Where to live in Barcelona – Erasmus student edition

It can be hard as an Erasmus student to decide where you want to live while you study abroad in Barcelona. Of course, you can use Google Street View or such to get an idea of a neighbourhood. But let’s face it, it doesn’t get the job done. To help you understand the different options, we have listed all the areas and their characteristics below. This way you can choose which neighbourhood best suits you and your wishes. Choose wisely!

Best places to live as a student in Barcelona

Barcelona is divided into 10 different districts, each with several neighbourhoods. To keep a better record, we will start with the district that is generally the most popular for students to live in. Therefore, the further down a district is, the less popular.


This is probably the favourite neighbourhood of all international students. The best way to think of this cool hipster area, is as an independent town in a bigger metropolis. The place is all about culture, fashion and fair trade so it can be said that the hipster feeling lives strongly. The small streets and plazas – full of alternative shops and cultural events – are always crowded with international students. The little traffic in the streets make it all the more attractive. With Gràcia, the only drawback is the distance to the beaches, which is nothing compared to the benefits!


This historical neighbourhood, is often called the heart of Barcelona. We all know what that means… A lively nightlife with upscale bars, clubs and nice restaurants! This place was designed to be a modern Barcelona, making it lack a bit of that community feel which is so typical in the older parts of the city. Despite, it is one of the most appreciated neighbourhoods in Barcelona because it is a treasure trove of modernism. You’ll come across lots of Gaudí works. If you decide to live here, you’ll be close to basically everything. There’s also a good transportation network for when you go further out of town.Erasmus students can't get over this treasure trove of modernism full of Guadí works

Ciutat Vella

Always dreamt of living in a place that overflows with old-school charm and beauty? The oldest part of Barcelona joins multiple neighbourhoods together, being: Raval, Gothic Quarter, Barceloneta and Sant Pere, Santa Caterina and la Ribera (El Born). A variety of cultural activities, a vibrant nightlife and a good connection to universities, make the neighbourhood appealing for Erasmus students. But that’s not the only thing. On the coastal edge of the district, lie the Mediterranean sea and the several, beautiful beaches. Expect some tourists here!

El Born

For an indie atmosphere, El Born – which is basically the Gothic Quarter’s twin – is the place to be. It’s still part of the ancient city but renovations are more likely, resulting in more comfort. For this reason many have turned to this neighbourhood for a place to stay. Apart from that, it’s also very clean in comparison to other city centre neighbourhoods. And not to forget: you’ll feel close to everything. Its central location grants access to Barceloneta beach, shops for fashion bargains, bars in El Raval, the clubs in Eixample and Ciutadella Park. El Born is not the quietest neighbourhood and is popular among tourists.

Poble sec

Looking for something more quiet with lots of green spaces? El Raval’s next door neighbour which lies partially on the mountain of Montjuïc, will be your thing. Poble Sec is a well-connected region in terms of public transport with the proximity of Barcelona’s lively centre less than 15 minutes away. But you don’t have to leave for the city centre because there’s lots of things to see in Poble Sec itself. Not only is there a lot of culture to appreciate but also lots of shops, restaurants and fantastic bars to enjoy.

Les Corts

If you’re coming to study in Barcelona, Les Corts might be the ideal spot for you to have your residence. Since this district has a wide range of international schools, chances you’ll be studying here, are rather great. Do keep in mind though, it generally is more of a residential area for local families. What’s fun as well is that it’s both modern and traditional with a small-town feel. It is therefore remarkable that the largest stadium in Europe called “Camp Nou” houses there.

A quick recap on where to live in Barcelona for which reasons

(We also included some other neighbourhoods that could be an option as well.)

  • Gràcia: friendly and quiet hipster hangout area for a bohemian experience
  • Eixample: For a lively nightlife in the centre of it all
  • Ciutat Vella: Comfortable living in the centre of Barcelona
    • El Born: Experience an indie atmosphere while being close to everything
    • Gothic Quarter: For the ultimate cultural experience
    • Barceloneta: For beach vibes any time of the day
    • El Raval: Authentic Barcelona neighbourhood with local nightlife
  • Poble Sec: For culture appreciation in a green area
  • Sants-Montjuïc: For the best views and mountain hikes in town
    • Les Corts: Family-friendly area in the university district
  • Sant Martí: For people who pursue an active lifestyle
    • Poblenou: For an authentic community-feel
    • El Clot: For affordable rent while having easy access to the beach
  • Horta-Guinardó: For students on lower budgets

Now it’s up to you to make the best choices. But whatever you do, know that your Erasmus time will be the best time of your life and you are in control of how fantastic it will be. A location can do little about it. Good luck with your search!

Already on the lookout for activities during your stay in Barcelona? Keep a close eye on our website in order to stay tuned for upcoming events. Prefer social media? All the better! Thanks to our Instagram and Facebook, you won’t miss a single tripparty or activity. Hope to see you soon at one of our events!

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