Life in Valencia Spain Is Satisfying (An Update)

Updated: Aug 23, 2019 @ 9:39 AM

palau musica valencia
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In just a few days, we will have been in Valencia two years. Time has really flown by. It seems like just yesterday that we decided to stay in Seville for one more year. It has also occurred to me that l haven’t written a whole lot about the city.

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This hasn’t been an oversight, but an actual conscious decision. One l am not so proud of. Why? Because it’s a selfish reason. I don’t want others to discover what a little gem of a place it is. This is the third city for us in as we experience expat living in Spain. Malaga was not a good fit and we lasted just 7 months. Seville was great, but after 2 years and oppressive heat (we had been warned), we felt it was time to consider cooler places. Valencia came up in our search as someplace to consider. Best decision ever. here is our Spanish life update so far.

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Life in Valencia Spain:

ladies decked out in falls outfit
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Ladies in waiting at the Fallas festival en route in the procession.

Over a million visitors will be canvassing the streets as the Fallas festival is under way. Thinking back, it was probably not the best time to move here :-). You might remember it was a rough start. For those unfamiliar with Fallas, it is truly something to behold. 3 weeks of debauchery and pyrotechnics.

The final week is just madness, the city shuts down and it is loud all the time. There are fireworks even during the day. Here is a snippet video l found so you can get some idea. We witnessed it last year. I think this year, we might skip going into the eye of the storm so to speak :-). A lot of expats in Valencia leave the city during Fallas.

We almost threw in the towel when we had so much trouble finding a place to live, but now, we are both finding our footing and l think he likes it almost as much as l do. Not wanting Valencia to become the next Barcelona or Madrid, I was loathe to sing its praises.

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I have felt like Goldilocks looking for the city that felt just right. For now, Valencia is that place. I will be writing more about things to do in Valencia as we live our day to day lives. Expect restaurant reviews and random photos. I should add that the secret is out anyway. I see more and more articles naming Valencia the best city in Spain.

Living in Valencia Spain:

I have been quite surprised at the number of American expats in Valencia. We can only hope it doesn’t become quite like the 2 bigger Spanish cities. Rental prices are already creeping up and there has been an influx of people from the Silicon Valley paying exorbitant amounts of money for huge houses :-). If you are looking for rentals in Valencia, use the sites l have listed plenty of times before, idealista and  another great one, namely tablondeanuncios.

authentic paella valenciana
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We have been eating plenty of paella.

Living in Valencia: The apartment life

While we love our current apartment, we have found it just a wee bit too big for just the 2 of us and the dogs. With 1600 square feet interior and 2 patios adding another 600, it’s hard to clean. There is no central heating which though common, made for really, really cold and miserable times in the winter. In Valencia, each apartment has limited wattage of power.

This meant using portable heaters was near impossible. You had to make sure we weren’t cooking or using extra appliances at the same time. Everything shut down and you constantly have to reset. Rude awakening for us when the weather turned..haha! We are downsizing! I thought we would have just as horrible a time finding a new place, but it turned out to be fairly easy. The agents still suck, but this time, we were more prepared. We found an amazing agent who was an ex pro soccer player so Federico was in heaven!

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Update: We have recently cemented our commitment by purchasing a flat. You can read all about it on these posts, from buying to remodelling.

Buying a flat in Valencia

Remodelling in Valencia

Our finished flat

For people considering moving to Spain, our new, complete  guide is now available on Amazon. You can purchase it here.

I am looking forward to not having to worry about estate agents, and asshat landlords who scheme to keep your deposit money. I am also looking forward to not having to move again. I think at this point, I’m sure we won’t start collecting useless materialistic stuff like we were in the states.

life in valencia spain malvarosa beach
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Looking forward to beach life in Valencia. This is Malvarossa, one of the many beaches that dot the cast.

Related Reading: Valencia Cost of Living

As far as travel, I am determined this year that we will discover more of Spain. I have been promising that for the past 2.5 years l know, but l really mean it this time 🙂 .

