How To Become A Barcelona Digital Nomad
Thinking of becoming a Barcelona digital nomad?
4 years ago I thought the same. I ended a long term relationship, hopped on a plane to Barcelona the next day and cried throughout my Duolingo app lesson about ‘hairy spiders’, on the plane ride.
(Get it together Duolingo, no one needs to learn about hair spiders!)
As one of the countries with the highest number of digital nomads, you must be wondering why a lot of digital nomads choose to work remotely from Barcelona.
So, what’s so special about Spain’s booming cultural hub?
This article will be looking at why Barcelona is THE destination that digital nomads are looking to work from, the workings of the city, where to stay, the best of Catalan cuisine to try plus events to help you meet and network with Barcelona digital nomads.
I wish I had this guide to help me when I stepped foot in Barcelona with my snotty tear filled tissue. But I didn’t, so I am creating one for you!
Here’s what I’ll be covering in this article:
- Why Barcelona?
- Cost of Living
- Barcelona Weather
- Digital Nomad Visas
- Top Places for Nomads in Barcelona
- Best Co-Working Spaces
- Best Places to Stay at and Work From
- Food You Must Try in Barcelona
- Getting Around the City
- Useful Tips
DISCLOSURE: The links on this page may be affiliate links, from which I earn a small commission if you click on them, AT NO EXTRA COST to you. Hope you find the information here useful. Thanks!
Related posts on Digital Nomads:
- An Epic Guide To Coliving in Barcelona
- How To Become a Digital Nomad In Spain
- A Practical Guide To Coliving in Madrid
- Best Banks For Digital Nomads Around The World
Why Become A Digital Nomad In Barcelona?
As one of the top cities for digital nomads, Barcelona hits the right notes with hundreds of productivity-boosting coworking spaces and top notch-brunch cafes (with high-speed WiFi) and tapas bars to last you, well as long as you choose to stay there.
But what makes Barcelona so appealing for digital nomads? If you ask me, it’s these 3 things:
- Life in Barcelona
Knowing Spain as a relatively sunny country, I wasted no time in deciding to head to be a Barcelona digital nomad.
Living in a sunny city with beaches stretching across 5 kilometres, you know what that means — getting your tan on and staying productive by the beach! I don’t know about you but that’s how I roll.
Life in Barcelona
As a well-known digital nomad spot, Barcelona is perfect for those looking to network and mingle with other nomads during their stay.
Additionally, with plenty of coworking spaces and cafes to work from, being on-the-go has never been easier!
Hailing from Malaysia, a country with an array of mouthwatering foods, food is non-negotiable for me as a digital nomad. Fortunately, Barcelona is bursting with culture and that includes a variety of worldwide cuisine to sample.
So if food is an important deciding factor, you should consider being a digital nomad in Barcelona.
Cost Of Living In Barcelona
As a Barcelona digital nomad, you would spend between $1600 to $2300 in living costs. This includes rent, food for the month and utilities. The cost depends on each individual’s spending habits.
Here are the breakdowns for each category:
As Barcelona is a metropolitan city, expect to fork out at least €650 ($783) for monthly rent for a studio outside the city centre, which can go up to €975 ($1175) if you’re looking at a place near the city centre.
Monthly groceries would cost between €150 ($181) to €200 ($241), which again depends on where you shop and what you tend to shop for the most.
If you’re keen on supporting the local farmers, you can check out Mercado de La Boqueria, a well-loved farmers’ market (among tourists and locals alike), famed for fresh produce and delectable local delights.
However, if you much prefer dining out or go cafe hopping while working, I have good news — eating out in Spain would not break the bank as one meal at a typical restaurant will only cost €10 ($12) at most.
Utilities cost covers electricity, WiFi, water and gas. In Spain, each utility is billed differently.
Electricity, WiFi and gas are billed every month, but you will only have to pay the water bill every 3 months.
As for the cost, your bills should be between €100 ($120) to €150 ($181), depending on your usage.
Based on a rough estimate, in total, you would spend around $1732 (including extra expenses for eating out) each month as a Barcelona digital nomad.
Due to its strategic location, Barcelona experiences a warm Mediterranean climate all year round. This is why daily temperatures usually range between 15 – 21°C (59 – 70°F).
Between June and August, it can get as hot as 34°C (93°F) in summer, whereas between December to February it can go as low as 5°C (41°F) on winter nights.
Wintertime Activities in Barcelona
We all know that locals, nomads and tourists prefer to flock to the beach during warmer months. But what do they get up to during winter?
Here are some ideas for things to do around the city during the winter:
- Check out the local Christmas markets, such as the famous La Fira de Santa Llúcia
- Experience thermal bath treatments at AIRE Ancient Baths Barcelona.
- Ice skating at Kaliu Park
- Visit local attractions such as La Sagrada Familia as there are fewer tourists
Best Beaches in Barcelona
What’s a stay in Barcelona if not for impromptu beach days? Barcelona is known for its golden sandy beaches, and having access to vitamin sea (get it?) is very convenient.
