If you’ve just arrived in Barcelona or have been here for some time and would like to make new contacts and friends, you’re in luck. This page offers you information on several options and organisations so you can take part in social activities, get involved in loads of projects and initiatives and meet lots of people.
Check out the Activities section too.
Civic and social centres
From cookery to IT classes, lessons, concerts and dance classes. You can enjoy activities such as these and plenty more in centres, whether civic, social, for elderly people or for children and young people.
You have full information here and the location of your nearest centre: Barcelona's civic centres.
Providing forty such facilities in the city, Barcelona’s network of public libraries is the highest-rated service by city residents.
They are venues that provide free access to information and knowledge and which encourage reading.
You simply need to take out a free library card to be able to enjoy all the documents, whether hardcopies or in digital format, from books to magazines, as well as audio-books, music CDs and films in DVD.
With your library card, all libraries will let you use their Wi-Fi for free to access the internet and loan you items you can enjoy at home. What is more, as libraries are centres where cultural activities are organised, you’ll be part of a big community where you can take part, for example, in reading clubs, courses and activities relating to the use of new technologies.
This website offers you full information on the locations of the city’s libraries and their services:
Barcelona also has a wide network of associations offering opportunities for selfless cooperation through volunteering, irrespective of whether or not you speak the local language, whether Catalan or Spanish. They act in many areas: humanitarian aid, human rights, children, health, immigration and refugees, elderly people, environment, minorities and animal protection, among other things.
Here are a few examples:
- Amics de la Gent Gran [Friends of the Elderly]
An association that collaborates with and provides support for elderly people, by promoting activities to combat unwanted solitude and social isolation through emotional support and social participation.
- Banc dels Aliments de Barcelona [Barcelona Food Bank]
This is a non-profit foundation dedicated to collecting food, whether contributed by the public under various campaigns held throughout the year or surpluses donated by the food industry, markets and supermarkets, schools and other organisations. The food is subsequently distributed among several local organisations that offer it to people in need.
- Casa dels Xuklis
This is an initiative created by the Catalan Association of Friends and Families of Children with Cancer (Afanoc). This organisation gives its support to families by providing them with accommodation to improve the quality of life for children with cancer and for their families. For children with long-term illnesses, the association provides accommodation for families that have to travel from their places of origin so their children can receive treatment in Barcelona’s leading hospitals.
- Casa Ronald McDonald
Barcelona’s Casa Ronald McDonald provides accommodation for the parents of children who are hospitalised because of an illness. That way the children can have their parents nearby, which is an important part of their recovery
- Casal Lambda
This is a pioneering Catalan association which, as an NGO, is dedicated to normalising homosexuality. It has been offering information and guidance to gay, lesbian, transsexual and intersex citizens since 1976 What is more, it also has a documentation centre on sexuality aimed at professionals and researchers.
- Chiringuito de Dios
An organisation that helps the homeless. It provides food and clothing to protect them and provides them with company and human warmth.
- Fundació Arrels
It is an entity that, since 1987, has been helping and orienting homeless people living in the streets of Barcelona. They accompany them to achieve a life as autonomous as possible by covering basic needs, providing social and health care and guaranteeing accommodation to those who are in a more vulnerable situation.
- Lliga per a la protecció d’animals i plantas de Barcelona [League for protecting Barcelona’s animals and plants]
Volunteers are always needed to help look after abandoned pets and take part in the fight against animal abuse.
- Surt Foundation
An association that attempts to enforce women’s rights and to combat and eradicate sexual discrimination.
- Voluntariat per la Llengua
Voluntariat per la Llengua (VxL) is a program to practice Catalan through conversation. It is based on the creation of linguistic pairs formed by a volunteer, who speaks fluent Catalan, and an apprentice, who has basic knowledge and wants to acquire fluency.
If you wish to discover further organisations you can find out all about them from the action networks on the Citizen Agreement for an Inclusive Barcelona website.
If you would like to carry out cultural activities from other cultures, the city has numerous centres and organisations from other countries offering language courses and many initiatives, including(ordenados alfabéticamente):
- British Council
- Casa Asia
- Russia House in Barcelona
- Goethe Institute
- Institut Français - Barcelone
- Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Barcellona
- North American Institute
- Centro Cultural do Brasil em Barcelona
- Barcelona Confucius Institute Foundation
Barcelona is an open and cosmopolitan city that plays host to some 300,000 foreign nationals, representing 18.5% of the resident population in the city. These people bring diversity and enrich our society.
It is thanks to this big international community that there are numerous foreign and international organisations and associations.
Here are a few of the move active ones:
- American Society of Barcelona (ASB)
ASB is a non-profit and non-political organization that promotes numerous activities among the United States’ residents in Catalonia and functions as a meeting and exchange point.
- Barcelona Swiss Club
This is a meeting point for Swiss nationals and Barcelona residents, irrespective of their nationality. It encourages social life.
- Barcelona Women’s Network (BWN)
This is a social group made up of international women who promote friendship and a better cultural understanding of Barcelona and Catalonia.
- Cercle des Français
An association of French people and Francophiles who meet up to carry out activities focused on French and Spanish culture. They also help people who have just arrived.
- Casa degli Italiani di Barcellona
Founded in 1865, this is the world's oldest Italian organisation outside Italy. It is a charity and a cultural organisation.
- Djerelo, a Ukrainian Association
An association that promotes Ukrainian culture, traditions and customs in Catalonia and Spain.
- European in Catalonia
Non-profit pro-European association founded in 2018 by a group of European citizens of different nationalities living in Catalonia.
A social network created by and for individuals living or working outside their cities of origin and which helps to strengthen a network of contacts through events organised almost every week.
- Russia House in Catalonia
A private cultural association whose main goal is to extend and strengthen cultural links between Spain, Catalonia, Russia and the rest of the world.
- SIETAR Spain (Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research)
This is a platform for promoting education, training and research in the intercultural arena to enable, among other things, the adaptation and integration of expatriates and their families in several cultures.
SocialFam is a network of international families in Barcelona. They currently create social events, support parent profesional & personal development and provide advice and information to expat families.
One of the largest international student associations in Barcelona, managed by international alumni of Business schools. Studentfy organises cultural, sports and networking events in Barcelona.
- Union des Français de l’Étranger
A public-utility association with a presence in numerous countries which supports the French community in every aspect of their lives outside France.
To find out about professional, business or financial associations, please consult the Work section.
There are also many meetups in and around Barcelona, for every type of activity.
Don't forget to attend Barcelona International Community Day, which is organised every year towards the end of October.