Travel plans in the near future includes a trip to Athens and Prague. We have both been to Athens separately, but it will be nice to do it as a couple. It will be a first for us both as far as Prague is concerned, so if anybody has any cool cultural things we must see or do apart from seeing Charles Bridge, let us know. I’ve heard so much about Prague and l hope l don’t get disappointed and find it not up to the hype. Other than that, we will probably sticking around Spain and maybe day trips to nearby cities.

tacos at La Llorona Valencia Spain living
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Food in Valencia is awesome. Very international. These tacos were so yummy. We have found the best pizzerias outside of Italy too :-).



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I have been thinking about adding one more trip to the itinerary though. I recently saw a press release for The Paris Guy that made me think it was time for another return visit to the city of love 🙂 . These are the same folks that run TheRomanGuy and having done 2 excellent tours with them, including the Vatican, I would love to do another. The have a tour of the Catacombs which looks interesting and a skip the line Louvre tour (this would be awesome. 4-5 times in Paris and l have yet to see the museum. Shameful l know).

There is also a totally cool blogger named Julie and her husband who l would love to meet. I have been an admirer of hers for at least a couple of years now and enjoy her musings on life. Federico’s best friend also lives there. Even though they had an argument about football recently (they always fight about football!), I’m sure they’ll get over it. We had an awesome day in Paris together last time. I still constantly peruse fare deals looking towards Africa (Uganda, Zanzibar and Rwanda to name a few).

graffiti valencia spain red bike in wall, part of life in Valencia Spain
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Lots of great street art in the Old center of Valencia

Related Reading: Is Valencia worthy?

Valencia Life: Totally awesome

Valencia is huge and spread out. It will be fun going to the surrounding areas like Castellion, Sagunto and Gandia. I am also trying to be more social and have been venturing out a bit more. I recently started taking survival Spanish classes and joined a beginners Spanish book club, part of my trying to integrate into life in Valencia.

Is Valencia a good place to live?

Yes!!!! We have both decided on staying in Valencia for the foreseeable future. The cost of living is very reasonable. It is a very walkable city in addition to the awesome transport system. There’s a lot to like and it’s really  feeling like home. Life in Valencia is pretty good, so hopefully people thinking about moving to Valencia will have boots on the ground information.

Life in Valencia Update #valencia #valenciaspain #visitvalencia #expatlife #immigrantstories #spanishlife #spainexpat
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Where is home for you? Do you feel settled, or are you rearing to go discover new places?

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51 thoughts on “Life in Valencia Spain Is Satisfying (An Update)”

  1. Good to see the 1 yr update. Interesting that you’ve noticed an influx of American expats. I thought that part of Spain would remain “undiscovered” for a while 🙂

    As for Prague, I feel it’s overrated. We visited in summertime and it was super packed in the most touristy parts (mainly the center of town, Charles Bridge, the castle, etc).

    My happiest place there was the Vyšehrad Castle area to the south of downtown (a couple miles, perhaps 4-5 subway stops??). Nice and quiet. Not a ton of foreign tourists and “regular” Czech prices. Downtown was tourist central and prices 2-3x what you pay elsewhere in Prague. Downtown is jammed packed with stuff to see and very beautiful though. Also be prepared to pay to use bathrooms (worst place in Europe – couldn’t find any free ones!!). We paid at McD’s and got an almost free ice cream effectively (bathroom receipt can be spent on menu items 🙂 ).

    Also try to find a “Svejk” restaurant. Good local authentic food. Our airbnb host turned us on to one near where we stayed. $5 for a huge plate of meat, potatoes and veggies.

    I’ll have a full Prague trip report out on my blog in the next month or two so hopefully you can check it out before you visit.

    Reply
    • Hi Justin! I am looking forward to reading your thoughts on Prague. I’ve been following along and your post made me add Slovenia to our bucket list :-). I’m really hoping Prague turns out to be more like Budapest and Bucharest than Amsterdam for me as far as hype. I hope we can squeeze a lot into the 2 weeks there. I will check out that castle. It sounds lovely. $5? I’m there :-). We’ll be there before school ends, so l’m hoping it won’t be overrun. Wishful thinking l know.

      No more keeping Valencia a secret..haha! I have read at least 3 articles talking about it within the last 4 months, including some big publishers. The American expat group alone has just under a thousand active members, not to mention other groups. I’m not sure how it came to appeal to people from Cali, but they are here. I can see why though.

