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Nicest Neighborhoods to Live in Barcelona

If you dream of living in Barcelona or are currently considering emigrating there, finding suitable housing, especially in a nice neighborhood, is one of the first questions you have.

With 10 different districts and a total of 73 neighborhoods, there is something for everyone in Barcelona. From tourist hotspots to chic areas where the jet set lives, or the real working-class neighborhoods where you won’t find a tourist. But what are the best places to live in Barcelona?

Best Places to Live in Barcelona

To help you in your search for a nice neighborhood to live in Barcelona, I have created the following overview of the nicest neighborhoods for expats in Barcelona, with all their pros and cons.

Be aware that prices can vary greatly by neighborhood and that you generally pay much more to live in the center of Barcelona than in the suburbs.

Eixample: Sant Antoni and La Dreta de l’Eixample

In Barcelona’s chessboard-patterned district, l’Eixample, you’ll find the most modernist buildings per square meter, and the apartments are much more spacious than in the old center.

This is the largest district of Barcelona and this translates into a wide range of amenities, shops, bars, and restaurants.

Especially the area around the Sant Antoni market is currently praised as one of the hippest and nicest in Barcelona, while at La Dreta de L’Eixample you can live next to some of the most beautiful buildings in Modernista style.

  • Type of housing: modernist buildings from the late 19th century and many new builds from the 20th century.
  • Advantages: centrally located, good amenities, large apartments.
  • Disadvantages: heavy traffic, noise pollution, expensive.
  • Average price per square meter: €4,922.
  • Nicest neighborhoods to live in: hipster paradise Sant Antoni and La Dreta de l’Eixample, the cradle of Catalan Modernism.

👉 Check out my neighborhood guide for Eixample.

Eixample Barcelona
L’Eixample

Ciutat Vella: El Born and La Barceloneta

Barcelona’s old center, Ciutat Vella, is a popular place for real estate investors and expats. However, the houses here are often old and small, and it’s almost impossible to drive a car. Since this is a very touristy area, it’s also rarely quiet. However, you live in the heart of Barcelona, surrounded by the oldest buildings and numerous museums and monuments.

While the Gothic Quarter and La Barceloneta attract the most tourists, you can live wonderfully in the trendy neighborhood of El Born among all the hip shops and bars.

Slightly cheaper is El Raval, which is a true melting pot of cultures and attracts mainly young people. Keep in mind that El Raval is known as one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the city.

  • Type of housing: usually small old apartments without an elevator; many historic buildings.
  • Advantages: centrally located, bike-friendly, atmospheric streets, many shops and restaurants, near the beach.
  • Disadvantages: very touristy, sometimes unsafe, poorly accessible for cars, quite expensive, old, densely populated, noisy and sometimes dirty.
  • Average price per square meter: €4,482.
  • Nicest neighborhoods to live in: the trendy El Born and the old fishing district La Barceloneta.

👉 Check out my neighborhood guide for Ciutat Vella.

El Raval - Ciutat Vella Barcelona
El Raval – Ciutat Vella Barcelona

Sant Martí: Poblenou and El Clot

If you want to live near the beach but not in the touristy part, Sant Martí is a better choice. In the area near Diagonal Mar and Fòrum, for example, you’ll find a lot of new construction and luxurious skyscrapers.

If you prefer to be among the locals, then check out Poblenou, which was traditionally a working-class district but now, thanks to the arrival of the 22@ technology district, attracts many young professionals from the high tech sector and creative people, and is full of hip hotspots.

For a more cozy, quieter, and especially cheaper place to live, take a look at the houses in the El Clot neighborhood. One of the oldest parts of Sant Martí that has remained fairly undiscovered.

  • Type of housing: new construction and renovated old factory buildings.
  • Advantages: near the beach, hip environment, not touristy, family-friendly.
  • Disadvantages: distance to the center, increasingly expensive.
  • Average price per square meter: €3,895.
  • Nicest neighborhoods to live in: Poblenou for its authentic character, hip hotspots, and proximity to the beach, and El Clot for the authentic local atmosphere and tranquility.

👉 Check out my neighborhood guide for Sant Martí.

Sant Martí Barcelona
Sant Martí

Sarrià-Sant Gervasi: Sarrià and Sant Gervasi-La Bonanova

Barcelona’s luxury residential area, Sarrià-Sant Gervasi, is favored by the wealthy and many expats who send their children to the international and private schools of Sarrià-Sant Gervasi.

Most apartment complexes have their own gardens and a communal pool and are well maintained and secured.

It’s a quiet area to live near the Collserola mountains and with lots of greenery.

  • Type of housing: luxury apartment complexes, houses with a garden, and luxury villas.
  • Advantages: international schools, safe environment, chic look, near nature, not touristy.
  • Disadvantages: distance to the center, most expensive district in the city.
  • Average price per square meter: €5,426.
  • Nicest neighborhoods to live in: the posh Sant Gervasi-La Bonanova, with its large and beautiful mansions, and the cozy but chic Sarrià.

👉 Check out my neighborhood guide for Sarriá-Sant Gervasi.

La Bonanova - Sarrià-Sant Gervasi Barcelona
La Bonanova

Gràcia: Vila de Gràcia and Vallcarca i Penitents

Gràcia is still a real village within the city, where you encounter relatively few tourists. Many houses are still in their original state and thus give a special charm to the neighborhood.

Gràcia is also rich in cozy squares, small-scale shops of local designers, art studios, and restaurants with cuisines from all over the world.

Very child-friendly and a cozy atmosphere. The ideal neighborhood to live as a foreign family, with all kinds of fun things to do, both with and without children.

