Casa Calvet in Barcelona by GaudìBarcelona has climbed positions in recent years to become one of the most attractive business destinations in Europe. Today the city is a very interesting place to live in and for new business.

A series of international indicators and some testimonies about Barcelona confirm the excellent placing of Barcelona as an attractive city for business.




Ten good reasons to invest in Barcelona real estate:

  1. Strategic geographical position

    Two hours from France by road and an average of a day by road from the main European cities. Southern gateway to Europe, a port, airport, Zona Franca, logistics parks, international trade fair and a city centre with a radius of just 5km.

  2. Complete transport infrastructure

    Network of motorways connected to Europe; fastest growing airport; biggest container port of the Mediterranean and first Spanish Port; dense metro, train and bus network; arrival of the high speed train.

  3. Dynamic economy with sustainable growth

    70% of the region's GDP; 2.5% growth in GDP in 2006, above the Spanish and European average; fifth industrial agglomeration in Europe; one of the five European cities with greatest growth potential until 2006.

  4. Market of 40 million consumers

    Catalonia has 6 million inhabitants and Spain over 40 million; Spain is the 5th consumer of the EU and the 7th of the OECD; purchasing power per inhabitant higher than the European average.

  5. Major projects of the future

    Transformation of 1,000 ha. and 7 million sq m of construction. Area of Llobregat: commitment for logistics and internationalisation, Area of Besòs: sustainability, culture and diversity; La Sagrera-Sant Andreu: high speed train; Poblenou 22@BCN: a new urban planning for the new economy.

  6. Successful foreign investment

    Barcelona is the sixth best city in Europe for business; concentrates about 20% of the foreign investment in Spain every year; 2,700 foreign companies: 94% satisfied, 80% forecast to increase the sells in a short term; more than 90% will make further investments in the short term. Barcelona has consolidated itself as a centre for the European division of multinationals.

  7. Oriented towards technology

    The most modern systems of technology, fibre optic; 51% of the Internet users in Spain.

  8. Human Resources prepared for the future

    A major ethic of responsibility; high level of productivity, Barcelona is one of the highest in Europe according to the OECD; 5 public universities; 2 private universities; 5 business schools: ESADE, IESE, EADA, IESKA and University of Chicago; high degree of penetration of new technologies, and a character inclined towards innovation and creativity.

  9. Unique public-private partnerships

    The City Council of Barcelona and the Catalan government have made a strong commitment to companies; the success of the public-private partnerships has been the key to the transformation of Barcelona.

  10. Excellent quality of life

    The first city in Europe in terms of quality of life. Stable climate, sun, beaches, skiing; a splendid cultural and leisure offer, a network of 4,500 educational institutions, 24 international schools, a modern and accessible medical system.

  • The average annual growth in GDP was 2.5% between 2000-2005
  • 22.1% of the total exports of Spain
  • About 2,700 foreign companies
  • 20% of the total foreign investment in Spain (1994-2005)
  • Best European city attracting inward investment
  • Sixth best business city in Europe
  • 3rd terminal of the Prat international air port opened in year 2009.
  • Sants Estació The arrival of high speed train from Madrid (2007/8)
  • Sagrera-Sant Andreu, the arrival of the High-Speed Train to Barcelona from Paris(2008).
  • The Delta Plan of the Llobregat, a commitment to logistics and internationalisation.
  • Barcelona Financial Centre
  • Barcelona Logistics Centre
  • Barcelona Medical Centre
  • Barcelona University Centre
  • Foundation for the Development of the Mediterranean Diet
  • Barcelona Design Centre
  • Environmental Forum Foundation
  • Barcelona Tourism
  • Barcelona Aeronautical and Space Association
  • Barcelona Digital Foundation
  • An excellent quality of environment, with more than 160 parks spread throughout the city. The neighbourhood of the Eixample alone has more than 24,000 trees, and the city is surrounded by wide green areas.
  • 7 km of public beaches where you can practise water sports all year round, and excellent connections to the beaches of the Costa Brava.
  • An extensive offer of housing in terms of size, availability and type.
  • 5 universities with more than 190,000 students enrolled, and recognised business schools of international prestige such as ESADE, IESE, and the University of Chicago.
  • Recognised theatres and museums: Picasso, Miró, MACBA, MNAC...
  • More than 300 restaurants with an excellent reputation
  • The longest Shopping Line in Europe.
  • 40 municipal markets
  • A wide "open air" offer in or near the city: 18 ski slopes, 40 marinas, 32 golf courses (13 of which in the surroundings of the city), the Theme Park of Port Aventura, etc.
  • The city has a high level of sports being practised through its 3,073 sports centres, and 1,021 sports clubs, and receives a number of prestigious world sports events such as the Trofeo de Tenis de la ATP Conde de Godó, The Formula 1 Gran Prix of Montmeló, el Trofeo de Vela Ermenegildo Zegna the Race of the Corte Inglés...

