Retirement in Barcelona

Published on 13 February 2024 | Last updated on 14 February 2024

Those looking for a better place to go after retirement can consider Barcelona. It is one of the best Spanish cities to settle in, especially when retiring. Retirement in Barcelona is quite different from other cities in the world. The city has favourable weather patterns, cultural diversity, the best sandy beaches and hiking mountains. Living in this city, you can enjoy the benefit of accessing everything you may need at your doorstep.

You don’t have to travel miles away to search for beaches or museums. You don’t need to worry about your health as there are several reliable health insurance agencies and good private healthcare facilities. If you live in Spain, you must pay taxes and register with the Spanish Social Security service to earn its benefits and support during needy situations. It is the best deal, especially for retirees. This city’s cost of living is quite affordable compared to other cities like London and the rest. If you are interested in taking your retirement to Spain, read on to learn more about this beautiful city.

Is Barcelona a Good Place to Retire?

retirement barcelona city
living in barcelona pros and cons – retirement in Barcelona

Yes, Barcelona is the right place to go for your retirement. The city is known for its generosity, the people are friendly and welcoming they will help you adapt to your new environment. Language should not be a barrier to retirement in Barcelona; even though the main spoken language is Spanish, the city receives visitors from different parts of the globe. Therefore be sure to get some English speakers. Here are some reasons why Barcelona is a good place to retire.

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Food

Before retiring, you probably must have been cooking for yourself for a great part of your life. Now that you are retiring, it’s time to let someone else take care of you. Retirement should be a period where you treat yourself well; you’ve worked hard in the past to have a bright future. Your retirement in Barcelona earns you the privilege of enjoying many great restaurants that will serve you the best meals.

Art and Culture

retiring in barcelona
living in barcelona as an expat – retirement in Barcelona

If you are into art and culture, you will not regret moving to this great city. Barcelona is one of the major cities that appreciate art and culture. In this city, you will encounter monuments like Casa Batlló, Sant Pau Recinte Modernista and Sagrada Família. Barcelona is the home of heritage; it has hundreds of museums. Some of these museums offer free entrance on Sundays; the good part is that they give retirees discount prices on the other days of the week. In addition, if you walk across the city, you will encounter some fantastic artwork displayed. You can enjoy the galleries for free or pay a small amount if you want to take that piece and hang it at your home.

The Weather

retiring in barcelona weather
living in barcelona for 3 months – retirement in Barcelona

As a retiree, you probably need to settle in a place with favourable weather conditions. The weather in Barcelona is the main reason why many retirees tend to choose this city. Barcelona has enjoyable Mediterranean weather, and the place experiences many sunny days compared to rainy and cold days.

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The Sea and Beaches

retiring in the beach barcelona
retirement in barcelona – daily life in barcelona

Barcelona has many sandy beaches. You can enjoy all the beach sports activities, including swimming, fishing and surfing. You can also carry out your exercise routines using the available outdoor equipment.

Lifestyle

Barcelona has a cool and relaxed lifestyle. The people in this city like outdoor events and spending quality time with their families and friends. During the weekend and public holidays, individuals in this city spend their time at the beaches and bars or having lunch with their dear ones. As a retiree, you can take this opportunity and socialize with the people from this amazing city. The city also has several festivals which are held throughout the year. Barcelona is a 24-hour economy city, and people in this city rarely sleep. You can enjoy the nightlife, shopping, and dining.

Is Living in Barcelona Expensive for retiree people?

Generally, Barcelona has higher standards of living than other Spanish cities. But when comparing Barcelona and other cities in UK or USA, you will find it is quite affordable. Tourism and the ex-pat community impact the cost of living in barcelona. If you want to rent an apartment in the city center, it will cost you €931 per month. The cost tends to decrease if you rent the apartment on the city’s outskirts, and the price for one-bedroom drops to €727. If you want to buy a property in Spain, you can visit a real estate agent and learn more about the prices. A square metre property in Barcelona costs €4,600, and the price is not constant since if you go into smaller satellite towns, there is a decrease in the cost. Buying a property in Spain will largely depend on your budget.