  • Type of housing: old houses and apartments.
  • Advantages: village feel, inspiring environment, family-friendly, near the center.
  • Disadvantages: quite expensive, sometimes hilly, quite densely populated, cycling from the center is uphill.
  • Average price per square meter: €4,431.
  • Nicest neighborhoods to live in: the old Vila de Gràcia, with its wide range of shops and restaurants, and the quiet and green Vallcarca i Penitents.

👉 Check out my neighborhood guide for Gràcia.

Vila de Gràcia - Gràcia Barcelona
Vila de Gràcia

Sants-Montjuïc: El Poble Sec, Sants, and Font de la Guatlla

A relatively short distance from the center and at the foot of the Montjuïc mountain lies the area of Sants-Montjuïc, which in recent years has also become very popular with expats and tourists.

Especially the bustling Poble-Sec, with its authentic tapas bars, cozy ambiance, and lower rental prices, attracts the attention of many young people who want to settle in Barcelona.

But this is not the only interesting place to live in Sants-Montjuïc. Take Sants, for example, a very lively neighborhood full of shops and an old village center, or Font de la Guatlla, where you’ll mainly find houses and it’s much quieter.

  • Type of housing: old houses and apartments.
  • Advantages: emerging district, near the center and Montjuïc mountain, slightly cheaper.
  • Disadvantages: more and more tourists, quite densely populated, rising prices.
  • Average price per square meter: €3,626.
  • Nicest neighborhoods to live in: the cozy Poble-Sec and folk Sants, and the quiet and lush Font de la Guatlla.

👉 Check out my neighborhood guide for Sants-Montjuïc.

Sants - Sants-Montjuïc Barcelona
Sants

Les Corts: Les Corts and Pedralbes

The business district of Les Corts is marked by the many apartment complexes and high buildings that are inhabited by families from the middle and upper classes. This is also the home of FC Barcelona.

In Les Corts, there are several nice neighborhoods to live in: particularly the streets around the old village center of Les Corts are very family-friendly, while the streets around the Campus Sud, Campus Nord, and Zona Universitària are more student-like due to the proximity of the university.

On the northern side of the district, we find the residential Pedralbes, which is known as the most expensive neighborhood in all of Barcelona and where only luxury villas with large gardens can be found.

  • Type of housing: apartments and luxury villas.
  • Advantages: safe environment, family-friendly, not touristy, near nature and the university.
  • Disadvantages: distance to the center, sometimes heavy traffic and noise pollution, expensive.
  • Average price per square meter: €4,832.
  • Nicest neighborhoods to live in: the old village of Les Corts and the villa district Pedralbes.

👉 Check out my neighborhood guide for Les Corts.

Les Corts - Leukste wijken om te wonen in Barcelona
Les Corts

Horta-Guinardó: Horta and La Font d’en Fargues

This neighborhood at the foot of the Collserola hills is one of Barcelona’s best-kept secrets. In Horta-Guinardó, you can live peacefully and surrounded by greenery, without spending too much money.

The residential areas in Horta and La Font d’en Fargues are very interesting for those looking for a house with a garden.

There’s a real village atmosphere, and the people here are easy-going and friendly.

Moreover, I’m from this neighborhood, so my opinion might be biased. But if you want to be truly among the locals, check out Horta-Guinardó and let yourself be surprised.

  • Types of housing: old houses with gardens and new apartments.
  • Advantages: affordable prices, quiet area, lots of nature, not touristy, family-friendly.
  • Disadvantages: distance to the city center, hilly, cycling from the center is uphill.
  • Average price per square meter: €3,187.
  • Best neighborhoods to live in: the cozy old village center of Horta and the quiet, green Font d’en Fargues.

👉 Check out my neighborhood guide on Horta-Guinardó.

Horta - Horta Guinardó Barcelona
Horta

Outside the city: Castelldefels and Sant Cugat

Those who want to live in a beautiful, large house with a big garden often end up in one of the many villages outside Barcelona. Places like Castelldefels and Sant Cugat are very popular with many foreigners moving to Barcelona. Here, they find not only the coveted house with a garden but also an international school for their children (in Sant Cugat and Gavà).

The area is also often greener and quieter than in Barcelona, and the house prices are much cheaper.

Thanks to train and bus connections, these towns are also well connected to Barcelona, and you can be in the city center in less than half an hour by car.

  • Types of housing: houses with gardens, new construction.
  • Advantages: quiet area, close to nature or the beach, international school, somewhat cheaper, family-friendly.
  • Disadvantages: distance to Barcelona, sometimes poor accessibility, and fewer amenities.
  • Best places to live: Sant Cugat, Sitges, Gavà, Castelldefels, Sant Feliu del Llobregat, Vilanova i la Geltrú, El Masnou, Premià de Mar, Vilassar de Mar, Mataró.
Mataró - Leukste wijken om te wonen in Barcelona
Mataró

Now, of course, I’m curious about the experiences and tips from other expats in Barcelona. What do you think is a nice area to live in Barcelona, and what has your experience been so far? Which neighborhood in Barcelona did you like or dislike living in?

*All mentioned housing prices in this article are from the statistics of the municipality of Barcelona (checked on March 6, 2019) and refer to the results of the third quarter of 2018.

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Hello! My name is Marta, and I am a born and raised Barcelonian. I love introducing people to Barcelona, especially the Barcelona known to locals. In Barcelona, I am always looking for fun places and tips that I can then share with you, with the goal of helping you experience Barcelona like a local.

Marta Rubio

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