Where to live in Barcelona as an expat?

Are you gearing up to move to Barcelona from another country? The city is full of expats and the best spot to live depends on a variety of factors — lifestyle, budget, conveniences, inconveniences, etc. In this blog, we’ll dive into just some of the areas that the city has to offer you and the best areas to live as an expat in Barcelona.

Table of Contents

Barrio Gótico

Barrio Gótico is Spanish for “Gothic Quarter.” It is one of the oldest and most beautiful districts of Barcelona, which makes this move the ultimate cultural experience. Expats often live in this boisterous neighborhood. You can expect to live close to your neighbors, see tourists daily, and experience frequent construction. It all comes with the territory of “city living,” but you may also love how incredibly convenient everything is in this area. The city is at your fingertips — what’s not to love about that?!

El Borne

This area is also known as “The Born” to expats. It is adjacent to Barrio Gótico, and it’s a favorite due to great restaurants, bars, shops, and more. Expats also score larger, renovated flats compared to some other city center barrios that tend to have older and dirtier living arrangements.


Compared to Barrio Gótico and El Borne, Barceloneta is a simple place to live. It is a community geared toward expats and immigrants. You’ll find tiny, simple flats where people are generally respectful toward one another. While the area does have a higher petty crime rate, there are no violent crimes in the area. Furthermore, as an old fishing village on the beach, it is ideal for expats who want to make the beach a central part of their experience in Barcelona. A great barrio to live as an expat in Barcelona!


Sants-Montjuic is a popular residential neighborhood located by the port in Barcelona. If you love to exercise and stay active, then this is a great spot for you. There is an extensive park and a former Olympic sports facility right nearby. However, it’s probably not the best pick if you’re looking for something a little more community-based. While it’s well-connected to the city and beaches by public transport, it has some ugly buildings and tons of traffic. Plus, if you’re hoping to bring a car, you’ll find parking is hard to come by.


If you’re an older expat and bringing a spouse or children with you, Gràcia may be the spot for you. This area begins in the hilly region surrounding Park Guell and stretches toward Eixample in the south. Gràcia is known for its green spaces, public transportation, quirky boutique, natural bakeries, chain stores, and diverse restaurants. While you won’t be near the beach, residents often find that there’s plenty else in the area to keep them busy.

Final thoughts

Barcelona has countless neighborhoods and many of them are suitable for expats. Just beware — nearly all of them are in high demand and fairly pricey as rent control isn’t in place. As you begin to look for your new home, make sure you prioritize your budget in addition to all other lifestyle factors. Happy booking!

How to rent an apartment in Barcelona

Globexs offers a fine selection of furnished apartments for rent in Barcelona. The rental process is specifically designed to make life easy for people who move abroad. No hassle rentals.

2 bedroom luxury apartment in Barcelona

Join the expat community in Barcelona

The Facebook group “Expats living and working in Barcelona” is the meeting spot for newly arrived and established expats. 

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Globexs offers a wide range of flexible tempory expat rentals in all price ranges.



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