14 Jul 2022

Where to Buy Property Near Barcelona – Buyer’s Guide

Published in Barcelona, Real estate

Find out where to buy property near Barcelona – the 35 best towns near Barcelona to live, work and holiday.

310 towns near Barcelona – where to begin?

Few people have the luxury of setting a summer aside to figure out where to buy property near Barcelona.

Many of us don’t even have a week.

The best answer to the question of where to buy property near Barcelona is of course ‘go and have a look around Barcelona’ – but that’s not necessarily possible, or helpful. Especially when Barcelona city is just one of 311 municipalities in the wider Provincia de Barcelona (Barcelona Province).

In this article we’re taking one thing for granted: we’re ignoring the equally worthy provinces of Gerona to the north (the Costa Brava), Tarragona to the south (Costa Dorada) and Lleida towards the interior.

If we’re going to help you figure out where to buy property near Barcelona, we’re going to focus on Barcelona Province.

Luckily for you that still includes the sandy and international Costa del Garraf (south of Barcelona city), the tranquil and traditional Costa del Maresme (north of Barcelona city) and the affluent mountain towns towards the interior.

map of barcelona province

Which of the three types of Barcelona buyer are you?

With years of experience in Barcelona real estate, we find that buyers fall into three categories:

  • Buyers looking to invest in Barcelona property
  • Buyers looking for permanent residence in Barcelona (with family or retired)
  • Buyers looking for a temporary work relocation in Barcelona

Each of these categories are looking for something different.

Investors typically want to know where the tourists visit, to ensure consistent demand for a rental property. Buyers looking to settle in the Barcelona area need to be close to key services: schools, hospitals, airports, and community. Highly skilled workers undertaking a Barcelona relocation need to commute into Barcelona if they’re looking where to buy property near Barcelona.

We will look at each of these in turn.

Even if you’re firmly in one of these three categories, it will help you get a better grip on buying a house near Barcelona to read them all.

So, let’s look at some key information to help you figure out where to buy property near Barcelona.

where to buy property near Barcelona
The Costa del Garraf to the south of Barcelona city is dominated by the Garraf Massif mountain range, which juts into the sea creating sandy, dramatic coves

Where to buy property near Barcelona – property investment

Investors overwhelmingly look at where the tourists are.

A real estate market with continued interest is likely to continue to attract holidaymakers and mid to longer-term renters. A popular area is also more likely to see higher and higher house prices.

While you can find top 7 lists of the most beautiful towns near Barcelona, it’s tough to find the hard facts that serious buyers need.

We’ve used findings from DataHippo to nail down the 35 most popular tourist towns in Barcelona province. Our criteria has been simple: we’ve identified all the towns with more than 100 holiday apartments available on a mix of AirBNB, HomeAway, HouseTrip and Only-Apartments.

You can find these 35 towns in an interactive map we created (see below).

Here’s a list of these 35 towns in alphabetical order (with number of holiday apartments):

  • Alella (110)
  • Arenys de Mar (231)
  • Badalona (497)
  • Cabrils (207)
  • Calella (584)
  • Canet de Mar (256)
  • Canyelles (136)
  • Castelldefels (603)
  • Cornellà de Llobregat (110)
  • Cubelles (205)
  • El Masnou (249)
  • El Prat de Llobregat (122)
  • L’Hospitalet de Llobregat (1566)
  • Malgrat de Mar (423)
  • Mataró (244)
  • Olivella (191)
  • Palafolls (111)
  • Pineda de Mar (797)
  • Premià de Mar (132)
  • Sabadell (152)
  • Sant Adrià de Besós (249)
  • Sant Adrià de Llavaneres (249)
  • Sant Cebrià de Vallalta (231)
  • Sant Cugat del Vallès (264)
  • Sant Pere de Ribes (460)
  • Sant Pol de Mar (286)
  • Sant Vicenç de Montalt (240)
  • Santa Coloma de Gramenet (114)
  • Santa Susanna (421)
  • Sitges (2988)
  • Terrassa (137)
  • Tordera (235)
  • Vilanova i la Geltrú (440)
  • Vilassar de Mar (222)

(Click here to view the interactive version of this map on Datawrapper.)

