Barcelona City Guide

By Victoria Fellows


The Barcelona lifestyle is much coveted due to its excellent weather (sunshine mostly all year round), vibrant culture, architecture, parks and food and drink. The laid-back Spanish culture makes it even more appealing.

Barcelona is favoured by many of our candidates looking for a better quality of life. Post work, creatives often head to the beach to relax, stroll the vibrant streets, eat traditional tapas and soak up the Spanish culture. This coupled with work opportunities, great location and travel links and a moderate exchange rate make Barcelona a popular city to consider.

Most companies in Barcelona are actively looking to increase the diversity in their teams, this means that UK and other European candidates are very well placed even if they don’t speak Spanish, as English is primarily spoken in most offices. Companies will look for diversity amongst candidates via positive action.

In a recent study by Dell, Barcelona ranked within the top 30 cities worldwide that have the ability to attract and support high potential entrepreneurs. In a recent study published by Barcelona ranked 4th place for ‘leading the way in innovation’. During the last few years, Barcelona has also proved its popularity with start-ups. More specifically, its focus on ‘social and enterprise-based platforms’. Barcelona’s thriving tech community is driving demand for candidates looking to work abroad.

Barcelona also has many attributing factors that are making it more appealing for big corporations: ranging from its location in relation to the rest of Europe, its start-up ecosystem, the talent pool etc. These factors are increasing its position as a major European hub that specialises in innovation.

Here are our tips to help make your decision-making process that little bit smoother.

The opportunities

Since 1986, an initiative from the local Government called Barcelona Activa has been helping Barcelona professionals and entrepreneurs as well as being instrumental in citywide economic developments too.

Barcelona Activa contributed to the local economy offering employment services and programmes to almost 25,000 individuals. Barcelona is emerging as a hub for entrepreneurs as well as a potential champion of a more balanced workforce. In an article published by Mob-Barcelona (2018), the author, Jesse Seaver states:

“Speaking of jobs, there are more jobs than workers! There is a shortage of talent, and all the women who are not in tech, but could be, represent a pool of untapped talent. Any entrepreneur starting a tech business should look to his or her need for talent once their company grows. By encouraging more women to be in tech, every tech business hiring will be better off.” Currently, Barcelona’s workforce is 47.3% male, 52.7% female.

In recent years, large corporations have invested in Barcelona. Companies such as Amazon, Accenture, HP,, Deloitte and PWC all have offices in the city. These companies have certainly taken advantage of the attractive lifestyle for their employees and the quality of tech talent available.

The cost of living

Overall the cost of living is much lower than the UK, Germany and even Holland. Which is certainly another attraction for anyone considering making the move to Barcelona for work.

You can find more information on the cost of living here.


If you’re thinking about living in Barcelona, then it’s important to research properties before you move. Apartment rentals are the most popular in Barcelona. However, if you are looking to live outside of town then houses and chalets are available (at a higher cost).

Types of accommodation include:

  • Estudios - great for singles as they are small sized on room apartments.
  • Apartamientos - for 2 people (max) as they usually come with one or two bedrooms, alongside a kitchen, bathroom, and also a living room. Those wanting to live with someone else or possible house share could opt for this option.
  • Finally, Pisos - these generally take up an entire floor, with two or three bedrooms. This accommodation style is favoured amongst families due to space and overall housing layout.

For current housing check out Rightmove.

Visa situation

For EU Citizens the process is relatively straight forward for obtaining a work permit and can be processed quite quickly. We have found that the story is different for UK and other non-EU citizens where in some cases, it can take a few months to process, in comparison to cities like Berlin and Munich. Non-EU Citizens are likely to need sponsorship from an employer to gain full working rights to work in Spain. Although there are a number of companies that do sponsor visas, it is not that common.

More information on UK Visas can be found on


Salaries in Barcelona are generally lower than other places in Europe (such as Berlin and Munich), however, are high enough to live an above average lifestyle. Meaning that one can enjoy a relatively good quality of life. This is certainly true of the tech industry in comparison to other industries in Barcelona.

Commuting and public transport

Barcelona offers great transport links in and around the capital. Easy ways to get around are:

  • The Metro (subway)
  • The City buses of Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB)
  • Tram connections
  • Suburban Railways (known as Rodalies)

If you are looking to travel to Madrid from Barcelona (for day trips), then the average journey time is estimated to 2hrs and 30 minutes by Train. Alternatively, you can also travel to Madrid via bus. Its also pretty easy to travel to France, with travel times to Lyon taking just under 5 hours along with Marseille taking 4 hours and 15 minutes roughly by rail Europe.

More details on this can be found on Rail Europe.


There are 3 schooling routes to consider in Barcelona

1) The Public-school system which is state-funded offers a great opportunity to learn Catalan and the culture and history of the city.
2) The Semi-public school which is part-subsidised by the government. This can be a good alternative to more expensive international schools and classes will generally be smaller.
3) The International Schools, which are generally expensive but provide a very high standard of education.

For more information on this, visit Expat

So, whether you are relocating your family due to work or taking up an opportunity by yourself. There is certainly a lot to think about before you work abroad. Key considerations should include:

  1. What you want to get out of the relocation
  2. Career prospects (compared to your current job)
  3. Your family’s views on the move
  4. The potential standard or quality of life
  5. And finally, how you’ll be able to keep yourself afloat with a change in lifestyle, living location and possibly working style too.

In summary, the process is much like gearing up to go on holiday, however, in this instance, you’re also looking to earn money!. We recommend beginning with a detailed checklist of things to get in order before you leave; here are a few we recommend.

Good luck with your move! If you would like to discuss this please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.

Related articles and insights

Browse all insights