barcelona would be around the same price i am paying for my 1 br here in los angeles.

Jean says

There are many options here especially if you have some skills that are suitable for remote/online jobs. That’s what I would recommend in order to be independent of the local labor market and be able to live anywhere you want.

Jean says

Living in Barcelona itself is a unique experience and I highly recommend going for it if the conditions are right for you. Many expats (especially families) that are used to the American suburbian lifestyle choose to live in places like Sant Cugat, Garraf, Castelldefels or towns up north on Costa Brava. I’ve been to these towns and they are also very nice places to live, but it’s a totally different experience than living in Barcelona centre.

Neither one of them is better than the other, it’s just a question of what you’re looking for. Cost might also be an important factor. For the same price of an apartment in Barcelona, you could get a house in one of the nearby towns.

Antonio Navarro Jr

No real comment other than as usual, I like your writing style and what you say. My experience of Barcelona is nothing like yours, my first visit was in 1956 because that’s where my mother, my sister and I boarded the ship that brought us to America, I was 13 and we stayed with family (I had my first coca cola there) the next visit was in 1985 when my parents retired and we wet to Barcelona to pick up the van that my father had shipped to Spain, again we stayed with family but being I was 42, I went to see some of the palaces like the Sagrada Familia etc. but mainly I went looking for second hand book shops cause I was interested in ol tebeos (comics) and I did find some fantastic ones. My parents and I visited Barcelona again i think twice and one or two times by myself and that’s when I visited El Tibidabo, and the Gothic quarters with my camera. I did go once again with my dad after my mother died and we visited all the Gaudy places. I did love the Ramblas and in general I do love Barcelona and feel terrible that so many Catalans want to leave Spain which would make Barcelona not so nice


I lived in Barcelona for a year and in Madrid for a couple of months, and I must say I definitely agree with the cleanliness. One of the biggest reasons I really love and miss BCN (I am now based in Italy).

Yes, some of the metros are dingy, especially those in L4 (the line that stops in Barceloneta). From experience the least dingy or perhaps the newer train cars run on L2 (stops at Parallel), those that run along Sarria (L6, L7 or L8) and L9S (airport line).

As for the autobús, maybe it’s just me but I find the Barcelona buses to be more punctual than those in Madrid. I had several experiences, like for example in Sol, Reina Sofia & Plaza del Castilla, where buses arrive way later than what is expected. The closest experience I had in Barcelona was when I was supposed to take a bus bound to Maria Cristina did not pass along La Rambla, but then it’s because of a road closure there.

I enjoyed reading your posts. Made me realize I definitely left my heart in Spain, most especially in Barcelona.

Community member

I have some friends living in Sant Cugat del Vallés for many years. It´s a nice residential area near Barcelona. You have buses and a direct train that takes you to the center in 20 minutes or so. The original village has extended with many groups of houses and apartaments, usually having private gardens, swimming-pool, etc. In the area there you have all the facilities you need for your family: schools, sports, etc. There is also a life in the centre of the village, with shops, restaurants, cinema.

Just take the "Ferrocarril" (train) at Plaza Catalunya and visit it.

I think you´ll like it.

Community member

I would say Casteldelfels and Sitges are way overpriced. There are plenty of places at not more than 25 minutes in car (without traffic) or about 25 minutes in train from Barcelona that offers a lot for the same money. Check Martorelles, Sant Fost de Campesentelles, Mollet del Valles. You can get to the beaches in 20 minutes, you will live in a nice neighborhood in a huge house for the same price you would pay for a 80 sq mt in BCN. Whenever you want to take a look, let me know and I will show you around.

Best regards, Fabian

Community member

Hi Olga, my wife and family (1 son aged 12 and 1 daughter aged just moved to Sant Cugat (Valldoreix). The town has a really good feel about it and has everything you could need, including good schooling. As mentioned in another comment, it is only about 20 minutes from Barcelona centre and is within easy reach of the wonderful countryside and beaches.

We are very happy there.

Good luck wherever you choose to settle.


Community member

In my opinion the choice also has to do with the connection you want with BCN.

If you don't mind/ like to really disconnect from BCN the suggestions towards Valldoreix, Sant Cugat, Sitges, Castelldefels are all good ones. If you are looking for the Barcelona-connection the upper zone in Barcelona itself (Zona Alta) might be a good option. Neighbourhoods like Sarria, Bonanova, Putget or even higher towards la carretera de les Aigües (where I live with great views on the city) have a relatively high standard of living but with still a feeling that you are in BCN. The only problem is to bring some money, but all places mentioned earlier are not that cheap neither. Just visit all places (also to feel the difference between weekdays and weekends!) and try to find a good deal!

Good luck,



Barcelona is a beautiful city full of life. I visited 3 times for the last few years. I stayed in a hotel, apartment and cruise ship. Always have great time, walking for hours, visiting museums, markets, churches, cafes, shopping

People are helpful, not snobbish. I leaved in South Africa, Canada and now in Florida.

I have little business in a tourist area and work 12 hours a day for months wit no days off .

It took me 10 months to lease the place, going every single day to management. There is burrocracy every where in the world. If the salaries are low in Barcelona work extra, open your own business.

If you wondering to move take your bag and go quickly, don’t listen to complainers.

You have nothing to loose you can always come back to your country and make a few dollars more.

I admire hard working people in the city coming from China , Pakistan East Europe who keep their places open 24 hours. I wish I know more about open business there I see a lot of opportunity there.


hi every one

i travelled alot , and last year i visited Barcelona and i loved it ,.since then im thinking to move there ,is any body know how is job situation in Barcelona , im an architect but i dont care if i have to change my job .



I have been fortunate enough to travel the world. I have been all over Europe, parts of Asia, etc etc. I went to Barcelona with my sister 4 years ago and fell madly in love with the city. The people were so warm, welcoming, and the food such a delight. As a result, I’ve been wanting to move there since I left. I’m hoping to transition in about 2 years. I understand things will be hard, creating a new circle will be difficult, language barriers etc. But in the end if you walk in and try to make the most of the experience, you are already leaps and bounds ahead of others.

I hope that my experience will be far different than yours, and that you can find a city where you feel a sense of home with.