Moving to Catalonia: what you need to know

Moving to Catalonia: what you need to know

Catalonia is one of Spain's most sought-after regions for holidays and permanent relocation. Located in the northeastern part of the country, this autonomous community boasts a Mediterranean coastline. It's a top choice for purchasing property in Spain, and here's why:

  • A diverse landscape offering both beaches and ski resorts.
  • Excellent transport links with international airports in Barcelona, Girona, and Reus. The region also has a well-developed railway system, and major cities like Barcelona have metro services.
  • High-quality education with a wide range of schools and 12 universities, some of which rank among the best globally.
  • An abundance of cultural and historical landmarks.
  • Great facilities for sports enthusiasts.
  • A rich culinary scene, with traditional dishes featuring a plethora of vegetables and seafood.


Features of life in Catalonia

If you're considering a move to Catalonia, it's essential to understand the unique aspects of this autonomous region. Here are some key points:

  1. Unlike other Spanish regions, Catalan is the official language here. It's the medium of instruction in local schools and is used in official events. So, if you're planning a move to Catalonia, it might be more beneficial to learn Catalan instead of Spanish.
  2. The cost of living, including housing, food, and other goods, is higher in Catalonia than in regions like Valencia or Andalusia. However, salaries in Catalonia tend to be higher as well.
  3. The climate is more humid than in Spain's southern regions. While coastal areas enjoy a Mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters, the Pyrenees region experiences a continental climate with hot summers and colder winters.

Residency, permanent residency, and citizenship in Spain

To legally reside and work in Spain, you need to obtain local residency. Initially, a temporary residency permit (often referred to as a residence visa) is granted. The Spanish residence visa is available to specific categories of individuals:

  • Property buyers who invest €500,000 or more.
  • Financially independent individuals with an income of at least 4 times the Spanish minimum wage (€4320). They must also have an official residence in the country. This visa allows the holder to work, run a business, or rent out property.
  • Students enrolled in Spanish institutions. A student visa permits work up to 20 hours a week. After 3 years with this visa, you can apply for a residency with full work rights.
  • Employees with a contract from a Spanish employer.
  • Business owners contributing to the Spanish economy. A business plan is required for the initial application, and renewals are based on business performance.
  • Remote workers of international companies earning at least €2160.
  • Investors who have invested more than €1 million in Spanish projects.
  • Spouses, minor children, and dependent elderly parents of Spanish citizens.
  • Refugees.

After 5 years of holding a temporary residency, you can apply for permanent residency. After living in Spain with permanent residency for another 5 years, you can apply for citizenship. To obtain a Spanish passport, applicants must pass a language proficiency test and demonstrate knowledge of the country's history and culture. It's crucial to note that Spain does not allow dual citizenship. Therefore, upon acquiring Spanish citizenship, you would need to renounce your original nationality.

Popular cities in Catalonia

Among the most sought-after locations in Catalonia for relocation, the following major cities with excellent infrastructure stand out:

  • Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia and Spain's second-largest city, where modern skyscrapers coexist with mediaeval temples, palaces, and ancient urban quarters. Barcelona boasts a Mediterranean coastline and is renowned for some of Spain's cleanest beaches. The city has an excellent public transport system and offers residents plenty of cafes, restaurants, supermarkets, shopping centres, and traditional Spanish markets with a vast range of fresh produce.
  • Tarragona is located on the Costa Dorada coastline, 97 km from Barcelona. This region is a tourist favourite due to its pristine beaches, numerous historical monuments, scenic nature, and robust urban infrastructure, including shops, markets, and shopping centres. From the city's port, you can embark on boat tours, and the promenade offers yacht or catamaran rentals.
  • Girona is one of Catalonia's oldest cities, situated in the northeastern part of the region. Girona's old quarters have preserved mediaeval structures and beautiful architectural landmarks. The city centre features a large park, with the Girona Cathedral being its main attraction. As Girona isn't located on the coast, many locals prefer the beaches of Lake Banyoles, a mere 10-minute drive from the city. Seaside beaches are about an hour's drive away.
  • Sabadell is a resort town located 20 km from Barcelona. It boasts a well-developed transport infrastructure and even has its airport. The town is home to numerous art galleries, museums, a botanical garden, and the famous Church of Saint Nicholas, built in the 11th century. Additionally, Sabadell is a significant hub for Spain's textile industry.

Popular coastal areas

For those seeking a relaxed life by the sea, the small towns and villages along the Costa Brava coastline are ideal. The coast itself is picturesque with cliffs, narrow bays, caves, and stunning sea views.

Another popular resort destination is the Costa Garraf coastline, located near Barcelona and renowned for its quality beaches.

A 30-minute drive from Barcelona lies Castelldefels, nestled between the Garraf Massif mountains and the seafront. While the location is generally tranquil, it often hosts large entertainment events during weekends.

Buying property in Catalonia

The Catalan property market offers a wide range of housing options. You can find apartments in both the secondary market in city centres and in new development projects in Spain. Modern villas and townhouses in gated communities, and luxurious estates with vast land plots, are also available.

The process of buying an apartment or house in Spain for foreigners involves several steps:

  • Opening an account in a local bank.
  • Obtaining a Spanish tax identification number.
  • Signing a preliminary contract and paying a deposit, typically 10% of the total amount.
  • Legal verification of the seller's documents.
  • Signing the final sales contract and paying the remaining amount.
  • Registering the property rights.

Property prices

In Spain, foreigners can own property. Housing prices directly depend on the property's location. Apartments in the centres of major cities and properties within walking distance of the sea are the most expensive.

Over the past seven years, prices of houses and apartments in Spain have consistently grown by 9–19% annually. Since 2015, housing costs in the country have increased by 1.4 times. In 2022, the price increase was 5%. The trend of rising property prices continues in 2023. This data suggests that buying property in Spain is a reliable way to protect your capital from inflation, even if you're purchasing for personal use.

Currently, the cost per square metre of property in Barcelona ranges from €3,160 to €5,075. It's worth noting that these are among the highest prices in Spain.

Selection and purchase of property in Catalonia

To delve deep into Catalonia's property market, visit our website's catalogue. We gather offers from both developers and real estate agencies, significantly simplifying and speeding up the search process.

With our user-friendly filter system, you can sort property sale listings by price, area, number of bedrooms, location, and other parameters. Regular catalogue updates ensure you stay informed about new offers, making it easy to find the perfect apartment or house for your future purchase.

Subscribe to newsletter