If anyone ever asks you the question, “Why Valencia?” after you’ve explained you have just relocated there, the simple answer is, “Why not?” Safely tucked away out of the hurley burley between Madrid and Barcelona, Valencia is comfortable in its own skin. And what a skin that is. Valencia is an effortlessly livable city, a haven for foodies, culture-vultures and night owls.
Valencia has never looked back since it courageously diverted its avowedly flood-prone river around to its outskirts and converted the now dry riverbed into an illustrious verdant park twining its way through the city. On it, Valencia unleashed innovative architectural designs such as the futuristic Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias.
Just as critical to Valencia’s enduring attractiveness to residents, visitors and expats alike is its fabulous dining scene which offers some hedonistically indulgent experiences, Whether you are a devoted foodie or just hungry, Valencia is a superb spot for indulging your taste buds.
In Valencia, modernist buildings have come to an accommodation with the city’s architectural heritage and voted for peaceful co-existence. Throw into this thriving mix, fabulous museums, a sprawling, character-laden old quarter, an enviable expanse of beach and you have a bewitching recipe for more than just paella!
If it’s a sumptuous, laid-back leisure-led lifestyle you are searching for, look no further. Valencia is a fabulously livable city. It remains comparatively inexpensive and far removed from the excesses of Spain’s bigger cities.
Valencia enjoys its fair share of culture, history, art, live theatre and music, complemented by a slower pace. Here are our top 7 reasons to consider calling Valencia home:
It’s Amazingly Affordable
Valencia may lack some of the magnetic appeal of a Madrid or a Barcelona, however it beats both hands down when it comes being able to live here on a modest income. It is easy to live comfortably here on 1,000 euros a month with cash left over to indulge in sampling the finer things in life the city has to offer and in exploring this picturesque part of Spain.
A Rich Historical Legacy Comfortable With Modern Life
In Valencia, the city’s rich cultural heritage is an enabler, not a gaoler. Here the past exists comfortably with the demands of modern life like fabulous cuisine, vibrant economic developments and WiFi. Valencia crackles with an energy and enthusiasm which surfaces in its resident’s passion for festivals and a heaving nightlife, propelled by its world-class universities.
It’s On The Mediterranean Stupid!
Ah, how good life here is. Valencia is home to sun-kissed sandy beaches stretching for 135 blissful kilometres along its Mediterranean coastline. Enough said? Who needs Andalusia, when you have quaint fishing villages, quiet coves and deserted beaches to explore? So many beaches such a vast expanse of idyllic turquoise sea to choose from and yet, so little time!
Divine Grazing: Foodies Welcome
Valencia’s gift of Paella and Orxata should be enough to secure its place in history. While today, they have spread their wings to embrace all of Spain; their soul belongs to Valencia. Orxata is a seductively yummy creamy drink made from a tuber called chufa or tiger nut. Technically, it hails from the picturesque town of Alboraya just three kilometres north of Valencia itself. As for Paella, the entire region is pressing its claim over bragging rights for that iconic dish.
Active, Healthy Lifestyle
As if the siren song of Valencia’s beach and the sea isn’t sounding a loud enough drum beat promoting a healthy active lifestyle, around Valencia you will find brilliant trails for hiking, mountain biking, trekking and climbing. The close proximity of the rugged outdoor to Valencia makes quick day trips a thing.
While Valencia is a laid-back city it does take its festivals seriously. Whether you are girding your loins for a monster tomato fight or enriching your spirit culturally through the astonishing works of art that are annually consigned to the flames during the epic Las Fallas, Valencia is a province that knows a thing or two about putting on a festival. Take the plunge and dive into Valencia’s world-famous festivals to create memories that will live with you forever.
Eclectic Mix Of Residents
Valencia has long been a hassle-free melting for cultures, propelled by its universities and international appeal as a retirement destination. Wherever part of Valencia you find yourself in, you are almost guaranteed to hear a gaggle of residents bouncing between two or three languages over paella and coffee. Lurking in that conversation somewhere may even be the local Valenciano dialect.
Expat Jobs In Valencia Spain
Valencia welcomes residents from around the world, including a significant number of expatriates. In early 2017 Spain’s national unemployment rate hovered at around 20 per cent due to the overarching economic crisis.
However, in recent years, Valencia has navigated the economic shocks slightly more effectively compared to other Spanish regions with an unemployment rate of around 18 per cent.
