Overall, the cost of living in Barcelona is not high. The prices here are lower than those in France and Germany. However, compared to other Spanish regions, Catalonia is one of the most expensive places to live. The never-ending flow of tourists sustains a stable demand not only for museums and entertainment, but also for rental properties. For this reason, all of the daily expenses are much lower in Valencia or Andalusia than in Barcelona. Yet, if you compare life in Spain with that in other European countries, Portugal is the only real rival for this sunny country as a vacation destination.
Real estate and rent
Barcelona is a touristic city. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that the flow of tourists seems endless and fluctuates daily. In this city, it is always possible to find an abundance of hotels, hostels, and rental agencies. However, the prices for short-term rentals tend to be rather high. In one of the best hostels located in the city center, such as Generator or Casa Gràcia, a one-night stay in a shared room may cost you 30 euros, while a private room with one or two separate beds may cost you 100 euros. The price will be approximately the same in one of the central 3-stars hotels, such as Park Hotel in Born or Hotel 54 Barceloneta—that is, around 100 euros per night.
In 5-stars hotels, the price will vary from 250 euros per night to 300 euros for the most basic suite in the legendary Majestic Hotel. Neither is it cheap to rent an apartment via Airbnb or comparable services or with the help of local real estate agents. For example, rooms in apartments located in the center of the city are rented out for about 30-40 euros per day. The monthly rental fee for a room in the districts of El Born, Gràcia, Eixample, and El Clot ranges from about 450 to 500 euros. To rent a room in the areas of Sant Antoni, Raval, Gotico, and Sants will cost about 300-400 euros per month. The prices of apartments in the most prestigious districts start at 1000 euros per month. It is possible to rent an apartment for 800 euros in Raval, Barceloneta, Carmel, and in some remote areas of Poble Sec.
If you are set on living near the major landmarks and using public transportation as little as possible, though, you should be prepared to pay 1000-3000 euros and higher per month, depending on the number of rooms, the presence of terraces, proximity to the sea or to Sagrada Familia, extra amenities, and parking availability. Moreover, when renting an apartment via local rental agencies (not Airbnb), you will have to pay a deposit equal to the rental price for one to two months.
However, the good news concerns the relatively low price of property in Barcelona. This might sound strange, but even though the rental prices in Barcelona are quite high, it is still entirely possible to purchase an apartment in Barcelona at a good rate. In the Catalonian capital, you will see developers’ special offers frequently. If you buy property in the construction stage, it will cost you only 65,000-90,000 euros. Also, it can be beneficial to consider buying property of the local type (in other words, a non-residential premise that has been converted into an apartment with all the amenities but without the Housing Fund Certificate) at an average price of fewer than 100,000 euros. It is not that difficult to complete the paperwork for this type of transaction. However, the buyer is required to carry out the process him- or herself. At times, this process may take longer than anticipated, from several months to a year. However, if you take into account the relatively low price of property that comes with comprehensive repair works and a desirable location in the city, the purchase of property is really a great deal.
Additionally, Barcelona has countless secondary residential housing offers on the market. Accordingly, prices range from 200,000 to 600,000 euros. On the luxury property market, the cost of villas and penthouses in the districts of Sarria and Pedralbes and the new residential buildings of Badalona and penthouses of Poble Nou fluctuate between 600,000 and several million euros. In comparison with property of this quality in other E.U. countries, the prices in Barcelona are really affordable. An added benefit is that there are always options from which to choose for any budget.
Prices for food in Barcelona are relatively low as well. Breakfast in a local cafeteria with a croissant and a cup of coffee generally costs about 6 euros. Breakfast on Santa Catarina, with coffee, juice, and an omelet is about 10 euros. Lunch during the special “Menu del Día” hours may cost from 10-15 euros. Dinner with a glass of wine runs about 15-20 euros, depending on the establishment. In tapas bars and pulperias (octopus bars), where all types of seafood and traditional “patatas bravas” are served, several appetizers will cost about 8-10 euros. Venezuelan arepas – meat or chicken in corn buns – cost just 4.50 euros. Even the fast food in Barcelona is famous for its high quality. Moreover, on the streets, you can find cuisine from all over the world at any time. Pinchos bars work as follows: one drink and each pincho costs 1 euro. As a result, a hearty lunch will cost you no more than 8-9 euros.
