Expats in Valencia: Everything You Need to Know
One of the best places to live in Spain, it’s an under-the-radar choice for a brand-new home. Though lots of people overlook the city in favor of Barcelona and Madrid, it’s a fantastic place for a relocation.
Warm, welcoming, and full of fun, the super-sunny city combines hip modernity with pockets of retro tradition. And although it’s not a hugely popular choice for now, it’s slowly becoming a better-known spot for expats seeking a Spanish escape.
So in this guide, we’ve helped you to figure out whether expat life in Valencia is for you. We’ve covered prices, perks, pros, cons, nightlife, neighborhoods, expat groups in Valencia, where to live in Valencia as an expat, and much more.
Grab a handful of tapas, and come join the friendly fiesta!
Pros and cons of being an expat in Valencia
Pros of living in Valencia:
- Great weather: for sun-seeking expats, this is one of the city’s biggest draws—the vast majority of the year, the city is very warm and sunny. Even in January, the average low rarely dips below 6°C—and the city gets very little rain.
- Local vibes: compared to some of Spain’s other big cities, Valencia feels much more traditional and authentic. You’ll be surrounded by lifelong locals, age-old cuisine, and lots of sometimes-surprising tradition.
- Drool-inducing tasty treats: Spain is famous for churning out world-class food. But here’s a controversial opinion… of all of Spain’s cities, Valencia’s cuisine scene might just be the best of them all. It’s impossible for foodies to get bored here.
- Low prices: while Barcelona and Madrid can be relatively pricey, Valencia’s costs are alluringly low. We’ve covered some detailed numbers later… but for a western European city, Valencia is a great budget option.
- It’s a very safe city: for expats in Valencia, this is one of the place’s biggest perks. Crime is rare, serious crime is very rare, and there are few other safety concerns. This is an especially big plus if you’ll be moving with kids.
Cons of living in Valencia:
- Not as many expats as other Spanish cities: expats in Valencia are often surprised by just how traditional and local the city can sometimes feel. If you like finding massive groups of other expats, you might struggle here.
- The housing situation: Valencia’s real estate market exists in a bit of a bubble… and you’ll often wind up paying too much money for a subpar place. But here’s some good news: you can avoid that issue by renting a serviced apartment or a serviced flat instead.
- Snail’s-pace bureaucracy: expats in Valencia often get frustrated with the city’s laconic approach to getting things done. Bureaucratic life admin can often take a while.
- Constant heat: yep, the weather is pretty much always hot and sunny. But the year-round climes can get tiresome after a while. Even winters are outrageously humid.
Public transport in Valencia
Valencia’s public transport system is excellent—with 60 bus lines, 5 metro lines and 4 tram lines, most expats in Valencia don’t ever need a car.
For getting around the city, you have endless different types of tickets and travel cards. But for most people, the best choice is a Mobilis Card, which allows you to travel affordably on all the city’s forms of transport. Like any travel card in any city, you recharge it when it’s empty, and tap it onto a card reader when you hop onto your bus (or metro, or whatever).
This card is convenient and simple, and it’s cheaper than buying separate tickets for separate journeys. You only need to pay for one journey every 90 minutes, no matter how many journeys you tackle within that time frame (even if you use multiple types of transport!).
Opening a bank account for expats in Valencia
Once you’ve settled into the city, it’s usually pretty easy to open a bank account—and your expat life in Valencia will be much simpler with one.
When opening your account, you’ll usually need to provide…
- Some ID (such as your passport)
- Your unique foreigner identification number (NIE), and the accompanying certificate
- Proof of your address (like your tenancy agreement)
- Proof of your employment status (your work contract, for example)
Expats in Valencia have two main options: a traditional branch-style bank account, or one of those modern and funky online-only accounts.
The most popular ‘normal’ banks in Spain are BBVA, Santander, and Banco Sabadell. If you’re hunting for online-only options, our top picks are bunq and n26 (which are often better and simpler for expats in Valencia, with super-fast signing-up processes).
Best neighborhoods to live for expats in Valencia—where to live in Valencia as an expat
Valencia is made up of a sprawling 88 neighborhoods and 19 districts… but some of the best for expats are:
- North Ciutat Vella: many short-term expats in Valencia head here. The northern part of the city center, it’s stuffed with famous sights, and it offers endless events and excitement.
- Russafa: the city’s trendiest neighborhood, Russafa (or ‘Ruzafa’) is stuffed with venues for drinking and dancing. It’s a gentrified hipster hangout, and full of fun-loving barmy bohemians.
- El Pilar: expats in Valencia often overlook this place. But if you want to live relatively centrally without being surrounded by bustle, it’s a good choice. It’s popular with couples, families, and young professionals.
- La Xerea: the eastern part of the very center of the city, this residential neighborhood is pretty similar to El Pilar. But on top of the safe atmosphere and all the conveniences, it also has a huge amount of great green space.
- El Cabanyal: lurking on the outskirts of the city, this neighborhood isn’t particularly popular with many expats in Valencia. But if you want a big fat slice of authentic local life, this beachside budget-friendly option is where you want to be.
For extra information on these neighborhoods and more, here’s our guide to all the best districts for expats in Valencia.
