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5 Amazing Things About Living in Valencia, Spain

by Shannon Steinberg on Aug 17, 2023

Few cities are as stunning as Valencia. Narrow alleys brimming with shops lead you out into magnificent squares full of stately buildings and gothic cathedrals, interspersed with bronze fountains, medieval monuments, and ancient towers. Walk down one of the boulevards, and you’ll encounter over 500 acres of forests, grass, and greenery, including the Turia Garden, an oasis of palm trees, orange trees, pine woods, aromatic plants, and rose gardens that stretches for five miles through the urban jungle.

Such scenery would be enough to win over most people, but it's only one of the reasons Americans love living in Valencia. If you’ve never considered moving to Southern Spain, here are five amazing things that might help change your mind.

Low Cost of Living

Valencia is the third-largest city in Spain. Despite this, prices are far lower here than you'd expect. Apartments in Valencia rent for 20 percent less than they do in Madrid and over 25 percent less than they do in Barcelona. Anyone looking for a house can expect to pay 50-60 percent less than in other large, Spanish cities. While housing prices have crept up recently, the average Valencian still only spends around 25 percent of their income on rent, compared to 30 percent in America. As a result, most Americans living in Valencia see considerable savings and can afford an apartment almost anywhere in town, even the historic core.

Valencia is also a major entry point for food imports, so it’s not surprising residents spend less on groceries than most other places in Europe. They even pay less when they go out to eat. Getting around is cheaper as well. The city’s public transportation system will carry you across town for only a few dollars, and a monthly pass costs just $32, around 25 percent less than in Madrid or Barcelona.

Easy to Settle In

It can be difficult to make friends overseas. Some countries simply aren’t open to outsiders. Not Spain, however. People here are famously warm and friendly. Most Americans who move here are surprised at how easy it is to strike up a conversation with a total stranger sitting next to them at a cafe. And this welcoming attitude seems to have rubbed off on the city’s expat community as well. There are over 100,000 foreigners living in Valencia, around 13 percent of the population. New arrivals looking to connect with fellow countrymen generally don’t have to look very far to find a community or make new friends.

Beautiful Places to Explore

Moving to Valencia makes it easy to stay active. The city is surrounded by some of the most rugged and attractive countryside in Europe. Just outside of town you’ll find:

  • Albufera National Park. Centered on a freshwater lagoon just north of the city, this park contains miles of hiking trails that cut through sand dunes, pine forests, and rice fields. Anyone interested in sailing can rent an albufarenc, a traditional Spanish boat, and glide through the wetlands close to shore. If you’re lucky, you might spot a flamingo, osprey, or one of the dozens of other birds that migrate in and out of the area.
  • San Jose Caves. A UNESCO World Heritage Site containing Europe’s largest underground river. Cruise through vast stone caverns to view stalactites, stalagmites, ancient cave paintings, and rock formations dating back to the Triassic period.
  • Xativa Castle. A twin fortress originally built as a Celtic stronghold, which was later conquered and occupied by the Carthiginians, Romans, Moors, and Crusaders. The castle has played an enormous role in both Spanish and European history. It was here that Hannibal planned his invasion of Italy and it was one of the flashpoints during the Revolt of the Brotherhoods, which almost dethroned the Habsburg Emperor.
  • Montanejos Hot Springs. A beautiful place to swim and relax. The water’s rich in natural minerals, which are supposed to rejuvenate the skin. Splash around the pale, blue pools, ride water slides carved into the cliffs, or cool off beneath the waterfalls hidden amid the canyons.
  • Garbí Mountain. One of the highest peaks in Southern Spain, 2,000 feet above sea level, which offers incredible panoramas of Valencia and the rolling hills of Castellón. On a clear day, you can see all the way to the Columbretes Islands in the Mediterranean.

Incredible Honey Sand Beaches

Valencia’s lakes, mountains, and castles may be striking, but its beaches are beyond compare. Famous for their soft sand and clear water, they’re the perfect place to relax and unwind. Whether your interest is swimming, sailing, snorkeling, scuba diving, or simply laying out in the sun, living in Valencia gives you plenty of opportunities to enjoy them. Some of the most popular spots are:

  • Las Arenas Beach. Also known as El Cabanyal Beach, this laid-back stretch of sand is located in the old fisherman’s quarter. After swimming and sunbathing all morning, visitors can hop a catamaran and cruise the glittering waters of the Mediterranean for a few hours. Along the seashore, you’ll also find a huge collection of bars, cafes, and restaurants serving beer, tapas, and fast-food.
  • El Saler Beach. Located near the Albufera Natural Park, this beach features rolling dunes, sand grasses, and pine groves. Seemingly untouched by civilization, it’s a great escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. However, be careful where you wander. The neighboring beach is clothing optional.
  • La Malvarrosa Beach. A little over six miles from the city center, this is one of the most popular beaches in Valencia. Besides swimming, visitors can dive, windsurf, kayak, paddleboard, or learn to sail. An artificial reef in the harbor makes this one of the best spots for snorkeling as well. Just a few feet below the surface, you’ll encounter octopus, starfish, seahorses, and schools of colorful fish.

Endless Entertainment Options

One of the best things about Valencia is that there’s always something going on. The city is home to over 4,200 restaurants, bars, and cafes serving all manner of delicacies: fried sardines, Valencian clóchinas (mussels), salt cod croquettes, artichokes with cured ham, Italian charcuterie, and of course, paella ‒ the region’s signature dish.

After dinner, head over to Old Town, one of the trendiest barrios in the city, and check out the clubs near the old Cathedral. You can dance at Johnny Maracas. Enjoy live music at the Monterey Pub. Soak in the atmosphere at the Jimmy Glass Jazz Bar. Listen to the latest techno, pop, and indie rock at Flash, Oven Club, and Electropura. Or pick one of the dozens of other nightspots in the neighborhood and see where the evening takes you.

For a more mind-blowing experience, visit the City of Arts and Sciences in the Turia Garden, one of the 12 treasures of Spain. This iconic museum complex is not only an architectural marvel, but also houses an IMax theater, planetarium, and laserium, as well as three floors of fully interactive exhibits, an outdoor sculpture gallery, and open-air oceanographic park featuring eight different aquatic environments.

But for real excitement, you won’t want to miss the spring Fallas Festival ‒ a five day celebration of art, tradition, and satire. Huge, fanciful monuments (fellas) are erected all over the city, some over 5 stories tall, depicting bizarre and hilarious characters. Every street and square is full of parades, fireworks, and musical performances, all culminating in the final night when the fellas are ceremonially burned while residents frolic and dance in the streets.

Moving to Valencia

International moves are complex. There are customs regulations, import restrictions, and immigration forms, not to mention the logistical challenges of shipping goods overseas. But Allied’s network helps you navigate these obstacles, in order to keep the process as smooth and stress free as possible. We coordinate shipments, handle the paperwork, and keep you informed each step along the way, so no matter what happens, you’re always in control and up-to-date. Call us today for a free quote!

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