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Moving to Barcelona: 12 top tips

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.

Barcelona’s best activities and neighbourhoods

Hi guys, in this blog I am going to talk about what activities people can do in Barcelona. Think of shops, restaurants, sports activities, learning Spanish, nice areas to visit and the different kinds of neighbourhoods in Barcelona. When I came to study here for the 2nd time, I finally had more time to explore more in Barcelona than when I came to do my internship. Now I am going to share everything with you… how exciting!

Moving to Barcelona: 12 top tips


I’ll begin by talking about the different neighbourhoods in Barcelona city centre. All of these different neighbourhoods each have something unique and wonderful about them.

El Gotico

Right now I live in El Gotico which is located super central; very close to the beach, port, bars/restaurants and the shopping area! The charm of El Gotico is that it contains many little criss-cross streets which makes it super cosy and magical.

El Born

El Gotico is also very close to El Born, which is a neighbourhood I lived in 3 years ago for 4 months. This is a very safe, cosy, cute neighbourhood which is pretty similar to El Gotico but super alive. It has the best cafes, bars, coffee spots and it’s such a cool area!


Barceloneta is also a pretty cool neighbourhood which is really close to the beach. I wouldn’t recommend this place for shopping / good cafes etc, but they have a beautiful beach and super nice beach clubs and restaurants.

El Raval

The Ramblas split El Raval and El Gotico. Raval is a bit more of an edgy neighbourhood, the housing might be cheaper here but it may not always be the best quality compared to other areas. There are some really nice restaurants like Flax and Kale and Canete (my favourite) and also some really good coffee bars like Dalston and Nomad. I’d also definitely recommend checking out the nice vintage stores here!


The last neighbourhood on the list is another that I really like, Eixample. This is actually very big but I love this. I already lived in this area for 1 month and this was such a difference in comparison to Born/Gotico etc. You don’t have little cute criss-cross streets but instead there are big, busy streets, very impressive buildings with little balconies and this is just so cool. This area is definitely a must visit!!


Eixample has so many good classy and chic restaurants like Harry’s (Italian), La boca Grande (tapas), and cool bars like 4Latas (a student bar). In Eixample you can also find La Sagrada Familia and a really nice shopping area with the most beautiful stores! For my remaining months in Barcelona I am hoping to find an apartment here.

Activities to do

There are so many activities to do in Barcelona. I’ve listed a few of my favourite below:

Los Bunkers del Carmel

The Bunkers is my all time favourite spot; you have an AMAZING view all over Barcelona and it’s super nice to have a drink with some friends.


You can also do a little hike and go further up to Tibidabo which will lead you to a little theme park and also gives you an incredible view and a nice restaurant to just sit down.

El Born

In El Born there are some nice meeting places where lots of students come together. For example, El Porteno; this bar is nice to have some drinks with friends or along Passeig del Born there are also a lot of cool bars. In Born there are a lot of nice coffee places to visit such as: Lulu’s, Funky Bakery and Nomad in Passatge Sert.


Tennis & Padel

I am a huge fan of doing sports because I used to play tennis at a high level. I am not playing that much tennis because of university but when I do, I play at Reial Societat de Tennis Pompeia at mountain Montjuic near to Plaza España. This tennis club is so nice and also contains padel courts which I also like to play. Another place to play padel is Club de Tenis y Pádel Olimpia; this is actually the cheapest one I could find here in Barcelona as it is such a popular game.

Bootcamp Club

I also joined the bootcamp club United Fit, which is actually Dutch (but they almost always give classes in English)! These bootcamp sessions are not expensive and you really feel super good afterwards. The sessions are at the port and this makes it feel less hard because you have such a nice view with all the palm trees! 🙂

Urban Sport Club

I’d definitely recommend downloading the Urban Sports Club app – it’s free to download from the app store. This is a digital subscription, which means you can choose the subscription that best suits you. You can choose from more than 300 centres with all different kinds of sports; watersports, gym clubs; playing tennis, sup, bootcamps, yoga, etc. The first two weeks are for free to try out and afterwards you have to pay monthly. This is definitely worth it and also an opportunity to meet new people and try new sports!

Learning Spanish

When I came to Barcelona for the second time, there was one thing I knew I needed to do: learn Spanish. I did some research on the different kinds of language schools and chose BCNLip. This school is in El Gotico and actually in my street, so it only takes me 1 minute to get there. I have night classes from 7-9pm, two times a week because of university. It’s quite a challenge to do two times a week in the evening but totally worth every minute.


This school helps me to learn Spanish quickly and in a very fun way. I really recommend this school; you are in small groups with a very nice teacher who has great teaching methods and the classes are never boring. The price you pay is also super cheap (6 euros per hour!) which is amazing for the price-quality combination. There are tonnes of language schools/classes in Barcelona, so even if you don’t go for this one you’ll definitely find one that’s suited to you.


This was already my 4th blog and as always, I really hope you enjoyed this and it got you excited to be in Barcelona! If there are any questions, do not hesitate to contact me:

Kisses and adios!!

Maud in Barcelona.

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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