Europe’s fourth most-visited city, Barcelona attracts tourists and long-term residents alike for its thriving art scene, indulgent cuisine and inventive, centuries-spanning architecture. Abundant sunshine and a laid-back atmosphere also present plenty of allure for celebrities in Barcelona, both native-born and recent arrivals.
Those who wish to follow in the bohemian footsteps of artistic celebrities in Barcelona can venture to the old town, or Ciutat Vella. From the ancient Roman plazas of the Gothic Quarter to the contemporary galleries of Raval, this central area has housed many first-class painters and sculptors over the centuries. Perhaps the most famous is Pablo Picasso, who spent his childhood in several addresses in the vibrant El Born neighbourhood. You’ll find the Pablo Picasso Museum here today, alongside low-lit tapas bars and airy modernist masterpieces like the Palau de la Música Catalana.
What do Colombian pop star Shakira, old-world singer Joan Manuel Serrat, and football champion David Villa all have in common? These famous people living in Barcelona are all residents of the exclusive Pedralbes district. Luxury penthouses and sprawling mansions are positioned near the Palau Reial de Pedralbes, the former residence of Spain’s royal family. Named for the white stones or ‘petres albes’ of the neighbourhood’s 14th-century monastery, Pedralbes is preferred by the global elite for its tranquil, sleepy residential atmosphere and lush, tree-lined streets. In the case of athletes like Villa, the district’s proximity to the Camp Nou stadium is an added convenience.
Another sports world legend, Argentinian footballer Lionel Messi has a home in the quaint seaside town of Castelldefels. Nestled in the larger Barcelona province, Castelldefels is dominated by its impressive castle, once a stronghold against Barbary pirates. Messi’s modern property sits in the prestigious Bellamar suburb of Castelldefels, known for its multimillion-euro properties and close distance to both sea and stadium. Tucked away from the hubbub of the city centre for idyllic discretion, Bellamar is another top choice for celebrities in Barcelona.
Though it was incorporated into Barcelona centuries ago, the Gràcia neighbourhood retains its original village aura. Rustic shop fronts, narrow cobblestoned streets and bustling outdoor plazas present the city at its liveliest. Now considered an up-and-coming area for famous people living in Barcelona and aspiring artists alike, Gràcia was once home to the city’s most important architect himself, Antoni Gaudí.
The architect’s Parc Güell is a UNESCO World Heritage site, constructed between 1900 and 1914 to include intricate garden walkways as well as Gaudí ’s own house. Serpentine curves and Art Nouveau ceramic detailing bring this historic home to life, presenting a pleasant green space for the people of Gràcia today.
Whether you prefer the intimate neighbourhood feeling of Gràcia or the gated serenity of Pedralbes, Barcelona offers plenty of celebrity-approved districts for inspiring holiday homes. You can view more area insights in our second home articles, to help you find the perfect fit.