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Barcelona, Spain

City Guide for Digital Nomads

Written by Hector

Founder of Latinomad, your Go-To Guide to living in Latin America as a Digital Nomad. My goal is to help people design a life that’s worth living; full of experiences, not things.
Last Updated:
Feb 28, 2022

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Barcelona is the capital of Catalunya and the second-largest city in Spain. It is also the most visited city in the country and one of the most popular destinations in the world.

This city has the perfect combination of history, great architecture, delicious food, beach vibes, and bustling nightlife.

It is one of those places that you must experience at least once in your lifetime.

Top 5 Things to Do in Barcelona

Sagrada Familia

Officially “La Basilica de la Sagrada Familia”, is a roman catholic basilica designed by the famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. The construction of the temple started in 1866 and is still under construction. The basilica is expected to be completed in 2026.

Park Guell

A public park also designed by the famous Antoni Gaudi. The park was originally intended to be a residential park for sixty single-family residences. The project was never completed and became city property in 1923. It is Gaudi’s most colorful project.

La Rambla

Large boulevard in the heart of Barcelona. It is mostly for pedestrians; only two one-way roads on each side of the boulevard. La Rambla goes from Plaza Cataluna to the Mirador de Colom at Port Vell. There are shops, restaurants, bars, and a few popular monuments.

Gothic Quarter

Bustling medieval neighborhood in the city center filled with restaurants, bars, and clubs. The oldest part of the city of Barcelona, and its historic center. Here you will see many ancient buildings that go back to the original Roman colony Barcino.

Bunkers de Carmel

Old military bunkers that offer a panoramic view of the city. They are located at the top of Turó de la Rovira, in El Carmel district. This is the best spot to watch the sunset. Locals and tourists come here to do picnics, play music, drink beer, and socialize while enjoying the wonderful view.

Tours & Activities

If you want to save the headache of planning activities abroad, check out our partner Viator. They offer memorable experiences from Barcelona. The best thing: they are affordable, high quality, and have an awesome free cancellation policy.

Getting to Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona has a well-connected airport, Aeropuerto Josep Tarradellas Barcelona- El Prat.

You will be able to find good nonstop flights to Barcelona from a few major cities.

If not, your best bet will be to come through Madrid. Once you are in Spain, internal flights are very cheap.

How to move around Barcelona

Barcelona Metro System (TMB)

Barcelona’s metro system is one of the most user-friendly I’ve ever seen. It’s very efficient and covers most of the city (including Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport). TMB has multiple metro travel card options; it will depend on how long your stay will be.

  • 2 days / 48hours: €16.30
  • 3 days / 72hours: €23.70
  • 4 days / 96hours: €30.80
  • 5 days / 120hours: €38.00

TMB Website

Taxi

There are plenty of taxis around the city. You probably won’t need taxis during the day if you purchase an unlimited metro travel card. However, these will come in handy at night. If you decide to go out and will be drinking, I recommend taking a taxi on your way back to your accommodation.

Cabify

Ride share app like Uber and Lyft. This app is getting popular among locals in Barcelona. As with the other popular rideshare apps, it is usually cheaper and safer than taxis.

Cabify Website

Visa Requirements

No tourist visa required if you are staying in Spain for less than 90 days and are a national of one of the countries under Schengen visa-free regime. If you are are planning to stay longer than 90 days, you will need to apply for a Spanish Long-Stay Visa. All foreigners (staying longer than 90 days) need to apply for a long-term visa, unless they are citizens of the European Union, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, or Liechtenstein. The cost of a long-term visa is generally  €60.

The three most popular long-term visas:

  1. Residency: Allows the individual to live in Spain without working.
  2. Work and Residency: Allows the individual to work while living in Spain.
  3. Student: This visa allows the holder to live in Spain while studying, researching or participating in an internship.

Visa information is constantly updated. Use this guide for reference only. Always confirm with the consulate of Spain in your hometown. 

For application instructions and visa requirements go to Spanish Visa Application Instructions.

Weather in Barcelona

Temperate mediterranean climate.

Warm in the summer months.

A little cold in the winter.

On average, high in the 80s, low in the 50s.

How to Stay Safe in Barcelona

Barcelona is considered to be a safe city by international standards.

Violent crime is rare in Barcelona. However, it has some of the best pickpockets in the world.

Petty crime does happen here and tourists are usually an easy target. In addition, you will notice that locals have a low tolerance for tourists. This can be shocking at first; being so excited to visit a place and then realizing the locals actually don’t want you there.

After visiting Barcelona I will be honest with you; I don’t blame them. This place has turned into one of the most touristy places in the world. The city itself is not that big for the number of visitors it receives.

The city is over-crowded, prices have gone up, and criminality has increased. These have been the driver of many protests by locals over the years.

Safety Tips:

  • Don’t tell anybody that you are staying in an Airbnb. If somebody knocks on your door and ask you, just say that you are staying in your friend’s place.
  • Always wear your backpack or purse on your front in crowded places. This is a MUST in La Rambla and when taking the metro.
  • Take a taxi or Cabify after going out at night.
  • Always watch your drink.
  • Don’t get cash at ATM machines at night.

