A Complete Digital Nomad Guide To Barcelona
What this Guide covers
Rich culture, colorful and vibrant architecture, lush green mountains, pristine beaches, and year-round sunshine make Barcelona one of the most popular cities of Spain, attracting millions of visitors from different corners of the globe every year.
Over the past years, this Catalan capital has also become a favorite hub for digital nomads looking for a peaceful and thriving place to work.
Barcelona is one of the few cities in Europe that boast fantastic weather most time of the year and proximity to some of the best beaches of the country.
The city also offers a waterfront area that is perfect for relaxing and socializing, a comparatively low cost of living, and an amazing transport system, making it a perfect digital nomad destination to be based in.
This guide is aimed at exploring everything you need to enjoy a digital nomad’s lifestyle in Barcelona with everything it has to offer.
Why Barcelona Is Perfect For Digital Nomads?
Often touted as the best city for freelancers and professionals who work remotely, Barcelona has, over the years, built a strong reputation for being an attractive, friendly destination for the digital nomad.
Sure, it boasts a large number of coworking spaces, high-speed internet availability, and overall safety. But what is so special about this place? Let us look at the top reasons Barcelona is a favorite destination for a digital nomad.
Food & Culture
There are several reasons why Barcelona is popular among tourists. You can find a large number of cultural attractions, many of which are centered on the famous architect of the city, Antoni Gaudi.
The city bursts with a culture that encourages a variety of cuisines from around the world. If you don’t fall into tourist traps, food is cheap as well.
Sunny Weather & Beaches
The weather is one of the best things about this city. Barcelona is warm and sunny for the most part of the year, with a temperature rising to over 30 degrees in summer and going down to 12 degrees in colder months.
The city also has its 5km long coastline that lets you enjoy the climate to its most. This also means you are never far from a beach.
Getting around the city is pretty easy, thanks to its public transport system comprising tram, Metro, and urban rail network. The location is quite convenient, making it easy to travel further into Spain and even other countries.
Digital nomads don’t visit Barcelona to sit in their hotel all day. They would want to indulge in indoor and outdoor activities and habits to enjoy working remotely.
This is why it is important to examine how safe the destination is. Barcelona has a large number of coffee shops, coworking spaces, and parks among outdoor areas that provide a safe place for you and your equipment.
Cost of Living
Living in Barcelona is cheaper as compared to other parts of Europe, making it an affordable destination to lead a digital nomad lifestyle.
You can find a shared apartment for a monthly rent of about €450 while a good lunch would cost you about €50 or less.
Barcelona is home to a large expat community of about 4 million people including a huge number of digital nomads which is why you would find plenty of English speakers around.
In fact, this city has the third-highest concentration of freelancers in Europe. Moreover, you don’t need a visa to work and reside in Spain if you are a European citizen. US citizens can also live up to three months without a visa.
Getting Around Barcelona
One of the top advantages of Barcelona is its convenience of international travel. The EI Prat Airport not only serves local air travel routes but is quite connected to other routes, making it easy to get to and from Barcelona. Different rail and bus services also facilitate traveling throughout Spain and other countries in Europe.
Once you reach Barcelona, getting around the city and surrounding areas is easy and quick with its efficient transport network.
Walking in Barcelona
If you don’t want to travel far but simply want to explore the city at leisure, there is no better way than getting around on foot.
Though it can be a little less appealing in hot months, autumn and spring are the best times to take a walk through the narrow streets, exploring the culture and vibe the city has been known for.
Most of the neighbouring parts of Barcelona are self-contained, so it is easy to base yourself wherever you like and get access to all the essentials and amenities within walking distance.
Driving/Cycling In Barcelona
Another cheap and easy way to get around Barcelona is cycling/driving. However, you should be careful as bike theft is common here. You can rent a bicycle or bike to explore the city or use your own. But make sure you get a less attractive vehicle or invest in a lock to keep it secure.
Public Transports In Barcelona
Public transport is probably your best bet to navigate and get around the city. The integrated, highly-connected public transport system in Barcelona is seen as one of the best in the continent. It consists of bus, tram, FGC, and Metro services.
The metro system of the city is a broad network of connections through an underground subway. Depending on your zone, you can get an unlimited travel pass for a month called the T-usual that starts at €40 and lets you travel within the zone on the twelve lines spanning the city.
Apart from the metro, Barcelona runs more than 1000 buses on over 100 routes connecting different districts.
The network of buses follows an integrated fare system that allows passengers to commute for free from one location to another within a time window. The local bus service called ‘Hop On Hop Off Bus’ is the most popular option to explore the city.
