How Expensive is Living in Barcelona?
The stunning city of Barcelona is a popular place for ex-pats and tourists alike. Located in Catalonia, Spain, this city is known for its Mediterranean climate and amazing array of cultural activities. Tourists flock to see the iconic Sagrada Familia Basilica, the original Barcelona Football Club Stadium, and Park Güell. But beyond its beauty and attractions, how expensive is living in Barcelona? Before making your move to the vibrant city of Barcelona, be sure you understand the true cost of living. While it is possible to live more cheaply abroad than at home, there are still certain types of expenses that need to be taken into account. From monthly rent to transportation costs and taxes, we’ll help you break down the costs of living in Barcelona.
As with any city, rental prices vary depending on the area, size of property, and amenities available. Generally speaking, Barcelona is a relatively expensive city to rent in. For example, according to Numbeo.com data from May 2021, studio apartments in Barcelona start at about €800 per month. But if you’re looking for a larger property or one in a more popular area of the city, such as near the beach or the city centre, expect that price tag to rise. The same Numbeo data showed a median cost of €1,600 per month for a 85m2 apartment outside the city centre or €2,919 for a similar sized apartment in the city centre.Renting bigger spaces to accommodate housemates or family is an effective way to make living in Barcelona more cost effective. The shared lifestyle comes with certain trade-offs — such as lack of privacy — but often enough it makes real economic sense.
Costs of Transportation
Due to the size of Barcelona and its surrounding areas, many people choose to invest in public transportation instead of purchasing a vehicle. Barcelona offers an extensive network of bus and Metro services that offer integrated fares and tickets. According to the TMB website, an individual single ticket costs €2.40 (€1.48 if purchased on a TMB app). If you’re a frequent user of public transportation, you may want to consider buying multiple tickets at once; for instance, 10 tickets for €20.40 or 60 for €124. If you do choose to purchase a car, keep in mind that Barcelona requires residents to have insurance and registration for vehicles. According to Money Saver Spain, drivers in Spain can expect annual car insurance premiums to cost roughly €600 – €1,275 per year. But keep in mind that price can also vary depending on your driving record, age and type of car.
Cost of Utilities
The cost of utilities including water, electricity and gas will vary depending on consumption habits. According to EuroCost International’s Cost of Living Survey, Barcelona-based households can expect to pay €179.14 per month on average for home utilities.
It’s important to also factor in other miscellaneous expenses such as groceries, taxes and internet fees when estimating the cost of living in Barcelona.
Barcelona offers a wide variety of eating options,from traditional tapas bars to Michelin-starred restaurants. Depending on your dietary habits, eating out can add up considerably if you’re not careful. According to Numbeo’s “Meal for 2’ Cost Estimator Tool in mid-2021, prices for a 3-course meal for 2 people range from €40 – €65 or more depending on the type of establishment chosen.
Monthly grocery budgets vary greatly depending on dietary habits; many cheaper items can be found at supermarkets such as Mercadona or Dia while higher-end groceries can be found at Moll de la Marina or Carrefour. One resource estimates that monthly grocery necessities such as bread, eggs, pasta and vegetables should cost approximately €50 per person per month — but this could be much higher if you opt for higher quality produce or imported foods.
Since Barcelona consistently remains one of the most visited cities in Europe for tourism, taxes tend to be very high overall — both for visitors and residents — in order to fuel public services. Excise taxes are applied to specific goods like alcohol and tobacco while income tax rates vary according to salary and status with regards to employment regulations (freelancer/self-employed vs employed). According to Numbeo’s tax calculator, a person earning around €6000/month will pay 40% income tax and average monthly taxes totalling around €800 per month.
Internet connection charges are relatively inexpensive compared with other cities in Europe—depending on the internet package chosen. According to CompareMyMobile, monthly fees may range from €20 to €60 per month depending on download speeds and type of contract. Additionally, as with most utilities providers, customers living in Barcelona may be able to get discounts or better packages by signing up for an annual contract rather than paying month by month.
Barcelona is an expensive city to live in—but it’s possible to now manage living costs with careful budgeting if need be. Relative to other European cities like London or Paris, it’s possible to live more cheaply in Barcelona but things like rent and extravagant meals can quickly add up without forethought or planning. Of course, the cost of living is relative—so it’s ultimately up to you whether it fits into your budget or not; make sure you do plenty of research before making your move! For more information regarding this topic you should also visit Numbeo, a comprehensive online resource offering real-time cost of living calculations and providing an estimation of living expenses based on your current location.
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