Barcelona is more than just a beautiful European city on the Mediterranean… it is also an increasingly popular destination for digital nomads! For digital nomads and remote workers looking to connect with others and enjoy a fantastic working holiday in a bustling city on the sea, Barcelona is a great choice.
Barcelona digital nomads enjoy unrivaled networking potential, inexpensive travel opportunities, and much more. Plus, there are some simple ways for digital nomads in Barcelona to enjoy everything this city has on a budget.
Keep reading for our complete digital nomad Barcelona guide, including secrets to save money as a digital nomad in Barcelona, the city’s best coworking spots, and even more reasons digital nomads are flocking here!
Digital Nomad Barcelona
Barcelona can be a great choice for digital nomads looking to spend time or base themselves in Spain or in western Europe in general – and there is plenty to offer digital nomads. This can be a great choice for digital nomads looking for the excitement and benefits of big city living, or those looking to expand their network or business connections.
Barcelona has plenty of digital nomads based here, for a short time or more permanently. Plus, this city (and country!) is dedicated to becoming even more digital nomad friendly in the coming months and years by introducing a new Spain Digital Nomad Visa, on top of other programs in Barcelona designed to attract digital nomads.
Keep scrolling to learn more about regulations surrounding visas for Spain and the rest of the European Union, as well as the new details regarding digital nomad visas for Spain.
A major concern for many digital nomads considering Barcelona is the cost of living here. Barcelona can be a relatively expensive city to live in, especially in comparison to other digital nomad hubs in less expensive countries in Europe and around the world. However, using a few cost-saving techniques to save money in Barcelona will help you stay on budget, and make time in Barcelona more accessible.
Living in Barcelona: Pros and Cons
There are plenty of positives and negatives to spending time as a digital nomad living in this vibrant and bustling city. The benefits and downsides of settling into Barcelona will vary for everyone based on what you’re looking for, but there is a lot to consider.
Some of the most attractive features of the city include the big city amenities you’ll find here, fast internet, nice weather, and more. We certainly enjoyed all of the features while here!
Here are some of the most popular reasons for heading to Barcelona (or choosing another destination).
The Best of Barcelona
Incredible Travel Potential
Barcelona is a city is a fantastic gateway to getting to know the rest of Spain, and Europe. Close to Barcelona, I’d recommend checking out nearby towns on the beach or Montserrat in the mountains for fantastic hikes.
Looking for a fantastic excursion from Barcelona without leaving Spain? Check out Tenerife in the Canary Islands for an unforgettable adventure to a beautiful and off the beaten path destination.
Not to mention the ease of travel throughout the rest of Europe! You’ll find an abundance of low-cost flights on budget carriers and trains to the rest of Spain and other European countries.
You can even take ferries from Barcelona to the incredible Balearic Islands like Ibiza and Mallorca. Weekly ferries even depart for Italy and Morocco if you’re looking for an international trip by sea as well. Basing yourself in Barcelona makes for an easy (and relatively inexpensive!) opportunity to explore the rest of Europe.
Planning on traveling while based in Barcelona? Getting a Eurail Train Pass is a must! Eurail Train passes offer unlimited train travel throughout Europe, or within a single country depending on the pass you choose.
Eurail Train pass holders also get exclusive discounts on accommodations, ferries (including ferries from Barcelona to Morocco and the Balearic Islands), and much more! Check out Eurail to see all the unique ways you can save with a train pass!
Networking and Business Growth Potential
Some digital nomads are all about escaping the city and heading for the countryside, but if you’re looking to spend time in a city you’ll have the added benefit of networking that comes with being where the action happens.
Not only are there plenty of other digital nomads based in Barcelona, but there are plenty of startups of all kinds, and major companies with offices here. This can be a great place to focus on growing your business if you have one and making connections that can help you grow professionally.
To make the most of this, starting by connecting with other digital nomads through coworking events can be a great way to get started.
Check out our write-up below on the best coworking spaces in Barcelona for digital nomads!
Beyond coworking spaces, every night of the week you can find events throughout the city hosted in multiple languages, like startup meetups, networking events, and talent acquisition events. You’ll get out of this city as much – and more – than you put in!