The most popular tourist towns near Barcelona

We can draw a few conclusions from the data visualisation here.

First of all, the city of Sitges is by far the most in-demand area if you’re considering where to buy property near Barcelona. L’Hospitalet de Llobregat is popular, but like the municipality of Badalona is right next to the Barcelona city limits with easy transport links

Both Pineda de Mar in the northern Maresme region and Castelldefels in the Garraf region stand out as more far-out beach towns with strong popularity. Let’s look property prices in each of these towns as of May 2022 compared with prices inside Barcelona city (€4,025).

  • Badalona (€2,081 m2)
  • Castelldefels (€3,466)
  • L’Hospitalet de Llobregat (€2,295)
  • Sant Pol de Mar (€2,304)
  • Sitges (€3,970)

These prices are coherent with the latest Coastal Living Report from Tinsa. That is, the Garraf and Maresme beach towns were the only ones in the region to see rising prices throughout the COVID-19 pandemic (compared to either Barcelona or towns right next to Barcelona).

The Tinsa report actually found that rental prices (short-term, mid-term and long-term) on these coastlines remained stable throughout COVID-19 – meanwhile in Barcelona city rent and housing prices fell. The report concluded that the dominant buyers and renters were a steady stream of Spanish citizens from Barcelona city, seeking some peace and quiet.

In case you’re interested, the city of Barcelona is the municipality with the most holiday apartments in all of Spain – some 37,123 inside the city limits alone.

That’s significantly more than Madrid, with 31,469 according to DataHippo.

Read more information about housing prices in Barcelona city in 2022.

buy property in sitges
Sitges to the south of the province is by far the most popular tourist and expat town near Barcelona

Where to buy property near Barcelona – permanent residence

If you’re considering where to buy property near Barcelona – and you’re either retired or bringing young children along – your needs are different.

Your immediate question is likely: where’s the nearest airport?

Barcelona is serviced by the Josep Tarradellas–El Prat Airport located in El Prat de Llobregat to the south side of Barcelona. It’s an hour’s drive from the northernmost town in our list of popular tourist towns near Barcelona (Tordera). It’s only 30 minutes from the southernmost town (Cubelles).

Next up, we find most people looking to buy property near Barcelona want to know where hospitals and good schools are. All the 35 most popular tourist towns in Barcelona province above are close to some of the best hospitals in Cataluña – except that towns in the far north of Maresme (Tordera) will have a 25-minute drive to the Hospital de Mataró.

Unless you specifically want to buy a house in rural Barcelona Province, you should be within 20 minutes of a top public hospital.

Next on your list will likely be good schools. Barcelona is home to 8 of the top 100 schools in all of Spain – according to Forbes.

These are:

  • St Peter’s School Barcelona (offers the International Baccalaureate in English)
  • Colegio Internacional SEK Catalunya (offers the International Baccalaureate in English)
  • Agora Sant Cugat International School (offers the International Baccalaureate in English)
  • La Miranda (offers the International Baccalaureate in English)
  • The British School of Barcelona (National Curriculum for England and the International Baccalaureate in English)
  • Benjamin Franklin International School (offers the International Baccalaureate in English and the American High School Diploma)
  • Escola Virolai
  • Oak House School (offers the International Baccalaureate in English)

The schooling in Barcelona is second-to-none. Not only do all but one of these top schools teach in English, but St Peter’s School in Barcelona ranked as the number 1 best school in Spain.

We created a map on Google Earth showing where each of these schools are in Barcelona province (yellow markers) along with the Barcelona–El Prat airport (green marker) and the nearest hospitals (red marker with heart).

best towns to live in near Barcelona

If you’re considering where to buy property near Barcelona, and you’re a foreigner yourself, you might like to know where other expats live.

Most recent statistics show that foreign-born residents make up 14.5% of people living in Cataluña. They are overwhelmingly found in the city of Lleida – an agricultural centre – and in the city and surrounding towns of Barcelona.

Here’s a look at the % of foreigners among the 35 tourist-friendly towns in our list above:

  • Calella (18.8%)
  • Castelldefels (19.2%)
  • L’Hospitalet de Llobregat (20.3%)
  • Mataró (16%)
  • Pineda de Mar (14.6%)
  • Santa Coloma de Gramenet (20.6%)
  • Sitges (21.6%)

(Click here to see the below image in an interactive map.)

