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DRIVING

After new 30km/h limit on urban roads, Spain plans speed drop on secondary roads

Spain’s traffic authority has suggested it will drop the speed to 70km/h on secondary roads (carreteras convencionales) just as the country’s new speed laws for urban roads have come into force.

After new 30km/h limit on urban roads, Spain plans speed drop on secondary roads
Photo: Juanecd/Flickr

Driving in Spain is undergoing some big changes currently. 

The speed limit was dropped from 50km/h to 30km/h on Tuesday May 11th and it was recently announced that the country’s entire motorway network will have tolls in the coming years.

There are also a number of stiffer penalties and stricter rules that are being introduced throughout 2021 which you can read about here.

READ MORE: Penalties, speed limits and prohibitions: Spain’s tougher driving laws for 2021

But Spain’s transport authority the DGT (Directorate General of Traffic) has more in store.

DGT head Pere Navarro has suggested that there will also be a speed limit drop on carreteras convencionales, the country’s secondary roads, where the current speed is 90km/h in most cases.

“It should be 70km/h on these roads, that would be the ideal speed,” Navarro said on Tuesday.

Carreteras convencionales, high-capacity single-carriageway roads which are a step down from motorways (with lanes in both directions, with or without separating barriers) are where 77 percent of fatal road accidents take place in Spain, according to DGT data. They often run parallel to the motorways and connect different urban areas.

Cars and motorbikes on Spain’s carreteras convencionales already had to drop their speed from 100km/h to 90km/h in most cases in 2019.

Navarro’s words come in light of the fact that introducing tolls on motorways will likely mean that more drivers will use secondary roads as a way of getting around paying peajes (tolls) on highways.

One of the new road rules introduced this year also states that vehicles can no longer surpass the speed limit at all when overtaking on secondary roads, whereas before it was allowed by up to 20km/h when overtaking.

The DGT also announced that 550 speed cameras are being placed on urban roads in towns, cities and villages across Spain to make sure drivers stick to the new 30km/h limit, and that more speed cameras will be introduced on the points on secondary roads where most accidents happen.

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BARCELONA

How much does it really cost to live in Barcelona?

Barcelona is one of the most popular cities for foreigners to move to in Spain, but it's also among the most expensive. Long-time Barcelona resident Esme Fox explains exactly how much you'll need to live in the Catalan capital.

How much does it really cost to live in Barcelona?

Barcelona is made up of 10 different districts and each one of these has its own neighbourhoods, or barris as they’re called in Catalan.

Depending on which district or even which neighbourhood you live in, your cost of living will be very different in everything from rent to a simple cup of coffee.

Generally, the most expensive neighbourhoods are located in the centre and northwest of the city and some of the cheapest can be found in the outer-lying areas or to the east of the centre.

But wherever you live in the city it’s worth keeping in mind that the cost of living in Barcelona has risen by 31 percent in the last five years and rising rental prices are mostly to blame.

According to the annual report by the Metropolitan Area of ​​Barcelona (AMB), the minimum wage needed to be able to live comfortably in Barcelona is €1,435 gross per month.

But of course, it will depend on your living circumstances. According to the report, if you’re living on your own you will need around €1,553 per month, if you’re a single parent you will need €2,220 per month. A couple without children will each need to earn a minimum of €1,054.80 and a couple with two children needs two salaries of €1,547 each.

Map showing the ten districts that make up Barcelona.

Rent

Rent is your biggest expense in Barcelona and unfortunately, rental prices have been spiralling recently due to inflation, the return of tourism after Covid lockdowns and the ever-growing popularity of the city.

Cost of living website Numbeo states that the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre is €1,031 and a one-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre is €795.

Those looking for somewhere slightly larger to rent will be forking out €1,672 for a three-bedroom apartment in the city centre and €1,299 for a three-bedroom apartment outside the centre.

If you’re prepared to rent a room in a shared apartment with others, this will cut your rental costs considerably. Apartment sharing website Badi states that the average price for a room in a shared apartment in Barcelona costs an average of €500.  

READ ALSO: What you should know about renting an apartment in Barcelona

Groceries

With inflation, the cost of groceries has soared in Barcelona in the past few months. Prices will depend on where you shop. Generally, chain supermarkets such as Mercadona are the cheapest, while larger supermarkets where you can also find important products such as Carrefour and El Corte Inglés are more expensive.

According to Expatistan, the average price for a litre of milk costs €0.93, 12 eggs cost €2.92 and 500g of cheese costs €5.76.

In terms and fruit and vegetables, Numbeo states that the average cost of1kg of tomatoes is €2.16, 1kg of apples costs €1.96 and 1kg of potatoes costs €1.33. While the same website gives the average price for chicken fillets as €7.09 and a bag of rice as €1.26. 

Eating out

Barcelonians love to eat out whether that’s going for tapas with friends, trying out a new international restaurant or going for brunch on a Sunday. It’s an important part of socialising in the Catalan capital, so you’ll want to budget to eat out a least a few times per month. 

Expatistan gives the price of dinner for two in a normal restaurant at €35, while Numbeo states that a combo meal at a chain or fast food place will set you back around €9.

A menú del día (menu of the day) costs an average of €17 in the centre or an expensive area of the city, while you can pay as little as €11 for 3 courses in the cheaper neighbourhoods.

Going out for a coffee will set you back around €2.08. Remember that it’s always cheaper to ask for a café con leche rather than a cappuccino. 

READ ALSO – Moving to Barcelona: A guide to the best neighbourhoods to live in

Going out, leisure and entertainment

Barcelona has a great entertainment scene, whether you want to listen to live music in small bar, go clubbing until the early hours of the morning, go on a date to the cinema or spend the night at the theatre.

A cinema ticket costs an average of €9, while you’ll pay €42.74 for a monthly gym membership in the city. 

A normal-sized glass of draught or bottled beer at a bar will be around €3 and a cocktail will be around €8-12.

Transport

Public transport in Barcelona is good and affordable. Metros, buses, trams and trains (Rodalies and FGC) all run throughout the city. A 10-journey ticket which can be used on all modes of transport for one zone currently costs €7.65 with the government’s 30 percent reduction, but is normally €11.35.

If you commute, you can get a monthly unlimited journey ticket for one zone called the T-Usual which normally costs €40, but currently is only €20 with government aid.

READ ALSO: The downsides of Barcelona you should be aware of before moving

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