Home to one of Spain’s most famous dishes, paella, expats moving to Valencia will get an authentic taste of life on the Iberian Peninsula’s eastern coast. Medieval landmarks meet futuristic architectural designs in Valencia, a city known for being a cultural hub of innovation, science and art.
Extensive green spaces, cobbled alleys and streets lined with orange trees characterise the environment of Spain’s third-largest city. The diverted riverbed of the Turia River transformed into an urban park is a predominant feature in the city, and Valencia’s residents enjoy its playgrounds, sports fields and cycle paths year round.
From lush gardens to golden beaches, Valencia’s high quality of life is very much apparent. Expats relocating to Valencia can rest assured that the cost of living is much lower than in Madrid and Barcelona. Affordable healthcare is accessible and, as a port city, Valencia boasts sound public transport infrastructure with various options for getting around. Families with children will also find a high standard of education at public and international schools.
In the same vein, Valencia is home to numerous universities and colleges which appeal to local and international students and contribute to the city’s open-minded atmosphere and flair for innovation, technology and creativity.
Its reputation as a cultural and creative hub is evidenced by its interesting street art and expats can also indulge in several art galleries and museums which host frequent exhibitions. Valencia’s unique futuristic architecture cannot be ignored either, such as the City of Arts and Sciences and the impressive L'Oceanogràfic aquarium.
On the one hand, these ultra-modern projects contrast the historical structures such as the Valencia Cathedral and the 14th-century Torres de Serranos. On the other hand, expats appreciate this mix and find themselves residing in accommodation which incorporates modern amenities with access to traditional comforts.
This is especially so for expats living in Ciutat Vella, the old town, while the crowded terraces in the Canovas and Ruzafa neighbourhoods are also constantly buzzing. Many expats also choose to live outside the city in towns and villages, such as L’Eliana, Puçol or Betera, which offer spacious villas and cheaper rentals than the city centre.
However, despite being an enchanting expat destination, Valencia's unfortunate reality for many expats is that job opportunities are limited. The economic climate has evolved from the once-thriving silk trade industry to its exports of wine, and oranges and other citrus fruits. However, securing employment in Valencia is not easy for everyone, and this means getting a Spanish work visa is an added hurdle.
Nevertheless, expats working in Valencia and those able to pursue their career find that the opportunities of things to see and do abound. New arrivals will soon settle in with the Valencian locals and learn to appreciate the small things in life, and, of course, the delicious Spanish cuisine.
►For more insights, read our list of pros and cons of moving to Valencia
"Valencia offers something for every type of person. It is a city that always has something going on, whether that’s live music in the park or midnight marathons... Every day here, I fall in love with the city a little bit more. The architecture is incredible, and every single street or alley has something spectacular to catch your eye and capture your heart." Read Billie's experiences relocating to Valencia in this interview.
"The food! Valencia is famous for its “huerta” (vegetable and fruit orchard/cropland), and one can enjoy the best of Spain’s fresh produce here. Valencia is also a very nice size city, large enough to have plenty of culture and nightlife, but not so large and touristy as Madrid and Barcelona. This combination makes for a wonderful quality of life at a much more affordable price." Read our interview with Zach and find out what he enjoys most about Valencia.
Are you an expat living in Valencia?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Valencia. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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