This guide is provided by Laura of Coworkidea
It is unclear what the origin of Barcelona’s name is, but our favorite legend says that the Greek hero Hercules himself named the city. The story tells that he sent an expedition composed of 9 boats through the Mediterranean Sea, but only 8 of them returned. Searching for the 9th it was finally found stranded in the hill Montjuïc. Hercules was so taken away by the beauty of the city that he named it Barcelona (which means the 9th boat).
Though this story might not be true, you cannot debate the beauty and cultural value of this city is absolutely breathtaking.
Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, has gained huge popularity not only for tourists but also for startups. Its life by the beach, amazing food, mild climate and stunning architecture will make you fall in love.
Want to know more? Here is our digital nomads guide to Barcelona, Spain.
Visa For Spain
As visa regulations change depending on your country of origin, we recommend getting in touch with your embassy in Spain to find out further details or visit this website.
Cost of living
While Barcelona has always been more affordable when it came to the cost of living as compared to other Western European cities, this has changed in the past few years, mainly due to its increased popularity.
Though you can still find cheap places to eat if you avoid areas with the main tourist attractions such as Las Ramblas or the Sagrada Familia, housing cost has gone up by almost 30% compared to 2010.
What to expect on an average:
- Basic lunch menu: 9-13€
- Monthly rent: average price is around 820€. It changes a lot depending on the neighborhoods.
- Monthly housing expenses (water, gas, electricity): 146 €
- Should you choose to rent a room in a shared flat you can expect the cost to be around 450€ bills included.
Barcelona has seen a huge increase in startup companies within the past 5 years and currently ranks number 4 of the top tech and innovation hubs in Europe, according to Business Insider. This growth also involves a lot of coworking spaces that have opened its doors throughout the city.
In general, a membership for a coworking space in Barcelona will cost you around 90 to 300 euros a month, depending on what you are looking for: permanent desks, flexible desks, access certain hours of the day or full time.
You might be spoiled with choice in Barcelona when it comes to coworking spaces and we have tried a fair share too. If you are looking for something central we would definitely recommend Coworkidea. We love it because it has plenty of natural light and a great atmosphere with a community of professionals from all over the world at a very affordable price.
Work-Friendly Restaurants and Cafes
While hunting for your favorite coworking space you might want to try a few work friendly restaurant and cafes. Here are our top 5:
Cafeteria de la Fundación Gaspar
If you have to work you might as well do it with an amazing view to boost your creativity. Here you can find decent prices, good coffee, (relatively) fast internet and stunning views to their inside patio. It is located at Carrer de Montcada 25.
There are plenty of Sandwichez in Barcelona. These cafes are a comfortable place to work. They also have some delicious smoothies and good sandwiches at reasonable prices. Our favorites are located at Passeig de Sant Joan and Ronda Sant Antoni.
Tosca del Carme
Avoid it during lunch or dinner time as it can get quite crowded. At any other times, this is a quiet, cozy space just of Las Ramblas, behind the Boqueria Market. Good working Wifi, comfortable chairs and great tapas (should you get hungry!). Carrer del Carme 42.
Hotel Pulitzers rooftop
Want to work while listening to hip tunes? Try Hotel Pulitzers rooftop. This rooftop has amazing views and great atmosphere right in Barcelona’s city center. From May to until October they even have DJ sessions. We have to admit it the views and music can be somehow distracting, but still worth it. Carrer Bergara 8.
To the right from Las Ramblas in the Gothic quarter this cozy café not only offers amazing burgers but also free Wifi and some quiet corners to get some work done. Carrer de Ferran 23.
Where to stay
The obvious choice would be Airbnb, especially if you are on a budget. However, Airbnb has run into a lot of problems lately within Barcelona due to new strict rules the City Hall has applied. This has also reduced drastically the number of properties offered.
To be on the safe side, always make sure to look for tourist license, Hub number, if you are planning to rent for less than 30 days. There are also plenty of other places where to look for an apartment, we would recommend: Spotahome for example. Or Uniplaces.
