Valencia is the third biggest city in Spain, maybe not as well-known as some other Spanish cities but certainly one of the most buzzing places to visit. Especially in the summer when the city comes alive. If you are considering moving here and want a bit of a local’s insight, read it from my perspective.
The Valencian climate is pretty good all year round! Keeping people happy and mainly outdoors. Palm and Orange trees litter the streets (which I learn the hard way, you cannot eat) and you do feel like you’re in paradise, even in December. On the occasional times where it does rain, it feels more like a blessing than a crime. It hasn’t snowed here for around 50 years but that doesn’t mean you can’t go skiing just a bus ride away. This is why I think Spain is such a great country; it really does have it all.
Way of life
Valencia is a popular city among tourists, although most are Spanish rather than international. There are of course, tourists from all over the world but as its one of the closest beaches to the centre of Spain, a lot of people travel here for the weekend or a holiday for a mixture of parties and beach. There are a lot of Erasmus students in Valencia which helps to keep the party scene going all year round. You can find MANY other ex-pats in this city, so don’t worry if you want to find some familiar cultures or mix with people in the same positions you. One of the most important reasons why Valencia is better than say Madrid or Barcelona, is the cheap cost of living. Despite still being a large city, you can rent a decent 4 bedroom flat for 500€ a month, cheap right? It’s also a lot cheaper in general to eat out or travel around the city.
Things to do
There is plenty to do in Valencia and the surrounding areas. Within the city there are of course the obvious tourist things to do and there are also the nicer, local’s things to do. Cycling to Albufera or any other area around the city is always an option, as Valencia is so flat! If you don’t have a bike or use Valenbisi (Valencia’s version of boris bikes) you can rent a bike for around 10€ per day. During the summer months, I’m sure the beach is where you want to spend most of your time. But, if you are sick of the crowds and dirty waters in Malvarrosa, head a little further south to El Saler where the beaches are much cleaner and more relaxed. Relaxing in a tapas bar or watching a game of football is always a good way to enjoy a good atmosphere & you’ll never be too far away from some good live music. Try Loca Bohemia bar as they often have flamenco and other Spanish music bands.
Although Valencia does have its own metro system (not as connected as Madrid) generally it’s not the preferred method of transport. If you live in the centre, you can get to most places on foot, or make use of the numerous cycle lanes within the city, by using valenbisi. his is the cities bike network (similar to Boris bikes) and used by both locals and students. It’s free for 30 mins if you pay the yearly fee of around 30€, a bargain if you ask me. As a lot of bikes tend to get stolen in the streets, it is much easier to use the city bikes, also a good way of getting home after an unexpected night out! Of course, people do use the metro (which also turns into a tram on the way to the beach) and it’s cheap and better for going further distances. There is also a good bus system, but personally I haven’t stepped foot on a bus since I arrived.
I discovered The Portland Ale House which is an American bar in Valencia, full of British, American and all other sorts of ex-pats. Everything here is in English, even the Sunday night pub quiz and it’s a great place to go if you’re a little sick the waxed pig legs dangling in your face. I also used Couchsurfing events to try meet new people and find other like-minded friends. As I am trying to practice Spanish, conversation exchange is a great way to meet others and of course, improve Spanish! You can’t see a photo of the person which makes it slightly less like a dating site, but still be careful as I have come across people looking for a little more than some language practice. There are many other language exchanges around the city, check out Facebook or Google your nearest one. The city is home to many universities so if you’re after a party, you will be sure to find one!
If you have any other questions about Valencia that you want to ask me, share a comment!
Remember this is my personal experience and I can only share my own knowledge, but if you have any other ideas or info you would like to do, please enlighten me!