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Experiences with housing in Barcelona

Maud Anna van Gorkom

Check out the stories of Maud, Dutch, she is studying a Masters degree in International Business at EAE Business School and she is enjoying life. She is sharing advice, Q&A’s and personal experiences regarding student life in Barcelona.

In this blog, I will share with you everything I know from my own experiences regarding searching for a house in Barcelona as a student. We will cover questions such as: Where can I find an apartment? Where can I find roomies? What are the price ranges for an apartment? What extra costs can I expect? Which documents do you need to rent an apartment? What is the right timing to find an apartment? All of which will be answered in this blog!

Maud’s Barcelona: My experiences with housing in Barcelona

Searching for an apartment

Having a nice, quiet apartment where you feel at home is important when you live in a city that never sleeps! So, where can you find good apartments in Barcelona? It is also important to take into account that there’s a possibility of getting scammed if you’re not careful.


  • The most interesting website for me is Idealista. This is an unpaid website where lots of apartments, studios and rooms are offered for everyone and they are very reliable. You can click on the button that says: ‘contact me’ and the real estate agent will contact you super fast!
  • A big platform almost everyone knows about is Airbnb, this is also a super easy way to find apartments. However, in my opinion, there are cheaper platforms to use than Airbnb.
  • Another website that is useful to know about is Badi. Badi is also a reliable website that offers lots of good apartments, rooms or studios. It’s definitely worth taking a look at.
  • A faithful website is Ficassa. All of the apartments are displayed very clearly on the website.
  • Last but not least: Apartment Barcelona is also a useful website to look at as they have a broad variety of apartments across Barcelona. When you rent with them, they offer you free medical service in the apartment, discount on activities and parking at the best price. 


It is important to have nice roommates to live with. I was very lucky that I had the opportunity to live with my best friend. Sometimes you can find roommates via your university, but usually people search via Erasmusu. On this website you can not only find roommates, but also apartments. People write a short story about themselves with their age etc. and the things they look for in a roomie. This is a great website for internationals!


It’s natural for expatriates to gravitate towards each other through social networking groups, particularly if they’re keen on meeting people who speak the same language and/or share the same nationality. There are many international and English-speaking networks in the city, and these help a newcomer as well as a more established expat to find their social circle. Even if you do speak fluent Spanish, joining these networks prove to be a valuable resource.

Prices and extra costs

The prices for renting an apartment in Barcelona depends on your own needs and in which area you are planning to live in. Sharing an apartment is of course cheaper than having your own studio. But also living close to the beach and the area El Raval is cheaper, although I would personally not recommend living in this area. El Born or El Gotic are more accessible in terms of price and are also safer and a nicer area to live in. Eixample is a bit more expensive, but a very desirable neighbourhood to live in!


The prices are not always the same as you see on the website. This is because will probably need to pay an agency fee of 10% over the overall contract price, or sometimes the agency fee is equal to 1 month rent. This is important to take into account. Also, the utilities (gas/water/wifi/etc.) are not always included in the rental price. This is normally, on average, around 150 euros per month depending on the apartment. Make sure you always double check the additional fees with the real estate agent. Another important thing to take into account is the deposit, this is usually equal to 2 months of rent which you will pay prior to your stay.

Documents needed

For renting an apartment (depending on the agency and real estate agent) you will need specific documents. My passport and payment transactions were in my case already enough. However, some real estate agents can also ask for proof of work (e.g. a contract), an NIE or other details.


Timing is the last important thing to take into account. The timing of searching for an apartment in Barcelona is probably different than in your hometown. When I came to Barcelona, I started looking for an apartment half a year before, not knowing that it was way too early (yes, the real estate agents were laughing at me)! Do not go searching for your apartment in July when you will move to Barcelona in September. The chance that you can find something then is very unlikely. When there is an available apartment on the website, this means that you can go in the apartment right away! So, remember not to start your apartment search too early.

Thanks for reading my blog and hopefully this helps you with searching for a house in Barcelona!

Hasta luego! 🙂

X – Maud

january 2022: Update from Maud

Hi guys!


My life in Barcelona has come to an end! I really enjoyed these past 15 months in Barcelona and met so many beautiful people. I am super grateful for my time here in Barcelona and I will never forget the precious moments I made.


I am proud of what I accomplished here in Barcelona, like graduating with an MBA in International Business last July and doing a leadership program whilst working at an international start-up, Barcelona Expat Life. I am in love with the city, the weather, the people, the food, and the culture! But, I am going to start my next adventure and go back to the Netherlands (where I am from).


I am really going to miss Barcelona, but I am super excited to live and work back in Amsterdam and make new memories! I am sure that I will be back soon to enjoy life in Barcelona again for a holiday or to visit some friends. Hasta luego! Ciao, X Maud.

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