If you’re coming to study in Barcelona, either through Erasmus or to pursue a master’s degree or another study programme, you’ll want to know which neighbourhoods to look for in order to experience the city to the fullest. Before you start looking for a room, check out our list of the best Barcelona neighbourhoods to live in.
Eixample, a safe bet
The Eixample neighbourhood is a safe bet if you’re a student: it’s centrally located, buzzing with life, and very well connected. If your university is in the city centre, this is your place. Example is a safe neighbourhood where you’ll find flats with high ceilings and ample streets lined with shops.
Strictly speaking, Eixample is a district which comprises various neighbourhoods: Eixample derecho (the “Right Eixample”), Eixample izquierdo (the “Left Eixample”), Fort Pienc, Sagrada Familia, and Sant Antoni. It’s enormous, so there’s plenty to choose from, although we have our favourites.
Each of these places has its own charm, but if you’re a student, we recommend these neighbourhoods in Eixample:
- Sagrada Familia: It’s the most touristy of them all, but it’s full of cafés and outdoor terraces where you can quickly grab a drink, and it’s located right in the city centre.
- Sant Antoni: It’s a trendy, up-and-coming neighbourhood. The famous Sant Antoni market has recently reopened after many years of reconstruction, and it’s now a focal point for a neighbourhood that is lively and full of places to go for the typical local vermut.
- Fort Pienc: It boasts plenty of green spaces and it’s really close to the Ciutadella Park – perfect if you love running outdoors. The long Sant Joan street is also located here, which is a great place to go for a relaxed jog or a walk at almost any time of the day. A designated bike lane runs along Sant Joan street from top to bottom, which is also quite handy.
Look for a flat in a building with an enclosed garden (isla in Spanish), Eixample is full of these interior patios. Ask the landlord if the flat overlooks the patio or the street – it’s a neighborhood busy with traffic, so this is important to bear in mind.
Gràcia, the most bohemian of the neighborhoods
Gràcia is like a small village. It has its own personality and it’s one of the most bohemian and multicultural neighborhoods in Barcelona.
Its streets are narrow and not very busy with traffic, although it could do with a few more parks. There are many theatres, independent cinemas, cultural centers, and cool and modern neighborhood shops. Gràcia is best-known for its annual neighborhood festival, Las fiestas de Gràcia.
Gràcia is a very lively neighborhood. If you want to live here, ask the landlord if the flat looks out over a busy square or an interior patio – people are known to stay up late at some of the most popular squares. You can thank us later!
Poblenou, a budding neighborhood close to the sea
If you love the sea but have never lived close enough to it, look no further than Poblenou! Bathed in gentle sea breeze, Poblenou is a lively neighborhood full of tapas bars and places to exercise outside or by the sea – you can go surfing, paddle boarding, swimming, or do yoga and fitness at the beach. It’s a safe neighborhood popular with families, so you’ll feel really at peace here.
Just take a short walk along the seaside promenade for a glimpse of everything this magnificent neighbourhood has to offer. And the best part? You’re close both to the city centre and the technological area that is home to 22@, Pompeu Fabra University, or the BAU design school.
Poblenou is a great place for students, though it’s not as well connected by metro as some other neighbourhoods. It’s serviced by the metro lines L4 and L1, but you can also use the bus or the Bicing service, both of which work really well. Moving around on a bike is, honestly, the best option!
The university area of Barcelona (Zona Universitària) is located within the district of Les Corts. And there’s a good chance you’ll be studying at one of the universities in this area on Diagonal Avenue – this is where the largest university campus of Barcelona is located. It’s an area characterised by a multitude of faculties, office blocks, and hotels.
Zona Università is home to the beautiful Pedralbes park, an ideal place for a relaxing walk or a mid-study break, and also the venue for one of the most famous music festivals in the city, Festival de Pedralbes. For a touch of glamour, take a stroll down Avenida Diagonal, the classiest street in Barcelona, lined with pretty shops and chic restaurants.
You will find three neighbourhoods within the Les Corts district: Pedralbes, Maternitat i Sant Ramon, and Les Corts. Pedralbes is one of the most expensive areas of Barcelona. There are many universities in this area, including the Manresa Polytechnic School of Engineering, the Faculty of Business and Economics, the Faculty of Law, the Engineering Faculty, and many others.
If money is no issue and you want to live close to the university, we recommend you choose a flat in Les Corts or Sarrià neighborhoods. Both are very safe and elegant areas, quiet and without much late-night partying going og. Although the famous party area of Santaló is only a stone’s throw away, so you won’t be left without options for when you want to go out.
Choose Sants if you want to live among the locals
If you want to live among the authentic Barcelona locals, you should look for a place in Sants. With the exception of the Montjuic area, where the Magic Fountains and the Barcelona Fair are located, Sants is not at all touristy. It is a family-friendly neighbourhood, 10 minutes away from the city centre and a 15-minute ride from Zona Universitària.
Charming old buildings, narrow streets, and small traditional shops are typical for this neighbourhood. Think old ladies pushing their shopping cart and offering you a wide smile as you go by. That’s the neighborhood spirit we’re talking about! And on top of it, Sants has its own neighbourhood festival, as popular as the one in Gràcia. It hosts numerous outdoor activities, such as a sausage festival, chocolate tasting, concerts, live music, etc.
Sants is also close to Montjuic parks, open-air swimming pools with spectacular views of the city, and many libraries and language schools. The neighborhood is very well connected, both to the city and the airport – ideal for students who are on the move a lot!
Since this is a locals’ neighborhood, you’re likely to be addressed in Catalan. Take a beginners’ course and get to know the locals, we’re sure you’ll love it!
Wherever you decide to live in Barcelona during your study programme, you’re sure to experience some unique aspect of this diverse city. Choose your neighbourhood based on the factors that are most important to you, such as the proximity to your campus, transport options, or your budget. And for an ideal flatmate sure to share the same lifestyle as you, your best option is Badi!