Living by the Sea
While Barcelona is a port city and shipping hub, the beach here is perfect for swimming and enjoying the Mediterranean, and a go-to spot for locals on the weekend. If you’re looking for a combination of big-city bustle and amenities while not sacrificing a beach getaway, Barcelona is one of the best cities in Europe for you.
The second you arrive in the Barceloneta neighborhood of the city along the beach you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a beach town somewhere along the Mediterranean – there is a much slower pace, surf shops abound, and all roads point to the ocean.
The Worst of Barcelona
Relatively Higher Cost of Living
Barcelona isn’t the most expensive city in Europe, but it’s not the cheapest by any means! One of the reasons many digital nomads from North America and Europe cite for starting digital nomad life is to help stretch their budget farther – this can be a challenge in a large western European city like Barcelona. Check out our Barcelona cost of living breakdown later in this article for more details!
While there are plenty of ways to save money in Barcelona as a digital nomad, if you’re looking for luxury living on a budget as you might find in South America or Southeast Asia, Barcelona probably isn’t for you.
Looking for other cities or countries that offer more budget-friendly digital nomad life? Check out our other complete guides to digital nomad life here:
Hard to Escape the Hustle and Bustle
If you’re looking for a more relaxed pace of life, living in the center of Barcelona likely isn’t from you. While the pace of life in Spain is generally slower than it is in countries like the USA or UK, Barcelona is very much a bustling city and not the best choice for a true escape.
You could consider spending time in a smaller Spanish city instead – take a look into beach towns in the south of Spain like Málaga, or even towns or cities accessible to Barcelona by train, like Sitges, Zaragoza, or Girona.
Barcelona for Digital Nomads
There are plenty of digital nomads living in Spain and especially in Barcelona, which means plenty of resources for digital nomads looking to settle here. While Barcelona may not be Europe’s biggest nomad hub, you’ll find more than enough here to feel right at home.
Make sure to check out resources online for digital nomads in Barcelona, such as these groups:
Here you’ll find plenty of resources for digital nomads in Barcelona and opportunities for meetups, collaboration, and even more recommendations. Many groups host regular events around the city and beyond to build community, network, and more.
I also love and personally use the Female Digital Nomads Facebook group as a general resource for women living as digital nomads (or interested in doing so).
Coworking spaces are your best friend if you’re looking to connect with digital nomads in Barcelona, or others that live a similar lifestyle. While not everyone who uses coworking spaces is a digital nomad, of course, you’ll still have opportunities through events and meetups to meet local friends.
Many events at coworking spaces are open to the public as well. Even if you find putting yourself out there difficult, these events can be great ways to learn about the city, get the best recommendations, and meet new friends.
As part of the Schengen Area of the European Union, Spain allows E.U. passport holders to live and work in the country without restrictions, making spending time in Barcelona simple for a digital nomad from the European Union.
For those who don’t hold an E.U. passport, you may need a Schengen visa (granted for 90 days) to enter Spain. However, citizens of many countries (notably, the USA and UK) don’t need to apply for a Schengen visa prior to arrival in Spain – check out this list of country-specific visa requirements for further details.
If you have a Schengen visa, or you aren’t required to apply for one before arriving in Spain, you’ll be given 90 days to spend in Spain and any other European Union country.
Importantly with this visa, you won’t be able to spend more than 90 days within the Schengen area (including Spain) within a 180 day period. That means no quick trips out of the E.U. to restart those 90 days!
However, you could spend 90 days in Spain or the E.U., relocate outside of the Schengen zone for 90 days (like Croatia, countries in the Balkan region, Turkey, Ireland, etc.), You’d then be able to return for 90 additional days if you’re looking to spend as much time here as possible.
In addition to a simple entry visa for tourism, those looking to spend even longer in Spain have a variety of options for longer-duration Spanish visas and residency permits. Many digital nomads currently use the Non-Lucrative Residency Visa to stay up to one year in Spain, though the paperwork required and bureaucratic red tape surrounding the application can be challenging.
Spain Digital Nomad Visa
A new Spain Digital Nomad Visa is in the works that could make it easier than ever for digital nomads to spend extended periods of time in Spain! While the new Startup Act that includes a provision for a Spain Digital Nomad Visa has yet to be approved by Parliament, this visa is designed to attract digital nomads to Spain by streamlining paperwork and extending visa limits.
