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Living in Barcelona with children

Barcelona is a unique and vibrant city with a wonderful climate, beautiful architecture, stunning beaches and many cultural, music and sporting events on all year round. Many people relocate to Barcelona every year, either for work purposes, to study at one of the city’s renowned universities or just for a change of scenery. With the expat community making up almost half of the city’s population, the capital of Catalonia seems to be a haven for expatriates – especially families.

This article is written by Reloc Barcelona.

Living in Barcelona with children

Living in Barcelona with children

Living in Barcelona with children: our tips

Choosing the best school

When moving to a new city or country, people often struggle to come to a decision on the best area to live particularly if they have children. Based on our experience, families with school-aged children should first consider where they would like their child to attend school and take it from there.


International and bilingual schools are often seen as the best option for expat families in Barcelona, as the primary language for public schools and Concertadas (state-subsidised private schools) tends to be Catalan (where it is used 70% of the time).


Many schools organise open days (online and in person) which will give you a chance to get introduced to the school. These open days are an excellent way to get an idea of the atmosphere and offered programs.


As a parent, it is much easier for your day-to-day schedule if you live closer to the school so that you can facilitate daily transport, extra-curricular activities and even weekend plans (as most children attending that school usually live in the local area).


When planning your move to Barcelona, think about how far you want to travel (both to school and to work), whether that’s by car or public transport.

What area do you want to live in

Safety and convenience will obviously be two priorities when considering which area you want to live in. Our advice is to look for a neighbourhood that has green spaces for your children to play, whilst also paying attention to the proximity of basic services such as shops and health centres. 

Best places to live in Barcelona with children

Barcelona city centre

Sarrià - Sant Gervasi

One of the safest and most exclusve areas in the city, Sarrià is often referred to as the “zona alta” of Barcelona. It’s just far enough from the to escape the tourist masses but within a commutable distance to the centre. This district boasts many green parks, restaurants, museums and shopping areas and also has one of the highest concentrations of international schools in Barcelona. St. George’s British School, Santa Clara, The Benjamin Franklin School and many more, are all located here.

Les Corts (Pedralbes neighbourhood)

Another of the more affluent residential areas to live, and a popular area amongst families in Barcelona is Pedralbes. It is also one of the most important financial and business districts in Barcelona, so there’s potentially plenty of job opportunities. Les Corts is also home to Camp Nou, the football stadium of FC Barcelona. Around it, you’ll find plenty of restaurants and a large shopping centre (L’illa). There are a great selection of international schools, including St. Peters, St, Paul’s, and Kensington School. 


Zona Universitària is also part of this district with its multiple international universities and business schools. 

The drawback of both of these areas is that they are rather expensive in terms of rental prices. However, they typically have good square footage and some apartments/villas even come with gardens and pools. 



Very centrally located and definitely more affordable. This neighbourhood is known for it’s family-friendly and artistic atmosphere, with plenty of locally-owned shops, galleries, live music spots and bars. You’ll also find multiple preschools and the English School in the area.

Montgat & Alella

Along the north coast of Barcelona, approximately 30 minutes by train or car from the city centre, you will find Montgat. These areas also host some international and bilingual schools and as a result, are a popular place of residence for many foreign residents. Whilst located in a prime spot with easy access to the city and also being next to the sea and good beaches, the apartments are surprisingly affordable.

Another area worth considering, and just a 10 minute drive from Montgat, is the town of Alella. The town is mainly known for its wines and cava and is a popular commuter town for Barcelona, as well as being close enough to the international schools in Montgat.

Castelldefels & Gavá ​ ​

South of Barcelona, also on the coast, you have Castelldefels and Gavá. Both are well-known for their stunning beaches and for housing celebrities (football legend Messi used to live in the area). Several international schools are located in these areas and you’re definitely not short of stunning villas and residential buildings, albeit on the expensive side. To travel there takes around 20 minutes by train or car from the city centre.

Sant Cugat del Vallés

A little further inland is the area of Sant Cugat del Vallés, where the very prestigious business university (ESADE) is located, along with other international schools (The Japanese School of Barcelona, Europa International School and Agora Sant Cugat International School). Sant Cugat offers lush, green areas and the apartment buildings are very modern – most with gardens and pools. 

It is also closely situated to an industrial area with many large international companies so it may be the perfect place for some families in Barcelona who are also working in the area. Rental prices vary from medium-high as these are mostly high-quality residential buildings. This area is well connected to the centre by car and train.

International schools in Barcelona

Barcelona is a wonderful place to bring up children and when it comes to finding a good school for your child, you will find an abundance of different options to choose from.


An added benefit of sending your child to an international school, is that they will have lessons in both Spanish and Catalan along with history and/or geography lessons on local matters. This gives expat children the opportunity to quickly overcome culture shock and immerse themselves in their new community.


If you’re considering living in Barcelona with children, listed below are the top international schools in and around the city:

Pros & cons of living in Barcelona with children



About RELOC Barcelona

At RELOC Barcelona we help individuals and companies with their relocation needs.


We are a team of relocation consultants with experience in international mobility, having lived in several countries – and therefore been expatriates ourselves – prior to settling in Barcelona.  Our personal experiences over the last 30 years allow us to supply a personalized and highly valuable service.


We speak English, Catalan, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Italian!


A quick list of our service features that you might find useful:

  • Orientation: A free call with one of our experts, to better understand needs & expectations of our customers
  • Removals and moving-in support
  • Temporary and long-term accommodation
  • School search
  • Administration and immigration documents
  • Setting up your life in Barcelona for the long-term

We’re excited to work with you and help make your relocation to Barcelona a smooth one!

More about living in Barcelona with children

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