Valencia has stepped out of the shadows of its bigger siblings, namely Barcelona and Madrid, and to some extent Seville, and has become quite the hot destination for people looking to uproot their lives and start over in a different country. Here are just some reasons why Valencia is popular with expats.
Why Valencia is popular with expats:
Arguably, the first thing any ex-pat will tell you as their reason for moving here is the weather. It reminds you of the snowbirds that flock to Miami yearly to escape harsh winters. Expats in Valencia do the same, only year-round. The climate here is warm, and it is said there are over 300 days of sunshine per year, but you can be skeptical.
The winter weather is mild compared to most other places (it does get chilly though, with how homes are constructed, concrete makes for cold temperatures inside) and the summers are hot and muggy (from experience, it has progressively gotten hotter every year). Overall though, it is a good bargain and since no place can be perfect, Valencia is a very good compromise, all things considered.
Walking in a city steeped in history:
Valencia is a 2,000-year-old city founded by the Romans. It is impossible not to have that boggle your mind as you wander through the old center. Granted, all the history is steeped in this smaller area. Just two towers remain from the old days, but how magnificent they are.
The Serrano towers are emblematic of the city, and the bullet holes from when Napoleon rode into the city can still be seen at the Quart Towers. One might argue that Valencia is not truly historical because the rest of the city is more modern and practical, but ex-pats seem to love it for exactly that reason, the mix of architecture, something to fit all tastes.
The Turia Park and other wide-open spaces:
Valencia is a green city by all accounts. Turia park is the biggest one of the urban parks. Stretching over nine kilometers through the city. It was once a river, but after it flooded badly in 1957, it was diverted away from the city. General Franco at that point wanted to transform it into a motorway, but the locals would have none of that and demanded it to be turned into a park for the locals.
Now, Turia park is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. You will find 18 bridges, tons of exercise spots, bike paths, and the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences. Other beautiful parks and gardens include Cabecera Park, Monforte, and Botanical Gardens.
For those inclined, there are definitely offerings. The Palau de Musica hosts concerts, art exhibitions, cinema, and has an amazing orchestra. The spectacular Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia is an awesome venue for theater, opera, dance, and music concerts. There is the Science museum, the IVAM and so many other hotspots for those seeking cultural events.
Not so much into that intellectual stuff? There are other events catering to you. Apart from Fallas, the biggest cultural event of the year, there are also wine festivals, flamenco shows, Marina yacht week, Battle of Flowers, Tomatina and so many others. A good place to check out events in Valencia is the comunitat page.
Valencia is just right because size matters:
Valencia feels like just the right size. While a lot of people enjoy living in humongous cities such as Barcelona or New York, there are others who prefer a medium-sized city such as Valencia. You can get all the amenities of the huge cities without the inconvenience of actually being in one.
Public transportation (and at very reasonable prices), ease of getting around, access to events, and closeness to other places make for a wonderful place to live.
Valencia suits people of all ages:
Valencia is home to people of all age groups. There are lots of young couples with children, seniors (longevity rules in Spain), singles mature men and women, and over 85,000 college students. Valencia is great for people with disabilities as well. The sidewalks are wide and the buses are wheelchair accessible as are most buildings.
It’s such a great mix and it’s wonderful to see the ever-improving diversity of residents (which makes me very happy as a black woman). There seems to be a special joy that l usually notice in most people. They are happy to be here and feel they chose rightly. That says a lot.
Being on the Mediterranean coast means access to beaches, some blue flag ones. You don’t want to go to Malvarossa or Las Arenas beach close to the city? Go 15 kilometers out to La Garrofera. Drive or take the train to lovely ones in Gandia or Oliva, Peñiscola, or any of the other stupendous beaches spread all along the coast. For a sun worshipper, the Valencia region is a dream place to live.
Valencia Cost of living:
This is something l have written about in an earlier post. It’s hard to beat the cost of living in Valencia. A 3-course meal (with good portions) for less than 10 euros can be had on a daily basis. The grocery store prices are very fair, and even your rent won’t cost an arm and a leg. What’s not to like?
Food Scene: Not just for tapas
Did you know that Valencia is home to over 30 Michelin restaurants? Add this to the over 1,000 other restaurants that are about, and you have quite the selection. From Indian to Chinese, to French, and of course Spanish food, you are spoiled for choice. Sidewalk dining is a thing here, so you will see loads of people enjoying their meals as the cars and people wheeze by.
The relaxed pace of life:
Living in Spain, in general, is a breath of fresh air compared to the past lives of most people. People from all different backgrounds seem to share this same past aspect. Life was too fast. There was no time to stop and smell the roses. Living in Valencia makes you slow down and appreciate simple things.
A three-hour lunch with no waiter hovering over you to turn the table is the norm (takes some getting used to, but you get to love it). Taking time just to observe life. It’s perfect once you’re free of the traditional working world, it seems to work for those who are still working as well as siestas are still a thing.
The safety factor:
Valencia and Spain, in general, is a safe place to live. According to Gallup polls, only 5.3% of the population say they feel unsafe walking alone at night. The country ranks in the top 10% for safety in the world. That says a lot. Check out this video for my take on safety in Valencia.
Thoughts on why Valencia is popular with expats:
Valencia is not a destination for everyone, and that’s okay. We can’t all like the same things and that is indeed a good thing as life would be dull and boring. For those who need constant stimulation, it only makes sense that a city such as Barcelona, Madrid, Bangkok, Lisbon, etc would be a better choice.
My friends laughed when l compared Valencia to those cities like this. All these cities are for people who drive up in a Maserati, or Lamborghini or other exotic cars, showy, needs to be seen, heard, and acknowledged.
Then along comes a Mercedes S class that is Valencia. Understated, elegant and doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone. Different strokes. :-). For those seeking a little bit of everything, Valencia is perfect for ex-pat life, which is why more and more people are choosing to move here, us included.
Are you harboring thoughts on moving to Valencia, or do you already live here? If you have questions, you can now schedule a consultation with me for answers.