In which area or neighbourhood in Barcelona do you want stay as a student?
Which area or neighbourhood would you like to call your home during your Exchange semester in Barcelona?
Are you an international student looking out for accommodation in the Catalonian capital of Barcelona for a short term vacation or a long term stay? While every area in the city has different experiences to offer you, you need to spot that neigbourhood that suits your needs the most. Don’t sweat it though (not yet, at least. Keep it for the good Spanish summer!). To find a home here is rather easy and what’s better is that we’re here to ease this process all the more for you! Here’s your little guide book to virtually explore the most popular neighbourhoods of Barcelona and find a place you can call home!
The city is host to a real mix of ancient and modern and is often seen complimenting each other side by side. With limited space to establish new buildings, the only possibility to accommodate the growing population is to expand vertically and not horizontally and hence replace the small old buildings with multi layered ones. Given this strategy, Barcelona seems to be constantly renewing itself. The most prominent case in the recent past is that of the developments at Diagonal Mar, a former industrial land at the very edge of the city.
Although Barcelona is territorially organized as districts, more often than not you would hear the Spanish say “Barri”, meaning the neighbourhood, in which they and in most cases, all of their family reside.
At the very heart of Barcelona, Placa de Cataluña is bound to make your heart warm. The area boasts of historical richness and geographically, it is located in between the 19th century Eixample and the old town of Ciutat Vella. It stands to be one of the liveliest squares that people love socializing at, especially during celebrations like New Year’s Eve and other National Days and oh, of course, FC Barcelona’s victories! On regular days, the area is still buzzing with life with its numerous shopping options and departmental stores. While all of this seems too good to be true, the primary drawback for the place would be the rent, which is quite expensive for an average student budget.
El Barri Gotic
If you feel like traveling back in time to the Roman village the city once hosted, Gothic quarter, or rather the oldest town in Barcelona, is your place. More on the Catalan history of this place can also be learned at the History Museum of Barcelona. Spiritually, the area is home to the most striking Churches in Barri Gòtic, including The Cathedral (Catedral de Santa Eulalia, La Seu), Santa Maria del Pi and the Basilica of La Mercè. Soaked in history, people love to take a stroll along the pedestrian paths and the sight is nothing less than a dream! The Gothic quarter also has a numerous options of bars and restaurants to choose from, ranging from expensive ones that attract the attention of most of the tourists and the more affordable ones for students and interns, although it’s very rare to spot a short term accommodation here.
On the other side of Barri Gòtic, Via Laietana was constructed at the turn of the twentieth century. This furthered another divide and the area beyond it came to be known as the La Ribera, a part of which is referred to as El Born as it hosted the El Born wholesale market. The building is currently being developed as a Museum that will host the archaeological remains of the city that was destroyed by the Bourbons in the year 1714, uncovered recently. The neighborhood is essentially made of small streets that will lead to Picasso’s Museum and Maeght Gallery of Barcelona, where you’d be bound to encounter many famous artists’ realization including Braque and Kandinsky. A 10 minute walk from El Born could either land you up at the City Center or even better, the beach. Although the area is not very student housing friendly, it sure is a great place to walk around.`
Want to add some Bohemian feel to your stay at Barcelona? Join a diverse mix of inhabitants who form a tight-knit community at Gracia. Their love and pride for their ancestral history goes to an extent where they claim they come from Gracia, and not Barcelona. This cozy and charming area is host to numerous narrow streets, small alleyways and numerous plazas, which makes for a great atmosphere. This only gets better during the warmer months when the native people across all ages flock to the plazas to soak in some much awaited sunshine. Not just the natives, even as an international student, you could always have as much fun. All you need to do is just show up by the countless bars and restaurants and before you even know it, you’d find yourself in the midst of social chatter and laughter. These newly made friends are sure to invite you to the 8 day long fiesta in August called, “Gracia Fiesta”. With every street in the barrio competing against each other to win the best decorated street prize, you would never recognize the streets you were at the previous day! Plaça de Sol is probably the most popular part of Gràcia and has a number of terrace cafes that buzzes with life every night.
Situated in North Western part of Barcelona, Sarrià-Sant Gervasi, is a world apart from the mostly bustling commercial areas of the city. It’s typical for the retired section of the upper class Spanish, who wish to invest in a rather quaint and peaceful area to find paradise here. Although, it is close to impossible to find accommodation that favours a student budget here, it is a highly popular destination for young and stylish students to hang out in the bars, restaurants and night clubs. Sarrià-Sant Gervasi is also famous for Mount Tibidao,the tallest mountain in the Collserola mountain range. It’s a favourite spot for locals and international tourists alike to catch one of the most breathtaking views of the city. The oldest amusement park of the country, Tibidabo Amusement Park, is also situated here.
Sants-Montjuïc Les Corts
Les Corts, the commercial and financial hub of Barcelona, is located towards the northern part of the city. It is a one stop destination for shopping malls, hotels, international universities, restaurants, and bars. All of this is however secondary to the most important tourist and local attraction: Camp Nou, FC BARCELONA´s impressive stadium. With universities around the corner, it is a popular spot for fairly reasonable student accommodation.
Eixample is home to many tourist attractions. The most famous works of Gaudi´s, including Sagrada Familia, Casa Battlo, and Casa Mila (commonly referred to as La Pedrera) can be spotted in Eixample. It also is home to a famous shopping strip, Passeig de Gracia. Whilst this is the popular list, Eixample also comprises of equally fascinating, but less well-known architecture. If you want to break off from the hustle and bustle of the city center and explore the path less taken, Eixample is the place to be. You could also treat yourself in one of the many traditional Spanish and Catalian fine dining places here. Similar to the above area, as this one too is relatively close to the universities, it is a popular choice amongst students to find affordable student accommodation here.
What is living a Spanish life without regular breaks to the beach? This neighborhood is home to Barcelona’s closest beach to the city center. It is a popular choice amongst families and tourists who’d like to stay close to the city center but away from the hustle and bustle of it. It’s possible for students to find numerous decent housing options for a student budget here. Well, that’s the basic information. What’s the best part of the area of the area you may ask? Wait till the sun goes down and the beach surrounding Barceloneta is transformed to a party floor, frequented by international students.
Now that you know what interests you in the city and what not, it’s time you make your choice based on your preferences! We’re hoping you find a place you can call your home 🙂