Accommodation in Barcelona
Due to the large influx of expats, digital nomads, and tourists flocking to Barcelona, the rental market is known to be moving fast. If you are looking for long-term accommodation outside hotels and hostels, the best way is to start looking for options well in advance. There are services available for digital nomads that allow booking before 30 or more days, to be prepared when they arrive.
Though Barcelona is cheaper compared to other European cities, rent prices have risen to up to 30 percent over the past years. An apartment in the city center can cost you high prices but the rents are generally more affordable at other places.
Average rent prices in Barcelona:
- Studio in the city center – €800 per month
- Studio outside the city center – €700 per month
- Three-bedroom apartment in the city center – €1550
- Three-bedroom apartment outside the city center – €1100
Finding a perfect Airbnb or long-term rented house in Barcelona can be difficult at times. Most long-term rentals demand signing a lease which has its own drawbacks. Here are some options that should make it easy to find accommodation in Barcelona.
Coworking Spaces In Barcelona
Being a self-proclaimed digital nomad destination, Barcelona is home to a multitude of modern, convenient coworking spaces as well as cafes with fast internet connectivity. It is estimated to offer over 100 coworking spaces to leave you enough options to find the perfect workspace to work remotely.
La Vaca Coworking
sharedd members get a 10% discount
The name of this coworking space translates to ‘The Cow’ because it is set up in a former dairy shop. La Vaca is one of the most unique and trendiest coworks in Barcelona featuring a range of facilities and amenities including conference rooms, meeting rooms, tea and coffee machines, printing service, and even bike storage for those who like to commute by cycling/biking.
One of the biggest and the most popular working spaces in Barcelona, Betahaus is an obvious co-working location in the city for any digital nomad. It is spread across six floors and includes five terraces, a coworking café, and different desk and office spaces to suit individual requirements.
The trendy, ultra-modern coworking space located in the heart of Gracia is a hot spot for remote workers and freelancers.
CoworkIdea, EI Raval
Another modern coworking space worth giving a try, CoworkIdea is located close to Placa Catalunya offering everything from private meeting rooms and desk spaces to printing services and refreshments. You can work at convenience and relax, take a quick nap or unwind in the chill-out zone where you find a hammock and a lounge.
MOB Bailen, Eixample
Another welcoming coworking space located in the heart of the cool and trendy Eixample, MOB Bailen offers a spacious, bright working environment with all the facilities one would demand. A subscription to the workspace gives you access to conference rooms, event areas, printing and mailing services, and much more.
Crec, EI Poble-Sec and Eixample
If you buy a membership at Crec, you can select from two coworking spaces located in Poble-Sec and Eixample. An ideal option for those who like some variety without any compromise on the work environment, Crec offers you all you need to get things done.
Both these locations are modern and vibrant, with El Poble-Sec featuring an extra industrial vibe and quirkiness being located in a former warehouse. It also has a photo studio and therapy room, making it an excellent aid to creative freelancers and entrepreneurs.
Coffee Shops with Fast WiFi in Barcelona
If you don’t prefer to use coworking spaces, but still want to work remotely while enjoying the buzz and vibe of the city, you should probably head to one of the several trendy coffee shops scattered throughout Barcelona. Most of these quirky cafes offer fast and reliable Wi-Fi too, so it should be easy to get through your tasks.
Let us look at some of the best-rated coffee shops for remote working in Barcelona.
Coco Coffee Café
Offering a relaxed environment and outstanding service, Coco Coffee Café is highly dedicated to professionals and doesn’t permit those who don’t want to work.
It is a hybrid of coworking space and café where you pay on an hourly basis. A great thing about this spot is that the price includes all the food and beverages you order while working here.
A coffee shop with a cool cat-themed décor, Gats is a quite airy, modern, and trending space located in the center of Barcelona. It offers you plenty of seating options, fast internet, great tea and coffee, delicious food, and a cool ambiance.
It is much like a restaurant that lets you sit and work as long as you want. It is one of the top choices among digital nomads in Barcelona.
Federal Café Gotico
One of the best brunch spots in Barcelona, Federal is a great choice for digital nomads because it has a designated community table where people can sit around working on their devices.
The cozy ‘cabana’ is ideal for those who want to carry on their work over a healthy breakfast with high-speed internet, airy ambiance, and sufficient plug points. This coffee shop located in the Gotico has a welcoming vibe that makes it a super favorite remote work area in the city.
La Cala Barceloneta
A small yet cute spot for digital nomads in Barcelona, la Cala Barceloneta offers tasty tea, coffee, and snack options. It has an amazing décor, speedy Wi-Fi, and everything you need to work remotely. The best thing about this coffee shop is that it is hidden.