Once approved, the Spanish digital nomad visa will allow digital nomads to spend one year in the country. Subsequently, the visa would allow for an application for residency of two additional years after one year of having the visa.
Keep looking out for the introduction of the Spain Digital Nomad Visa as a way to have an extended stay in the country; we’ll update you here when more information is available!
Cost of Living in Barcelona
In comparison to other large cities in western Europe, Barcelona can be relatively affordable. However, your budget will definitely not go as far in Barcelona as it would in other parts of the world.
Digital nomads can generally expect to spend anywhere between $1700-3000 per month living in Barcelona.
Of course, your budget could easily be pushed higher, or edge even a bit lower depending on your lifestyle – and this is a city where you can easily overspend if you’re not careful.
The largest part of your monthly digital nomad budget will be dedicated to renting an apartment, room, or co-living space, and it’s also the easiest way to save money. Look for apartments or room rentals in more residential (yet still lively!) neighborhoods like El Poblenou, Gracia, or Sant Antoni. You’ll save a lot of money you can use for travel or anything else.
With a Barcelona subway pass you’ll easily be able to get wherever you want to go quickly, regardless of where you live in the city.
Barcelona Coworking Spaces
OneCoWork Plaça Catalunya
OneCowork has three different locations in Barcelona, with their Plaça Catalunya location being the most centrally located and easily accessible (check out their Marina Port Vell and Cathedral locations as well depending on where you’ll be living). The OneCowork Plaça Catalunya location has a gorgeous terrace for enjoying nice weather and over 6 floors of space.
Here you’ll find spaces dedicated to different sized teams, dedicated desks and office space, beautiful interiors, and all types of setups for work, plus free snacks and coffee. There are countless events catering to all kinds of remote workers, businesses, and digital nomads to build community fast.
La Vaca Coworking
Much smaller than OneCowork but with just as much to offer, La Vaca Coworking in the Poble Sec neighborhood is a great option for anyone looking for a more laid-back place to work. La Vaca is mostly home to freelancers and digital nomads rather than startups looking for office space, so you’ll fit right in as a digital nomad!
At La Vaca, there are regular networking events and a basement area with a ping-pong table and other games to relax after a day at work. Take the 3D tour online for an in-depth idea of what you’ll find at La Vaca.
Located in the Gracia neighborhood popular with digital nomads, Betahaus is a great mix of local Spanish startups and international workers and is a great overall atmosphere for digital nomads. Its space is beautiful and well equipped with every amenity you could ask for.
If you’ll be in Barcelona in the spring or summer, this is the place to be – there are FIVE terraces and a rooftop to work from in the building, all set up for work but that transform into event and networking spaces throughout the week.
Aticco has six locations across the city, but still maintains a close-knit yet international feel. They host tons of community events and have countless networking opportunities to take advantage of. Some of the most popular locations are Aticco Urquinaona between the El Born and l’Eixample neighborhoods, Aticco Bogatell in Poble Nou, and Aticco Verdaguer near the Sagrada Familia.
Aticco has all the amenities and style you’d expect and a variety of hot desk and reserved desk or office options. There is even a gym in some of the locations (Aticco Urquinaona, Aticco Bogatell, and Aticco Verdaguer all have a gym on-site).
Transportation in Barcelona
Local transportation options throughout the city of Barcelona are quite extensive, easy to use, and run everywhere. You’ll have no issue accessing any part of the city at almost any time of day.
The Barcelona metro is probably the easiest way to get around the city, with subway trains coming very frequently and a wide range of lines reaching areas throughout the city. You can purchase individual tickets from red kiosks inside subway stations.
Tickets from these kiosks also serve on bus lines throughout the city. Make sure you purchase a ticket for bus rides before getting on the bus – you can’t pay cash on buses! – or have a digital version on your phone.
If you’re planning on using public transportation like the metro or bus lines in Barcelona, using the TMB APP is a must – this will show you the quickest route to your destination, whether it be on foot, metro, subway, or train.
Rideshare apps you may recognize from home are also available in Barcelona, such as Uber. Ridesharing cars, as well as taxis, are plentiful throughout the city.