In the supermarkets, the staple, local products are relatively cheap: pasta, olive oil, and cereals are under one euro; cheese and local sausages, such as chorizo and fuet range from 1.50 to 2.50 euros. Fresh fish and shrimp are slightly more expensive at 4-5 euros per package. In comparison to the rest of the products, meat is relatively expensive at 6-7 euros per 300-gram package. However, you can always buy meat in a butcher’s shop, where the prices are a bit lower. In small carnicerias, a half kilo of freshly slaughtered meat loin will cost you only 10 euros, while in a supermarket the only meat you can buy for this price comes in a small package of finely sliced flesh, with a weight of under 300 grams. Overall, markets and small groceries offer better deals on everything, from wine to avocados. The staple vegetables and fruits cost from 0.55 euros to 3 euros per kilo, depending on the season and region.
Barcelona boasts one of the cheapest taxi systems in Europe. A ride from the airport to the city center (at about 30-40 minutes) will cost you only 27-29 euros. As a rule, a trip around the city costs from 3 euros (for short distances) to 7 or 8 euros to reach more remote districts of Barcelona, such as the trip from El Born to La Salut. In addition to taxis, travelers are welcome to take advantage of the efficient buses, trams, trains, and funiculars. The bus in Barcelona costs 2.20 euros. Travel on the metro, suburban trains, and the tram costs the same amount since the transport tickets are identical and only differ by zones of operation. Each of these transportation methods can operate within the same zone; therefore, it is important to keep track of which zone you travel through.
The Barcelona metro prices are also affordable, especially when compared to those in France and Germany. A day pass for one zone costs only 8.60 euros, and for two zones 13.10 euros. The most popular pass is the T10 for 10 trips, for which the fee is 10.20 euros for one zone and 13.10 euros for two zones. These tickets are valid for all transportation types, and their price can be regarded as quite affordable for most people. The Aerobus that circulates to the airport from Plaza Catalunya charges 5.90 euros for a one-way ticket that remains valid for a year.
Culture and entertainment
Barcelona’s economy is based significantly on tourism. For this reason, the entrance fee to major landmarks usually is not cheap. The entrance to Casa Mila and La Pedrera starts at 23 euros, for example. The entrance ticket to Park Güell costs 7.50 euros. Plus, all of the extra entertainment inside the park must be paid for separately. As for Sagrada Familia, the basic pass is 15 euros; a ticket with audio-guide is 22 euros; and entrance + a visit to one of the towers is 29 euros. The museums MACBA and CCCB charge around 6 euros for entrance, depending on the current exhibition. The entrance fee to the Barcelona Museum of Chocolate is 4.30 euros.
To enter the clubs on the weekdays will cost you around 10 euros, although on the weekends and days when guest DJ concerts are organized, the standard entrance fee is 18 euros. However, the entrance fee always includes one drink, which is definitely a pleasant bonus. Barcelona bars boast free entrance, but the prices for drinks are not always low. The prices for beers, homemade wine, and local wine are relatively low, however – from 2 to 3.5 euros. To enjoy a glass of vermouth will cost you 4 euros. The cocktail prices, as a rule, start at 8 to 10 euros per glass. Other entertainment venues include flamenco. It is a real mistake to visit Barcelona and miss out on a flamenco show. Tablao Cordobes offers one of the best shows in the heart of Barcelona on La Rambla. The show with drinks will cost 44 euros, and the show with dinner is 89 euros.
To get important information about your trip to Barcelona in advance, just contact INEEDSpain, and we will provide you with all the up-to-date and useful tips you need regarding life and leisure in Barcelona. We are here to provide you with a consultation and assistance, whether you are coming on vacation or considering moving to Barcelona on a permanent basis.