Living in Barcelona

In this section you will find the basic information for living in and getting around the city of Barcelona:

Welcome to Catalonia

Catalonia is a country with seven million inhabitants, a surface area of 32,000 square kilometres, over a thousand years of history and its own culture and language that have forged its personality. The Catalans have always been open to everyone. We like to receive foreigners and show them our land. And we are satisfied if they feel at home. Therefore maybe we are naturally a welcoming people.

Catalonia has always been a country with a very active culture: Theatre, music, dance, museums, exhibitions, design, etc. You can have a look at all of this and learn more on the website of the Government of Catalonia

Welcome to Barcelona

The city of Barcelona has been and is the capital of Catalonia, without in any case ignoring the historical, economic and cultural importance of other cities in the country: Lleida, Girona, Tarragona, Vic, Manresa, Tortosa, Reus, etc.

If you want to see the early times of Barcino, with over two thousand years of history, have a stroll around the archaeological excavations of the Roman city and admire the technical solution that takes the path under the streets and mediaeval monuments.

If you get lost in the Gothic Quarter, you can feel the atmosphere of mediaeval Barcelona around the cathedral, the royal palace and the buildings which today are the headquarters of the government institutions: Barcelona City Hall and the Palace of the Government of Catalonia. From here you can reach the Ribera district with its Picasso Museum and the Gothic basilica of Santa María del Mar, the Ciutadella Park with the headquarters of the Parliament of Catalonia, the Zoo and several museums. Here, by the sea, is the Barceloneta, an 18th-century marine district with restaurants where you can enjoy seafood specialities.

Stroll along the Rambla, presided by the Gran Teatro del Liceo, and enjoy the bird and flower stalls, the newsagents’ kiosks (with press from virtually the entire world), magazines and books. The Rambla has a unique atmosphere by day and by night, and if you have time you will see that the passers-by change with the time of day. There are all kinds of retro establishments down the Rambla and along the side streets.

In the 19th century, the city underwent a time of growth as a result of the blossoming industrialisation. The surrounding towns were connected by the urban plan of Ildefons Cerdà, known as the Eixample, full of shops and art galleries. It is worth having a walk down the Paseo de Gracia, where you can see the modernist houses on the crossroads with calle de Aragón and the "Pedrera", a house with an undulating facade built by Gaudí. Further into the Eixample district you will find the Sagrada Familia, the grandiose, extraordinary temple also by Gaudí, and the same architect’s Parque Güell, which is something not be missed.

The noble districts such as Pedralbes, where there is a Gothic monastery enclosed by a small wall, occupy the foot of the Collserola hills on the top of which (el Tibidabo) there is an amusement park accessible on the Tramvia Blau, a remnant of the past, and a funicular. On Montjuïc, the other mountain in the city, by the sea, you will find interesting museums amidst gardens such as the Miró Foundation and the Catalonia National Art Museum, the great Olympic facilities with the ancient stadium and the Palau Sant Jordi, another amusement park and the Pueblo Español, with the reproduction of typical buildings from around Spain. The old port has been renovated and has become one of the large spaces for citizens to enjoy, and is continued beyond the Barceloneta, with the Olympic port facilities.

Barcelona is a city full of life all year round, with intense cultural, commercial and sports activities: music, theatre, cinema, dance, opera, exhibitions, international fairs, shops and shopping centres, art galleries, design centres, etc.

 Keep current on the cultural life of Barcelona, visit the Council website

Getting around the city

General information on Metropolitan transportation:

Staying in Barcelona

Barcelona Centro Universitario (BCU) is an institution intended to provide all aspects of extra-academic life of the university’s foreign community. The ESMUC works closely with the BCU, so people coming to the School to study or work are able to make use of the services offered by the BCU. These services include the accommodation exchange and management for students, teaching staff and foreign researchers. The BCU also has a service guide for full enjoyment of the wide range of cultural leisure in Barcelona, and deals with activities intended to culturally and socially integrate this foreign group. Visits to museums and galleries, cultural routes, theatre, music and exhibitions are some of the numerous activities managed by the Barcelona Centro Universitario.

Estimated costs of the stay

The cost of the stay in Barcelona for students from other countries largely depends on the price of the accommodation and whether they live in the city or in other nearby towns.

The approximate monthly expenses for a person living in Barcelona may be:

  • Rental: student residence from €500 to €700. Shared student flat, from €300 to €400
  • Meals: from €170 to €220
  • Travel: from €30 to €60
  • Study material: €30
  • Clothes and other maintenance costs: from €60 to €90