The international airport in Barcelona (El Prat Airport) has frequent flights throughout Europe and further abroad as well. This is one of the major benefits of settling in Barcelona as a digital nomad – you’ll have easy access to travel destinations near and far. The airport is about 25-35 minutes from the city center.
The airport is easily accessible by the Barcelona Aerobus for 5 Euros per person. The Aerobus makes trips into the center of town every 5 minutes and can be picked up at several stops throughout the city, including Plaça Catalunya and Plaça d’Espanya. The airport is also accessible by public transport.
Things to Do in Barcelona
There are seemingly infinite things to do in Barcelona to make the most of your time here… that is one of the things that is most attractive to tourists and digital nomads alike. Here are a few of my favorite things to do in the city, that you can’t miss while visiting.
Enjoy Barcelona’s food
Madrid might be best known for Spain’s most famous churros and tapas, but Barcelona has an incredible food scene, alone worth making the trip to this city for!
Start your culinary exploration of the city at one of the city’s markets (La Boqueria is the city’s most famous, but Santa Caterina is much more authentic!) and go from there. Check out our foodie articles on Santa Caterina Market and the best churros in Barcelona to get more ideas about where to start.
When I travel I always love to take a food tour or cooking class, especially at the start of a trip, to get a taste of a city or country’s favorite dishes. It will help you make choices at restaurants for the rest of your travels!
The number one activity I recommend for visitors to Barcelona? This tapas and drinks walking tour. This tapas tour of the Gothic Quarter and El Born neighborhood (click here for reservations) is hands downs the number one activity to do in Barcelona, and a total steal for the amount of food and drinks that are included in the ticket price!
Take in the History
Spending time in Barcelona as a digital nomad means you’ll get to know the city better than a tourist would… but don’t skip out on those historic and class Barcelona destinations just because they’re beloved by tourists, too.
Make sure you spend time wandering through Barcelona’s historic Gothic Quarter district and exploring the old churches, including the Barcelona Cathedral, Casa de l’Ardiaca, and remains of Roman aqueducts next door.
You’ll also want to explore the less-visited neighborhood of El Born, which is like the cooler younger sister of the Gothic Quarter, filled with cafes, design stores, and much more.
Traveling outside of Barcelona, make sure to visit Girona (just over an hour outside of the city) if you’re a history buff – here you’ll find a medieval old city and remnants of a Roman fortress. Sitges is a fantastic beach town easily accessible to Barcelona by train. A visit to mountainous Montserrat, with its monastery and breathtaking funicular, is another must.
Skip the Lines in Barcelona
Don’t forget to book your tickets in advance for Barcelona’s favorite must-see attractions in order to skip the lines!
Enjoy Barcelona Views
There are plenty of spectacular views of Barcelona, from the city’s hills and cityscape as well, and with the Mediterranean Sea in the background, they’re all stunning. Make sure to check out some of the best views in the city here:
One of the most iconic views of the city is from Gaudi’s masterpiece, Park Güell. A must-see for every tourist that visits the city, try to plan a visit when the park first opens, or right before close, for the most unobstructed views over the city and sea.
For a stunning view over Barcelona’s Cathedral and the Gothic Quarter, head to Hotel Colon’s rooftop bar for a drink and some tapas. You’ll be up close and personal with some of Barcelona’s most beautiful landmarks.
Castell de Montjuic
Set on a hill overlooking this city, the Castell de Montjuic is an old military fortress overlooking the city and sea, and it has one of the most unmissable views of the city. You’ll get to see La Sagrada Familia’s spires and the Gothic Quarter in the distance, along with Barcelona’s port and beachfront. You can take a cable car over the port to return to the city!
Not a Barcelona view but a nearby one! Head to Montserrat just outside of the city for incredible mountainous hikes and views from the hilltop monastery.
How to Save Money in Barcelona
Choose your Neighborhood Wisely
Rent will be the most expensive part of your Barcelona budget regardless of where you stay. However, prices can differ vastly depending on the neighborhood you choose.
With Barcelona’s extensive public transportation system, looking at less central neighborhoods can save you up to 50% or more on rent, without costing you easy access to the best things to do in the city.