Those who are in or around the Poblenou area would find Sopa a great choice for a remote workday. This huge coffee shop offers several areas to sit and work, each featuring multiple plug points which can be a challenge when working remotely from other spaces.
It has a lot of natural light and panoramic windows to make your workday enjoyable. They serve vegan and vegetarian dishes and even offer a healthy set menu for lunch to set you up for a work-noon.
This is a chain of coffee shops and is a great place to check out for its calm and quiet ambiance, comforting space, great selection of beverages, strong Wi-Fi, and location choices.
Each of the shops is cozy and spacious and you can see a lot of people sitting with their laptops. It is an excellent place to work without worrying about spotty internet or power source.
Trendiest Restaurants To Eat In Barcelona
After the workday, freelancers and remote workers would look for a place to enjoy some good food and have fun.
There is no end to the trendiest restaurants across the city, but here are some of the must-visit eateries that would surely match the taste of a digital nomad.
Serving the new street-food craze in Barcelona, Gringa is the brand behind a food truck known for its sandwiches.
It offers some of the tried-and-tested dishes like carnitas tacos and fried chicken bun to entice all the foodies out there. The location has a hip décor, neon lights, a jukebox, plants, and a bar to let you relish at the end of a busy day.
Another trendy dining place that follows the latest trend of organic and local in the city, Palo Verde is a new facility with a short, produce-based menu of dishes cooked on a charcoal grill.
They serve fresh flavours on small plates and feature inspiring interior décor, making it one of the best go-to eateries for those traveling to Barcelona.
If you like eating healthy on your workday out, this restaurant is an affordable option for you. It serves over 90 percent plant-based produce including varieties of sustainable fish, chicken, and beef options. The brand runs three facilities in Barcelona and should be easy to get around.
Located in the heart of Barcelona, Bar Canete has two spaces – a dining area named Mantel where you are served delicious main courses in a relaxed atmosphere and the Barra which offers savory specialties in a fast-paced environment.
One of the trendiest and modern venues in Barcelona, Ocana serves a restaurant, café, and bar in one. They focus on creativity, offering a fun and unique environment for a digital nomad to relish after a tiring day. The menu is mainly a fusion of North African and Asian dishes but the vibe is amazing.
Gyms and Yoga/Pilates Studios in Barcelona
With an array of gyms, fitness centers, yoga, and pilates studios located across the city, staying fit is not difficult during your trip to Barcelona. Whether you want to work out on your own using their equipment or enroll in a private or group class, there are numerous options available for memberships and passes to match your needs.
While most require memberships, you can find workout spots that offer flexible options for those who tend to move between destinations. Most gyms have plenty of equipment and a variety of classes to choose from, in addition to steam rooms, sauna, swimming pool, and other offerings.
Holmes Place les corts
A friendly, welcoming atmosphere and water area are what make this health club a great place for digital nomads to indulge in some activity and refreshment. It hosts a complete range of fitness equipment and classes to select from. It is not just an excellent place to train but also to relax with rooftop solarium, heated pools, café, sauna, and jacuzzi. You can find a variety of classes on offer – body balance, running, pilates, aerobics, Zumba, yoga, spinning, and much more.
The almost-24-hour fitness club in Barcelona, BCN lets you enjoy the flexibility of working out at your convenient time. This versatile gym has a fitness area with treadmills and bikes as well as a cycling room and classes going on all day. You can choose from pilates, yoga, aeroboxing, salsa, body pump, and others.
This yoga center is an inspiring facility located at the core of Barcelona and hosts some of the most talented trainers in different yoga styles. This studio follows a system of purchasing classes with no time limits, best suited to those who like to have the flexibility of time and class. The studio is bright and inviting, creating the perfect vibe for some meditation and exercise.
Offering a wide range of services to choose from, Duet Fit is one of the most affordable gyms in Barcelona with some interesting perks and features. The fitness club hosts a big area of machines categorized for beginners and experienced. It also offers express activities like elastic and machine circuits that you can perform during the lunch break.
There is also a dedicated room for classes ranging from body pump and Zumba to pilates and yoga. The room has armchairs and high chairs as well as a kitchen with microwaves and fridges to let you enjoy your lunch.
Zentro Urban Yoga
It is a unique yoga studio that provides everything you want in a meditation session. With a large number of classes and workshops, you can progress quickly. The facility is clean and welcoming and treats beginners and experienced equally.
Groceries and Shopping in Barcelona
Barcelona has no shortage of restaurants and coffee shops but also has an abundance of grocery shops and supermarkets. These stores generally sell the same products but the prices can vary to some extent. Let us try to cover different options you have when shopping for groceries and produce.
