Looking for an apartment (or flat) in any city can be stressful, especially in a big city like beautiful Barcelona. There are just so many things to take into consideration, for example:
- How much am I able and willing to pay?
- Do utilities come included?
- Which neighborhood do I want to live in?
- How many roommates will I have?
- What bed size will I have? (be aware, the twin size beds in Spain are TINY)
- How does the place look?
- and MUCH more
Now I’m not trying to stress you out, but be aware that there are many things to think about. But I’m here to hopefully make the process a little easier for you.
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Living in Barcelona
Barcelona is easily one of my favorite cities in the world. So many international people go there every year, not just to visit, but to study and work. It’s really crazy how international the city is and how many languages you hear on the street.
It can easily be one of the best times of your life, as there is always something to do. From events to restaurants and bars, the city will have you meeting many people from everywhere. There is also the right balance between city, beach, and mountains. But something that should also make your time great, is your apartment.
Although you will probably spend a lot of time outside, you will still want your room and home to be a nice place to relax and enjoy.
Here are three quick things I just want to point out about apartments in Barcelona that you will probably come across when searching for one:
- There are so many apartments with 6+ rooms and people
- The blueprints make absolutely no sense some times (who builds these buildings??)
- There are a lot of vacancies at one point in time, and then it can become extremely difficult to find any free apartments at other times. This is due to the high turnover and influx of international people coming throughout the school year.
Fun facts aside, let’s get to business.
Where do I Start?
If I were you, I’d start by thinking about where I would like to live. Are you going to be studying? Working? And what will your schedule be like?
Personally, even if my school or work is a bit out the way, I prefer living more IN the city than living closer to my obligations. This obviously depends on you and your preferences though.
Barcelona has 10 different districts — each breaking down into different neighborhoods with their own style and offerings. It is way better to narrow down your neighborhood options before starting your search.
Once you have decided on your top two or three neighborhoods, you can start looking for flats!
Which Sites Can I Use to Find an Apartment?
There are various websites out there that you can check for flats. I have listed a few of them below:
Modern Housing Sites
Uniplaces – a nice, and easy-to-use website with pictures of every place, and sometimes even floor plans. You can also see all the available rooms in that same apartment, and see vacancies around your university.
Spot A Home – similar to Uniplaces, but each apartment is verified by the Spot A Home team. They also have a floor plan, and a video of the place (sometimes including the view and the entrance of the building). I also like the maps on these two sites because it shows the metro lines, which can come in handy to see how easy it will be to get from one place to another.
These four are super convenient and modern, but they are intermediaries between the landlord and the renters, so they do charge a service fee. I would also say (depending on your preferences) to make sure to pay attention to:
- Living with the landlord – a lot of places are apartments where you share the space with the landlord (which could be a bit awkward in my opinion, but it’s all up to you)
- No overnight guests – some places don’t allow you to have anyone stay over, or they even charge you a fee. (For example in my old apartment I had to pay 10€ for every night I had a guest over. I don’t recommend this because it can sometimes be awkward/annoying to tell your landlord every time you have a friend, family, or partner, coming to visit)
**NOTE: Sometimes you can also get discounts for these websites, so check to see if there are any coupon codes online!
NestPick – this one is more of a comparison site. It takes flats from other websites like Spot A Home and Be Roomers and allows you to check available apartments in the city from each site all in one place.
More Personal Sites
Idealista – this site is good for those who want something more personal and who don’t want to pay realtor/service fees. Here you deal directly with the owner or landlord of the apartment and can contact them through WhatsApp or email. (By the way, if you don’t have Whatsapp yet, download it. You will use it!) They also have a good breakdown of each neighborhood which helps make things easier.
The only downside I would say about Idealista is that since you are dealing with landlords directly, it can be a bit difficult to find English-speaking owners, and it could be sketchy sometimes. Just make sure not to give too much information, and make sure to get everything done ‘the legit way.’ For example, don’t send a deposit and have them mail you the key– that is a common scam in Barcelona. As long as you are careful, you should be fine.
Erasmusu – like Idealista, but can be advertised by the students living in the apartment themselves (for example, those who are looking for new roommates or looking for someone to replace them). Just keep in mind that some of the flats on here are verified by the site and others are not. Once again, just be careful.
You can also use other resources such as Facebook groups. Since there are many people moving in and out of the city, it is very convenient for students to list their own vacancies and try to fill the spot. They usually do this to avoid paying fees for leaving early, or to make sure they get to know who their new roommates will be. I’ve listed some of the Facebook groups to check below:
These groups are great to check what rooms are available and to talk/get to know the people currently in Barcelona. They are also good for you to post: what exactly you’re looking for, in which neighborhood, and for how much.
There are of course other websites you can use to check for flats, but these are the ones that I think are the most convenient for students, interns, and international people in general. If your budget is higher, you can also check out realtors like SH Barcelona, or even something more for travelers like Airbnb (they often give discounts for month-long stays).
If you are studying or interning, also be sure to ask your university or company, and check university Facebook groups as well.
Also! If you are in the area, or if you’re someone who prefers to look at apartments in person, try arriving to the city earlier, rent an Airbnb or hotel and then look at some flats.
I hope this has helped you with your search a bit. Let me know if you have any questions or think I left anything out.
- The Ultimate List of Must-See Spots in Barcelona
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- 7 Tips for your Trip to Barcelona
- How to Exchange Money for your Study Abroad Semester
How is your apartment search process going? or did you use something else?