      Reply
    • During the summer, we only used fans so we had no idea about the wattage allotment. You can have it increased for a hefty sum we found out later, but most landlords don’t want to pony up the fee. The new one doesn’t have it either (needle in a haystack kind of thing), but since it’s smaller and the stove top is gas, we shouldn’t run into that problem. My manicurist has showed us the perfect portable gas canister heating unit too which is apparently very popular, but we had no idea of, so it will be better.

      Reply
  2. Very happy to read this update and see that you found a city you really love. I am sure that the new apartment will be just good – we’re living in a 700 square feet apartment here in Romania (with a huge terrace taking out some of the room space as well) and it’s enjoyable. A lot easier to heat too, than a large place. Your former place was humongous, but I am happy that your new place is in the same area.

    Now, sitting in front of my computer, following a spell of really cold weather here, I can only feel my jaw dropping seeing the nice weather in Valencia at this time of the year. Hopefully it will be even better in May when we get there! Loved reading this update!

    Reply
    • For sure it will be better. I can already feel the change. It has rained a few times, but today is absolutely stunning. Let’s hope it stays as we got a bit of the cold snap as well. It even snowed a bit in the suburbs. The new place is less than a mile from here, same zip code as we really love the area. I think you’re right. It will be enough space for us. It’s still a 10 minute walk from where you’ll be when you come, only the other way towards the center. (away from the river).
      Haha! sorry about the weather there. Hopefully it will turn and be a bit warmer. Looking forward to seeing you guys again :-).

      Reply
  3. It sounds as if finding a new place was a lot easier than the first time. Hope that it works out for you and you feel “at home”. Just from the short time we visited we really enjoyed Valencia as well and can see why it is getting such positive reviews. The walkability and bicycle friendly paths were wonderful. So perhaps Fedi and his Paris soccer pal will reconcile and you will get in a visit this year. Regardless we know you’ll have a great summer. P.S. It’s pretty wet, windy and cool here this week as well. Cheers!

    Reply
    • It really was. We were both amazed at how much easier it was. We wanted to start early so we had time..but 2 weeks later and after viewing like 5 places of which it was basically up to choose which one (2 rejected us because we didn’t have work here). You know how it was like 1/2 hr walk or so to the ayutamento, it will now be about 13 minutes, so a bit more central. There will still be 3 rooms, so there’s always room if you come for another visit. Those 2 crack me up as it’s all soccer all the time and when they fight, I’m forced to hear all about soccer… :-). I totally want to visit. Speaking of soccer, we will be attending our first Valencia game in a couple of weeks :-). For sure we won’t be sitting on the opposite side like you guys were..haha.. Hope the weather turns better for you too.

      Reply
  4. Expats seem to drive rental prices up everywhere they go. Glad you were able to find a smaller place in the same area that suites you; that gas heater sounds like just the ticket. Everyone who visits Prague seems to have a different experience, but we loved it. Get up early to explore the bridge and old town, before the vendors and crowds make it almost impossible to walk the bridge.

    Reply
    • Yes..it definitely happens a lot, doesn’t it? It seems like people compare the prices to back in the States and it seems cheap to them, so boom.. When you look at it from a local’s point of view instead, you see the damage that it does. A good salary here is closer to €1000 per month so people have roommates or stay at home longer. I always just assumed that gas heater was a portable electric one. I just happened to be practicing my Spanish with her and mentioned it, and she’s like.. “get this”. That sucker heats up the whole salon and a tank lasts weeks. Who freaking knew? :-). Yikes! I might get up one day maybe to beat the crowds, but l like moving like a sloth when on holiday :-). Hopefully, the crowd won’t be as bad since kids will still be in school. Thanks for the tip.

      Reply
  5. Since you and I have become sort of blogosphere ‘pen pals’ you know that home for us is now a small stone house on a hill in The Mani of the Greek Peloponnese so we are both at home and enjoying the adventures that come with ex pat life. I envy you the space of your first apartment – if we had any ‘complaint’ about our home it would be that it is small. We could use a bit more space. But as you pointed out the plus of small, is less cleaning required. We’ve laughed at the same feeling of wanting to keep this place a secret while all the while wanting to shout out its wonders. . .we had thought it amazing that some 25 Americans (most part-timers) have homes in our area and have just learned of more having purchased places. . .I do believe we may not be as hidden away in wonder/wander-land as I had thought. Keep in touch. Love your updates on ex pat life. When will you be in Athens?