Here are some of the best beaches in Barcelona:
Digital Nomad Visas In Barcelona
Working remotely from Barcelona as a digital nomad means that you will need a visa during your stay, especially if you’re a non-EU national. Here’s the list of non-EU countries.
So what are the visas available?
Generally speaking, you have to first apply for a work permit at the local Spanish embassy or consulate in your country. Some of the documents you have to provide include (but not limited to):
- Bank statements to prove that you can financially sustain yourself during your time in Spain
- Proof of skills relevant to the work you are planning to carry out in Spain
- Rental agreement to show that you have booked accommodation in advance
Work permits are generally valid for a year, after which they can be renewable subject to certain conditions.
Please consult your local Spanish embassy or consulate before proceeding with the permit and visa applications.
Top Destinations For Digital Nomads In Barcelona
Gothic Quarter (Barrio Gótico)
Whether you’re a tourist, traveller or Barcelona digital nomad, the city’s Gothic Quarter is one you can’t miss.
You’ll be in awe when you walk by the marvellous architecture of the Barcelona Cathedral. If you’re looking to shop, check out Le Swing Vintage for curated second-hand designer pieces.
Craving for a bite in the middle of exploring? Pop by Artisa Barcelona for a taste of their organic coffee and a selection of small bites (or a brunch if you prefer).
Gaudí’s Architectural Wonders
Let’s be honest; has anyone ever gone to Barcelona and not visited at least one of Gaudí’s notable masterpieces?
Here are some of the ones you should check out:
Barcelona’s famous 180-year old market has everything you need for your grocery needs — from local olive produce, a variety of cheese as well as fresh fruits.
Take a stroll around the market and choose from over 200 stalls selling groceries and local cuisine you can sample from.
Cool Co-Working Places For Digital Nomads In Barcelona
Barcelona has hundreds of co-working spaces to choose from, which can get overwhelming.
So I have summed it up and picked out only the best for you!
Arguably the best place for remote work in Barcelona, this coworking space is only a few steps away from the majestic Sagrada Familia.
Facilities: High-speed WiFi, common area, phone booths, a fully equipped kitchen, 24/7 accessible
Cost: From €20/day ($24), €90/week ($109), €170/month ($205)
Located in one of the beautiful neighbourhoods in Barcelona, Betahaus is suitable for both individual digital nomads and companies looking for a change of scene.
Facilities: Different types of workspaces to suit your needs, free flow coffee, tea and water
Cost: Day Pass from €15 ($18), Weekly Pass from €69 ($83), Flex Desk from €99/month ($119)
Get a boost of inspiration after a day’s work from the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, located a 3-minute walk from this coworking space.
Facilities: 2 different hubs for different professionals to work from, 24/7 access, high-speed WiFi, meeting rooms
Cost: Daily Pass from €20 ($24), Weekly Pass from €95 ($115), Flex Plus from €180 ($217)
Aticco is designed with productivity in mind, fully equipped to ensure you have a balance between leisure and work.
Facilities: Canteen, high-speed WiFi, 24/7 access, free coffee and tea, printers, relax zone
Cost: Day Pass from €35 ($42), Monthly Flex Pass from €199 ($240)
A membership at MOB allows you to access all 3 of their coworking spaces around Barcelona.
Facilities: High-speed WiFi, printing and scanning services, Skype booths, conference rooms
Cost: Day Pass from €15 ($18), Monthly Flex Pass from €70 ($84.50), Monthly Fix Pass from €210 ($253)
Digital Nomad Events in Barcelona
As part of Barcelona’s digital nomad community, many events allow you to network and meet up with other nomads.
The Meetup app is frequently used to announce digital nomad events happening in Barcelona. Simply sign up and join the group that you are interested in.
The Digital People Barcelona is one of the groups available for Barcelona digital nomads.
Alternatively, the Barcelona Digital Nomads Facebook group is a resourceful platform to keep yourself updated on Barcelona’s digital nomad news.
Random Fact: I joined a girls hiking group on FB, which introduced me to the Barcelona Gaelic football team and, ahem! met the love of my life 🙂
They are a great bunch and you can join with no experience! It was awesome being able to travel to Valencia, Madrid and other parts of Spain with a loud funny team of Irish / Spanish people!
Best Places To Stay and Work From in Barcelona
Being a nomad in Barcelona, choosing where to live and work is important.
I’ve come up with a summary of the best places for digital nomads in Barcelona to live in and to work from.
Best Places to Stay in Barcelona for Digital Nomads
I have come up with a list of the best places to stay in Barcelona by neighbourhoods and coliving spaces.
- L’Eixample – The Sagrada Familia is located in this iconic district, where cafes are plentiful and the nightlife is vibrant. Everything you need is right by your doorstep — including a shopping mall, supermarkets and restaurants with a variety of food to choose from.
- Gràcia – Right next to L’Eixample is Gràcia, an artistic neighbourhood with its unique personality. Many of Gaudí’s works can be found in the area. It’s perfect for those looking for some quiet after a day of being out and about. Surrounded by restaurants and cafes offering a wide variety of cuisine, including vegan and vegetarian-friendly joints.