It’s also worth looking at the nationality of foreigners if you’re looking to find a community near Barcelona. Let’s look at the towns listed above again – but this time with the most dominant nationality among foreigners:

  • Calella (Moroccan)
  • Castelldefels (Romanian)
  • L’Hospitalet de Llobregat (Bolivia)
  • Mataró (Moroccan)
  • Pineda de Mar (Moroccan)
  • Santa Coloma de Gramenet (China)
  • Sitges (British)

The foreign populations living near Barcelona are eclectic, and coming from all over the world. The most dominant nationalities are: Romanian, Moroccan, Italian, French, Portuguese, British.

(Click here to see the below image in an interactive map.)

Where to buy property near Barcelona – work relocation

If you have an upcoming Barcelona relocation on the cards, you’ll also be considering where to buy property near Barcelona.

Likely the biggest question on your mind is: how easy will my commute be into Barcelona?

Many international businesses have their Barcelona HQ in the Poblenou former industrial area of the Sant Martí district. For example: Meta have their Barcelona office in the Torre Glòries, in the Placa de les Glòries.

If your profession is diplomatic, you might well be commuting to the central Eixample district.

Then there’s the Barcelona Science Park specialising in R&D – this is found in the southwestern Les Corts district.

All of Barcelona is well-connected by metro and bus.

If you’re considering where to buy property near Barcelona for an easy public transport commute, you might consider:

  • Badalona – This region directly to the north of Barcelona is well connected to the rest of the city by bus and Metro. While many traditional winemakers and fisherman have left this region due to booming population, it has turned itself into a centre for microelectronics, robotics, aerosols, textile machinery and industrial moulds. Badalona is also a popular tourism destination with many mediaeval and Gothic streets.
  • Castelldefels – This beachfront town is famous for its long beach and for being an affluent area. Many of the stars of Barcelona FC have called Castelldefels home – Lionel Messi, Luis Suárex, Philippe Coutinho and Ronaldinho. It’s a popular destination in the summer for daytrippers from Barcelona. The town is also the location of the Castelldefels and Nexus (sixth form college) campuses of the British School of Barcelona (BSB).
  • Hospital de Llobregat – This town is one of the most densely populated cities in the European Union, and has historically been an industrial municipality located right on the border of Barcelona. The region has a reputation of being a depressed suburb with a high proportion of foreign-born nationals. However, today it is considered Barcelona’s new financial centre with many businesses relocating their offices there.
  • Sant Adrià de Besós – Another Barcelona border town to the north. The town has a reputation for being economically underprivileged, but has seen a lot of infrastructure and urban renewal in recent years. A prime example is the Parc del Fòrum, built to hold to first Universal Forum of Cultures in 2004.
  • Santa Coloma de Gramenet – This border town to the north is very well connected by bus and Metro to the rest of Barcelona. It is more residential than Barcelona city on the other side of the Besós river, and many urban renewal and new development projects have sprung up offering apartment living with the luxury of rooftop swimming pools, wide terraces, and parking.
  • Sant Cugat des Vallès – Sant Cugat is the third city in Spain with the highest per capita income, with a high standard of living and the lowest unemployment rate in Cataluña. Housing prices are expensive (average €3,973) thanks to quieter, natural surroundings and direct Metro connection to Barcelona city centre.
  • Terrassa – The third largest city in Catalonia, after Barcelona and L’Hospitalet. Terrassa is well connected to Barcelona’s port and airport by highway and trains. Terrassa is cheaper than Sant Cugat (average house price €1,799) and it’s much easier to find homes with their own garage on the market.

More Information

We hope you have a much clearer idea of where to buy property near Barcelona now.

If you have further questions about actually buying a house in Barcelona, visit our 12-step guide on how to buy a house in Barcelona.

Lasose Properties & Investments is a leading real estate agency offering exclusive listings of properties for sale in Barcelona. We are experts in individual and corporate Barcelona relocations and offer tailored advice if you’re looking to invest in Barcelona property.

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