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Living and Working in Barcelona | A Job Coconut Guide

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Thinking of living and working in Barcelona? We don’t blame you!  Barcelona attracts many expats each year due to its vibrant culture, beautiful array of beaches and high quality of life that many Northern European countries can only dream of.  Our team at Job Coconut wish to make your transition as easy as possible.  So here is our guide for anyone that’s considering the move!

Culture in Barcelona

Barcelona is the capital city of Catalonia, an autonomous region with hopes of independence from the rest of Spain.   Barcelona is a bilingual city: Catalan and Spanish are both official languages and widely spoken.   

If you’re planning on living and working in Barcelona then you should definitely spend time learning the language.  There are plenty of language schools.  For day-to-day purposes, you might be able to get by in English but for most situations you will need Spanish.

Visa Requirements

EU/EEA citizens and their family members have the right to live and work in Spain under the same conditions as Spanish citizens.  Non-EU/EEA residents need to apply for a visa and a work permit before moving to Spain for work.  A work permit can be requested at the Foreigners Office in Spain as well as the Spanish consulate office in the applicant’s home country.

Working in Barcelona

Salaries may be lower than other EU countries, but a better work-life balance and buoyant social scene remain big draws for international workings.  In one day you can have an engaging business meeting, take a quick ride on the metro, take a swim in the Med after work and meet international people at any hour of the day or night.


Despite being hit hard by the recession, there are still plenty of opportunities for job seekers in Barcelona.  In particular, there are jobs for those who speak Spanish and/or Catalan along with English.  Job opportunities lie in the fields of business administration, management, consultancy, engineering, architecture and linguistics.  The city has a number of international customer service centres attached to big corporations.  For more information on live job vacancies in Barcelona click here.

In addition, the city is trying to be recognised as a global IT and technology hub (dubbed 22@).  Barcelona has established a solid digital ecosystem that includes more than 200 active digital startups across eCommerce, mobile, B2B, gaming and travel.  For more information on the start up scene in Barcelona click here.

Writing a Spanish CV

There are certain key requirements of a Spanish CV that may be different to your country of origin.

  • Inclusion of an up to date photograph.
  • Personal information section: name, date of birth, DNI/passport number and marital status.
  • Education (formación académica): all educational institutions you have attended. Include any additional degrees, diplomas or relevant courses.
  • Languages and their level. For more information see our blog on this subject.
  • Employment history (experiencia professional): list the various companies you have worked for including dates, job titles, tasks and specialisation.
  • Most importantly make sure you have your Spanish CV proofread by a Spanish native.

Cost of Living in Barcelona

In general, Spain is not an expensive country to live in but prices have risen since the introduction of the Euro.  Although the cost of living in Barcelona is higher than in other regions in Spain, the salaries are also higher.

Accommodation eats up the biggest part of the salary.  As well as rent, you will have to pay gastos (expenses) such as water, electricity and internet. 

When renting an apartment or studio expect to pay between 1-3 months deposit.  If you go through an agency, their fee will usually be a month’s rent and will not be refunded. This is why so many people live in shared flats (a great opportunity to meet new people).



Eating is an extremely important social activity in Catalonia.  Eating out remains a major pastime, whether in the evening with friends, at lunch in a local bar with colleagues, or the traditional Sunday family feast. Although Barcelona is a fast-paced city, mealtimes, especially lunchtime, are still respected.  The whole city shifts into low gear between the hours of 2 and 4pm.  Many people either head home or crowd into a local restaurant for a three-course menú del día (lunch of the day).

In Barcelona, the diet is typically Mediterranean, with an abundance of fish, legumes and vegetables.  Some typical dishes are as follows:

  • Serrano ham or embutidos (cold cuts).
  • Raciones (plates of cheese, pâtés and cured meats).
  • Bocadillo (roll) with cheese, grilled meats or cold cuts.
  • Bikini (an old-fashioned ham and cheese sandwich).
  • Botifarras (locally made sausages).
  • Crema catalana(crème brûlée).

Job Coconut

Sound tempting?  Before you pack your bags be sure to check out our live job vacancies in Barcelona At Job Coconut we have over 100 live jobs at various international companies including:



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