12th August, 2017

A guide to Barcelona: What to see, do and where to buy?

A guide to Barcelona: What to see, do and where to buy?

Barcelona is renowned for its spectacular architecture, but there is more to this Catalan city. In our latest overseas guide you will discover the most sought-after areas, the best schools and how to apply for a golden visa. Anteea Maria Burlacu from Fine & Country Barcelona is our local expert, who has worked and lived in Barcelona for a number of years. If you are looking for inspiration, Anteea reveals the secrets of this beautiful city.



1. Tell us about Barcelona? What makes it special?

Located on the Mediterranean coast, Barcelona is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. This cosmopolitan city is also one of Spain’s most important economic, cultural and commercial hubs, attracting both leisure and business tourism from all over the globe.

Barcelona is a city with mind-blowing architecture too. When you first encounter Antoni Gaudí's La Sagrada Familia or his rooftop sculptures at La Pedrera, you'll be swept away by the originality and astonishing quality of his works.

But Barcelona offers a lot more than just art, it also has vast and sandy beaches as well as excellent restaurants with delicious traditional Catalan cuisine.


2. What are the most sought-after areas?

L’Eixample and the Old city (Ciutat Vella) neighbourhoods are the most sought-after areas in Barcelona. L´Eixample allows you to admire the finest Catalan architecture and to explore iconic streets such as Passeig de Gràcia and Rambla de Catalunya, which are home to the top fashion boutiques selling leading local and international brands, countless restaurants, cafés and bars.

When you discover Ciutat Vella, you will discover the origins of Barcelona. It's narrow alleyways, hidden medieval courtyards, coupled with the rich history, eclectic shops and breathtaking architecture.


3. What are the hottest and coolest months?

The weather here is pleasant for most of the year. However, you'll experience the best weather from May to the end of July making these months particularly attractive for a visit to the city. September is also a good month to travel to Barcelona. August is the hottest month with the temperature sometimes reaching 34°C. The city is located near the sea, so it has a high level of humidity, which makes it even hotter during the summer.

The weather in October and November is still pleasant, but starting to get a little cooler 21°C down to 15°C. Be prepared for days when it could be overcast with a little rain too. From November to February the temperatures are cooler, averaging around 12°C. It doesn't tend to rain a lot here in Winter and it tends to be sunny most of the days.



4. What are the best schools?

Barcelona has many brilliant international schools, including the British School of Barcelona, the Benjamin Franklin International School Kensington School, and Deutsche Schule Barcelona. Most of these private schools are officially 'deemed valid', meaning students can use the qualifications to enter university without needing to pass extra selection exams, all the while maintaining in most cases the educational system of the country of origin.


5. How much do properties cost in Barcelona?

Property prices for all of Barcelona averaged €4,123 per square metre by the end of the first quarter of 2017.

Continuing recent trends, the more prestigious, luxury districts of Eixample and Zona Alta (Les Corts and Sarrià-Sant Gervasi) ended the year of 2016 with the highest average prices, at €4,998 and €5,079 per square meter respectively.


6. What properties are the most in demand?

The properties that are the most in demand are the ones in ¨finca regia¨ (buildings from 1950´s) with magnificent entrances and flats that have been refurbished but have maintained the original characteristics: high ceilings, mosaic floors and exposed bricks walls.

Nevertheless, flats that are sold off-plan are next on the list. This is because there are few plots in Barcelona where you can build new developments.



7. How do you apply for a Golden Visa and what is it?

The Golden Visa is an opportunity for international (non-EU) investors to gain residency or citizenship in a European country and travel across all 26 Schengen countries without border controls. In Spain, the residency is issued if you purchase a property of at least €500.000. By investing €500,000 in a property, the buyer can immediately apply for residency. The visa will last for a period of two years, provided the investment is maintained and the holder of the visa spends a minimum period in any of the 26 Schengen countries.


8. Step by Step

Step 1:

BOOK YOUR TRIP TO VISIT BARCELONA

Book a flight to the El Prat International Airport. Then, schedule a four-day stay in a hotel or Airbnb.


Step 2:

VISIT PROPERTIES

Make an appointment with an estate agent who can give you the best advice specific to your situation. For more information about booking viewings, contact Fine & Country Barcelona at barcelona.centre@fineandcountry.com


Step 3:

VISIT LAWYERS, BANK AND THE IMMIGRATION DEPARTMENT

Your estate agent will introduce you to lawyers, help you to open a local bank account and assist you with other tasks, such as acquiring a tax number and finding an attorney.


Step 4:

ENJOY BARCELONA AND ITS SURROUNDINGS

One of the best things about Barcelona is that you can enjoy both city life and beach bliss all at the same time. Admire and enjoy the feeling and atmosphere of this beautiful city.



9. In summary:

• Minimum investment €500,000

• Land, residential or commercial property

• Residency granted for two years

• No limitation on use or ownership. Freedom to rent or lease

• Ability to travel freely within EU Schengen visa zone


10. Finally, what advice would you give to anyone thinking of moving to Barcelona?

Properties in Barcelona are big-ticket investments that can have a big impact on your health, wealth, and happiness, so don’t take unnecessary risks.

Don’t rush into something you may regret, and be careful who you deal with. More than anything else, the people you choose to deal with will determine whether you have a good or bad experience. Identify good property professionals before you put your hard-earned money on the line. Every Fine & Country agent operates to strict codes of conduct and is dedicated to you. If you need any advice in the process of buying, please contact us.


For more details on properties for sale in Barcelona, please contact our Fine & Country Barcelona office on +34 93 467 64 18



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