Something you won't like about the capital of Catalonia
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It's hard to realize how many tourists come to Barcelona. In fact, too many! Because of that, this city became pickpockets' world capital. It is also the reason why restaurants and housing here are more expensive than anywhere in Spain. In the hot season it is impossible to get into a restaurant or relax on the beach - you already know why. Spanish people call it "to die of success", as this massive tourism in Barcelona has already started to negatively affect the city and the locals, who are constantly moving out.


In summer, the air in Barcelona blends with aroma of weed. It seems like you can get high just by strolling at the city center at night. Locals, tourists, adults and adolescents smoke constantly and everywhere. And pot is not the worst thing some people consume in Barcelona. To avoid such temptations families with children try to live outside the city center.

Low salaries
Due to the high level of unemployment, finding a job in Barcelona, or Spain in general, is not easy. However, it is not the only problem. After all the taxes, the average salary level here is twice as low as in Italy or France. In some Spanish cities you won't notice it that much, thanks to lower prices on food or transport, but in relatively expensive Barcelona it is almost impossible to survive on the minimum wage of €730.

Cold apartments

It happened so that is southern cities people don't think much about the winter. There are 300 days of sun here. It's true that in Barcelona most of the times the weather is warm and the temperatures are comfy, but when the winter comes you better get ready. There is no central heating in most of the houses. Electric bedding, air conditioners, all kinds of heaters - these are just some of the methods freezing locals are using to fight the cold. But here is another trap: all these devices heat up your electricity bills a lot! How about paying €300 monthly for getting warm in a small apartment? Many people prefer freezing instead of overpaying, and thus the winter seems eternal.

Expensive housing
Average salaries are about €1000-1200. Average rent is the same. Prices for renting a small apartment in central areas start at €800. Many people cannot afford renting an entire flat. Because of that, many middle-aged spaniards keep living with their parents or renting rooms. Many immigrants live in worse conditions than back home, because in Barcelona they have to share apartments with other people, like in student times. Small centric apartments of 40 square metres are for rent for €1000-1500. To get one of those you have to either gain an almost impossible salary of €3000-4000 or share it with other people, while in fact there is only room for one, maximum a couple.
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Catalan language
Another surprise from Catalonia. Unlike the Basque language, which is hardly ever spoken in the Basque country, Catalan is loved and widely promoted here. Those who tried so hard learning Spanish before moving to Barcelona sometimes get disappointed when they find out that people actually speak a different language here. And it is not really similar to what they learned. Catalan is an independent language and not a dialect of Spanish, as some people think. It reminds more of a mix of Spanish, French and Portuguese. If you don't learn it, you will hardly understand it. If you don't understand it, you won't truly integrate and will have a hard time finding a well paid job or creating a local-oriented business.

Poor service
Restrooms in the restaurants sometimes look like if they were street toilets, waiters hardly ever speak English, and the quality of hairdressers' and beauty salons is really low. These are just some of the problems with service in Barcelona. On one hand, this city teaches you to take it easy and be grateful for small favours, but on the other hand, if you are a fan of a five-star-service, Barcelona won't have much to show you.

Unfortunately, in a week or so you will get tired of these small dishes so beloved by Spanish people. We see them as appetizers, but for many locals they are the main and the only plate. Some olives, a bit of jamon, maybe potatoes, and the dinner is done. Lunch can be more "global", but you will get tired of paella or potatoes with meat in a month. So, you should either get used to lighter menus, or cook at home.
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The level of medicine in Barcelona is really high. The best doctors, nice nurses, amazing equipment. But it's not 100% perfect. The worst thing is the waiting time. My friend's arm got hurt, and she got her MRI visit… in two months! And the next visit in three months. No matter if it is a public or a private hospital. Of course, you can always pretend you're dying and go to the emergency room, but even there you'll have to wait for hours.
Another problem is the special love Spanish doctors have for the basic medicaments, like chamomile or Ibuprofen. Unlike some doctors, say, in Russia, who are ready to operate even if you have just a runny nose, the Spanish doctors tend to belittle the problem and dispense nothing but Ibuprofen, Paracetamol or chamomile.

Barcelona is not Spain
Many reasons why many people like Barcelona make it so different from other Spanish cities, that it doesn't really look or feel like Spain. Unfortunately, massive tourism, adapted cuisines, high prices and a different language make its Spanish soul disappear from Barcelona. If you go South, for example, to Andalusia, you will be shocked by the tremendous difference: free tapas with a drink, smiley people, less pickpocketing and some old-world spirit. Unfortunately, it's the contrary in Barcelona.
Hey. My name is Alina Kabakova, and I am the founder of the FUNBCN.
As a barcelonian, I know that this city can offer you much more than travel guides suggest.
My team and I offer more than 50 vivid impressions in an active, romantic or relax style: from romantic cruises on a yacht and dinner on the rooftop to extreme flights in a balloon and Formula-1 races.
Contact us and we will create the journey of your dreams.
Barcelona is our love, and we want to share it with you.
Contact us:
+34 644 754 934
Carrer Industria 104, Barcelona