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Why You Should Consider Living in Barcelona

Spain consistently heads or comes near the top of global lists rating countries for their lifestyles. No surprise, therefore, when a new study by Blacktower Financial Management Group named Spain as the best country in Europe for retirees.

The results of the study were calculated using weighted metrics analysing cost of living, crime rates, life expectancy, property prices and population age. Spain led the way as number one ahead of second-placed Finland and Italy (third). The top-10 was rounded out by (in order): Slovenia, Netherlands, Portugal, Germany, Greece, Denmark and Austria.

Popular Coastal Resort

So for those contemplating a move to another country, Spain is clearly an excellent option in Europe.

But what about within Spain? A majority of new expats tend to gravitate to coastal resorts such as the Costa del Sol, Costa Blanca and the Balearics (Palma de Mallorca). Most are keen to be near a major airport transport hub so they can travel to and from their home countries with relative ease. Some want to be close to the main cosmopolitan centres of Spain, but just far enough away to be able to switch off and enjoy a more bucolic lifestyle than in the cities.

Barcelona ticks all three boxes: the capital is one of southern Europe’s premier port cities, and is in the centre of 600 kilometres of Catalan coastline (north to the French border and south to Valencia); its inland areas include picturesque mountain landscapes and traditional villages; and Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat is a major global airport, with connections throughout the world.  

Top Global Destination

Barcelona’s status and appeal was highlighted in the latest Destination Cities Index compiled by Mastercard. The city was ranked an impressive 17th in the index that ranked 200 cities based on proprietary analysis of publicly available visitor volume and spend data.

Barcelona is one of the key destinations in Spain for foreigners wanting to buy a home in the sun, although a significant proportion opt for areas outside the main metropolis – for example, on the Costa Brava and Costa Dorada in the neighbouring provinces of Girona and Tarragona.

There are a multitude of reasons why living in Barcelona, or the surrounding area, is so popular with expats… here we focus on four of the best. 

Vibrant Melting Pot

If living in a city is your preference, few in the world can rival Barcelona for the diversity of its attractions, everyday lifestyle, and historically warm embrace of foreign visitors and residents.

From Neolithic to Roman times, and Muslim rule to the Catholic Reconquest, Barcelona has been bequeathed an engrossing cultural and architectural legacy. Today, city residents can enjoy living in nouveau, modernism or contemporary neighbourhoods full of charm and extensive public parklands. 

Iconic Cuisine

Foodies will be right at home in Barcelona – and further afield in Cataluña. The local and regional gastronomy is a sumptuous smörgåsbord of tastes, flavours and ingredients.

The typical Barcelona day, for example, invariably begins with a breakfast of iconic pa amb tomàquet . Its literal translation, “bread with tomato”, makes it seem deceptively uninteresting but once you have taken part in the ritual – rubbing garlic and tomato into the bread, then seasoning it with olive oil and salt – you will appreciate why it is so universally popular.

Other classic dishes, this one originating in Tarragona, include grilled calçots (a type of green spring onion native to Cataluña) and romesco sauce (made with red peppers, hazelnuts and almonds), ideally enjoyed with family and friends at a street barbecue. And for dessert… crema catalana, essentially crème brûlée, although the jury is out on who invented the dish: the Catalans or the French.

From Ski Resorts to Coastal Villages

Cataluña is divided into four provinces: Girona, Barcelona and Tarragona along the coast (from north to south) and landlocked Lérida.

New residents preferring to avoid the frenetic pace of the city, but still be close to the sea, will find just what they want in Cataluña. Without travelling too far from the capital, and staying within Barcelona province, municipalities such as Sitges (40 kilometres south of the capital) have been expat bastions for decades.

For a more exclusive haven, elite footballers including Lionel Messi are living in the luxury Bellamar urbanisation on a hill overlooking the sea on the outskirts of Castelldefels, about halfway between Sitges and Barcelona.

For those who would rather opt for mountain living, and are snow sport enthusiasts, Lérida is home to several top ski resorts (including Baqueira Beret, a favourite with Spain’s royal family and aristocracy) and nearly 300 kilometres of ski slopes.

Transport Links

In addition to the aforementioned Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport, Barcelona is well connected to the rest of Spain, as well as European cities to the north.

A modern highway system extends from the French border in Girona to Andalucía in the south (you can actually drive all the way to Málaga without having to stop at traffic lights); and the high-speed AVE rail network connects Barcelona with Madrid.

Barcelona is a also a major port-of-call for cruise ships and other commercial and recreational boats.

Article courtesy of Annie Button


Jan 11, 2020 | 257 Page Views

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