Barcelona Tourist and Expat Guide – I'mMovingToBarcelona



Looking for the perfect flat in Barcelona may seem daunting and impossible at times. If you don’t have the luck of getting a relocation agency to do all the dirty work for you, you need to count on yourself.

Don’t worry! We’ve been there too and learned the ropes. We’ve gathered here some basic advice to help you succeed in your search. Read our Top 5 Tips Before You Start Looking For a Flat in Barcelona and go for it!

Firstly, NEVER make up your mind before checking out the actual condition of the apartment. Go and see it for yourself. You never know if the owner isn’t too familiar with Photoshop.

5 things you need to have if you are looking for a flat in BCN:

  1. Get a temporary place to stay for the first 2-3 weeks (check out Airbnb).
  2. Get a source of information, a person in BCN who can provide you with advice.
  3. Get an access to the Internet and phone.
  4. Get to know the flat-to-rent websites.
  5. Learn the basic vocabulary.

 1. Get a temporary stay

The market of properties to rent in Barcelona is not easy, so you can reserve at least 2-3 weeks to find your flat. I know people who found their flat in 4 days but it’s better to be prepared for the worst case scenario. It is crucial to make sure you have a temporary place to live during this time. Hotels in the capital of Catalonia are rather expensive and usually with small rooms, especially if you have the perspective of moving with a lot of stuff. Then it’s advisable to look for other options.

For couples and those moving for work

I’ve used Airbnb. For a stay over 1 week, you can try to negotiate the price. I got a reasonable price for a 1-month-stay, which was equal to spending 10 days in a hotel. The good thing is that they offer various options for your stay: you can be staying with the owner in the guestroom or get the whole apartment for yourself. In both cases, you get to meet the owner, an advantage on which I will elaborate on in the next point.

For students

You can also check out Couchsurfing, it offers free stays within its community. You will sleep on a couch or in someone’s guest room. If you don’t like the idea of being someone’s guest, there is always the possibility to check-in to a hostel. It might be a great option for an Erasmus student or a person who comes to BCN for a determined period of time.

For me it was not an option as I came by car fully-packed with clothes, books, and other very important stuff. So I needed space to put all this stuff in. It wouldn’t have been the best idea to leave the car packed with all those things somewhere in the city.

 2. Get a source of information

Having used Airbnb I got to know Artem, the owner of the flat who, being an expat himself, has been a great host and my principal source of tips and tricks on starting my new life in Barcelona. Thanks to his advice I knew where to go shopping, how to rent a flat, what are the best neighbourhoods to live in, where to eat, where to go for a trip outside the city, which beaches are the best and much much more. All this info was priceless.

 3. Get an Internet access and a phone number

It might seem obvious but the Internet access itself won’t do the trick. You need to be able to browse the red in order to make a list of flats worth seeing and then call the owners/agencies on the phone. Rarely do they respond to an email.

You also should know that in order to buy a simple pre-paid sim card you need to have NIE and passport on you. And you can buy it in one of the telecommunication companies’ stores only! Do not bother to look for it on gas stations or alike, I tried and failed to buy it. Finally, with all the documents required, I got a Yoigo pre-paid sim card and use it until today.

 4. Get to know the websites

Here are the most popular websites with offers of flats to rent:

5. …and the vocabulary

You might need to learn the most important vocab in order to read the “anuncios”, ie. “offers”. Here’s a small dictionary for a flat rental beginner: Renting a flat in Spanish – vocabluary tips

Be prepared for the fact that the search might not be easy. You are in for some traps and occasionally for some nice surprises. But once you find it, you’ll gonna love your new life in Barcelona.

Read more:

4 Discussions on
  • Hi Sofia,

    I had a question regarding finding an apartment in BCN. Do you think it would be more difficult to find an apartment in the month of August? I’ve heard (and read here) and the city and businesses shut down during this month. I’m planning on moving at the end of July so it scares me that I won’t be able to start looking for a place until a month after being there.


    • Hi Mariana,
      I don’t think it will be impossible. Maybe a bit harder but most of them are normally advertised through an agency, so I guess some of them will still be operating. On the bright side, maybe you’ll have less competition as August is slow and still some time before the students arrive in September. My advice is don’t wait, start as early as possible and you will be fine! Good luck!

  • Hi, Sofia,

    I am planning on teaching English in BC. Would my students come to my apartment for the private lessons, or do I always have to go to them? I ask because I feel moving around the big city can be a hassle and time-consuming.

    Thanks a lot for your time and courtesy.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published.