It’s big decision to leave your home country and relocate somewhere new, even if it is sunny Valencia and it is important to research as much as possible. This expat city has a natural appeal to a wide variety of people. There are so many opportunities here for happiness and success. Job-hunters, sun seekers, Spanish learners or those just hoping to make a new start will all find great chances to make a go of it (especially the sun seekers!). Valencia was under the radar for long enough but now it has emerged as one of the most livable cities in Europe. Valencia is an exceptional expat city. To get integrated with the culture and start building a life here the first thing to do is develop your social network and sense of community. There are so many opportunities to meet and mingle not only with other expats, but with the warm and friendly Valencians as well.
Joining a Spanish school will be an integral part of any attempt to live in Valencia. Though English is spoken in the tourist center it won’t necessarily be anywhere else. A little effort will go a long way towards solving all the little communication problems that come up when moving to a new country. There will be offices to find, and dreaded forms to fill. The first thing any new immigrant to Spain needs to do is apply for is their NIE number, or Número de Identidad Extranjero, which gets you registered into the national system and allows you to further apply for National health insurance, buy a property and many other government services. Applications for a new NIE number can be obtained at the local police station. If you’re looking for an apartment to rent or buy the good news is that the market is very favorable at the moment, and expats from northern Europe will be surprised at the price reductions compared to their home countries. There are innumerable real-estate agencies that can assist in getting you place you want at the right price in the right neighborhood!
When it comes to meeting people no better events can be found than at the many expat-bars around the city which often host social activities to help bring people together (and drink!). As well websites specializing in meetups are always organizing fun excursions and unusual fitness experiences that serve as easy ways to make connections. As well there are language exchanges throughout the city which are perfect for making friends and networking with a diverse group of people.
Spanish people are warm and friendly and very open. They love taking long social lunches with a few glasses of wine and sharing a laugh with their colleagues and loved ones. Afterwards the siesta is a necessary part of the day, as working hours tend to stretch into the evening. In fact, the whole siesta mentality is something most expats need to adapt to because, at first, it is exceedingly frustrating to discover that nearly all businesses are closed between 14:00 and 17:00 in order to accommodate the sumptuous lunches and siestas the Valencians enjoy. As time passes you’ll wonder how you lived without it!
It must be said that a big focus of the city is based around its two football teams, Valencia FC and Levante FC which both play in the world famous La Liga among the top teams in the world, Madrid and Barcelona. Valencia’s main stadium, Mestalla, is Spain’s oldest (yet still one of the largest, with 55,000 person capacity) and has seen its fair share of victories. Valencia has won La Liga 16 times in its storied history and always is ready to perform at the world-class level.
Other aspects of life expats need to adapt to depend on their interests. The outdoorsy type needs to realize that the Spanish sun (which shines 300 days a year in Valencia) is not something to be trifled with. Sun-cream and hats are always a good option. The culture-vulture will revel n the knowledge that all of Valencias many museums and galleries are open free of charge every Sunday throughout the year. Those of a religious inclination will find no end to the welcoming options available to them whether they are Catholics or Buddhists!
Safety is something that Valencians take particular pride in and you can be assured that Valencia is a safe expat city free from the kinds of hazards and disturbances that are so common in larger tourist centers like Barcelona and Madrid. With just over one million inhabitants Valencia is the perfect size to have everything while still maintaining a livable size without the stress of a sprawling metropolis. Major incidences of trouble, even in the famed tourist party-zone of El Carmen in the city center, are almost unheard of, as are incidences of pickpockets. The necessity to always having to be ‘on your guard’ is delightfully absent here. One cannot put a price on the value of being at ease and secure.
In total expats moving to Valencia can expect to be arriving at an international, cosmopolitan expat city with well-developed services and a lifestyle that is among the best in the world. This beautiful city is adorned with gardens (especially the 8 kilometer long Turia del Rio, the riverbed-turned park that is the lifeblood of Valencia) and excellent school, health and transport facilities including a well-connected international airport.