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Moving to Valencia

Home to one of Spain’s most famous dishes, paella, Valencia affords expats an authentic taste of Spanish life on the country’s beautiful east coast. Medieval landmarks meet futuristic architectural designs in Valencia, a city known for being a hub of innovation, science and art. 

Extensive green spaces, cobbled alleys and streets lined with orange trees characterise Spain’s third-largest city. 

Living in Valencia as an expat

Valencia’s old-world traits yet cosmopolitan feel combined with its friendly population, gorgeous climate and rich culture attract a large and vibrant expat community.  

Expats can indulge in several art galleries and museums, most of which host frequent exhibitions. Valencia’s unique architecture cannot be ignored either: landmarks such as the City of Arts and Sciences and the impressive L'Oceanogràfic aquarium are great places to witness the city’s innovation. These ultra-modern projects contrast the city’s historical structures such as the Valencia Cathedral and the 14th-century Torres de Serranos. 

Despite being an enchanting expat destination, Valencia's job opportunities are limited, and getting a Spanish work visa can be difficult. Nevertheless, those with the right skillsets are able to pursue a career here and earn a fairly decent salary. 

Expats appreciate the mix of old and new in Valencia, and the city’s accommodation follows suit and incorporates modern amenities with access to traditional comforts. This is especially true for expats living in Ciutat Vella, the old town. 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. Valencia boasts sound public transport infrastructure with various options for getting around, so commuting isn’t an issue for those living further out. 

Cost of living in Valencia 

From lush gardens to golden beaches, Valencia’s high quality of life is very much apparent, but expats can rest assured that the cost of living here is much lower than in Madrid and Barcelona

Expat families and children in Valencia

With the high quality and subsidised education in Valencia, parents need not worry about finding a suitable school for their children. It’s recommended for expats with younger children to opt for state schools, which often teach in Spanish, to help their children overcome the language and cultural barriers.  

The city’s many green spaces, museums and children’s parks, such as Parque Gulliver, mean that there are plenty of weekend activities for the whole family to enjoy.  

Parents can also rest assured that Valencia boasts excellent, affordable and easily accessible healthcare. 

Climate in Valencia

Valencia’s temperate Mediterranean climate is a marriage of warm summers and mild winters. Although the winter months tend to be long and dry, the city mainly experiences pleasant weather all year.  

New arrivals with a willingness to embrace the Valencian way of life will soon settle in with the locals and learn to appreciate the small things in life, and, of course, the delicious Spanish cuisine. 

Pros and cons of moving to Valencia

Valencia, the third-largest city in Spain, remains overlooked by many. For expats looking to take advantage of the splendid Spanish climate and immerse themselves in the country’s rich culture, Valencia may just be the perfect city.

Expat life in Valencia is laid back and fun, and the pros certainly outweigh the cons. Nevertheless, we list a few from both columns below. 


Accommodation in Valencia

+ PRO: Both furnished and unfurnished accommodation is affordable

Accommodation is affordable in Valencia. Most areas are safe and well equipped with amenities. There is a wide variety of both furnished and unfurnished housing, with numerous ways of finding a place to stay, including online private advertising, agency windows and street advertisements. 

- CON: Not many landlords speak English

Few private landlords speak English, so it's best to either learn enough Spanish to get by or take a Spanish- or Valencian-speaking friend along when negotiating. Real-estate agents can also be helpful in navigating the language barrier. 

- CON: Older areas have outdated apartments

Valencia's housing market largely consists of apartment blocks, and while modern housing is available, many apartments in older areas have not been renovated in a long time. It’s best for house hunters to look for a reformado place. 

Cost of living in Valencia

+ PRO: The cost of living is fairly low

Valencia is preferred by many expats, as the cost of living is fairly low compared to many other Spanish cities. Eating out can be highly affordable if expats know where to go. Many cafes and restaurants offer a menú del día, which is usually a three-course meal with a drink at a decent set price. 

- CON: Hard to find a job

Local career opportunities are limited and unemployment is an unfortunate reality, so securing a job can be a challenge. 

Healthcare in Valencia

+ PRO: EU citizens can get free healthcare

EU citizens can obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before arrival in Valencia and this will allow them access to free national health services. Many people recommend private health insurance for specialist care. 

- CON: Private clinics are expensive

There are lots of private clinics across the city, but they can be expensive without health insurance. 

Getting around in Valencia

+ PRO: Getting around is easy

Valencia is a fairly small city, making it easily accessible. It has an underground metro and rail system that covers the whole city and beyond, while a tram covers the northern areas of the city. Valencia is also bicycle friendly and new cycle lanes are constantly popping up across the city. Public transport is also affordable. 