International positioning

Barcelona has become internationally positioned as one of the leading metropolis both in Europe and world-wide. Indicators from 2008 demonstrate how popular it has become during this decade:

Best European city in international promotion to attract foreign investment
Cushman&Wakefield Healey&Baker
Leading world city organising professional conventions
International Congresses and Conventions Association
Barcelona has the main cruiser port in the Mediterranean and Europe
Lloyd's Cruise
European city with best quality of life for those who work there
Cushman&Wakefield Healey&Baker
The European city that has most improved in recent years
Cushman&Wakefield Healey&Baker
The best urban destination to visit
Daily Telegraph
European city receiving the most direct foreign investment projects
European city with the best quality-price ratio in the office market
Cushman&Wakefield Healey&Baker
Most attractive city for professionals when doing business
Cushman&Wakefield Healey&Baker
Leading European airports in relation to annual growth
International Air Transportation Association
European cities with best perspectives for economic growth


Economic Presentation

Barcelona is one of the major European metropolis. It forms the centre of an extensive metropolitan region of more than 217 municipalities in which 4.6 miillion people live. It is the economic, cultural and administrative capital of Catalonia, situated in the northeast of Spain, on the shores of the Mediterranean.
In demographic and economic terms it represents the sixth metropolitan agglomeration and fifth industrial agglomeration of Europe.
The metropolitan region of Barcelona has traditionally had a significant industrial activity in relation to its overall economic activity.
Today the city and its surroundings are recognized as a centre for economic activities related to new technologies and advanced services, within the framework of the Knowledge Society.

Facts and economic information

Productive structure

The productive structure of the city and its area of influence, is characterised by its great diversification, flexibiltiy, competitiveness and high level of productivity.

The industry is concentrated in the metropolitan region of Barcelona. The main sectors are the metalurgical, chemical, pharmaceutical, self-propulsion and production of spare parts, textile and clothing, electronic, publishing and graphic design.

In recent years the productive structure has undergone a shift towards the tertiary sector. Barcelona acts as a service centre for the metropolitan region, concentrating the activities with highest added value and most implicated in new information and telecommunication technologies.

Future New Projects

Future barcelona projectsBarcelona is an active, vital and dynamic city which finds itself immersed in a process of major urban transformation. The city doesn't stop and continues planning new future projects aimed at consolidating and enlarging the economic development within the new parameters of the Information Society, the international position, social cohesion and quality of life. Four emblematic projects should be highlighted for their scope:

But the city also has ongoing metropolitan projects in such diverse fields as real estate, trade fairs, higher education, scientist research and culture.

Strategic sectors

Barcelona is trying to advance in the economic sectors with the greatest opportunities for the future, calling once again on its long tradition of cooperation between the public and private sector. With this in mind, Barcelona has ten public/private cooperation platforms for the international promotion of sectors which look into the future.
These platforms are geared towards the specific promotion of specific economic and activity sectors which set Barcelona apart from other cities. These platforms can be used to help promote those among foreign companies which might be interested.

These 10 economic sectors come under the "Barcelona" framework umbrella, a quality, prestige and innovation brand which both identifies and enhances them.