Do I Need Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa or spanish retirement visa?

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Yes, a pensioner’s visa in Spain is mandatory. This Spanish retirement visa is normally issued to individuals who are foreigners in Spain. It normally acts as a permit for retirees who come to Spain and reside without working. If you have the visa, you are allowed to work in the comfort of your home with customers who are not within the Spain territories.

Best Neighbourhoods to retire in Barcelona?

This is the list of the best neighbourhoods to retire in Barcelona:

La Ribera

La Ribera is among the oldest neighbourhoods in Barcelona. I have first-hand experience of this town, as I have lived there for a while. The place is safe for everyone, including foreigners. You can explore the District any time of the day or night. There is much to encounter within the District and the nearby Gothic Quarter.

Zona Alta

Zona Alta is the next neighbourhood you can think of when you are in Barcelona. This place will make your retirement lives in Barcelona vibrant and enjoyable. It is where you will get the best quality of life in the entire city. There are many charming gardens, quality restaurants and green spaces like parks. Zona Alta doesn’t experience heavy traffics, unlike the rest of the neighbourhood. The place has all the main services you may be looking for, like gyms and shops.

Ciutat Vella

Ciutat Vella is one of the old towns in Barcelona. It is among the best places one can think of residing. If you are planning for your retirement in Spain, then this old town of Barcelona should be the place to visit. There is a lot to experience in this beautiful old town. The culture, dining, shopping alternatives and neighbourhoods are the best places to explore.

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What are the downsides of living in Barcelona, Spain?

So what are the Pitfalls of Retiring to Spain? Read on to find out.

Utility Cost

Even though you will be saving money from the rent, the drawback of this advantage is that you will incur higher utility costs. One of the biggest issues is the availability of water, despite it being in the middle of the Atlantic and Mediterranean. Living in Spain, You will have to pay more money for electricity bills every month. During summer, you can end up paying up to 80 euros for electrical needs; the cost tends to hike about 30% more in winter.

It is Expensive to Buy a Home?

Your retirement in Barcelona can be hard at some point, especially if you want to buy a home, as the properties are quite expensive. The standard cost per square meter is around 6,000 euros. If you are an individual who is after living near the beaches, then be ready to incur more money as the prices are high.

Animal Cruelty

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Spain is one of the countries that is known for embracing its culture. Many festivals are held in this country. Animal cruelty is a tradition in these festivals, whereas the locals view it as an attraction. Some festivals feature bulls; at the end of the festival, some will have died while others suffer serious injuries.

Racism

Even though the Spanish people are friendly, that doesn’t mean every face you encounter will be gentle on you. Some individuals are racist in this country and resentful of their countries’ visitors.

Corruption

When going for your retirement in Barcelona or any other part of Spain, you must be cautious, especially when buying a property. Before you decide to buy a certain property, do thorough research or consider renting a home before thinking of owning one. This is because there have been issues with planning permissions in this country, where properties have been illegally built, and many have lost their life savings in the process.

Children

Retirement in Barcelona hits differently, especially if you have children who are still attending school. Yes, moving to this country can be beneficial since they will learn a different language. Once your kids are through with their academics, they will have to return to their motherland for job opportunities. In Spain, the citizens are given the priorities in job opportunities.

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How much money do I need to retire in Barcelona?

To have a happy retirement in Barcelona, you must have an average income of €24,000 to rent a home. Suppose you can buy your property, the better, as you will have a comfortable lifestyle. If the stated amount is beyond your ability, consider moving to local towns. Some neighborhoods in Barcelona are quite cheap, so if you cannot afford to live in the city, you can opt for those towns. Even though the towns might be cheaper, you will have a problem accessing basic amenities. In addition, be ready for low-speed internet.