For additional tips, review the following article: 10 Essential Travel Tips for First-Timers

Best Travel Medical Insurance for Nomads

Never take your health for granted, especially when you are abroad. During these times, it is a MUST to have a travel medical insurance you can trust in case of an emergency. In my opinion, the best travel medical insurance for nomads is provided by SafetyWing.

Their Nomad Insurance is the best bang for your buck in the market. It covers medical assistance overseas and unforeseen travel charges.

The best thing? It is super affordable and convenient. Also, you can cancel it whenever you want.

Don’t take unnecessary risks and get all the bases covered with SafetyWing.

Where to Stay in Barcelona

El Raval

The best area to stay if you want to be in the center of the action. You will have easy access to most attractions, shops, restaurants, and bars. This neighborhood is more appropriate for a group of friends coming to have fun in town. Not the best area if you are coming with your family and want a quiet place.

Gracia

A little bit cleaner and nicer than El Raval/El Gótic. It has a completely different vibe; it honestly feels like a separate town. It has the luxurious Passeig de Gracia, Park Guell, and Bunkers de Carmel. This is the perfect area to stay if you prefer a more local vibe and/or traveling with your family.

Gothic Quarter

Similar to EL Raval; just on the opposite side of La Rambla. It is the historic center of the city of Barcelona. Also, it is arguably the best area for nightlife. There is something going on at El Gotic every single night of the week. Both El Raval and El Gotic are great options for nightlife lovers.

La Barceloneta

The famous seaside neighborhood in Barcelona. An option to have in mind if you are visiting in the summer months. There are nice hotels, seafood restaurants, bars, and discos in this area.

Recommended Hotels in Barcelona

Luxury: Grand Hotel Central, Small Luxury Hotels

Mid-Range: Iberostar Selection Paseo de Gracia 4 Sup

Budget: Hotel Jazz

Cost of Living in Barcelona

Currency is the euro; Barcelona is expensive. However, not as expensive as you might think.

I find some things to be cheaper than the US.

Rent

You can find a basic 1-bedroom apartment in a good area for ~$1500 USD/month.

Food

If you are coming from the US, you will find grocery costs to be about the same.

However, eating out is a little bit cheaper than the states.

A local meal €8-10.

Bottle of wine €2.

Transportation

Taxi: The minimum charge is €2.25. You should spend about €10 to €20 for trips within the city.

Cabify: €8 – €15

Metro: Single ticket is €2.40. An airport ticket is €5.15.  The best option for visitors is purchasing a Metro Travel Card.

The costs are: 2 days/ €16.30, 3 days/€23.70, 4 days/€30.80, and 5 days/€38

Bike: €5/hour, €15/days

Internet

The average cost of the internet in Barcelona is €50. Some companies include an installation fee and the cost of the router (if you don’t have one). This could be an extra €40 – €50.

Entertainment

Beer: €1.5 –  €2

Cocktails: €8-€12

Nightclub cover: €10 – €20, most of the time with a few drinks included.

Movies: €9

Mobile

If you will be in town for less than a month, you can buy a prepaid sim card from Vodafone. The average cost is €25 for 35GB. It covers all Europe and the USA. If you need less than 35GB, the price will go down significantly.

Internet Speed in Barcelona

Over 75% of the country has access to at least 100Mbps. The current plans are to extend that to 85% of the population. The top providers in Barcelona are Movistar and Vodafone. According to Speedtest, Barcelona is the second in city-wide download speeds in the country, with an average of about 85 Mbps.

Language Barrier in Barcelona

Barcelona is a very touristy city; you could get away with English.

But if you want to have a local social circle and/or date locals, learning Spanish is a must.

Learning conversational Spanish will always be an advantage.

Traditional Food

  1. Paella: Rice, chicken, chorizo, and seafood mix. Usually cooked and served in a frying pan
  2. Pa Amb Tomaquet: Bread with tomato on top. Usually seasoned with olive oil and salt.
  3. Patatas Bravas: Fried white potatoes served with salsa brava.
  4. Escalivada: Smoky grilled vegetables with anchovy strips on top.
  5. Crema Catalana: Catalan dessert very similar to crème brulee

Nightlife in Barcelona

Gothic Quarter

This area is always lively; day and night. There is something for every taste at El Gótic. It is home to some of the best nightlife spots in the city. The best strategy is to do bar hopping around Plaça Reial, then head down to one of the clubs at Port Olimpic. Remember, don’t get too crazy on the pre-game, the party in Barcelona is until 6 am on most clubs.

Port Olimpic

A seaside area where most of the big nightclubs are located. If you like to dance, this is probably where you will end up every single night while in Barcelona. All the clubs are top-notch. Picking one or the other will depend on your taste and their offering that night. Below are my favorite spots:

Eixample

A district right north of El Gótic. It does not have a particular area where the nightlife is concentrated like Plaça Reial or Port Olimpic. However, it has a few trendy bars and clubs. My two favorite ones below:

Overall Rating (7.5/10)

Great city, perfect for those that like to party until the sun comes up.

I would definitely recommend spending some time in Barcelona. You will have a great time.

However, not for every nomad. The cost of living is on the expensive side.

If you have been in the game for a few years, and can afford it, don’t think it twice.

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