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Property in Spain: What are the best areas of Barcelona to buy in right now?

If you’ve ever had dreams of owning a property in Barcelona or wonder what it takes to buy a property there, then this guide by Esme Fox will help you.

Property in Spain: What are the best areas of Barcelona to buy in right now?
View of Barcelona. Photo: AFP

Where to look? 

Barcelona neighbourhoods vary greatly in vibe, styles of properties and price, so it's important to narrow your search down to a few areas so you don't get overwhelmed or waste your time by looking at properties in neighbourhoods you don't like. Here's outline of some areas to consider:

Most popular areas to buy in Barcelona

Some of the most popular areas for foreigners in Barcelona include bohemian Gracia with its alternative shops, international restaurants and cocktail bars; quaint El born with its historic tapas bars, boutiques and galleries; and hip Poblenou with its start-up businesses, co-working spaces and craft beer bars. 

Roger Fernàndez from property agency and management company Söder, suggests Sants-Montjuic with its multicultural feel and many international restaurants “as a good cheaper alternative to crowded Gracia”, while Pia Hankö from agency Avenida Barcelona also suggests Sant Antoni as a good alternative to the most popular areas.

“Many people are talking about Sant Antoni,” she says. “It’s a lovely part of Barcelona that has gone through a big change and you can still find properties (many to refurbish) for a reasonable price”.

Fernàndez adds that Eixample also remains perennially popular for foreign buyers “It’s still the real centre of the city, and its big size means it offers lots of diverse properties”.

While the centre of Eixample around Passeig de Gracia is home to some of the most expensive properties in the city, go to the far edges of Eixample Dreta or Eixample Esquerra and they get slightly cheaper.

Best areas to buy in Barcelona to bag a bargain

Believe it or not, there are still lots of bargains to be had in Barcelona, however these are generally located in neighbourhoods on the edges of the city.

This does have its good points though, as these neighbourhoods are generally quieter at night, free from tourists and still have great transport links, enabling you to get to the centre in around 25 minutes on the metro.

Some of these cheaper neighbourhoods that we recommend include the family-friendly and village-like neighbourhoods of Horta-Guinardó and Sant Andreu.

Sant Andreu offers lots of new build options, as well as historic properties and even small houses (a very rare find in Barcelona). Another great local area is Nou Barris, just north of Sant Andreu, on the slopes of the Collserola Natural Park.

Although not as pretty as the previous two, it’s even cheaper still and is ideal for people who love nature and the outdoors, with easy access to the park.

apartments in BarcelonaImage: Alexander Awerin/Unsplash

Most expensive neighbourhoods to buy in Barcelona

The most expensive areas to buy in Barcelona are not close to the beach or even in the centre, they lie in the northwestern part of city, between the centre and the mountains. These include Sarrià–Sant Gervasi, Pedralbes and Les Corts.

Here you can find everything from luxury apartments to mansions. If you’ve fallen in love with these areas however, estate agent and developer Andrey Palchevskiy Voronov suggests the area of Putxet i el Farro, in between Sarrià–Sant Gervasi and Gracia. “The area is seeing a lot of movement. It’s well connected and easily accessible with reasonable prices and sweeping views,” he says. 

Other areas to consider

Some other areas to consider, which may be good for investment are the Gothic Quarter and Raval, as they lie at the heart of the Barcelona tourist area and contain many attractions.

One important thing to be aware though is that these areas do have some the highest crime rates in the city and certain parts of them are best not to be visited at night. The areas are slowly changing however with renovations and new businesses, so while they may not be an ideal option to live in now, they could make a good investment for the future.

Outside of Barcelona

Some of the towns just outside of Barcelona are also popular for foreigners buying homes, and can offer some great bargains. The beachside towns of Castelldefels and Sitges are the most popular with expats buying homes outside the city, and both lie around half an hour train ride south of Barcelona. Because of their popularity however, they’re also expensive.

A good cheaper alternative to these towns is Vilanova i la Geltrú. It has excellent beaches and lies just south of Sitges. Closer to Barcelona, the town of Badalona, just north along the coast, is essentially an extension of the city. While in the inland are of the town can feel slightly dodgy, the part close to the beach is beautiful and safe with great restaurants, shops and swathes of sand. It’s a great place to grab a bargain too.


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EXPLAINED: What you need to know about locksmiths in Spain

If you get locked out, have a break-in or need to change or fix the door lock at your home in Spain, here are the rates and advice you need before calling a Spanish locksmith (cerrajero).