Here are some of the best ways to search for housing as a digital nomad – check out options on all of them to save the most money:
Local digital nomad groups
Here you’ll find first-hand recommendations and information from locals and digital nomads. These groups are my number one pick, wherever I travel! These ones are the best for Barcelona:
The old faithful travel and digital nomad housing platform, always worth looking into when searching for accommodation. In Barcelona, I’ve found that Airbnb rentals tend to be quite expensive – not the best option here.
Listings for co-living arrangements in cities around the world. These generally tend to be inexpensive options, from my experience, and many will include access to coworking spaces and events.
Anyplace is a fantastic digital nomad resource offering an array of coliving, apartments, and long-term hotel rental options worth looking into.
A female-only platform with a variety of home-sharing, rentals, and home exchange options. The platform takes security seriously, so it is invite-only! Check out the Female Digital Nomads Facebook group for an invite.
Save Money on Travel & Accommodations
If you’re planning on traveling while in Spain – or any of Europe! – you should absolutely get the Eurail Train Pass! The Eurail Pass allows for unlimited train travel in Europe (or, on a less expensive ticket, in just one country) and can help you save significantly as you explore Europe.
Eurail Pass holders also get tons of additional discounts and benefits as well. These include discounted ferry tickets, discounted accommodations, and much more. Here are just a few examples:
Ferries from Barcelona to Morocco, Italy, and the Spanish islands of Mallorca and Ibiza for up to 30% off the standard ticket price.
Countless hostels in Barcelona and around the country offer discounts for pass holders.
Regional bus travel is also discounted or FREE for pass holders.
Save Money on Museums and Events
Museums and cultural events can be expensive in Barcelona! One of the easiest ways to save money is by visiting on the first Sunday of every month – many museums offer free admission (check out the complete listing here). Other museums offer free admission on Sundays after 3 pm.
You can also consider getting The Barcelona Card and visiting several museums over the 3-5 days of card validity. Plus, the card includes unlimited public transportation use for its duration!
Take Public Transport and Walk
Of course, taking public transportation and walking are easy ways to save money anywhere. Thanks to Barcelona being such a walkable city, and the extensiveness of the public transportation system, this is a particularly easy way to save money here.
For public transport options, choosing the right ticket can save you tons of money. Choose the T-casual (T-10 card) for 10 rides at a discount if you’ll just be in the city for a short time. If you’ll be here longer, the T-usual metro card will save you significantly, allowing for unlimited metro and bus use for a month.
Avoid Eating in Tourist Zones
Avoid eating in the Gothic Quarter and other areas frequented by tourists if you’re looking to save money! While there are a few exceptions to this rule – Bar del Pi and La Alcolba Azul are favorites! – this is an easy way to save money, and avoid some tasteless, touristy food in the process.
If you can’t avoid eating in the area, check out budget favorites like La Plata for simple but delicious tapas, and Bo de B for healthy choices at a great price. Even stopping in a grocery store or at a market is a great way to eat in the area and save a lot of money.
To get an even better idea of where to eat on a budget in these areas, I recommend taking a tapas and drinks walking tour of the Gothic Quarter and El Born – this is my favorite, must-do activity in Barcelona and a great way to see the city and learn about local food at a very affordable price!
What to Pack for Barcelona
These tiny locks help avoid pickpocketing and are great for traveling anywhere. They are an easy way to keep your backpack or purse zippers shut. It is also a good idea to get a padlock if you plan on using a hostel with a locker and luggage locks for suitcases in hotels.
A virtual private network service is so important to have for coworking or using the internet in cafes where your information can easily be hacked. I have used and loved NordVPN for years and HIGHLY recommend it!
Barcelona is a walkable city and you should take advantage of that! Bring comfortable shoes like sneakers and flats.
Layers and seasonal clothes
Barcelona has four distinct seasons, so depending on how long you’re here, you may need some seasonal clothes in your wardrobe. Even in the summer, it can get chilly at night, so bring a sweater.
You’ll need it here even if you don’t plan on going to the beach! Make sure you have reef-safe sunscreen (I love Alba sunscreen!) in case you do make it into the sea.
Plug adapter and converter
If your computer, phone, and other gear don’t use European plug styles or 220v electricity you’ll need a plug adapter and electrical converter. I recommend one (get it here!) that also serves as a power bank and can charge all your gear at once.