Solid Economic Performance
Valencia enjoys a diversified economic base. In 2015 the service sector represented 73 per cent of the regions Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while the industrial sector contributed 19 per cent including thriving food and beverage, automotive, building materials, chemical and textile sectors. Tourism contributed a further 13 per cent to Valencia’s GDP.
The greater Valencia region generates almost 95 per cent of Spain’s ceramic tiles production and enjoys a robust furniture and footwear manufacturing sectors. Agriculture contributes almost 7 per cent of Spain’s total national production and a healthy 14 per cent of Spain’s agricultural exports.
Unsurprisingly, Valencia is well known for its citrus, vegetable and fruit production. Valencia’s Mediterranean port is Spain’s busiest and is ranked number five in Europe
City authorities have successfully attracted foreign investors through a series of innovative incentives designed to nurture the development of the small and medium enterprise sector.
Valencia’s Labour Market
Currently, around 15 per cent of Valencia’s population is from overseas. This figure includes expatriates from neighbouring European countries as well as from Spanish-speaking countries in the New World such as Argentina, Ecuador and Colombia.
Valencia’s labour market continues to welcome expatriates despite the chronic unemployment rate. Expat based jobs are available in a broad range of occupations including the financial services sector, tourism industry and trade, real estate and hospitality.
Moreover, large national and international companies operating in the Valencia region are continually looking for experienced and skilled staff.
Entertainment In Valencia
Valencia is one of Spain’s major centres of gravity when it comes to entertainment. The city’s diverse range of entertainment options matches its status as a hugely livable city.
The city’s cultural events both contemporary and historical are staged throughout the year and feature entertainment options that appeal across a broad spectrum of age groups.
If you happen to be a true culture vulture you will adore Valencia’s sumptuous galleries, majestic theatres and engaging museums. If you are a music fan, there are options on tap for every night of the week somewhere in the city.
Foodies rejoice for there is an enchantingly lengthy list of superb fine dining restaurants, avant-garde eateries and nosheries places to indulge your palette in that cater for all tastes and budgets.
If your idea of fun is an afternoon of immersive retail therapy, Valencia rarely disappoints. Or, if you are a creature of the night, Valencia’s vibrant clubbing scene and heaving nightlife are sure to win your affection.
All in all, Valencia may not be Spain’s most breathtakingly beautiful city, but whatever it may lack in visual aesthetics it makes up for in entertainment value for money.
Here is a young and dynamic city where there is always something to see and do day and night.
Live Music In Valencia
Valencia’s residents are rightly proud of their thriving music scene. Throughout the city, you will find live music venues catering to an eclectic range of musical tastes.
Iconic venues such as the Palau de la Musica and the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia are the beating heart of the city’s music scene and are joined by an emerging set of newcomers. Valencia is also home to a host of smaller, more intimate venues offering patrons everything from jazz to southern blues through to rock, pop and electronica.
Valencia also enjoys a thriving and high-voltage clubbing scene and plays host to a raft of international DJs who tour its clubs to play on a regular basis.
Valencia’s Live Theatre Scene
No trip to Valencia is complete without a visit to the theatre. True, many of the plays or musical productions are in Spanish. However, opera and plays in other languages are also part of the repertoire. Moreover, some of the old theatre venues are so delightful architecturally speaking that they are worth a visit for the overall cultural experience in their own right.
Clubs And Nightlife In Valencia
As you would expect from a university city Valencia supports a flourishing bar and club scene. Each night, the city transforms itself coming alive to show a fresh face to the city’s residents and visitors alike.
Explore the streets around the cathedral in the old town after dark and you will discover effervescent cocktail bars, bustling restaurants, heaving tapas joints and a range of clubs. Naturally, different areas of Valencia reflect the different tastes, ages and wallets of its patrons.
Retail Therapy In Valencia
If shopping is your passion, you will quickly discover Valencia is happy to oblige your every retail whim. Valencia’s old town is bursting with retail therapy options. If you have a fondness for affordable high street fashion you will find most of the leading brand Spanish stores have boutiques in Valencia’s city centre.
The old town is also home to most of the major designer labels. Similarly, if you enjoy vintage and antique classics you will Valencia happy to oblige your every indulgence. Alternatively, if your shopping lusts are insufficiently slaked, head to one of Valencia’s uber-modern out-of-town shopping centres.
