Best neighbourhoods for culture and night life in Barcelona

Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, is famed for its exquisite architecture, juxtaposed against a typical urban skyline. It is well placed for connections with other EU countries, as well as being on the coast for getting away from the city rush at the weekend.
For expats, it offers good career opportunities in one of the world’s major global cities, without being more than a few hours’ flight away from the UK. For those who want to be at the centre of Spanish culture, then Barcelona is the place to be
There are lots of different neighbourhoods and areas that are popular with expatriates. Some are perfectly situated for those looking for family-friendly facilities and amenities, good schools and easily accessible healthcare services. However, as many expats moving to Barcelona are younger professionals and couples, there are some great places to live near the cultural and entertainment centres to make the most of Barcelona’s expat lifestyle.
Barcelona is diverse and there is a real mix of styles in the types of accommodation available, even within each neighbourhood, so there is likely to be something to suit everyone. Northern neighbourhoods are further from the beach, but are good for travelling inland, to the mountains and the French border. The coastal neighbourhoods offer the best of both proximity to the city centre and a waterfront lifestyle.
Here are a few of the neighbourhoods worth considering for expats looking for culture and nightlife.


Gràcia used to be a small village, but it got incorporated into the city of Barcelona. As such, it still has that quaint feel about it, which is a great contrast to the bustling centre. It is fairly traditional and rustic, and proves popular with creative workers, young families and those who want to live a quiet life in a culturally interesting area. It offers a lovely mix of old and new buildings, as well as a vibrant atmosphere, excellent restaurants and stylish boutiques.


Meaning ‘expansion’, Eixample was purpose built as a connection between the city of Barcelona within its original walls and the outer-lying villages, like Gràcia featured above. It is well known for its amazing architecture and draws many expats who want to be at the centre of the art scene. It’s laid out in a grid format, with large wide streets that enable visitors to appreciate the Gaudi and Art Nouveau buildings. It is expensive, however, due to its proximity to the city centre and all the nightlife that offers.

Ciutat Vella

The old town of Barcelona is the heart of everything cultural in this city. This neighbourhood is packed with restaurants, shops, bars and museums, so it is perfect for expats who want to really be at the centre of everything. It has some attractive apartments right in the middle of the vibrant, bustling streets, though there are also a few quieter residential roads. It’s popular with couples and single professionals who want to experience the full Catalonian experience, and it is close to the beach.

El Raval

El Raval draws artistic types from around the world, with a young, energetic vibe. It is home to the Museum of Modern Art and draws a lot of performance artists. Its narrow streets and high red-brick buildings give it an authentic Spanish feel and there is plenty to do for entertainment. It is also close to the coast for hitting the beach at the weekends.