Life as an Expat in Barcelona Spain - Ex-Rats
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Life as an Expat in Barcelona Spain

Life as an Expat in Barcelona Spain

The Pros & Cons of Living in Barcelona

Barcelona is my home without a doubt! From the first moment I stepped into this vibrant city, I directly felt at home. Barcelona fits with my life in all terms of culture, and lifestyle. Thank you to Hannah and Adam from Ex-Rats for inviting me to share my experiences as an expat living in Barcelona.

I moved to Barcelona when I was 24 years old thanks to a European Scholarship I received. Although I was still studying in Germany, I decided to do both simultaneously. I visited some design courses, got work at a tourism agency, and took a plane once in a while to fly back to the University. The tourism company hired me, and I just had to take a flight back to the University to get some tests done. Since late 2014 I am working on my own projects. I am the founder of, a website designed to award 5 Star Hostels based on transparent criteria. I am working in the tourism industry helping business to get a strong branding out there, and how to be a Media Rock Star.


The Pros of Living in Barcelona

The Beach:

This is pure gold! It takes me 5 minutes to be at the beach, take off my shoes, and have a swim in the sea. From March until November my friends and I meet up at the beach to play some beach volleyball. The city hall also organizes different events at the beaches of Barcelona such as open-air cinema and concerts. Having a beach next to a beautiful city is a dream come true for me.

The Mountains & Nature:

Barcelona has its beach. It is also super close to mountains and green nature. In winter we take the car to the Pyrenees, and in 2 hours we are snowboarding down the border mountain of France and Spain. Closer to Barcelona you have endless options for biking tours, hiking trails, national parks. It feels good to get out of the city once in a while. I enjoy getting to know the beautiful surroundings of Barcelona and Catalonia.

The Culture & Architecture:

You might expect the Spanish culture to be open, but the Catalan one is different. They are friendly and open from the beginning, but it takes time to have them as a real friend. Once you do have a Catalan friend, you have a friend for life, and you can always count on him/her! I value that. The people are friendly, and they do love their food and drinks. If you wanna hurry up making Catalan friends, throw in some Catalan phrases, bring a bottle of Cava (Catalan Champagne), and something to eat. You will make yourself popular for sure.

The modernistic architecture of Barcelona is famous worldwide. Wherever you go in the city, you will find an incredible designed building. I am still taking photos of the different buildings, even when I passed them hundreds of times. For me, this is art right in the street.



Barcelona is international. When we meet up to play football or volleyball, usually every single person is from a different country. This is it what makes it so interesting. There is always something going in Barcelona. One day you sit at an Open-Air cinema, the other day a beach concert, and then a street food festival. The life in Barcelona happens on the street. Right around my corner there is a winery. Here you will always find people chatting, and sharing their stories. You can easily join in as everybody likes to talk. I love that.

The Cons of Living in Barcelona

The Winter:

In Barcelona, the actual winter is only January and February. But it is still enough for me to complain about. Many buildings in the city are not well-prepared for cold temperatures. It can be cold inside your flat if you are unlucky. Usually in winter it is between 5 and 10 degrees, which is basically nothing compared to the northern European countries. The humid, however, makes it feel way colder. This in combination with the cold flats is something I would be happy to skip every year.

The Tourists the Party Tourist:

Many people would mention the tourists, as there is also a lot of party tourism in Barcelona. Sure, this can be annoying. Besides this, having so many tourist in Barcelona is an honor for the cities beauty, lifestyle, and culture.

Another Con:

Although I love the easy-going lifestyle in Barcelona, I notice myself getting annoyed. I am referring here to the business world here. I have these 2 days a year I would just prefer having everything organized from the beginning until the end. But hey, maybe that is just my German heritage. The rest of the year I am more than okay with the life in Barcelona and Catalonia.


About Matt:

Matt is a media professional with a passion for travel and hostels, beaches and nature, languages and puns. His website is designed to award the most awesome Hostels in the world, based on transparent criteria. Every chosen accommodation has to be eco-friendly, have a great design, be unique, social, and have a very good staff rating. We award and list all 5 Star Hostels at Pick your hostel in your desired destination, and we will show you where you can find the lowest price to book it.

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