Categorized | First Things First

Short term accommodation in Barcelona

Posted on 07 February 2010 by American expat!

The most important thing to do before you arrive in Spain is find some comfortable short term accommodation. There is a good reason for this: You want to figure out which area of town fits you best, as well as what you are willing to live with –or without– before committing yourself to a location or sharing arrangement that you almost certainly will discover is not ideal.

It takes a while in Barcelona to find the right combination of location, apartment, “flat mates” and atmosphere that is best for you. If you rush it, and most expats do in a bid to get settled, your first place ends up being your worst place and can cause far more headaches than spending a few more dollars for an extra month would.

Backpacker’s budget

If you are on a tight budget, check out sites where residents in locations around the world offer free accommodation to travelers, like hospitalityclub.org or the younger crowd serving couchsurfing.com.  This will allow you to meet new friends as well as save some money should you find someone to put you up for a few days. Create a profile and introduce yourself to some local people, but do it far enough in advance that something can be arranged. DO NOT send random messages or post on the forums with “I am arriving tomorrow and I need a place to stay, help!”  You won’t receive replies.

If you don’t have a couch to crash on, you’ll probably find yourself at a backpacker’s hostel, paying between 8 to 25 euros a night to share a room with strangers, though many hostels have small private rooms. While they aren’t luxurious, the staff at local hostels tend to be more helpful and open with down to earth advice about finding your bearings. Plus hostels are great places to meet other new Barcelona arrivals who are as excited about everything as you are and who will probably make excellent partners in crime in the bars at night or sightseeing buddies by day. The trick is finding a good hostel full of long term residents, so compare a few at Hostelbookers.com online before you arrive to find the best place to stay.

Traveler’s budget

If you can’t stomach a hostel or crashing on a couch, but still want to avoid the cost of a hotel, look into renting from a local. You can rent entire apartment or just a private room by the night, week or month and and the prices – and places- run the gamut from cheap to luxurious. In fact, many places listed at a monthly rate are very close to actual rent prices you will be paying, so it is certainly worth a look. If you are staying short term, say two or three months, you may even elect to keep your rental for your entire stay.

Or if you can’t stand temporary accommodation (like me – I just want to feel settled!) You can check out Spot a Home’s map with long term rentals, both rooms and entire apartments. All have been checked and are legitimate, most include video tours.

From the airport to your short term place

Once you’ve set up your short term accommodation, bought your flight, packed too much and set off for Spain, make your first day as productive and economical as possible.

After landing, take the Aerobus for 5.95 euros from the airport (pay on the bus, the stops are right outside the terminal and easy to spot, so are the buses) to Plaza Catalunya. Then, with address in hand, and possibly a pinpointed map, jump into one of the multiple cabs at the bus stop and head off to your short term bedroom. Then go out, have a good meal and enjoy your first evening on the town. If you are downtown don’t worry too much about speaking Spanish (or Catalan) at this point and just get the lay of the land and ride the high of your adventure.


In the morning, hit a café, (avoid Starbucks…come on you will be glad you did) or if it is summer, head to a chiringuito at the beach and enjoy a cortado and pastry and then get a few things done on your To Do list.

2 Comments For This Post

  1. Gabriel Says:

    I’m really diggin your site. I’ve been searching for jobs (mostly teaching English) abroad, and happily happened upon your site.

    From what I’ve read, you’ve got a solid handle on what’s what there, and it’s good to find that I’m not alone in my questions and determinations (of course I know I’m not alone, but finding individuals on the web who are traveling and trying to work while not being taken advantage of and in all hopes thriving, is like walking into the Mall of America and trying to find another Cherry Festival Prince or Princess. It might happen if you’re there long enough, but odds are, no, not gonna happen)

    I digress…

    I wanted to say thanks for putting this site together, and hope you’re still getting along wherever it is you’re getting.

    Thanks! ♫♪

  2. American expat! Says:

    Thank YOU for the comment Gabriel, glad it helps and feel free to drop me a note if and when you make it over here 🙂

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