Guide to live in Barcelona

Is it your dream to live near the sea, or to have the best Spanish tourist attractions and historical monuments nearby? Then, we recommend you to evaluate the idea of live in Barcelona and start a new life in this amazing city.

To live in Barcelona is to mix contact with nature, modernity and a cultural tradition of many centuries. All this makes it one of the top cities in Europe, where to start a new life.


Barcelona was originally a small Roman city called Barcino that existed between the 1st century BC and the beginning of the Middle Ages.  The old Roman wall in Placa Nova is a remnant of this heritage.   In the early 8th century, the Muslims captured Barcino but was later retaken by Charlemagne’s troops in 801 AD.

During the Middle Ages, Barcelona became an important medieval city. The dynastic union between the Kingdom of Aragon and the County of Barcelona was formed. Barcelona became the political and economical center of the kingdom and the starting point of an unprecedented expansion that included Sicily and Athens. The prosperity brought by expansionism and commerce led to the construction of the magnificent Gothic structures.

In the 15th century, Barcelona faced a long economic decline due to the war with the Ottomans.  But it was during this time, that a proper port was built. In the mid-17th century, the already struggling economy was further exacerbated with the Reapers’ War, a peasant revolt that reached it climax in the 18th century with the War of the Spanish succession.

The Industrial Revolution in the 19th century helped propel Barcelona as Spain’s leading industrial city.  The first railway line of the entire country was built in Barcelona in 1848, in 1872, the first street cars were up and running in Barcelona.

In 1888, the Barcelona Universal exhibition encouraged the construction of city landmarks and grand avenues.

The Spanish Civil War did not spare Barcelona nor did 20 years of the dictatorship that led to economic stagnation.

With the return to democracy in 1977, Barcelona re-emerged, ready to become the great 21st century metropolis it is today.

Barcelona stands out as one of the two best cities (Madrid is the other one) to live in Spain   with the best quality of life that takes into the general conditions of habitability or comfort in an urban environment, the best commuter conditions, and public safety and security.

Architecture of Barcelona

Barcelona is known for its architectural gems, testimonies to Barcelona’s long history, individuality and physical beauty.

Barcelona’s gothic architecture is both extravagant and gloomy. There are cloisters (Pedralbes Monastery}, churches (Basilica of Santa Maria del Pi, Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar), and mansions (Museu Picasso) in this grand architectural style.

Art and Design in Barcelona

Antonio Gaudi was a Catalan architect and the greatest exponent of Catalan Modernism. His works have a distinctive style that is characterized by freedom of form, voluptuous color and texture and organic unity.  His most famous works are the church of La Sagrada Familia, La Peredera, an apartment building with a peculiar roof, Casa Batllo, with its striking façade and impressive interior, Palau Guell and Park Guell, a building and park in the old part of Barcelona.

Barrios of Barcelona

The barrios of Barcelona have sprouted throughout the city since the Gothic period and are enduring testaments to Barcelona’s culture and heritage.  

Gothic Quarter (Barri Gotic)

The Gothic Quarter is Barcelona’s old city, where the city began in the Middle Ages. It is characterized by old cobblestone that wind through a district with interesting architecture, great restaurants and charming cafes.

Eixample District

This is where modernist architectural marvels like the Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo and Casa Mila are located.  This also the best place to shop and enjoy the bars and restaurants in Barcelona.


Montjuic is a hill from where fabulous views of Barcelona can seen and has lots of tourist attractions like the magical Fountains of Montjuic, the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNCA) Museum and Poble Espanyol, an open-air architectural museum.

La Rambla

This is the most famous street in Barcelona as it crossesthe Gothic Quarters on one side and El Raval on the other.

El Raval

El Raval is a vibrant area with bohemian bars, charming cafes, hip design shops and street art.  The La Boqueria Public Market is famous for its seafood, wine and tapas. The Maritime Museum has a display of replica boats in medieval shipyards.  The Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art is a contemporary art museum and the adjacent Center de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona, an arts center that is focused on the city and urban culture of Barcelona are located in this barrio.

Olympic Port

This modern and elegant area in Barcelona has direct access to Barcelona’s beaches and is a direct result of the renovation program that was realized for the 1992 Olympic Games.

Beaches of Barcelona

Along the entire coastline of Barcelona there is a promenade that runs through all the beaches of Barcelona, from Sant Sebastian, Sant Miquel, Barceloneta, Nova Icaria, Bogatell, Mar Bella, Nova Mar Bella, to the Llevant.

Typical Food of Barcelona

Barcelona is known for its Mediterranean cuisine, particularly its seafood stew, rice with fish dishes, sausage with beans and the sweet Catalan cream or panellets made with marzipan, a mixture of ground almonds, sugar and egg whites, and garnished with pine nuts, coconut, chocolate, cherries or anything sweet.

There are many restaurants where you can appreciate these traditional dishes. Casa Leopoldo which opened in 1929 or Ca I’Isidre that opened in 1970, both located in the Raval district, serve these traditional Catalan dishes.