Places to Eat
One of the most frequently asked questions for anyone new in Barcelona is: where should I eat? And the answer is far from easy. It seems there are new restaurants opening on a daily basis and offer a range of choices that include fresh seafood, fusion, tapas and gourmet burgers. The choices are almost unlimited. If we would have to nail it down to just a few we would go for…
Flax & Kale
Flax and Kale´s dishes are based on a healthy Flexitarian diet. 80% of their menu items are plant-based but even if you are not a fan of veggies do not miss out trying this restaurant, the creativity behind their dishes will leave you wanting more, guaranteed! Currently, they have 3 restaurants in Barcelona, the original one is in the Raval neighborhood.
Carrer Tallers 74b.
Elsa and Fred
You will get overwhelmed with the number of tapas’ restaurants in Barcelona, unfortunately, most of them are tourist traps and you would never see a local step foot in them. We love Elsa and Fred because they are original, creative and add a twist to the well-known tapas, even if they don’t have the cheapest prices in town. They offer a daily lunch menu for 15 Euros and brunch on weekends. Elsa and Fred have been nominated several times for the best ‘Patatas Bravas’ in town, and we agree, they are absolutely delish!
Carrer del Rec Comtal, 11.
And of course, you will have to try Paella! We love eating Paella and there are many cute restaurants around the seashore and port in the Barceloneta area. One of our favorites is Can Majó. Not only do they serve one of the best Paellas in Barcelona but they also have many other finger-licking Catalan and seafood dishes.
Carrer de l’Almirall Aixada, 23.
Gran Bodega Saltó
There are plenty of bars at the Poble Sec neighborhood to drink a vermut, a wine or a beer accompanied by some cheese and tapas at the Poble Sec neighborhood, but none as original as this little bodega. With an eclectic decor, cool urban paintings and live music, it has its own history.
Carrer de Blesa, 36.
Top things to do and see
There is always Gaudi and his Sagrada Familia… and you can read all about it in any guide about Barcelona. We want to share with you our insider tips, something that real locals enjoy:
Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau
If you like Art Nouveau (or even if you don’t!) you cannot miss out on this jewel by Lluís Doménech i Montaner, one of the most important architects of the Modernisme, the Catalan Art Nouveau. Take a time capsule back to the 1920 and visit the historical recreation spaces that will show you the insides of a patient ward back in the day. You can book a guided visit or join one of the many activities the Sant Pau offers. Get more information here.
Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA) is situated in Plaça dels Angels in the Raval district. It has a permanent collection of approx. 5000 works and represents three periods of modern art: The 1940 – 1960 followed by 1960-1970 and the third period is contemporary.
Although some international artists are being featured, MACBA focuses on post-1945 Catalan and Spanish art. Tickets start at 10 Euros online. Free admissions every Saturday from 4 to 8 pm.
Bunkers del Carmel
For one of the most astonishing views of Barcelona, take a hike to the ruins of the Bunkers in Carmel. Originally built as an anti-aircraft fortification during the Spanish Civil war, its now abandoned ruins will offer you a birds eye of the entire city, for free!
The Raval is one of the most overseen quarters in Barcelona, even though it is as centric as Born and the Gothic quarter. This implies that it is also much less crowded. Take a stroll on the Rambla del Raval and have a drink on one of the many terraces. Go Vintage Shopping in one of the very cute and original stores on Riera Baixa. To see another breathtaking view of Barcelona you can also visit the rooftop terrace of the Barcelo Raval Hotel for free.
One of our favorite spots within Raval is the Hospital de Santa Creu. This captivating building was one of Barcelona’s main Hospitals back in the 1920th and has since been shut down. Enjoy an afternoon sitting in the inside patio.
Safety for women
Barcelona is a safe city, but as with all big cities, it does suffer from pickpockets. Make sure to keep a very close eye on your belongings especially in the more crowded areas and the metro and be careful if walking alone at night around solitary or not well-illuminated areas.
No wonder Barcelona is one of the most visited cities in Western Europe. It offers you almost everything you could want in a city: Shopping, amazing cuisine, nightlife, historical landmarks, and beaches, perfect for all you digital nomads out there!
Get Your Travel Insurance
Don’t forget to purchase travel insurance whether you are a short term or long term traveler. Things can go bad suddenly and you don’t wanna get stuck with thousands of dollars in medical bills. We recommend World Nomads.