A new life in beautiful Barcelona
The Golden Visa offers non-EU citizens not just the chance to obtain Spanish residency but also the opportunity to benefit from Spain’s numerous lifestyle benefits. Australian Shadi Tambrchi bought a second home in Barcelona Old Town via Lucas Fox in 2016 which she renovated. She tells LFStyle why Barcelona offers the perfect European base for her and her family.
LFS: Why did you decide to buy in Barcelona?
ST: We have visited Barcelona on a regular basis for about 10 years, staying weeks and sometimes months at a time. We are in love with the city – its amazing architecture, its diverse array of people, its proximity to beautiful islands, its amazing food, the nightlife, its loving embrace of our young children, and the wide variety in the different districts that make up Barcelona. There is always so much going on and, whilst the Spanish may not agree with me, I feel like there is a great freedom of expression and opportunity to be whatever you want without judgement. We have found the Spanish to be very open-minded and welcoming. I want my children to have first hand knowledge of this culture as they grow up. I think the exposure will make them more open -minded, well-rounded human beings.
LFS: What will you be using your property purchase for in the future?
ST: The property will be our second home. We intend to continue to visit Barcelona regularly and embrace the Spanish lifestyle as much as we can. Our children will attend Spanish childcare when we are there. The apartment is also a great base to use to explore different places in Europe. Living in Australia, which is so remote, and also having young children, has meant that we had to carry large suitcases from country to country when we visited Europe. This was both exhausting and expensive. We can now leave it all in our apartment and do small trips with very little luggage – something you Europeans take for granted!
LFS: What were the key criteria during your property search?
ST: Whilst the area is not for everyone, we were looking for an apartment in El Born, however limited to the small hub near Parc de la Ciutadella and Mercat del Born. We love the energy of the area and the fact that it contains such an eclectic mix of people. We have met some very interesting characters and seen some very interesting things living in El Born – all which adds more colour to our life!
LFS: What was the main appeal of the property you bought?
ST: The apartment has a beautiful outlook. The street is very wide and we can see the lovely tree tops and an old, historic building from our balcony. The part of the street we live on is also relatively quiet. The apartment is full of light in most parts, and the kitchen is large and modern. We adore the different mosaic tiles throughout the apartment, which we have been told were placed, one by one, by hand. We also love the historic nature of the building (despite the pain this is causing in having renovations done!). We are 20 minutes from the beach, 20 minutes from the main shopping strip, 5 minutes from a main train station and 5 minutes from the park. There are great cafés and restaurants, and always something going on at night.
LFS: How did you find the search for properties in the city? Did you think there were enough decent homes around for sale?
ST: The search took about 3 or 4 years. We had obviously limited ourselves greatly by only looking in a very small, select area of El Born. Also, we wanted a light apartment which can be hard to find in Barcelona. It was a long, somewhat tiring journey but it was definitely worth it. As soon as we turned the key to open the door to our own apartment, it was worth it. We have absolutely loved staying there and are constantly trying to find the time between working in Australia to visit as much as we can. It has been one of the best decisions we have ever made. Lisa from Lucas Fox helped us greatly and she was relentless in her search for our ideal apartment.
LFS: How long did the search process last from start to finish?
ST: 3 or 4 years but, as I said, that was due to the limited area we were looking in.
LFS: You bought via the so-called Golden Visa scheme. What will you be taking advantage of?
ST: We will be taking advantage of the opportunity to stay in Barcelona for long periods of time. We intend to embrace as much of the culture and opportunities as we can, including exposure to childcare so our children can learn to speak Spanish and perhaps, at a later stage, go to a Spanish school full-time. There may also be business opportunities that we may take up in Barcelona.
LFS: You currently reside in Sydney. How do the two cities compare?
ST: There are a number of similarities between Sydney and Barcelona. Both have a close proximity to the beach which makes the cities especially appealing during summer time. People in both cities share a love for the outdoors and sports. I do find that there is more of an eclectic mix of people in Barcelona. Also, whilst Sydney can have a great night life, you do not experience the large numbers of people out until late every night in Barcelona.
LFS: What do you think is the ongoing appeal of a city like Barcelona?
Barcelona is one of the few cities in the world that, for us, has it all. It has an incredible energy – day and night. It has a rich, cultural heritage. We have always found the Spanish to be incredibly kind, open-minded and welcoming. The transport systems work well. The beach is on its doorstep. There are beautiful parks and mountains. Tropical islands are a ferry or short plane ride away. It has a major airport that links Barcelona to numerous European countries on a daily basis. There is an abundance of festivals and events – more than I have ever experienced anywhere else – it is like Barcelona is always celebrating something! There is a deep appreciation of food, family and friendship here.
LFS: Can you describe the city in 3 words?
ST: Energetic, eclectic, passionate.