You have decided to move to Barcelona to study from abroad. It is your fist time but some of your friends have been there before and they have given you recommedations. Deciding where to live is key to make the most out of your semester or year abroad and it´s important to inform yourself about the different areas (do you prefer to be near the beach? do you prefer to live with other students? Would you prefer to be in building with all students?
Barcelona is divided into 10 "districts". The most popular areas for student accomodations are:
The City Centre: we find the actual old quarter called Ciutat Vella. Surrounding this quarter are two very popular residential areas called Eixample Dreta (Right Eixample) and Eixample Esquerre (Left eixample). The majority of students stay in this areas.
University Area: Eixample esquerre is were many universities (UAB, UB, ESADE, etc) are located. There are also two districts which are popular for students: Corts and Gracia.
DISTRICTS FOR STUDENTS:
Well, let’s start from the beginning… Ciutat Vella (Old City) is comprised of four different neighborhoods (Barri Gotic, El Raval, Barceloneta, El Born). It is one of the most beautiful and charming areas of the city. If you have ever visited the city before, you probably felt in love with this area and you decided that this was where you wanted to live one day!
This area is jammed with bars, music venues, restaurants, etc. so it might be noisy in some parts, especially in Barri Gotic, where pedestrian streets are quite narrow. If you like to be in the middle of the action you just found your area!
However, when you choose your apartment just make sure that there is not a bar or restaurant terrace below.
This is a very touristy area and, as a consequence, the cost of living might be more expensive, especially for grocery stores and restaurants. In terms of rent, it is an affordable area. The average rent for a two bedroom apartment goes from 500 to 700 € per month.
In general the Old City has great transport connections with the rest of the city. The Gothic Quarter, Raval and El Born are connected with the University Area by the tube Lines 1 and 3. Barceloneta’s connections are not as good, only the tube Line 4 reaches there.
This large area named Eixample is located beyond Plaça Catalunya and is divided in two parts, ‘Eixample Dreta’ and ‘Eixample Esquerra’ by Passeig de Gràcia. In this area the buildings are built in an easily recognizable grid shape designed by the architect Ildefons Cerdà.
Eixample Dreta is one of Barcelona’s most exclusive neighborhoods. It has a great location as you can walk to Plaça Catalunya and Sagrada Familia. You are also close to Passeig the Gracia which is an exclusive shopping area and to the Gothic Quarter where you can enjoy Barcelona’s nightlife. It also has great tube connections as L1, L2, L3, L4 and L5 stop in this neighborhood.
Rent in this neighborhood is generally quite high, still you can find some nice apartments with an affordable rent. Conversely, Eixample Esquerrais a student area.
Eixample Esquerra & Corts
Eixample Esquerra and Corts neighborhood form the University Area (Zona Universitaria), where the majority of students live, since many universities are based there, for instance ‘Universidad de Barcelona’, ‘Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña’ or ESADE.
Corts is also the financial neighborhood of the city, where many international companies, businesses and hotels are located. Nightlife in this area is quiet since the majority of professionals don’t live here and students tend to head towards Eixample, especially around Plaça de la Universitat. In this area there is also the Barcelona FC’s stadium Camp Nou, so if you are a Barça fan you just found your neighborhood!
Transport connections are also great. The tube lines L1 and L3 can take you to ‘Ciutat Vella’ in less than 20 minutes.
Gracia is the new hip upcoming neighborhood which used to be a town until 1897, when it got incorporated to the city. It still maintains its bohemian style, with large squares where bars set up their terraces, local markets and independent stores. It has the famous Parc Guell from Gaudi.
Many students are moving to this neighborhood because of its trendy scene. Moreover, it has great connections to the University area by the tube line 3 and to ‘Ciutat Vella’ and Barceloneta beach by line 4. It is also possible to cycle but there is quite a stip hill.