August 24, 2016 No Comments

Barcelona – Are Tourists & Expats Really Non Grata?

As the bustling and vibrant capital of the Catalonia region of Spain, it is no wonder that tourists and expats alike flock to the amazing city of Barcelona. While an influx of tourists can bring an incredible economic boost to any town or city, sometimes they can also bring a negative aspect, and the Barcelona locals have several complaints due to the huge increase of tourists in recent years;  their grievances include that which Londoners have had to up with for decades – they are being priced out by the rapid increase in the number of rental apartments for tourists, a situation aggravated by the rise of online apartment rental services like Airbnb.

Last year, due in a large part to rising foreign demand, home prices in Barcelona rose 3.5% and rental prices rose 11%, which is quite significant when you consider Spain overall experienced a 5% decline in home prices and 2.6% rise in rental prices for the whole year, according to Idealista.

Another main complaint is that tourists make excessive noise, and indulge in heavy drinking and all-night partying. They are now moving into what were previously residential areas such as La Barceloneta and disrupting the local’s peaceful way of life – when you think about it, it is little wonder the locals are becoming increasingly annoyed, especially when you see sights such as in the image below.

Inappropriately dressed tourists in a Barcelona food shop

However, having said that, not all residents consider it a problem, and many are glad of the extra money tourists bring in. Providing you comport yourself well, and respect the locals and their way of life, you should not experience any negativity in Barcelona, whether you are visiting or wish to relocate to this marvelous city.

Employment opportunities

A visit to the city of Barcelona often inspires people to relocate to Spain if they are considering moving abroad. You will always find plenty to do in Spain’s second city in your free time, and there are quite a number of employment opportunities for expats – even those who only speak English and minimal Spanish or Catalan.

Once you get to know people, your employment possibilities will improve quite considerably, but even as a newcomer you can find work in Barcelona call centres, night spots, hotels, or teaching English in one of the many language schools located around the city.

Here are just some of the activities, sights and entertainment you can look forward to if you are considering Barcelona as a relocation spot.

History, Architecture and Culture

Many parts of Barcelona have medieval origins and this means there is a rich history and some spectacular
architecture to admire. You will be spoilt for choice when it comes to structures of historical, cultural, religious and architectural significance. Some of the best sights to see in Barcelona include Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s Casa Batllo, Barri Gotic and Palau de la Musica Orfeo Catalana. Other great ways to explore the history and culture of Barcelona are to visit the numerous museums and art galleries in the city.


Gothic quarter in Barcelona

Night life in Barcelona

If you fancy a night out, there are venues in Barcelona to suit all tastes. For those planning on having a dining experience as part of their evening, expect some fantastic Mediterranean cuisine made from fresh local produce available in hundreds of well-established Barcelona restaurants and tapas bars.

Anyone wanting to enjoy a drink in the evening will have a range of spots to choose from. The cosmopolitan street side bars are fabulous for cocktails and a refined drinking experience. For those who want to dance until the early hours, Barcelona has some fantastic clubs no matter what your taste in music or age group. Other options for evening entertainment include the casino or theatre.


The Bar del Convent is a bar serving drinks and tapas located in an old converted convent in the El Born district of Barcelona

Wine Tours

Some of the most amazing wines in the world are made in Spain, and if this is your favourite tipple, then a wine tour makes for a superb day out. During a tour you will learn about the production process from planting to bottling, and also have the opportunity to sample some of the produce yourself. If any of the wines take your fancy, you have the option to purchase bottles to enjoy at a later date.

Ways to See Barcelona

Even if you make a permanent move to Barcelona, you can still see it from different perspectives. You will see bicycles for hire with pick up and drop off spots all over the city, so this is a healthy and easy way to get around and also extremely cheap, with yearly membership being less than 50€ for those with a Catalan address. Alternatively, if you have a place to leave it, simply buy a bike, as there are plenty of bike paths throughout Barcelona.

Although more for tourists, Segways are a fun craze and are a great way to travel around the streets of Barcelona at a faster pace than at walking speed. For a day out or if you are visiting the area on holiday, boat tours give you a sea view of the coastline and are a wonderful way to relax. Providing you are not afraid of heights, you can get a bird’s eye view of the city either by taking a helicopter tour or paragliding.


For some people, shopping is the perfect way to spend their days and Barcelona will not disappoint. Whether you prefer to spend your time at high-end boutiques or to look for unique and eclectic items at markets, there are many different shopping options when you are in Barcelona. There is also the option of sourcing fresh, local produce at the markets to prepare healthy Spanish style meals, and expats will also find a number of shops that stock British food items in Barcelona, albeit at a rather hefty price.

Make the Most of the Coast

Barcelona’s coastal position gives you further options for ways to spend your time. The beach is a fantastic place for relaxing or taking part in sports. Taking a dip in the Mediterranean Sea or snorkeling to view the amazing marine life are also activities worth considering.


Barcelona port

The Port of Barcelona is a wonderful spot for those who enjoy sailing as you can charter boats for the day to ride the waves and take in the sea air. Even if sailing is not your thing, the port is a fascinating place to spend time as it is a hive of activity. There are also some delightful cafes to grab a spot of lunch in this area along with a bustling indoor shopping arcade.

Both day and night there is an array of options for spending your leisure time in Barcelona. Regardless of your interests, you will find plenty of activities to keep you entertained. It is little wonder this seaside city is a mecca for expats wishing to retire and those who have to earn a living, alike.

All in all, Barcelona is certainly worth considering if you have not yet decided on a relocation town or city, particularly for those of working age. With plenty of activities and social events aimed at Barcelona residents from all over Europe, you cannot fail to find a social niche that will suit you if you put a little effort into meeting like-minded people when you arrive in the city.

While property prices in Barcelona city centre are much higher than other parts of the country, there are plenty of bargains to be had on the outskirts – or you could consider one of the resorts in the Barcelona province, such as Sitges.


Perhaps the great advantage of moving to a city like Barcelona is you are just a short drive from one of Europe’s busiest airports, with direct access to many UK airports and destinations worldwide. In fact, access-wise, it is entirely possible to live in Barcelona and work in the UK, dividing your time between the two countries, if you have the means to do so.

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