How to find apartments in Valencia
This is usually one of the most frustrating aspects of expat life in Valencia. There are lots of people hunting for homes, and the supply often can’t keep up with the demand.
Though it’s always possible to find somewhere to live, it’s not always possible to find a good place to live… and getting somewhere great can be a lengthy ordeal.
For that reason, it’s often easier to find a short term apartment or flat (especially if you’re only sticking around for a short while). If that sounds like a sweet little solution to your impending dilemma, we have lots of furnished, affordable and well-located homes on our site… and they’re all ready to move into right away.
But with a hefty slice of patience, it’s of course possible to find a home in the traditional way. The best places to start include Idealista and Fotocasa, both of which have a wide variety of many different options. For home-hunting on Facebook, try this group and this group.
Best areas for restaurants and bars in Valencia
Expat life in Valencia comes with endless servings of eats and treats… and a huge number of places to sip, slurp and chow down. Some of the tastiest neighborhoods include:
- South Ciutat Vella: the southern part of the city center, South Ciutat Vella is stacked with great places to eat and drink. Start your food-search here with Mercat Central (a taste-packed traditional-style market), Restaurant Blanqueries, and La Salvaora.
- Benimaclet: long-term expats in Valencia often head here for chewing and chomping. Once a town of its own, this outskirt neighborhood serves up tasty fayre on a tiny budget.
- Gran Via: for high-end eats and drinks, the area in and around this lengthy street is your best option. You’ll find cocktail spots (like Jungle Cocktails Bar), pricey wine bars, classy restaurants (such as Casita de Sabino), and rich clientele.
Best areas for Valencia nightlife
Valencia has incredible nightlife dotted around various parts of its entirety. But for maximizing your late-night fun, some of the best neighborhoods are:
- Russafa: both locals and expats in Valencia love partying in this place. You’ll find vermouth bars, quirky hangouts, strange events, and a bunch of leftfield characters. Start with Cafe Berlin, Backstage Russafa, and La Catrina.
- El Carmen: the most famous nightlife area in the city, this narrow collection of labyrinthine streets offers endless pockets of tucked-away fun. Head to Radio City, Café Negrito, and Jimmy Glass Jazz Bar.
- Ciutat Jardi: close to two universities, this neighborhood always attracts a young crowd of late-night lovers. For moving and grooving, check out La 3 Club. But for something a little more low-key, head to White Night Pub or Underground Café Pub instead.
Best parks in Valencia
Valencia has a load of excellent parks and green spaces. Some of the best include…
- Jardines del Turia: once a river, this lengthy hangout is now a green riverbed. It meanders through the city for more than 9km (6 miles). Along its length, you’ll find bridges, sculptures, cycle lanes, walking paths, and more. It’s a great way to see the city.
- Parque Central: this relatively new green space features fountains, varied gardens, palm trees, and plenty more. It’s a favorite with romance-seeking couples.
- Parque de Cabecera: this riverside landscaped park is perfect for picnicking, feeding birds, and grabbing views of the city. Because of its many playgrounds, it’s popular with families.
Expat forums in Valencia, and expat groups in Valencia
For expats in Valencia, it’s pretty easy to make friends.
To get started on your brand-new buddy-hunt, you should look for expat forums in Valencia and expat groups in Valencia.
You’ll find some of the best groups and forums on Facebook. Here’s a brilliant friend-finding group for expats in Valencia (and here’s another!). And here’s a great group for anyone on the search for exciting activities.
Couchsurfing is another good option, and the site has a lively and active community in the city.
Cost of living in Valencia
Expats in Valencia (and, of course, anyone living in Valencia!) can expect the following prices:
- 1-bedroom apartment in the city center: €760
- 1-bedroom apartment outside of the city center: €567
- 3-bedroom apartment in the city center: €1,369
- One-way ticket on local public transport: €1.50
- Regular monthly pass for local public transport: €31.52
- Meal for 1 at an inexpensive restaurant: €12
- 3-course meal for 2 people at a mid-range restaurant: €45
- Large draught domestic beer in a bar or restaurant: €3
- Regular cappuccino in a cafe or restaurant: €2
- Loaf of white bread from a supermarket: €0.99
- 12 regular eggs from a supermarket: €2.05
- 1kg of chicken breast filets from a supermarket: €6.63
We’ve taken all the above figures from reliable ol’ Numbeo.
The trash disposal system in Valencia
Valencia’s residents are expected to dispose of their own trash and recyclables according to a color-coded system.
Dotted liberally around all parts of the city, you’ll find lots of plastic containers. You need to collect your own trash, separate it into categories, and place it into these containers.
Plastic and metal should be placed in the yellow bins. Cardboard and paper, in the blue bins. Glass is to be put into the green bins. And non-recyclables are for black or gray bins.
You’ll be able to find some of these containers within a short walk of your home, no matter which part of the city you’re living in.
Expats in Valencia: final thoughts and further reading
There you are—all the information you need on joining the expats in Valencia!
For your big move to the city, it’s easy to find an apartment or flat—we have lots of excellent, affordable, and cozy homes on our site. They’re all fuss-free and fully-furnished, and they’re ready to move into today. And if you’re looking for something small, we have many great studios too.
Thanks for reading, thanks for stopping by, and thanks for choosing Homelike.