- CON: Taxis tend to overcharge

Although usually quite reasonable, taxi drivers in Valencia sometimes do not switch on their meters at the start of trips and then overcharge passengers, so new arrivals need to watch out for this. They should also note that nighttime and weekend rates are higher.  

Lifestyle in Valencia

+ PRO: Valencia is a green city

Valencia is far from a concrete jungle thanks to its many green spaces, leafy avenues and playgrounds. Interestingly, the Turia River once bisected the metropolis but was diverted after severe flooding in the 1960s; the remaining riverbed was transformed into an extensive park, with sports fields, cycle paths and playgrounds. The Turia Gardens connect with the Valencia Bioparc allowing residents to also enjoy the city's lush botanical gardens. 

+ PRO: Lots to see and do for the whole family

Valencia is a family-friendly city blessed with sunshine for almost nine months of the year. Families with kids can visit the uniquely-designed City of Arts and Sciences, among many other interactive museums. Young expats and music fans can enjoy a slew of open-air concerts and events. Those who enjoy being active can save money by using one of the numerous outdoor gyms or going for a swim in the Mediterranean. Foodies and shopaholics shouldn't miss the Mercat de Colón and the Central Market of Valencia.

+ PRO: Easy to make friends

Valencia consistently proves to be a favoured expat destination, and one reason is that it's so easy to make friends here. Despite the language barrier, expats tend to settle in seamlessly thanks to the friendly local population and residents who are always willing to help or strike up a conversation. 


Getting Around in Valencia

Getting around Valencia is easy – the traffic is busy but manageable, roads and bike paths are in good condition, and there are efficient and affordable public transport options, including a bus and rail system. 

Public transport in Valencia

Public transport fares depend on the distance travelled: Zone A is within the city centre whereas Zones B, C and D are for longer distances. Passengers can buy a single ticket, though getting a 10-journey ticket is a better deal. 

Light railway, metro and tram services are part of the Metrovalencia transport network, and frequent users of this system can get the TuiN smart card. 


The metro, or underground, connects the city pretty well, though routes are more limited in the south of the city. The metro is the fastest and easiest way to the airport (it takes approximately 30 minutes from the city centre). Valencia’s metro system is much smaller than Madrid and Barcelona's underground schemes, but is still one of the fastest and most reliable ways to get around. 


Valencia's tram system is integrated with the metro and reaches areas in the north of the city, including the beach. Expats should note that services are limited late at night, but buses and taxis are good alternatives. 


The bus is another efficient way of moving around the city. The bus service operates at night, but it’s recommended to check the timetable beforehand as they only run every one or two hours. A great option for short trips out of the city is the Metrobus – these yellow buses connect the city with nearby villages and the fares are relatively cheap. 

While understanding the route maps may be something of a challenge for new arrivals, it's easy to find a bus stop and follow the route using Google Maps. 

Buses are known to be less reliable than the underground – don't be surprised if a bus route is diverted due to a demonstration, procession or race without being notified of the details of the detour. 

Taxis in Valencia

Taxis are a useful way of getting around in Valencia, especially after 11pm when public transport options are limited. Note that night and weekend fares can cost significantly more. 

Expats can hail a taxi from an app or over the phone. Those hoping to travel outside of Valencia by car can find carpooling options using apps and websites such as BlaBlaCar. 

Driving in Valencia

Expats can get by without a car in Valencia, but those who intend to buy or rent one should know that parking can be a nightmare here. While it’s possible to find free parking, this may prove challenging in the city centre and other busy areas. Drivers should be aware that double parking is common in Valencia and many drivers leave almost no distance between parked cars. It's not advised to follow this example as the parking fine and towing costs will be high. 

There are a few public car parks throughout the city, and expats can easily continue their commute using public transport. 

Ultimately, though, Valencia is ideal for scooters – they are fast, cheap and can be parked almost anywhere. 

Walking and cycling in Valencia

The weather is sunny and warm for most of the year, so walking is a good option – and even at night time, it’s generally safe to walk in Valencia. 

Another great option is to cycle as the city is well connected by bike paths. The weather, size and flat landscape of Valencia make it the perfect city for bike riding. It's a good idea to invest in a good bike lock, as bicycle theft is fairly common. 

The city also has a public bike scheme known as Valenbisi, but expats should note that bike stations have limited availability.  

Boat travel in Valencia

Valencia is classified as a port city, making ferry travel an adventurous alternative to flying. There are frequent ferry routes between Valencia and the Balearic Islands, including Menorca, Mallorca and Ibiza. Schedules are subject to change and ticket prices can be quite hefty.