When choosing the best area to live in Barcelona, there are many factors to consider. Therefore, there is no single answer: everyone has different preferences, and so everyone will have different criteria in terms of location, local amenities, and the price per square meter they are prepared to pay for real estate in Barcelona. This article presents a comparison of the main suburbs of Barcelona - Eixample, Zona Alta, Gracia, and Les Corts Ciutat Vella - based on ten key points of comparison.
The 10 keys to choosing the best place to live in Barcelona
Barcelona is a dynamic and cosmopolitan city, and it can sometimes be frenetic both by day and by night. However, there are plenty of quiet residential areas. If you seek to live away from the bustle, the Zona Alta is highly recommended. This includes smaller areas such as Pedralbes and Sarrià-Sant Gervasi.
2.- Price per square meter
Although the average price per square meter fluctuates each year, the overall trends are consistent. Ciutat Vella and Gracia are usually cheaper, while the price of housing in Eixample (which includes parts of the so-called Zona Alta) tend to be above average for the city. Pedralbes is generally considered a luxury area, and in that area an exclusive property can cost several million euros. However, there are exceptions. A renovated attic in Ciutat Vella or a loft in Gràcia can also exceed the average prices of the city.
With regard to local services and amenities like libraries, schools, health centers, and so on, Ciutat Vella has the most basic offering. Although such services are not lacking, this is predominantly a tourist area, meaning that services are more directed at tourists than local residents.
This is very subjective, but many regard Eixample as one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in the city. Eixample houses some of the most representative works of Antoni Gaudi, including Casa Mila and, above all, the Sagrada Familia, one of the most visited monuments in all of Spain. The Ciutat Vella is not far behind, largely because it includes the Gothic Quarter, the authentic historic heart of Barcelona. Gràcia also contains hidden jewels that may tip the balance in its favor, like the fascinating Park Güell.
5.- Property type
In terms of property type, there are no better or worse choices, but simply a variety of choices. In the Zona Alta, Les Corts, and Gracia, homes are typically larger and include apartments, houses, villas, and palaces. In Eixample and Ciutat Vella, apartments predominate, but in a wide range of different urban variants (attics, lofts, studios, and so on).
6.- Public transport
All areas of Barcelona are well served by public transport. The main transport hubs and interchanges are around Ciutat Vella and Eixample; these include the Plaça Catalunya and the Pesseig de Gràcia and França stations. For those who can live without a car, these areas offer the best public transport links.
7.- Access by car
Those who are more dependent on a private vehicle, on the other hand, may prefer to live in Zona Alta, because it is closest to the B-20 highway. Eixample, Gracia, and Les Corts are also easily accessible by car, thanks in this case to the abundance of private car parking on Avenida Diagonal.
8.- Proximity to the airport
Those who travel by air often might well prefer to have easy access to Barcelona-El Prat. In this instance, the best connected area by car is the Alta, because it is close to the B-20 and B-22. Alternatively, the Ciutat Vella is also well connected by car via the B-10 or Ronda Litoral. Wherever you choose to live, the airport is easily accessed by the city's suburban bus, urban bus, and Metro, so no area has a real disadvantage in terms of convenience for the airport.
9.- Work prospects
The Gràcia and Eixample areas are two of the most important districts for businesses and office workers. Those who are employed in the tourism sector and wish to live near their workplace, however, may prefer to reside in Ciutat Vella.
10.- Living near the sea
Of course, the sea is one of the great attractions of the city of Barcelona. Of all the residential neighborhoods discussed in this article, some parts of Ciutat Vella (like the Barceloneta) are located right next to the sea. However, the houses around the Forum, at the beginning of Avenida Diagonal, or Poblenou, close to the Olympic area, offer the best options for seaside living.
If you are interested in getting more information about properties of the different areas of Barcelona, please contact us at +34 93 515 44 44 or via email BarcelonaMMC@engelvoelkers.com
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Last photo: © Ger