EXPLAINED: What you need to know about locksmiths in Spain

Like anywhere, locksmiths are generally expensive and the price can vary greatly depending on the service you need and where you are.

It also depends on when you need them, as it’ll cost much more to call them out on a Saturday night than a Monday morning, for example.

Nor would it cost the same to open your front door as it would a reinforced security door.

But locksmiths don’t just make copies of keys and bail you out when you’re stuck outside your flat.

They also offer a whole host of different services including, but not limited to, opening safes, creating master keys, installing security doors, anti-drill doors, cutting specialist locks that reject copied keys, and even unlocking the boot of your car.

How much does a locksmith cost in Spain?

Given all these variables, the price can range massively.

According to Cronoshare, the average price for a nationwide call out in Spain can start from €80 anywhere up to €400.

On average, for a basic service, you can expect to pay anywhere between €40-€70 an hour for the labour, with the price of changing or installing a basic lock anywhere between €80-€200. 

For basic door openings, it depends on the situation you find yourself in: for doors locked with a key, which is a more complex task, prices average around €200, and for doors that are jammed or slammed shut, slightly cheaper in the €80-€100 range.

For an armoured or security door, prices can start at around €300.

In short, a general rule is that the more complex the task is, the higher the prices.

And as always, prices can vary depending on where you are in Spain, the quality of the locksmith, the time of the day and week you need his or her services, and if its a public holiday or not. 

So, as always, compare prices to try and find the most economical solution without skimping on quality.

As such, the following rates are estimations taken from average prices from locksmith.

Weekend/holiday rates

Where prices can really start to add up, however, is when you have an emergency situation requiring a locksmith’s assistance at the weekend, on a public holiday, or outside of normal working hours.

And if you live in Spain, you probably know there’s quite a few of those days throughout the year.

If you really need a cerrajero on a public holiday or during non-working hours (usually defined as anything between 8pm-8am) prices can reach €300 or €500 due to the fact you’ll have to cover the cost of travel, which starts from around €40 plus the increased rate.

Then you must also include the price of labour to the flat rate, which is usually somewhere between €40 and €70 an hour regardless of when you call them out.

Key vocabulary 

We’ve put together some of the basic vocabulary you might need if you find yourself needing a locksmith while in Spain.

el cerrajero – locksmith

la llave – the key

la llave de repuesto – the spare key

la puerta – the door

la cerradura – the lock

la bisagra – the hinge

día festivo – public holiday

cambio de bombín – change of cylinder lock

puerta blindada – armoured door

coste de mano de obra – labour costs

quedarse afuera – get locked out 

puerta cerrada de un portazo – door slammed shut

puerta cerrada con llave – locked door

Tips relating to choosing a good locksmith in Spain 

If you’ve just started renting a new place or have bought a property, it’s advisable to change the lock as you don’t know who has keys to your front door. If you’re a tenant, try to negotiate this with your landlord as it’s in both of your interests that only you two have keys to the property.

If there has been a burglary in your property while you’re living in it and there’s no sign of forced entry, then there’s a very big chance that the burglars had a copy of your keys, and you should definitely change the locks. 

If you’ve lost your keys and you think it happened close to your home, again it’s advisable for you to change the locks.

One of the best ways to avoid being locked out and having to cough up a hefty sum is to give a spare set to someone that you trust that lives in your town or city in Spain. 

When it comes to choosing a locksmith in Spain, you should make sure he or she is a reputable one. Asking friends and family first can be your first port of call.

If not, make sure you read reviews online if available to get any insight beforehand.

In order to avoid any nasty surprises, ask them on the phone for a budget (presupuesto) for all the costs attached to their services before accepting.

Be wary of cerrajeros that automatically want to change the whole lock when a simpler and less costly option is possible. 

Usually they should offer you a contract for you to read carefully before signing. It should include a three-month guarantee for the potential new lock or at least a breakdown of the costs.

Make sure that they are not charging you an excessively high price if it’s an emergency, as this is not actually legal.

There’s also asking them to prove their accreditation with the Unión Cerrajeros de Seguridad (UCES).

Weekend and holiday rates can be higher nonetheless, so consider your options and if it’s worth staying with a friend or family member for a night to save some money. A trustworthy and honest cerrajero will let you know about the money you could save if you choose to wait as well.