Life as a Digital Nomad in Barcelona — Andy Sto
Barcelona is one of Spain’s most visited cities, and for good reason. While Barcelona is a city, the location also experiences the enjoyment of a location by the sea. This allows visitors and locals alike to enjoy the best of both worlds; busy city life and the slowness of seaside living. Barcelona has become a type of hub for digital nomads to take up residence over the years. There are several reasons why this came to be, and we will discuss the pros and cons of this wonderful Spanish city below!
Pros to Life in Barcelona as a Digital Nomad
Barcelona is considered to be one of the best locations for digital nomads to reside, even ranking in the top ten cities in the world to work from. Because of this, the city is planning to introduce a new digital nomad visa specifically for Spain (which can be used in other cities across Spain). This is a wonderful incentive to bring even more digital nomads to the country. There are a number of groups on social media that are set up for digital nomads living in Barcelona to find each other and socialise. A specific group that is extremely helpful is Barcelona Entrepreneurs & Digital Nomads. These kinds of groups are useful when making the move to a new city and navigating your way around the digital nomad life.
Work Spaces with Wonderful Wifi
There is a never-ending range of locations for digital nomads to work from on a daily basis located in Barcelona. From cafes to shared working spaces, you’re sure to find an option that works for you. Another wonderful reason to choose Barcelona is that the city holds the fastest internet speed in the entire country. This will make your work a bit easier as it ensures faster wifi and therefore the ability to complete work faster. Below, we’ve listed a number of spaces we recommend that are available across the city to work from.
1. OneCoWork Plaça Catalunya
This company has three separate locations spread throughout the city. The most popular of the three locations resides in Plaça Catalunya. This large square is in Barcelona’s centre. The co-working space holds a range of office spaces available for digital nomads. The cheapest option costs 165 euros a month. This allows you to have 24/7 access to all of the common areas, including an incredible terrace.
2. Nomad Coffee Lab & Shop
Located in an alleyway at Passatge Sert, this cute little coffee shop provides speciality coffee, areas to work, and good vibes. The business was created by a nomadic barista who set up a cart and travelled around London selling coffee. This coffee shop and work area have a unique and interesting nomadic background, making it a place of inspiration for digital nomads!
This is another co-working space located between Plaça Catalunya and Universitat, offering workspaces and additional services at a low price. CoWorkIdea provides a number of rooms with the lowest room offered at 12 euros an hour. The business also offers beverages, printing services, a kitchen with a microwave, a phone booth, a conference room, and a chill-out zone. Perfect for digital nomads!
4. Coco Office
Similar to the nomad coffee lab & shop, this co-working location is targeted toward nomads and flexible workers alike. This business is referred to as Barcelona’s first “coffice”, meaning an office space to work which provides coffee. Coco Office is located at Calle Manso 17.
Wifi is provided in the spaces listed above, making these locations wonderful for digital nomads to complete their daily tasks.
The rental market moves quite fast in Barcelona due to the rapidly expanding population and ongoing tourism. Therefore, apartment hunting can be somewhat difficult. Having said this, the options are plentiful and of high standard. If you decide to move to Barcelona, it would be best if you searched for long ter accommodation as soon as possible. The website Anyplace allows you to book accommodation 30 days in advance, with 1–2 days of application processing. Below we’ve listed a number of locations we reccomend to live in around Barcelona!
Gracia is a stunning neighbourhood, with an array of unique alleys, streets, and squares bursting with personality. This specific neighbourhood houses some of the greatest tapas restaurants in the city, with a never-ending list of options for foodies. With wonderful architecture and rich culture, you’ll always have something to do on your days off work. Apartment renting prices vary in this area but generally work out at around 1,200 euros for a 2 bedroom apartment.
2. The Gothic Quarter
The Gothic Quarter is located in the old city of Barcelona. This neighbourhood is filled with quirky bars, clubs, and restaurants. The streets resemble medieval times, with markets held in a gothic style church. Apartments are slightly more expensive to rent in this location, with a one bedroom apartment working out at around 1,400 euros a month. However, the streets are filled with personality and wonderful architecture, ensuring entertainment at every corner.
Poblenou has become more popular in the last few years, as abandoned buildings have been transformed into spaces for digital nomads and office workers alike to work from. This seems to be one of the cheaper neighbourhoods for renting an apartment, with a 2 bed apartment available for just 950 euros a month. Watch this space, as the wonderful streets of Poblenou will be just as popular as the above neighbourhoods in the coming years!
The club scene and nightlife in Barcelona is second to none. As Spain’s second biggest city with a population of nearly 2 million people, you’ll never be stuck for plans at the weekend. The list of trendy bars available in Barcelona are endless, along with boat nights, show-stopping club nights, and pub crawls.
