Choosing to become a car owner in Barcelona is really dependent upon your interests and movements about the city and suburbs. Obviously, if you live within the city, the public transport is excellent and you could get by alone on this method of transportation. In fact, most chain supermarkets (such as Caprabo) and even some of the little local “mercats” offer free home delivery on groceries and produce, making it that much easier to live without a car. However, if you live in an outer suburb, work long hours, or have a big family and travel often, becoming a car owner might be the more practical choice.
In terms of exploring Catalunya or other parts of Spain, having the freedom to jump in your own vehicle and get from point A to B is fantastic. As you will find, people often have vacation rentals for the summer and winter ski seasons, which requires a car (unless you are only going for a few weekends and can rent a car on an as-needed basis). You can also use the train and bus method, but this makes you dependent upon the schedule of public transport.
In terms of private transport – personal chauffeur to be exact, this is a very rare service, only utilized by the extremely wealthy or VIPs of the business world (for example, a president of a bank or major corporation) where the service is provided to the user. For normal folk, driving their own car is the way to get around.
Also, as previously mentioned, motorcycles and scooters are quite popular and more cost effective private transport methods (as neither requires a city parking space or garage) within Barcelona. Most youngsters and single, working professionals use this form of transportation.
If you choose to purchase a car, you will need to make sure that your license is either: a) valid in Spain, or, b) go through the entire Spanish-driver’s education process in order to obtain a license to drive here.