What is the Cost of Living in Barcelona?
We continue with our series of How To Calculate The Cost Of Living in Spain For You and Your Family! Today, we consider Barcelona …
Barcelona is an incredible city with an amazing vibe, which explains why so many people want to live in the Catalan capital. In the latest of our Cost of Living in Spain series, we will be taking a look at Barcelona. This will compare Barcelona with other major European cities as well as look at how much it costs to buy or rent property, everyday living expenses and other financial outgoings to help you decide whether moving to Barcelona is right for you.
Barcelona has long been a top destination for artists but the city is also making a name for itself in the world of entrepreneurs. According to EU startups, Barcelona is the fifth top innovation hub in Europe, beating Madrid which is sixth.
Be warned though, Barcelona is a tourist destination all year which makes it expensive for buying or renting property as well as going out in the city centre. If you want to be in the thick of things and you have a big budget, this won’t be a problem. Otherwise, you may want to look at the suburbs such as Nou Barris, Horta-Guinardo or Sarria-Sant Gervasi, all north of Barcelona and in easy commuting distance of the city centre.
Even though Barcelona is more expensive than other major Spanish cities, it is still much cheaper than London. Figures from numbeo.com show consumer prices are 26.65% lower in Barcelona, rent prices are 61.52% lower and restaurant prices are 35% lower. The average monthly salary is lower too though. The average London wage after tax is €2,553 while it is just €1,407 in Barcelona.
Shopping in Barcelona
Everyday grocery shopping is certainly affordable as Barcelona has a good selection of supermarkets, including Lidl and Aldi, and markets. You can get a loaf of bread for about €0.80, 1kg of rice for €0.68, 12 eggs for €1.20, 1kg of chicken breasts from €4.50, a bottle of decent wine from €3.00 (you can buy cheaper but a half-decent Rioja is €3-plus) and a 0.5l bottle of beer from €0.70. You can also pick up fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and fresh fish from the daily markets. It’s best to avoid La Boqueria on the Rambla, as it’s rammed with tourists but Santa Caterina or the Mercat de la Concepcio are good alternatives.
For fashion, you can find everything from designer clothes to market-stall bargains. For high-end fashion head to Passeig de Gracia for Cartier, Emporio Armani and Jimmy Choo among others while 40kms from Barcelona is La Roca Village, which is a Chic Outlet Shopping village with discounts of up to 60% on the recommended retail price. Even clothes you can buy in the UK can be cheaper in Spain. For example a pair of Zara jeans are £29.95 in the UK but €29.95 in Barcelona (about £4 cheaper).
Obviously it can be more expensive to eat in the tourist areas and around La Rambla but you can still get a three course lunch-time set menu (menu del dia) for about €10 even in the tourist hotspots. A decent mid-range three-course meal for two will set you back about €30-€50. Half a lager will be around €2.50 at a bar (at least) and a glass of wine about €2.50 too.
Buying or renting property in Barcelona
Compared to much of northern Europe, property rents seem low in Barcelona. However, the tourist hotspots will be expensive. The city also recorded the highest increases in rents in Spain with a rise of 66% in five years to 2017 while other tourist destinations such as Mallorca rose 40% and Madrid was up 20%.
It is possible to rent a small studio by Barceloneta beach for €500 a month but a decent three-bedroom apartment in central Barcelona, such as near La Rambla, will be closer to €1,500 a month.
The average price of a property is €189,973 but one-bedroom flats in central Barcelona are selling for €260,000 with the best properties in top locations changing hands for millions.
On top of the rental price or mortgage, your average monthly bills for electricity, water, garbage collection and internet will add another €155 a month at least to your outgoings. Based on a two to three-bed apartment, costs will be:
- Electricity – €100
- Water – €20
- Internet – €35
Getting out and about in Barcelona
Public transport is the best way to get around in Barcelona as driving can be hectic and parking difficult to find.
You can get a range of tickets at low prices:
- Single metro or bus ticket is €2.15
- Single metro journey between the airport and the rest of the metro network for one zone is €4.50
- Special ticket for the football bus is €3
- A T-10 travel card for 10 bus and metro journeys in one zone is €9.95
- A T-50/30 card allowing 50 trips over 30 days in one zone is €42.50
- A T-Mes monthly travel card allowing unlimited journeys in one zone is €52.75
When you consider parking costs from €2-€3 an hour, then public transport is the cheaper option, particularly when you add the cost of petrol which is €1.279 for unleaded 95.
International schools in Barcelona
As you would expect from Spain’s second largest city, there is a good range of international schools in the city centre. Tuition fees can be from €10,000 per year for nursery children up to €20,500 a year for sixth form students plus additional fees for uniforms, travel, lunches and matriculation. Some of the best known international schools in Barcelona are:
- The Benjamin Franklin International School following the American curriculum.
- St George’s British School teaching a wide range of subjects from the British curriculum and, in addition, Spanish language, humanities and Catalan.
- Kensington School following the English curriculum
- Princess Margaret school, recognised by the International Baccalaureate Organisation to implement its programme,
- The American School of Barcelona teaching the American system and the IP diploma programme
- St Paul’s School offering the Spanish curriculum
- St Peter’s School which has a broad curriculum following the Spanish system but taught in English
(tables from https://www.numbeo.com)
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