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Just a short, budget flight away, the vibrant Spanish city of Barcelona has been a firm favourite amongst British holiday-makers for many years, but some choose to go one step further and embark on life as an expat in this enticing destination.
The list of benefits to Barcelona can sound like a blueprint for the model city: reliably good weather, stunning architecture, delicious gastronomy, and there's even a stretch of white, sandy beach. It's a city that offers an expat existence many simply dream about. Here's a bit of information you might find useful if you're considering a move:
The language and culture of Barcelona is a little different to the rest of Spain as many locals prefer to think of the city as the capital of Catalonia, a region with its own specific identity. Although a grasp of Castilian Spanish will certainly stand you in good stead, it is worth knowing that Catalan is the language of the region and spoken in all public institutions such as schools as well as used for road signs and public transport instructions.
To live and work in Barcelona we would highly recommend taking language lessons to help integration - even just a basic grasp will be a huge help with daily tasks.
Working in Barcelona
Job opportunities in Barcelona are not as high as in other parts of Europe due to the hit the country took as a result of the global economic crisis. However, those who speak Spanish or Catalan will find they have a better chance of gaining employment in Spain's second largest city than in other parts of the country.
The Spanish government maintains a list of skills shortage occupations for each region, so if you have the relevant experience they are looking for, you could well be in luck. These roles tend to include medium to highly qualified positions such as teaching or lecturing as well as occupations in the engineering, computing, business, medical, web and multi-media development, tourism and hospitality sectors.
According to Expatica, the top growing job sectors in Spain last year included accounting and finance, agribusiness, business management and marketing, renewable energy, engineering, information technology and the creative sector.
Buying property in Barcelona
If Spain's struggling economy doesn't spell great news for the job market, it does at least offer better prospects for those looking to purchase property in or around Barcelona. There are some attractive deals to be found for apartments, houses and villas, but be prepared to tackle the country's famous reams of red tape in order to secure the home of your dreams. A reputable, English-speaking estate agent is key to guiding you successfully through the process.
If renting is more suitable for your needs, you will find the drop in prices across the housing market has made rentals in Barcelona much more affordable too. Housing in the city centre is mostly comprised of apartment blocks - a mish-mash of historical buildings and modern accommodation. Further out of town you will find family homes, particularly around Les Cortes where there are several international schools.
Once settled in Barcelona, we predict that with that perfect recipe of sun, sand and sangria, you will find it hard to ever tear yourself away.
If you are considering moving to Spain from London , Cadogan Tate will assist you every step of the way – from your first enquiry to unpacking at your new home, we are here to help and advise you. For more details about Cadogan Tate’s specialist international removals services from London, click here.
Information correct at time of publication.