How much money do you need in the bank to retirement in Barcelona?

To any foreigner planning to have a retirement in Spain, they will need to have an income or savings of about €27,115 per year. As you plan to relocate to this place, you must have enough resources in your private savings accounts or dividends.

Is it better to Retire in Spain or Portugal?

Portugal and Spain tend to share some similarities. When an individual plans to shift from one country to the other, they need to consider some factors. Things like the cost of life, transportation, tax benefits, visa application, etc. We live in a world that is full of possibilities. Individuals can go anywhere, settle there, and cope with the lifestyle. You need to remember one thing: things might be interesting at one end and challenging at the other. I don’t know which your dream place is for retirement, between Portugal and Spain. Below are the comparisons between the two countries.

Living Standards

When you contrast the cost of living between the two countries, Portugal tends to be cheaper than Spain. Retirement in Barcelona is quite expensive than in Lisbon and Porto. When you visit Portugal, Lisbon and Porto are the most expensive cities, but their living standards are cheaper than that of Madrid and Barcelona. In Portugal, you will get affordable rates from food to residency.

Labour Market

When you contrast salaries paid to workers from the two sides, Portugal is the least favourite. The employment sector in Portugal tends to be competitive, while in Spain, the economy is stronger with higher-paying jobs.

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Transport

Spain has better roads than Portugal. The fuel prices in Spain are lower than in Portugal. These two countries offer quality living standards and accessibility to healthcare amenities, and a reliable transport network. But with the growing economy, Portugal tends to give out reliable opportunities toward health, education and transport systems compared to Spain.

Weather

Personal health hugely relies on climate. When relocating to a foreign country, you need to consider the weather patterns in that area. Weather conditions in Spain tend to vary with the location; it ranges from extremely hot to thrilling cold. On the other hand, Portugal has unvarying weather; during the summer, the area has high-temperature levels and wet warm winters. The weather in Portugal outshines that of Spain.

Security

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The two countries have a high level of security. You can reside in whichever you like. Crime rates are low on the two sides; therefore, you can live in whichever country you like. In both countries, there are cases of petty crimes, and this is not something new as it happens in other big cities around the globe. The two countries have improved security; there is no gun tradition and alcoholism-related crimes.

Taxes

The last comparison is all about taxes between the two countries. In Portugal, you will enjoy the best tax. Ex-pats are excluded from paying taxes during their first ten years in the country. Things are different in Spain as you will have to pay taxes as there are no leverages over taxes.

To conclude on the comparison between the two republics, it has become a tradition for individuals to think that the two countries have common similarities, but in reality, that’s not the case. Portugal has a smaller population than Spain, so it offers foreigners many advantages. Reasonable living standards, accessibility to social amenities, conducive climate, and residency make Portugal an ideal place to retire from than Spain.

We all have different preferences and experiences in the two countries, so it will be quite hard to rule out that one country is better than the other. The saying goes, “another man’s food is another man’s poison.” The two countries are different from each other, the best thing to do is to have an opportunity to have a first experience in both countries. Alternatively, you can weigh up the pros and cons from the two sides and figure out which one amongst them will be your best retirement home.

Summary About retire in Barcelona

After many years of working, you deserve a peaceful place to enjoy your retirement. If your retirement in Barcelona is in your plans, then feel free to relocate to the place. But before you move to a given place, consider some factors like weather, social amenities, taxes, affordability of living standards, etc.

4 thoughts on “Retirement in Barcelona

  1. michel madbak |

    like to retire in Spain, best place please.

  2. Patrick |

    I am a Canadian retiree and life here in Canada is very expensive… I would like to go to live in Barcelona because when I have been on vacation it is an ideal city because everything is close at hand, can you help me in the whole process to retire in Barcelona?

    1. My Spain Visa |

      Yes, we can help you in the whole process of visa, buying a property in Barcelona, we will contact you to explain the process and the steps to follow.

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