Country: Spain
  1. Catalan
  2. Spanish
Global city cat.: GaWC Alpha- Global Cities
Population (city): 1,607,104 (2013) world: 59
Population (metro): 2,208,652 (2001)

Barcelona is a culturally vibrant Mediterranean city that's been so appreciated by tourists that it shot into the top 5 most visited European destinations, competing head-to-head with the likes of Paris, London, and Rome – despite being only a fraction of their size.

This popularity (decried by many as being extremely detrimental to the city's character) has caused quite intense debates locally and culminated in the election in 2015 of Ada Colau, who largely ran on an anti-eviction, anti-tourism, and anti-gentrification platform. After tending to the most important items on her agenda (like the removal of a portrait of King Felipe VI from her office), the new mayor immediately launched a war on rent-sharing platforms such as AirBnB and mandated a reduction of permits for "official" tourism apartments, incidentally causing a further increase in short-term rental prices.

If you intend to study in the city, you may want to research your housing options in advance.

Language Study in Barcelona

Somewhat counter-intuitively, Barcelona is one of the top destinations in the world for learning Spanish. The language, while officially playing second fiddle to Catalan, can be heard (and used) practically everywhere in the city, save for a few predominantly Catalan-speaking neighborhoods.

News, Essays & Blog Posts (2 / 2)

Catalan or Spanish: Deciding which language to speak in Barcelona
By: Alex Rawlings Published: 16/Dec/2018
Languages: Catalan Spanish Cities: Barcelona

A few days before my big move to Barcelona, I found myself talking to my now ex-colleague, Jesús. It was late at night, and we were on the Gatwick Express, heading into Victoria on our way back from the Polyglot Conference in Slovenia. Jesús is from Valencia, and so he took a particular interest in my decision to move to Spain. He asked me if I already had any friends in Barcelona. »

Moving to Barcelona
By: Alex Rawlings Published: 26/Nov/2018
Cities: Barcelona

It was a very simple move. A short, 90 minute hop across the length of France, down over the Pyrenees, and into my new home. Into Barcelona. »


Practical Info For Visitors

Map of Barcelona

1: Casa Milà 2: La Rambla 3: La Sagrada Familia 4: Montjuïc 5: Park Güell 6: Torre Agbar
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