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10 Cons of living in Barcelona

Are you having hesitations about moving to Barcelona? Don’t worry, that’s normal! Every city is bound to have its pros and cons, which you may not figure out until you’ve lived there for a while.


Our platform certainly highlights the benefits of living in Barcelona, but we’ve also decided to give you the heads up about a few cons regarding life in the Catalan capital.

1. Finding affordable housing in a nice and safe area

Rental prices in Barcelona are always on the rise, so finding affordable housing in a safe and central location can be quite challenging. Most your professionals cannot afford to rent an entire flat, so they tend to rent a room in a shared apartment. However, if you're willing to move slightly out of the centre there are a lot more options.

2. The paperwork process is very lengthy

You may have heard how slow Spanish bureaucracy is, and believe me there’s nothing more stressful and tiresome than trying to establish your legality in Barcelona. A combination of Spain's relaxed working hours and a lack of available appointments means that it'll more than likely take a couple of tries and visits to several different offices to complete any paperwork successfully.

3. Quite a high crime rate

Due to the vast amount of tourists that come to Barcelona each year, the city has earned itself the title 'Pickpocket capital of the world'. Although most places in Barcelona are generally quite safe, always have your wits about you and keep any personal items close, particularly when walking down streets like La Rambla.

4. Generally low salaries

Like the majority of Spain, jobs are relatively scarce and salaries are much lower in comparison to the rest of Europe. The cost of living in Barcelona is also fairly high, so (depending on your lifestyle) it can be almost impossible to survive on the minimum wage.

5. Sundays in Barcelona

On Sundays in Barcelona, most shops and supermarkets are closed, except for the odd few in the more touristic areas. This can be a bit of a nightmare if you're from a city that takes having stores open 24/7 for granted, so make sure you do your weekly grocery shop beforehand!

6. Noise pollution

The streets of Barcelona can be very loud, and not just on the weekends. The city centre is very densely populated and there are often sounds of people partying and music from bars, traffic congestion, industrial activities and of course festivals and demonstrations.

7. Opening hours

The opening hours for most shops in Barcelona are from Monday to Saturday from 9am to 1:30pm and then later in the day from 5pm to 8pm. Larger shopping brands such as Zara and Mango usually open from 10am to 10pm. Most banks are open from Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 2.30pm and are closed on the weekends. These specific opening times can make it quite hard to book appointments around work hours.

8. Unbearably hot summers

If you're not used to the hot summer months (in addition to the huge number of tourists that swarm to Barcelona in the summer period), the heat in the city centre can be too much. Most locals escape to holiday homes on the Costa Brava and other destinations to escape the hot and busy summer periods.

9. Long school holidays

If you have children, schools can be expensive and on top of this, school holidays are long.

10. Catalan isn't a common language

Those who learn Spanish before coming to Barcelona are often surprised to find out that people speak a completely different language here. Catalan is an independent language and if you don't learn it, you will struggle to understand it.

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