Farmers markets are the best spots to find high-quality, fresh, organic products while exploring the local neighborhood. These markets are quite popular throughout the country and a quick search should give you the nearest location. They are set up in covered areas where you can find everything from fresh vegetables to seafood.
Here are the most popular farmers markets in Barcelona worth checking out.
The market is also known as ‘Sant Joseph market’ and is Barcelona’s most famous and picturesque farmers market. Its exterior is a metallic structure with an interesting interior that makes it famous for the diversity and quality of products from across the world. You can experience the unique atmosphere by strolling around the stalls of fish, meat, fruits, and vegetables and enjoy the sounds, flavors, and aromas from bars and restaurants.
This farmers market is located in the La Ribera neighborhood and offers a mix of fresh food stalls of different types – fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, seafood – and gourmet spots for ingredients in high quality. You can also find delicious offerings across vegetarian, oriental, Mediterranean and other cuisines served in a welcoming setting. It is a must-visit destination for anybody coming to Barcelona and willing to enjoy a food fusion.
Mercat de Sant Andreu
This farmers market in the traditional neighborhood is surrounded by an archway which feels like entering a secret spot. When you enter, you find a modest-sized market where you can buy everything from fruits and vegetables to meat, fish, and spices. The most appealing is the family atmosphere that resembles a village market of old times and the approachable stall owners.
The local supermarkets and grocery stores are probably one of the first places you visit upon arriving in Barcelona. These markets generally sell everything in terms of food and drink to fulfill all your grocery shopping needs. Moreover, these shops are pretty affordable and accessible.
With numerous stores across the city, Lidl is one of the favorites among locals as well as expats, offering all the groceries at cheap prices. The quality and range of products you find at these stores are pretty impressive. Poultry and meat are particularly value-priced here.
Though a little expensive than Lidl, Mercadona remains a staple for grocery shopping in Barcelona. They have an extensive range of products across categories and most stores have in-house butchers. It houses a few international brands but locally sourced products should also meet your expectations. It is one of the most inexpensive stores in Barcelona and offers value for money.
This chain of grocery stores offers a nice assortment of essentials and a variety of ready-to-eat food items at affordable prices. What makes it special is that some of its locations operate on Sundays as well. Dia has its own white brand whose products are quite cheaper.
Health System in Barcelona
Like any other place in Spain, Barcelona is known to hold an excellent standard for the healthcare system, holding a good reputation among locals as well as foreigners. The world-class system is admired greatly even in other countries, attracting a fair amount of international travelers every year as ‘medical tourists’ in search of the best available service and treatment. As a result, both private and public sectors in healthcare have been trying to meet the challenge with better facilities.
CatSalut is the Catalan public health system in Barcelona that offers subsidy-based health care for residents who hold the TSI (Targeta Sanitaria Individual) card. Despite the reputation, this system often keeps people waiting in queues for appointments, examinations, and operations, which can be disappointing for some.
European citizens can use their EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) to get access to the state healthcare system during short-term visits. Visitors from the UK can carry their GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card) to receive healthcare.
Considering this, the best bet for those thinking about moving to Barcelona is to invest in private healthcare insurance to make sure you receive instant assistance for any health problems you might face during your stay in the city.
Private hospitals in Barcelona are generally less crowded and better efficient as compared to public facilities. The city is home to over a quarter of the total number of private clinics in the country. Such a huge number of options has raised the standard of healthcare in the Catalan capital. Expats can, therefore, be assured that they receive timely care from well-trained practitioners at public healthcare facilities as well.
Some of the most prominent hospitals in Barcelona include Hospital Universitari Dexeus, Hospital Plato, Sant Joan de Deu Barcelona Children’s Hospital, Centro Medico Teknon, and more.
3 Must Do Activities in Barcelona
Whether you are a history buff, culture lover, foodie, or art enthusiast, you will certainly enjoy the diversity Barcelona offers. The city not only offers exciting tourist spots to pay a visit to during your stay but also has a local scene you can immerse yourself into and experience life in the city like locals. This is the best way to get the true feel of the place.
There is no shortage of things to do in Barcelona; here are the top three recommendations for digital nomads.
Visit the Sagrada Familia
No list of things to do in Barcelona is complete without mentioning the most iconic and historic place of the city, the Sagrada Familia that continues to appeal to you again and again as you visit. It is a creation of the most known architect, Antoni Gaudi, the man behind most architecture work seen across the city. This masterpiece is Gaudi’s work of life and has been in progress for 140 years now.
