11 Reasons to Move to Barcelona on a Working Holiday

Canadian citizens can live and work in Spain for up to two years through the Youth Mobility Scheme – otherwise known as a Spain Working Holiday. Many choose to spend their time in one of Spain’s most iconic cities, Barcelona. Ranked as the top Spanish city for quality of life, Barcelona is the whole package with beautiful beaches, a thriving metropolis and beautiful architecture. Need more convincing? See our top reasons to go on a Barcelona Working Holiday.

Living and working in Barcelona is a fantastic choice for those hoping for an authentic Spanish experience.


Forgo bone-chilling Canadian winters for a sun-drenched year in the Mediterranean. Barcelona receives more than 2,500 hours of sunshine per year. You can be spending your evenings sipping Sangria on the beach while your mates at home are dethawing their eyebrows. An easy swap, we think you’ll agree.

Get out of your comfort zone and strike up a conversation with locals – you’ll pick up the local lingo in no time..


A year (or two) living in Barcelona will give you ample time to perfect your Spanish. If you already speak Spanish, now is the opportunity to hone your skills. If you’re completely new, our Kick-Start Spain Program includes two-weeks of Spanish language lessons to get you into the swing of it.

Much of Barcelona is pedestrianised, making getting round (and your 10,000 steps), extremely easy.


Barcelona really is a ‘one size fits all’ city. It’s big enough that you will never be bored, yet compact enough to navigate in no time at all. The public transport is excellent, with metro and bus lines across the city; not forgetting 200kms of bicycle lanes – Barcelona is one of the most cycle-friendly cities in Europe.

Spend a year living and working in one of the most beautiful cities in the world!


Home to some of the most famous landmarks in Spain, Barcelona is a living art show of world-class architecture. Live on the doorstep of spectacular Gothic basilicas, including the Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, La Pedrera (Casa Milà) and Casa Batlló.

On your Barcelona Working Holiday, you’ll never be far from the beach.


Embrace life under the Mediterranean sun! By which we mean lazy days on sun-drenched beaches and hiking up mountains (top tip: for those looking for an intense workout, hike up to Montjuïc for stunning views of the city); energetic soccer matches (força Barça!), endless festivals, late-night tapas and later nights out… the list goes on.

Living and working in Barcelona will enable you to meet people from all over the world.


Spaniards are a famously friendly bunch, making it easy to settle into life in Barcelona. The city is also a hub for international expats, so you’ll meet people from all over the world. On our Kick-Start Spain Program, meet like-minded working holiday travellers while uncovering Barcelona. You’ll get two weeks of Spanish language lessons and a slew of fun activities across the city – the perfect introduction to an epic Barcelona Working Holiday!

Barcelona is well-located for adventures in Spain and beyond. Take advantage of your year in Europe by ticking off France, Portugal, the Netherlands, and more!


As one of Spain’s major hubs, Barcelona International Airport has links across Europe (insider tip: keep your eyes on Skyscanner for daily deals). Train travel is another popular way of travelling, with Eurorail offering all-in-one train tickets to most trains across Europe. On top of that, you’re also pretty close to northern Africa!

A high number of international visitors means that finding work in Barcelona as a Canadian is easy.


With a large expat community, settling into Barcelona is easier than adjusting to some smaller cities. Although Spanish or Catalan language skills are always an advantage, there is a need for English-speaking tour guides, retail staff and servers.


For those with an understanding of the local lingo, there will be a broader range of employment opportunities. Think: office jobs, administration positions, and other professional roles. For those here to have fun, why not reduce your living costs by working for accommodation? Usually, these roles are casual and only require a 15-20 hour a week commitment, in exchange for room and board. Working reduced hours will leave you with plenty of time to make friends, try the cuisine and expedite your Spanish abilities.

Barcelona is ideally situated between the sea and the mountains, meaning the city benefits from some of the freshest produce available on either side!


Catalonian (and Spanish cuisine in general) is world-renowned and your Barcelona Working Holiday is the perfect opportunity to embark on a gastronomic odyssey. Try paella, coquetas, calamares, gazpacho, Pa am tomaquet (pan tumaca), escalivada and butifarrada, among others! Why not attend a cooking class and learn the skills you need to prepare these meals yourself? In Barcelona, it is common to enjoy your meals alfresco, with many restaurants having patios and furniture outside on the street.

Festivals are frequent, so there is always something to see and do in Barcelona. They serve as a good reminder that if you work hard, you should play even harder!


Potentially one of the most popular aspects of Spain is their fiestas, and Barcelona is no different! Every Spring, Carnival is an opportunity to let loose before the religious period of Lent. Expect to see fancy dress, parades, floats and fireworks through the streets, and be prepared to party!

Come May, the Formula One Spanish Grand Prix arrives just outside of the city, and the three-day event becomes an opportunity to marvel over the fast cars. In August, the Festa Major de Gracia arrives and lines the city’s streets with papier mache statues, woodwork ornaments and decorative lanterns. Barcelona is one of the European capitals of arts, fashion and music, so the Sónar festival of electronic and experimental music cannot be missed!


With all these benefits, why wouldn’t you want to move to Barcelona? While the process of applying for a Working Holiday Visa for Spain can be intimidating, Stepabroad is here to help. Our Spain Working Holiday Programs include a thorough visa consultation and document review to ensure your application is prepared correctly. Depending on your province of residence, you will either apply in person at your nearest consulate or remotely via mail.


To get the ball rolling, you will first need to submit an application for your NIE number (foreigner’s identity number). Next, you will need to gather your supporting documents and apply for your visa. The process can be time-consuming, so it is best to get started at least three months before you intend to depart. Visa applications for Spain go through extensive bureaucratic procedures, so it is best to take processing times with a pinch of salt. We recommend that you don’t book flights or accommodation until your visa is approved and you have your passport back in your hand!

Once your visa is approved, it’s time to depart! You will have 90 days to enter Spain after receiving your decision, so ¡Preparate para disfrutar de España!

Interested in a Barcelona Working Holiday?

If you’re dreaming of living and working in Barcelona, our Spain Working Holiday Programs are just the ticket. Get in touch to learn more about how we can help you start the adventure of a lifetime!