Valencia’s Museums And Galleries
Valencia may not be home to Spain’s most iconic art galleries and museums but the city’s cultural needs remain well-served by its museums and galleries. If you are an art lover you will find regular exhibitions spanning everything from ancient art to Renaissance art through to modern art. You will also be richly rewarded for spending a little time wandering through Valencia’s museums, which cover everything from Las Fallas to major historical events and the city’s rich ceramic legacy.
Dining Out In Valencia
Valencia’s dynamic culinary scene caters to everything from traditional horchata bars through to Michelin starred fine dining restaurants. Little wonder then, that one of Valencia’s greatest attractions is its cuisine.
Some of Valencia’s best food experiences are not to be found in its many marvellous restaurants, or in quaint little cafes. No, some of the best dining experiences Valencia has to offer is its fresh, seasonal local produce. So, hit the markets. Be prepared to swoon over local preserved meats and cheeses, or loaves of artisanal bread, or freshly landed seafood, or even locally produced beer and wine.
Valencia’s markets also offer a rich social experience as well as a fabulous a culinary experience, and that part of your window into Valencia’s local life is gloriously free!
Thanks to this fresh produce largess, the city is bursting with imaginative chefs hosting enchanting places to dine. Whether you are desperate to try some experimental modern cuisine, or sample the very best examples of local classics, a night of tapas shared with good company or are simply looking for robust food on the go, Valencia offers something for everyone’s taste.
This is a city that takes its ingredients and its food seriously. A city, where food plays an important role in social cohesion and in ensuring the local culinary heritage is preserved and added to and where cooking is an essential part of the entertainment.
If all you know about Spanish food is tapas, Valencia is the place to expand your gastronomic repertoire, for the city is renowned throughout Spain and abroad for its rice dishes. It is also the natural location to seek out a midday glass of horchata with good friends.
Retiring In Valencia Spain
Valencia sits happily on the Orange Blossom Coast, part of Spain’s Mediterranean footprint. Renown for its long lines of orange groves, delightful sandy beaches, and mild temperate climate, Valencia has also gained international acclaim for its la Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, otherwise known as its City of Arts and Sciences. This unashamedly futuristic complex is home to an opera house, an interactive science museum Europe’s largest aquarium and an IMAX theatre.
Part of Valencia’s cultural heritage is the Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady of Valencia, which is said to hold the 2,000-year-old Chalice that Jesus Christ is rumoured to have used during the Last Supper.
From a retirement perspective, Valencia has all the amenities expected of a major modern metropolis. It enjoys good infrastructure in the form of hospitals, air and rail transport links, universities and lots of lush green spaces.
The city is home to a thriving cultural and culinary culture, complemented by its investment in science and the arts.
Intriguingly, Valencia’s cultural and historical faces sit comfortably alongside its Mediterranean façade and beachside vibe. Moreover, its 800,000 population has resulted in a compact and manageable city.
The cost of living in Valencia continues to be one of its major appeals. A visit to the doctor can cost as little as 35 Euros and a beer in a seaside bar will only set you back one Euro.
A steady income of just $1,500 per month will provide you with a pleasant lifestyle on par with many of Europe’s developed cities but for a fraction of the cost.
Indeed, one of the challenges in choosing Valencia as a retirement option is imagining living for less in a city that offers a lifestyle comparable to that of Valencia.
Despite Valencia’s diverse range of amenities and resources, the cost of living together with the depressed cost of real estate in Valencia trails both Barcelona and Madrid. You can rent a beachside apartment from around 350 Euros, while rents for one and two-bedroom apartments in Valencia’s nicer neighbourhoods start at around $550 a month. If buying is of interest real estate prices are almost as sunny as the weather, starting at around a surprisingly economical $110,000.
Valencia’s temperate climate is pleasant for most of the year averaging daytime temperatures of 70 degrees F.
Valencia has been going quietly about its business as Spain’s third largest city for a long time now. Eschewing the raucous chest-beating of a Madrid or a Barcelona, Valencia is supremely comfortable with its identity. The result of this strategic foresight is that Valencia remains an effortlessly livable city, a welcoming haven for foodies, art lovers and culture-vultures and night owls. Cheaper, with warm and welcoming people, beautiful beaches and transport links that actually work, living in Valencia is a choice you won’t regret. Some see it as the Mediterranean’s Cinderella city, others see Valencia for what it truly is, a unique mix of the old and new, the traditional and the futuristic, a place where the sea meets the amidst golden beaches!