Which city is better to live in: Madrid or Barcelona?
Madrid or Barcelona? That’s a big question. When thinking about the best city to live in Spain, the first two names that come to mind for most expats are Madrid and Barcelona. It’s true that some expats prefer a more tranquil seaside, such as costa blanca and Costa del Sol. But the temptation of big cities is also huge: more business opportunities, better cultural and entertainment offerings, and exquisite restaurants… This explains why a lot of expats still choose to settle down in Madrid or Barcelona.
Which of the two cities is better to live in for expats? Although we cannot give you a definitive answer, we want to give you an idea of what each city is like from our own personal experience, having lived in both cities for several years.
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Since it is bigger than Barcelona. It has more land and more space for businesses to settle down and grow. Individually speaking, there are also more affordable places (pisos, houses, chalets…) to choose from
As the capital city, it enjoys more resources from the central government. As the cultural, political (and also economic center), there are plenty of great opportunities
More culturally inclusive:
Castilla (Spanish) is, without a doubt, the dominant language. As an expat, if you know it well, you can do whatever you want without linguistic problems. While in Barcelona, you usually hear Catalan which is a dialect that you most likely will not understand.
Since it’s the capital city, you will easily find embassiesof your home country and people with the same background as you. The city welcomes different people from different cultures. Have you heard of the famous phrase? “Ames a quien ames, Madrid te quiere.”(Whoever you love, Madrid loves you.)
With numerous great museums, opera houses, bars, nightclubs, and restaurants; you will never get bored.
A Lot of big companies have their ES/ Iberian peninsular headquarters in Madrid.
During the pandemic, the restrictions towards small businesses (hotels, restaurants, and other tourism-related) are not very strict. If you work in these industries, then your business might be affected less in Madrid than in Barcelona.
2. Advantages of living in Barcelona
Better climate and closer to mountains/beaches:
If you want to be as close to beaches and mountains as possible, then Barcelona fits you better. As a coastal city surrounded by mountains, Barcelona enjoys a unique and superior natural environment.
Climate is another important factor. Thanks to the Mediterranean Sea, Barcelona is neither too hot in summer nor too cold in winter. But some people also argue that the humidity is unbearable.
More start-up spirit:
As one of the most entrepreneurial cities, Barcelona has incubated a great number of successful start-ups. It’s said to be one of the most startup-friendly cities in Europe.
Facilities, networks, and talents, here you will find anything you want to start a business. If you want to start a business and live near it, then Barcelona is more livable in that sense.
Barcelona is close to Andorra, France. You might also encounter many Brits, and people from other countries.
You might find more English-speaking locals in Barcelona. Some Catalan people prefer to speak Catalan than Castilian (not all, only in extreme cases).
3. These two cities have their own charms
We find it hard to comment on which one is better in some aspects:
Food: The food in Barcelona and Madrid is equally great. Because you can always find nice restaurants in any of the two. The cocido and callo in Madrid are amazing, and so are the paella and embutidos in Barcelona.
Tourism-friendly: Also very hard to compare. Some people say that Barcelona is better for the architectural gems left by Gaudí. But others would say that the national museums in Madrid are real treasures.
Anyway…These two cities are unique: their cultural combination/uniqueness, elegance/imagination, and even openness/hospitality make it hard to define which one is better in general. But you can always vote based on your preferences. Which one would you prefer?
4. No matter where you would like to live, Adeslas will always cover you!