Chill Out on the Beaches
With about 4.5km long coastline, Barcelona offers digital nomads the right balance of relaxation and pace. During hot summer months, you would love to spend a chilled-out day in the sun, pausing to take a dip in the sea to cool off. If you enjoy sports, you can always join a game of football or volleyball on the beach comprising locals and tourists who will welcome you happily.
You can spend the entire day at the beach, watching the sunset from one of the bars, enjoying a snack and a cocktail with DJ and music that gains pace as the sun goes down.
Explore La Rambla
La Rambla is the most famous street in Barcelona that offers a lot worth seeing. It is somewhat like a tourist trap and you won’t find reasonable prices or authentic food here. It hosts the most popular market called La Boqueria which has become a tourist spot and an essential place to stock up on essentials and food produce.
You can either take time to explore the memorial monument or enjoy a fresh juice in any flavor of your choice to cool off on a hot day. Some other attractions along la Rambla include human statues, live performances, Erotica museum and artists that draw live portraits. There are several restaurants and shops along the La Rambla but the prices are often high due to its popularity among tourists.
Legal Matters Every Digital Nomad Must Keep In Mind When Moving to Barcelona
One of the most complex things digital nomads moving to Barcelona encounter is understanding legal issues and visas affecting their work-life and living conditions. You should also be aware of the immigration laws in Spain as they relate to you when shifting from another country. Most people travel from other countries on a tourist visa which technically doesn’t permit them to work in the country.
To address this problem, Spain has drafted a bill for a special visa for digital nomads. Aimed at encouraging foreign entrepreneurs and freelancers to establish their practices in Spain, this legislation would not only allow digital nomads to work remotely from Barcelona for up to 12 months but also give them income tax reductions.
Some people use a golden visa, non-lucrative visa, or self-employment visa to stay and work in the country. US, UK, and Canadian citizens can stay for up to 90 days without a visa according to the latest law.
It is common to hear horror stories about settling in Barcelona as a resident, particularly getting your ID, making the entire process seem daunting. However, it takes some time and money to get the required paperwork like your social security number and registration that informs where you live, saving you a lot of work in the long run, ensuring you can start living and working in this digital nomad hub.
If you are a citizen of Europe, you need no visa to work remotely in Barcelona. You are permitted to do this under the free movement of people law covering the countries and residents of the Schengen zone. You can stay as long as you like if you have your ID card and passport.
How To Get to Barcelona?
Barcelona is well-connected with the rest of Spain and with other countries and has excellent air, land, and sea communication. The international airport El Prat connects the city with the main capitals around the world. The city also has several sea links along with rail and road links that offer convenient ways to get to Barcelona.
The international airport is 16kms away from the city center, easily reachable through public transport. It has two terminals and more than 100 airlines connecting to different capitals across countries. There are also two other smaller airports near Barcelona that operate cheaper airlines.
The United States has several airlines offering direct flights to Barcelona. Two Canadian carriers operate non-stop flights to Barcelona while four carriers offer connecting flights to reach Barcelona. If you are traveling from a country within Europe, you can choose from different carriers that connect to Barcelona.
The port of Barcelona has become a significant harbor in the Mediterranean with connections to the major harbors and the Balearic Islands. There are seven terminals for ships and four for ferries. There are fourteen private marinas along the coastline with four in the city, providing an excellent option for anybody willing to arrive by private boats.
Barcelona also has direct connections by rail with the rest of Spain and other major European cities. The high-speed network of trains offers a convenient and comfortable way of covering long distances. The city also has a network of regional and suburban trains. The Barcelona Sants Station is the main departure point for these high-speed trains for international travel.
You can also get to Barcelona from different parts of Europe and North Africa. The Nord Station is the bus station where you can find national and international connections though several buses leave from and arrive at Barcelona Sants and other spots. These stations generally offer services like luggage lockers, tourist information, and foreign exchange.
An extensive network of roadways and motorways facilitates getting to Barcelona by car from Catalonia and the rest of Spain. The border with France is only 150kms away and two toll motorways connect the city to the French motorway. You can also get to the city via two ring roads, the Ronda de Dalt and the Ronda del Litoral. To approach from the south, you can use the C-32 and the AP-7 national roads.
Living a digital nomad lifestyle in Barcelona is both exciting and fulfilling as the city has an active community of expats including remote workers and freelancers. The city’s unique vibe is difficult to find elsewhere as most nomads agree. A vibrant community, all-year sunshine, incredible food options, and speedy internet are some reasons you would choose Barcelona as your remote working destination.
We hope this guide provides you useful information about what digital nomads can expect when planning to travel to or settling in Barcelona.