    Reply
    • Off the top of my head, I think it’s the 3rd week of may that we leave, but l will let you know for sure. How far away are you guys from Athens? I am enjoying reading about your little house on the hill. It’s funny that we think these places are undiscovered until you scratch the surface..haha! There are even people from the same zip codes as us out here which was funny to hear. The space is nice, but we just kept spreading out… and l hate housework. This new place will be a little more manageable. We’re going to try and sell our couch since that place has everything and we could use the space :-). It would be lovely to meet you guys if we can make it happen. I will email you about the dates and see what we can come up with. I love being pen pals with you :-).

      Reply
    • We’re just beginning to scratch the surface after all this time! I hope you get to visit. It’s a very nice place. I will be on the lookout for you :-).

      Reply
  6. From Paris, we try to be in Valencia before moving to Devon, England in October this year..I can’t wait to experience what you are describing and why you are opting to stay for another couple of years! Hope we can meet, too!

    Reply
    • Oooh..England! Love it. I harbor not so secret dreams of living in London. The weather will be awesome then and l think you will really enjoy the city. See you then! 🙂

      Reply
  7. Kemkem, I am so glad to read this update. Valencia sounds like a very nice place to live, I don’t blame you for wanting to hangout there for a bit longer. Good idea about the downsizing…Brian and I have no regrets about our big downsizing last year. I am looking forward to hear more about Valencia on future posts 🙂

    Reply
    • You downsized to a amazing place from the pictures and it’s great there are no regrets. I hate cleaning so much :-). Plus a huge sunroom we never used, except to store stuff..haha! It will be smaller and cozy which l am looking forward to :-).

      Reply
  8. I know what you mean about not recommending your favourite places! Valencia is one of the Spanish cities I haven’t been to yet, but you’ve made me think I should get there before you tell everyone about it…

    Reply
    • Haha! The cat is out of the bag. The troops are starting to descend and the tour buses are full. It will only get worse leading up to the last weekend of the fallas. I’m glad we’re on the edge of Old Town because the noise will be deafening. We have dull roars :-). I hope you visit soon.

      Reply
  9. Thanks for this great post on Valencia, Kemkem. I’ve been to several parts of Spain, but have not yet had the pleasure of visiting Valencia. Your post has certainly moved it up on my list!

    Reply
    • I’m glad to hear. It really is a beautiful city. I’ve never quite understood why it loses out to the other 3 cities, but it’s kind of nice being the underdog so to speak. Keeps things a bit more authentic. It’s been really interesting trying to find our footing. An enjoyable one. Glad it has moved up your list. 🙂

      Reply
  10. Valencia sounds wonderful. Not sure about the portable heaters though! Who’d have thought about the wattage?!! I guess you have to live in a place to find out the plusses and downsides. Hope you’re downsized apartment is a great move. Enjoy!

    Reply
    • Haha! Yeah..our electric portable heaters are 2200, pretty much everything trips up once you add anything else. It seems to be a surprise for us immigrants…haha! Someone else had mentioned the gas heater before but we’re like.. oh..no, it’s gonna blow. Seeing it in action at the manicurists and knowing it’s the norm makes us feel better. We’ll see at the new place. Thanks for reading.

      Reply
  11. It’s good when you find somewhere you like and, from the sounds of it, Valencia seems to fit you okay. A bit too big for me, personally. I like Pamplona in the Basque Country (summer only, too cold in winter) and go there often to spend a few months.

    Reply
    • I hope we get to Pamplona soon as we discover more of Spain. Basque country in general have been on the horizon. It’s nice that you can rotate places, something we wouldn’t mind doing at some point as we really like Budapest and Bucharest but don’t want the cold that comes with it in winter :-). It’s funny about size, we thought Barcelona and Madrid were just too big for us… Thanks for the comment and for reading.

      Reply
  12. Your article is so interesting as you explain what it’s like to actually live in Spain and explore Valencia and surrounding areas. I really enjoyed reading about your adventures!!

