Rent Like a Pro: How to Find the Right Pad in Barcelona

Hitting the Sand in Barcelona

Ready to make the move to one of the Med’s most stunning cities?

By Chris Ciolli

With its potent mix of Modernista masterpieces, sunny weather, and inexpensive food and drink, it’s easy to see why so many travelers are interested in making the change from visitors to residents in Barcelona.

Whether you plan to stay for a few months, a few years, or make the Catalan capital your permanent home base, we’re here to help. Read on for our tips for finding a great place to stay in Barcelona.

Room in Barcelona

Rent out a room in an apartment or find a pad that’s all your own. Where will you be most comfortable?

Short-term housing in Barcelona

If you’re headed to Barcelona for a year or less or aren’t really sure how long you want to stay, this section is for you. First-timers and visitors who haven’t spent much time in the city are well advised to chose a hostel in the neighborhood of their choice to try a neighborhood out before committing to a place to live.

Month-to-month rentals are rare in Barcelona, but can sometimes be negotiated in shared apartments with an empty room. Check out bulletin boards on local university and language school campuses, contact owners advertising rooms or flats for rent on sites like, or post your request in Facebook groups for Barcelona newcomers like or

On the other hand, folks who already have a good idea of where they want to live should check out all their options in one place at You can search for flats in Barcelona with Nestpick which offers shared apartments or student residences, studios, or even an entire apartment to yourself. The site makes it easy to find exactly what you need (a fully furnished room with bedding, and wifi) where you need it (close to school or work).

park guell

Barcelona is home to some of the world’s most impressive architecture. Be wowed daily when you move to the city.

Barcelona Long-term rentals

Sure you want to stay in Barcelona for a year or more and clear on exactly where? It’s probably time to look for a long-term rental in your barrio of choice. Nestpick offers both short-term and long-term rentals as does (the latter has a handy, if poorly translated, English version for folks who are still learning Spanish and Catalan, and includes the option of making a counter-offer before you even visit a flat or a room if you think the price is too high). Spanish-speakers may want to check out, too.

Of course, if you’re a really busy professional type, your best option might be hiring an agent to find something that meets your needs, but you will be expected to pay a commission, and the rental rates may be somewhat higher. Furnished long-term rentals are available, but if you’re staying for a while, we’d recommend you furnish your own digs for maximum comfort and value for your money. You can always resell anything you purchase if you need to.

Nerja, Andalusia - Balcony - Regina WB

Time to find your room with a view in Barcelona. Start your search with these local sites.

Buying a property in Barcelona

Want to buy your own piso in Barcelona? With property values and rental rates on the rise, a well-located apartment could be a good investment for careful shoppers. Want to get a quick overview of what’s out there? The same sites we recommend for long-term rentals are also a good jumping off point in the search for a property to purchase.

Potential buyers should be aware of a few pitfalls of the local market. Buying property in Catalonia’s largest city is more expensive than it may seem upon first examination. Why? One word: taxes. In Barcelona, buyers should expect to pony up 15% in taxes out of pocket, upon purchase of housing. Beyond that initial 15% in taxes, there’s also a 20% down payment to consider. That means for a 100,000 Euro apartment, the up front cost to the buyer is 35,000 Euros. Buyers should also note that generally speaking, banks don’t want your mortgage payment to be more than 40% of your net monthly income and mortgages top out at 30 years, 35 max, if you’re in your 30s or younger. Spanish bank BBVA offers a handy mortgage payment calculator, here:

However long you decide to stay in Barcelona, there’s likely to be a housing option that’ll work for your specific circumstances. Enjoy!

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2 Responses

  1. Very useful.

    I live in Seville, but a friend of mine is thinking of moving to Barcelona, so great tips. Which areas would you recommend staying clear of?


  2. The Spain Scoop says:

    Mostly just avoid areas that are way out from the city center. But also stay clear of super touristy areas like the Gothic zone.

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