Barcelona is indeed “the” city to live in. Whether students, young people who work here or families, everyone finds this city a pleasure to live, work, meet people, make friends and have fun.
Globally, Spain has proven to be a dominant force this year, with a remarkable performance of its cities. In January 2021, the website Ouest France compiled a ranking of the world’s most liveable cities. While Amsterdam, Sydney and Vienna take the top three spots, Barcelona ranks ninth. The Idealista website shows that the top European cities are Barcelona in Spain and Lisbon in Portugal. These rankings are based on 3 dimensions: economic dynamism, political management and environmental management of the city. So why live in Barcelona? Straddling economic dynamism and quality of life, Barcelona is the perfect intermediary between well-being and professional success.
Barcelona, a smart city.
Spain is one of the European countries that has made the greatest efforts to achieve the intelligent transformation of its cities, which already appear in the main world rankings, from large metropolises such as Barcelona and Madrid to medium-sized cities such as Malaga, Santander, San Sebastian and Vitoria.
In recent years, Barcelona has become a leader in innovation. The city is a gigantic laboratory where pilot projects are being carried out to improve the lives of Barcelona’s citizens. Certainly called “Smart City”, the Catalan capital aims, through its “22@” district, to promote sustainable economic and environmental development through the installation of urban intelligence.
In this ultra-connected district, many start-ups have set up shop to develop their projects and applications, making life easier for the people of Barcelona, promoting ecology and the well-being of all.
Beyond these business opportunities, Barcelona is one of the most economically dynamic cities in Spain. Taking advantage of Spain’s salary advantages and thanks to its international influence, investors from all over the world come to invest here. And that’s not to mention the presence of numerous corporate headquarters, which reinforces the idea that Barcelona is definitely a city anchored in the present but also and above all turned towards the future.
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Pure quality of life
But Barcelona is not only innovation and economic effervescence. It is also a quality of life in which the warmth of the sun is combined with human warmth. Living in Barcelona also means being able to feel like in a village, while millions of people make up the Catalan capital. In Barcelona there is also the possibility of running through the surrounding hills early in the morning, to end the day with your feet in the water.
Why live in Barcelona?
Those who live there or travellers who have already been there are unanimous: Barcelona is a magical city! There are many reasons why it’s a great city to live in, and to give you an idea, we’ll give you some of them.
The sun and the sea
The sky in the Mediterranean climate is almost always clear and perfectly blue. The summer is hot, very hot, but still largely bearable.
Scientific studies show that the sun and the sea are good for the body and mind. Barcelona’s Mediterranean climate means that the city is bathed in sunshine in both winter and summer: more than 2,500 hours of sunshine a year, which means an average of about 7 hours of sunshine a day all year round. In Paris, for example, there is only an average of 1,780 hours of sunshine a year…
Lots of sunlight is good for your health: it helps you sleep better, keeps your spirits up, produces vitamin D which helps calcium bind to your bones. It has even been found that moderate sun exposure can delay the development of certain cancers and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Be careful to protect yourself in case of prolonged exposure, because in this case, the sun can become harmful: hats, creams and sunglasses are necessary!
Barcelona is also blessed by the sea, and that’s also good for morale! It has been proven that contemplating an infinite perspective is good for the head: the mind can wander, open up and escape in total serenity. Looking at the sea is like going into meditation.
The Mediterranean climate is perfect. The coldest periods in Barcelona (between December and February) are always sunny. Only the month of November is still quite rainy and clearly marks a break between summer and winter.
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A creative city
Barcelona is a festival of colours, shapes and creativity. At first glance, one is often surprised by the different styles that can be found in the city, styles that are sometimes strictly opposite and yet stand side by side. Gradually, however, the eye gets used to them and one no longer finds anything surprising in them, as the whole constitutes a soft visual harmony that makes all combinations possible.
In Barcelona, colour is everywhere. One thinks of modernist architecture and, in particular, the legacy left by Domènech i Montaner, Puig i Cadafalch or Gaudí, architects who did not skimp on colours (see our Architecture in Madness tour). However, without going that far, you only have to take a few details of the city to find colour everywhere: the Collserola mountain, always green thanks to its holm oaks or pine trees, the blue sea, the brick facades of the buildings, the ochre of the facades, the blue sky, the yellow and black taxis, etc. It is enough to go up to a high point to realize that Barcelona is a colorful city.
Finally, creativity can be found in bars, restaurants, museums or exhibition halls. They all have their own universe, which makes each place unique. Seeing new, original and varied things opens up the field of possibilities: the mind broadens and allows you to look at things, problems or different situations in life from a different perspective.
A good pace of life
In Barcelona, you don’t feel particularly stressed. Of course, there are moments of hustle and bustle in the morning and in the afternoon, when people come and go from work, but in general, the flow is quite well managed. In addition, the public transport network is very efficient, there are hardly any incidents and the responsiveness of the services is fast, which avoids many of the minor annoyances you find in other cities.
The general atmosphere of the city is also very pleasant, and not just because of the palm trees! There is little animosity in the eyes, lots of smiles and friendliness and little physical aggression. In addition, everyone can express themselves as they are. Barcelona is a safe city and all styles are allowed.
Barcelona is also good for parents’ heads. The city is quite child-friendly, with playgrounds, safe spaces for children to enjoy outdoors, museums and lots of activities every weekend, etc.
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It’s an athlete’s paradise
Barcelona is a sporty city. Just take a stroll through the parks, along the beaches or along the main roads to see thousands of runners putting on their running shoes every day to run a few kilometres. At the weekend, a family outing in Collserola or around Barcelona.
It is also made for all skateboarders, rollerbladers, bicycles and all other wheeled vehicles. Whether it’s on the seafront or in the city, it’s all about rolling. The city also offers water sports activities, top clubs (no need to mention FC Barcelona), Olympic facilities and, for those who like skiing, the first slopes are just an hour away.
The city is full of places where you can do sports, most of the time for free!
Cost of living
According to The Economist ranking, Paris is the second most expensive city in the world, only behind Singapore. Barcelona ranks 17th, just ahead of Brussels.
The cost of living in Barcelona has nothing to do with the prices in France and especially in Paris. Everything is on average (approximately) 40% cheaper than in France. You can have a room with bills included for about 300 euros. Compare that with other European cities. The crisis has at least this positive side, it allows to position the cost of housing down.