- El Born – Known for its historic origins, El Born houses some of the oldest and greatest, including Casa Gispert, a food store operating since 1851. Another notable landmark is the Mercat de Santa Caterina, a farmers’ market accommodating residents’ grocery needs.
Coliving in Barcelona
Coliving.com is a coliving platform specifically for digital nomads and provides affordable accommodation, good wifi and excellent workspaces.
Here are a few useful facts about them:
- Secure payments
- Verified properties and guests
- Flexible lease (from one week to one+ year)
- Largest coliving booking platform
- Lowest price guarantee
- Free cancellation (within 24 hours after booking)
- Advanced search
- Verified guests and hosts
Book using this link to get 2.5% off your first month’s rent
Barcelona’s first coliving space. Aside from digital nomads, residents come from different walks of life, including Master students and independent professionals. Every corner of the space is equipped with high-speed WiFi, and rooms are all ensuite to ensure privacy. Rates start from €700 ($845) per month.
This coliving space offers more than just accommodation. Residents often participate in many work and social events to bring residents together and network. Additionally, fitness areas and meditation rooms are also provided for those who need them. Rooms are available from €500 ($603) per month.
Located in Montseny Natural Park, the founders of Kalart believe that working away from the hustle and bustle of the city will help encourage personal and professional growth, particularly of their residents.
They offer several room options, starting from €18.30 ($22) per night.
Some accommodations also provide hostel work in Barcelona in exchange for lodging. Here are some suggestions if you’re interested:
Cafes with Best WiFi in Barcelona
Best Food To Try In Barcelona
As the capital of Catalonia, Barcelona is famed for an abundance of fresh seafood dishes which anyone and everyone who visits should try.
Here are some of the best Catalan food to look out for (and taste) when you’re there:
- Calçots – Seasonal green onion, usually cooked barbecue-style and dipped in romesco sauce (made from tomatoes, red wine, red peppers and paprika)
- Pa amb tomàquet – Tomato, garlic, olive oil and salt mixture are spread across this Catalan bread before it’s savoured
- Escalivada – Vegetables such as eggplant and bell peppers are roasted or smoke-grilled for this enticing dish
- Esqueixada de bacallà – Unique salted cod salad served with onions, tomatoes and olive oil
- Mandonguilles amb sípia – Hearty meatballs and cuttlefish stew
- Fricandó – Slow-cooked beef shoulder/knuckle stew with mushroom
- Mel i mató – Dessert made from fresh cheese sourced from goat’s or cow’s milk
- Coca – This pastry bread is a delight, whether enjoyed with sweet or savoury toppings
Getting Around Barcelona
Barcelona has one of the most efficient public transport networks in Europe. So it comes as no surprise as to why many have chosen Barcelona to live as digital nomads.
There are four ways to get around the city:
- By Foot
There are six tram routes available around Barcelona, covering most areas and districts of the city.
Barcelona Metro runs mostly underground. With 189 stations and 12 lines, it is the fastest and most convenient way to get around the city.
Buses in Barcelona run on a highly efficient schedule, ensuring passengers have a smooth ride throughout their journey.
This network of 3 types of public transports are all integrated, including the fares.
Fares: From €2.40 ($2.90) for a single journey ticket, but travel cards can allow for multiple journeys.
Tip: The travel cards can be used on the metro, tram and bus.
Barcelona is a walkable city, made easier with pedestrian-friendly roads and boulevards.
If you are sightseeing, for example, you can get from one tourist attraction to another by simply walking a few extra steps.
Useful Tips and Things You Should Know
I’ve put together a list of things that you should know as a Barcelona digital nomad.
Take note of these when you’re there:
Learn the Language
Pick up some Catalan or Spanish words. I jetted to Spain knowing only 3 words of the language but a few months in, I could order my favourite tapas in Spanish and get around the city pretty well!
Savour the Dinner Time
Living in a vibrant city like Barcelona, especially as a digital nomad, you are bound to make friends, which will lead to fun-filled weekly dinner adventures! I think it’s important to be aware that dinner time in Spain could go on past midnight.
Beware of Pickpockets
Barcelona is generally safe, but also notoriously known to be a hotspot for pickpockets. Remembering to check that your essentials are tucked away safely before heading out and while touring would help you stay vigilant.
Having been a Barcelona digital nomad, I can’t emphasise enough how important travel insurance is. Some of us plan to be away for months and end up being on the road for years, so booking travel insurance is essential.
World Nomads offer some of the most comprehensive insurance packages, tailor-made for nomads and travellers with different needs.
Living in Barcelona as a digital nomad has been a fulfilling and uplifting journey and one I’m more than happy to do again.
The city has a distinctive vibe to it which is difficult to find in other cities, for which hundreds and thousands of other nomads agree. Incredible food with endless options, a vibrant community and all-year sunny weather are all the reasons you’ll find yourself yearning for once you leave.
Have you lived in Barcelona before, or planning to head over soon? Share your experiences or plans in the comments section below!