In this context, Barcelona positions itself as the Knowledge City -the strategy promoted by the City Council along with all the economic, and social sectors, institutions and universities- where human resources and knowledge management are its main assets.

Foreign investment

Barcelona has become one of the most attractive business destinations in Europe. According to the latest report produced by CUSHMAN&WAKEFIELD HEALEY&BAKER about the main areas of growth and the determining factors for choosing a European city with the aim of setting up a delegation or commercial representation, Barcelona has moved from the 13th position in 1995, to the 6th in 2008.

The report highlights the fact that the city is especially well placed in terms of: cost and availability of labour, availability and quality-price relation of office space, accessibility to markets and clients, business climate, urban and interurban transport, and quality of life.

In this manner, the area of Barcelona is consolidating itself as one of the main recipients of foreign investment for the whole of Spain, and also at a European level. During the last decade foreign investment in the area of Barcelona has been maintained a level between 10 and 20% of total foreign investment carried out in Spain. When considering only industrial investment, this figure reaches 26%.

In the area of Barcelona there are currently 2,700 companies with a majority of foreign capital. The main foreign investors are the Netherlands (15%), Canada and United States (13%), followed by Italy (13%), Germany (11%) and France (10%).

Number of foreign companies by geographical area.

Area Nº of companies % with respect to Catalonia
City of Barcelona 1,500 50%
Metropolitan Region 2,700 90%
Catalonia 3,000 100%

Source: Foreign investment in the area of Barcelona. The City Council of Barcelona.


International Competence Centres

There are many companies that have chosen Barcelona, attracted by its beneficial conditions, and that have already installed their international competence centres of business divisions in the city.

These centres function as management units that provide back-up services to business activities which are primarily international in scope.

In recent years, growth in number of centres located in Barcelona has been no less than spectacular, and according to rankings and comparative studies undertaken by independent international consultants - it is currently considered among the major world capitals as an attractive location for Shared Services.

The city has an exceptional strategic location, a constantly renewed infrastructure, a wide urban, regional and international transport network, a reasonably priced and highly qualified workforce, a top quality cultural and educational offer, and an enviable business climate, among other factors.

Barcelona is receiving a growing number of foreign investments aimed at the creation of software development centres or design centres in sectors ranging as wide as professional electronics, consumption, or the automobile sector.

These are some of the sectors, activities and future uses that the city would like to promote. Therefore Barcelona has decided to give a boost to the city's establishment of companies and economic activities of major multinationals related with design, knowledge, distribution, and Call Centres, also referred to as Customer Relationship Management.


Testimonies about Barcelona

In the five years during which we expanded into Catalonia, we have been able to continuously carry out production activities as stable as we could in Japan. I believe this is due to the Catalan people, who are honest and hard- working, as our extremely low rate of absenteeism attests. Access to the region, primarily via highways, is also good. Due to the Catalan diligence and the local authorities support of business, we decided to invest further in the region.The friendly people, sophisticated cultural level, mild climate and the excellence of its food make it an extremely hospitable living environment.

Masao Sakurai, President, Denso Barcelona, S.A.

Barcelona was a difficult choice (among more than 30 cities). I would summ it up naming 3 aspects:
1. Global competitiviness. Costs, infrastructures, professional resources availability.
2. Enthusiasm and commitment of authorities, institutions, universities, businessmen.
3. Territorial entourage that permits attracting and keeping the best European professionals.

Carlos Vivas, General Director of Agilent Technologies/ Hewlett Packard

Our experience in Barcelona is a wonderful example of how we do business at Hewlett Packard. The local infrastructure, the goverment and the educational environment in Catalonia are universal.
Ten years ago we started production in Catalonia and design in U.S. Now we have a worldwide product research center here that is the cutting edge of technology.

Lew Platt, President, Hewlett Packard

We chose Barcelona as a logistical base to distribute our products throughout Europe, America and much of the world. We chose well.

Yoshikazu Hanawa, President, Nissan Motor Co, Ltd.