It’s important to allow yourself to have a work-life balance, and this can be difficult to do as a digital nomad if you’re living in a city with little to no nightlife. This is not the case in Barcelona. The city is known for its wonderful nightlife and party scene, so whether you’re looking for a chilled night in a pub with your co-workers, or you want to go wild on a boat, Barcelona has it all. Below we’ve listed some of our favourite spots for a nice evening chill out / night out.
- Las Ramblas is a very tourist filled spot, and for good reason. If you’re new to Barcelona, Las Ramblas is a wonderful area to start out with. Street performers fill the street with wonderful melodies leading into the night. After this, a number of clubs and bars are full to the brim with people.
- Boadas is a family run bar containing some of the best cocktails in Barcelona, if not the world! The bar which is located at Carrer dels Tallers has been passed down from generation to generation, and is full of local history.
- El Born is an area in which you’ll find similar vibes such as trendy bars, cool nightclubs, and busy streets. But the difference here is that the area is significantly less touristy, with a more elegant and private feel to it. Clubhaus is located here and contains a bar, restaurant, adult play area, and nightclub! Perfect for your weekend activities.
The weather in Barcelona is warm almost all year round, with temperatures rising to the 30s in the summertime. The lowest temperature Barcelona will see is around 12 degrees celsius in the wintertime. The weather is a huge pro when searching for a place to reside as a digital nomad, especially if you enjoy warm weather.
The months of May until August hold the warmest temperatures, but it’s important to remember that these are the months in which Barcelona will be the busiest with tourists. Even though September onwards tends to be cooler than the summer months, the city continues to experience warm and sunshine filled days. Even the winter months tend to be somewhat warm!
Excellent Transportation Services
If there is one thing that you should consider when weighing out the pros and cons of a city, it’s the transportation systems. This is vital for those working in offices around Barcelona but also for digital nomads who choose to work from cafes or co-working spaces. Barcelona’s transportation systems are extremely useful to get around the city quickly, with a range of options for you.
The Metro is a very popular mode of transport available in a lot of cities, including Barcelona. This underground network system connects a range of areas in Barcelona. The price for the metro is relatively cheap and there are deals in place such as monthly passes for as little as 40 euros. However, be careful when using the metro at night as it can become extremely busy and full of pick-pocketers.
Taxi’s are another form of transportation which are quite popular in Barcelona. While this can be on the more expensive side, using apps such as MyTaxi makes the process easier and sometimes even cheaper. Deals and discounts are readily available on the app. Similarly, buses are available all throughout Barcelona at a cheaper price than taxis. A typical bus ticket costs around €2.40. You can also purchase a T-Casual ticket (€11.35) which allows you to travel using the metro and the tram/city lines throughout Barcelona.
While transportation is readily available, the city is easily walkable. Cycling is also a popular mode of transport in Barcelona, but once again, stay vigilant with your bike to ensure nobody steals it.
The Negative Elements
While there are many reasons why Barcelona is home to a large amount of digital nomads, it’s important to remember the reasons why Barcelona may not be the place for you. Below we have listed a few of these reasons so that you can make a balanced decision on where to set up camp as a digital nomad.
The Language Barrier
This is a common problem in countries where English is not the most common language spoken. Spanish and Catalan are the two official languages spoken in the city of Barcelona. You may experience difficulties if you don’t speak these languages and plan to depend solely on your English. While a large majority of the Spanish population can speak English, you’ll find it easier to be able to communicate in Spanish or Catalan too.
A large amount of locals are bilingual and speak both Spanish and Catalan, so it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with one of these languages so that you can fully communicate with the locals.
Overcrowded with Tourists
While tourism is wonderful for a city to have, it can be an irritating factor of living in a popular city. This is especially relevant in the summertime, when tourists fill the streets and beaches, making the city feel overcrowded. Similarly, cafes can become busy and difficult to work in.
If you’re planning to work from Barcelona for a couple of months as opposed to long term, it might be a better idea to go there after the summer influx of tourists and extremely hot weather.
- CatSalut is Barcelona’s public health system, and it’s regarded as one of the best in the world! If you’re planning to move to Barcelona and require urgent medical help, it might be a good idea to invest in private health care to avoid the waiting time associated with CatSalut.
- In terms of Visas, all European citizens can move to Spain and live there without requiring any further documentation. US, UK, and Canadian citizens can stay in Spain for up to 90 days without a visa, and apply for residency if you plan to stay any longer.
All in all, we think that Barcelona is a wonderful option for digital nomads to set up a base and work from. The atmosphere in Barcelona is second to none and you’ll never run out of fun activities to take part in during your free time.
Originally published at https://andysto.com on August 8, 2022.