According to Countryaah.com, Barcelona is one of the most sought after destinations in Europe among exchange students and there are many reasons for that. In addition to the city being naturally amazing, some of the best universities in Spain are located in the city, such as the University of Barcelona, the Autonomous University of Barcelona, the Pompeu Fabra University and the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, which occupy, respectively, the first, fourth , sixth and eighth position in the country, according to QS World University Rankings 2021. Adding this to the fact that the city attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world, we can say that the prices there are slightly inflated. But calm down that living in Barcelona is still cheaper than in many other important cities in Europe. Do you want to know more about it? So check now this guide we made on the cost of living in Barcelona!
Cost of living in Barcelona: Housing
There are several housing options in Barcelona, but, being realistic, most of them will involve the need to share the same space (be it an apartment or a room) with another person (s). It is common, for example, to find apartments in the city that are shared by up to 10 people! Average prices for living in a medium-sized apartment vary between 350 and 850 euros, depending on the location and the number of people who will be sharing the place. But it is worth remembering that the farther from the center, the cheaper the rents tend to be.
And of course, in that same logic, always remember that a simpler house with a great location will probably be more expensive than a more comfortable house away from the center. Here it is up to you to decide what your priorities are. The districts of Les Corts, Eixample and Sagrada Família offer good value for money and an intermediate location between the most central area and the most remote districts. It is worthwhile to search for apartments in these places.
It is also important to remember that most city real estate agents usually charge deposits and upfront fees that can amount to twice the monthly rent.
Cost of living in Barcelona: Accounts
Attention: electricity, gas and internet costs will generally NOT be included in the rent. The exception to this rule usually applies only to specific student residences and accommodation.
Spending on water, electricity, heating and gas usually varies between 70 and 100 euros per month. The cheapest internet plan is at 40 euros each, while a basic cell phone subscription with a pre-paid squeak can cost 10 euros – the most expensive can reach 50 euros. Apart from spending on your cell phone, the other bills are usually divided among all the residents of the apartment and end up not being so expensive. But be very careful with the small print of the contracts! The providers of these services in Barcelona are well known for their seemingly exceptional offers that actually hide extra installation costs or that triple their price after the first month, among other “pranks”. If you still don’t speak Spanish well , ask for help from a local friend.
Cost of living in Barcelona: Public Transport
Public transport in Barcelona is great, very easy to use and very safe. You will probably use it a lot, especially if you live a little further away from the central area. The good news is that it is possible to choose from several types of “transport cards” according to your needs. It is important to note that prices change according to the geographic coverage of the system.
Individual tickets cost 2.40 euros, are valid for all forms of transport (metro, trams, buses and trains) and can be used several times in an interval of 75 minutes. It is also possible to buy a 10-trip pass for around 10 euros or a monthly pass for just over 50 euros. A good option for children under 25 is the T-Jove card (from 105 euros), which offers discounts on unlimited travel for 90 days. Another tip for getting around is Bicing , the city’s public bicycle system, which costs around 50 euros a year.
Cost of living in Barcelona: Supermarket
For a single person, the monthly cost for grocery shopping will be around 150 euros at cheaper stores (which offer various discounts) such as Spar and Lidl chain stores. In the most expensive supermarkets, like El Corte Inglés, BonPreu and Carrefour, the average rises to just over 200 euros.
Cost of living in Barcelona: Health
For those who want to stay or keep in shape during their stay in Barcelona, the monthly gym pass ranges from 30 to 80 euros. For those who want to hire additional medical insurance, in addition to mandatory insurance for foreigners, the average price is around 40 euros per month.
Cost of living in Barcelona: Restaurants
Eating out in Barcelona is not a bargain, but it is cheaper than most major cities in Europe, including Madrid, Spain’s capital. A dinner for two in a good restaurant can be found for around 60 euros and a hamburger with a drink can cost 12 euros. The menu of the day at lunch costs between 8 and 10 euros. A meal outside the promotional menu is around 20 euros in simpler restaurants and 30/40 euros in more sophisticated places. The tip here is to look for options outside the tourist circuit, which usually tend to be much cheaper.
Cost of living in Barcelona: Entertainment
Cinema tickets cost between 6.50 and 11 euros and theater plays are more expensive: around 40 euros per person. The good news is that there are always many festivals and music concerts in and around the city, with prices varying depending on the artist and the location. Concerts with more famous artists can reach 100 euros, while some alternative festivals of 4 days, for example, cost no more than 40 euros.
For those who do not miss a ballad, the average price of the clubs in Barcelona is around 20 euros and usually includes a drink. But for those who want to save money, tickets are usually free for those who are excited to arrive before 2 am, since the ballads tend to fill up even much later.
For lovers of culture and history, tickets to the city’s museums cost around 5 euros, but walking the streets of Barcelona is already an incredible experience and totally free!
Cost of living in Barcelona compared to other cities
To finish today’s text, check out how much cheaper or more expensive it is to live in Barcelona compared to other important cities in Spain and the world, according to the Expatistan website :
- São Paulo: 65% more expensive
- Rio de Janeiro: 73% more expensive
- Buenos Aires: 117% more expensive
- Santiago: 47% more expensive
- Lisbon: 15% more expensive
- Madrid: About the same
- Valencia: 16% more expensive
- Salamanca: 43% more expensive
- Seville: 26% more expensive
- Malaga: 20% more expensive
- Zaragoza: 22% more expensive
- London: 36% cheaper
- Paris: 24% cheaper
- Rome: About the same
- Amsterdam: 26% cheaper
- New York: 45% cheaper
- Toronto: 19% cheaper
- Berlin: 5% cheaper