The quality of the infrastructure, the high scientific and technical level, together with the institutional environment, have all led to Boehringer España, S.A. confirming and consolidating its presence of almost fifty years.

Manuel García Garrido, Managing Director, Boehringer Ingelheim España, S.A.

We believe that you can nor truly claim to be committed to the global markets without having a presence in Barcelona.

J. Michael Giles, Chairman, Merryl Lynch International Private Banking Group


When we established a campus in Europe five years ago, we wanted to be in a city with a creative and innovative spirit, a business orientation and convenient transportation. Barcelona was our first choice and we are delighted that we now call the city our home in Europe.

Robert S. Hamada, Dean, Graduate School of Business, The University of Chicago

In Barcelona we found the right ingredients for success: a prime location in one of the most dynamic cities in Europe, strong political leadership, a growing economy and a culture that reveres the old and applauds the new.

Gerald H. Hines, Chairman, Hines, developer of Diagonal Mar

Since 1920, Nestlé has been located in Barcelona from where we have leading our Spanish business. We feel fine and comfortable here and are confident that we will continue to do so.

Peter Brabeck Letmathe, Chief Executive Officer, Nestlé Worldwide


Barcelona is one of the most creative and innovative cities in the world. The impact cultural and industrial improvement is mainly due to its design policy and development. The open and humanistic character of Barcelona gives me full confidence to be a reliable base for Design for the World association.

Kenki Ekuan, Chairman, Design for the World

Quality of life

Barcelona is the city that offers the highest quality of life for those who work there according to the European Cities Monitor, which is produced annualy by the real estate consultants Cushman&Wakefield Healey&Baker.
This first position has been maintained over the last three annual reports.

The best cities in terms of quality of life for its employees:

Barcelona investment

Barcelona 1
Paris 2
Munich 3
Stockholm 4
Madrid 5
Geneva 6
London 7
Rome 8
Zurich 9
Dublin 10

Source: Cushman&Wakefield Healey&Baker

Barcelona has an agreeable Mediterranean climate which invites you to enjoy the city. Situated between the sea and the hills, the city enjoys a microclimate with average temperatures ranging from 9ºC in winter and 23ºC in summer, with few days of rain, and almost 2,500 hours of sun every year.
Barcelona has nearly 5 kilometres of beaches right in the centre of the city in perfect condition for bathing and executing water sports.
The determining factors are:


Quotes and sayings

Barcelona has always held a special fascination among the most diverse people. Here are some of the more significant quotes.

Barcelona, archive of courtesy, host to foreigners, hospital for the poor, homeland to the brave, revenge of the offended, and grateful correspondence of firm friendships, and in location and in unique beauty.

Miguel de Cervantes, writer. Alcalá de Henares, 1547

Before knowing Barcelona I thought I knew what a sports city was.

Barón Pierre de Coubertin, creator of the International Olympic Committee, Paris, 1863

One of the most beautiful cities in the world. It is necessary to make it an admirable city. Contract me and I would be more than happy to be useful.
Let me say how I love Barcelona, an admirable city, a live, intense city; this seaport open to the past and the future. Barcelona, an obligatory geographical place for a capital, combined with natural splendour. The intensity of this city, and the youth of the spirit of those who govern it allows for all the expectations: all in all, in a live point of the land, modern times will find their refuge.

Le Corbusier, architect and painter. Switzerland, 1886

(what I love most is) my dearly beloved and Barcelona, because there the people are very romantic, very sentimental. I have seen people raise a handkerchief to their eyes, listening to me...the Catalans are marvellous.

Carlos Gardel, Argentinian singer, France, 1887

I know many cities of the world, but Barcelona fascinated me from the first moment: it has energy, a special magic. I'd like to live here.

Keith Haring, painter, Pensilvania, 1958

My love for Barcelona began when I was a child and my parents took me to see the Sagrada Familia. It was fantastic to discover an architect who turned dreams into buildings. I have a piece called "Sagrada", in which I tried to evoke the the work of Gaudí through sound; I fear I didn't manage to do so.

Peter Gabriel, singer-songwriter. Surrey,UK, 1950

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