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Spanish city is one of the ‘best’ places to live thanks to a ‘bonus beach’


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has long been a favourite for British holidaymakers and alike, with approximately 412,040 British expats currently living as residents in the nation, according to the most recent figures (December 2022). Yet there is one city in the country which a Briton who previously lived in Spain says is one of the best to live in.

The stunning city combines all the perks of living in a thriving metropolis with the added “bonus” of having its own stretch of .

James Smith, from Learn Spanish with James, who spent many years living in Spain named Barcelona as one of his top cities to live in. According to James: “One of Spain’s largest cities, Barcelona has all the benefits of living in Madrid – but with the bonus of having a beach.”

The coastal location of Spain and its multiple beaches is one of the main draws of the city. From south to north there are nine main beaches in the city of Barcelona, though the wider Barcelona coastline has even more along its stretch. Barceloneta is arguably the city’s most famous and traditional beach made up of a long stretch of sand with bars and restaurants dotted along the area below the promenade.

“If socialising is an important aspect of your life then Barcelona will be perfect for you, as it has nightlife, restaurants, bars, and a huge English-speaking expat community from almost every corner of the world,” said James.

“Barcelona is probably the most multicultural city in Spain, and it has excellent public transport. It is ranked the eleventh safest city in the world – just don’t go there expecting a quiet life.”

Though you can get around more of the city centre on foot, the transport links in Barcelona are reliable and easy to use, even if you aren’t from the city. This is just one of the reasons why it draws over nine million tourists on average each year (based on the most recent data from 2022).

There is plenty to see and do in the city, from delicious tapas and trendy bars to exceptional tourist attractions and magnificent Gothic architecture.

Some of the city’s most well-loved attractions include Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia and Gaudí Sites. The fanciful Art Nouveau-style structures are frequently photographed but even better to see in person.

Basílica de la Sagrada Família from the outside has gothic spires that tower above the city, but once inside you are thrown into a beautiful world of colour.

The fantastic Casa Batlló is another iconic Gaudí building with mask-shaped balconies and a delicately tiled rainbow facade.

Life in the city is one which offers fast-paced, sociable living with the opportunity to slow down at the beach.

However, James notes that “one downside is that the cost of living is high, as you’d expect”. Based on figures from Numbeo.com, a single person’s estimated monthly costs are approximately £668.90 or €782.40, based on social factors, without rent.

The data also suggests that “rent in Barcelona is, on average, 53.1 percent lower than in London”, with the average one-bedroom city centre apartment totalling €1,235 (approximately £1,055.83) a month or €961.17 (approximately £821) outside of the city centre.

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