    Reply
    • Thanks Marilyn. We are enjoying the simpler life here. Hopefully, we’ll get to see even more. Thanks for reading and hopefully it will inspire people to travel :-).

      Reply
  13. I’m very much looking forward to more posts about Spain KemKem, as it’s such an awesome country. And judging by the passion in your voice, I’m thinking that Valencia is just the place, and very you. Thank goodness, the house move was less tasking than previously!

    Ha! Ha! After living here for almost 19 years, home is Berlin!

    Re-Prague. You’ll love it! I used to live there and it was one of my favourite places before I moved to Berlin. I took “The Tall Young Gentleman” there last year, so that he could see where I used to live and what I did out there, so I’m enclosing the link to what I wrote. Let me know how you get on: https://thebritishberliner.wordpress.com/2015/09/07/4-days-in-prague-40-things-to-do/

    Reply
    • Yeah.. I do remember that you used to live there. I will have to reread the Prague piece even though l don’t want to go there expecting anything, if that makes sense at all :-). I will have to torture you with seafood pictures..haha! I remember us discussing how much more expensive they were in Berlin last time you were down our way. Home really is Berlin for you. As well it should be. Victoria, we were both simply shocked at how much easier it was this time around, especially with the Fallas coming too. I think it also helped that we didn’t need to move right away and could wait till after the Fallas grand party as our lease doesn’t end till the end of the month, we just wanted a month to move our things from one place to the other like the lazy bum l am (always done it), but even the 8 days after Fallas is fine to move most stuff :-).

      Reply
  14. Dropping a line when I can and reading a bit more than I have time to comment on. So happy Valencia is pleasing. The fish tacos look amazing, and the festival looked overwhelming. 🙂 Good luck with your Spanish. I’m slowly plugging away at mine too. Always happy to learn more about living in Spain.—-Terri

    Reply
    • Hi Terri, Glad to hear from you. I have been reading your latest series as well :-). Hope the kids are doing great. The tacos are so good, as one in the group says, Texan approved..haha! The festival can definitely be overwhelming, especially for those that live right in the center. I met a poor girl who moved from Atlanta yesterday and she looked so frigging tired, she said she hadn’t slept in the 3 weeks that this started and moved rooms to a hall closet in the back of the apartment in an effort to get some shuteye. It’s 24 hours there. Good luck with your Spanish too..before you know it, we’ll both be chatting away :-).

      Reply
      • That poor girl and the festival! That’s crazy! And I felt sorry for myself when it was just fireworks the whole week of the 4th of July till midnight! Ha! Wow. Good to know that about Valencia! We have been there very briefly once. But so long ago. Take care.

        Reply
  15. I’ve heard only good things about Valencia and the cost certainly seems reasonable. Another place that seems popular among Expats is Alicante which I’m curious about.
    Prague’s a great city and you should never get bored there. We’ve spent over 6 months there combined over 3 visits and have lots on the blog, both the popular stuff as well as a lot of Unusual sights where you won’t get tourists. And it is a super easy city to get around.
    Congratulations on Valencia! Sounds like you guys made a wise move going there.

    Reply
    • Alicante has long been an Expat favorite place, mostly British from what l hear. Some call it little Britain because most expats don’t bother learning Spanish and all that cater to them have to speak English. At least that’s what one of our sitters who had visited there said. One day, we might get over there, but l am in no rush :-).
      I remember reading your Prague posts and know how much you both love the place. I will try and fit in some of the things you did, well maybe not the naughty place..hahah!!! (if l remember correctly, it was Prague). Maybe that could be a contender for when you decide to try a permanent place again since you like it so much?

      Reply
  16. I love the fact that you’ve had a bit of self interest at heart and want your “gem” of a city, Valencia, to remain undiscovered. We had so much fun when we visited you and Fede last fall and I’m looking forward to another visit, once you get settled, to see your new abode. I loved the park that runs for kilometers through your neighborhood, all the bicycle paths, the nearby groceries and bakeries, etc. Yep – I can see why the living’s easy in Valencia! P.S. That photo of the paella (looked so good I could almost taste it!) has me itching to pack a suitcase right now. 🙂 Anita

    Reply
    • We had fun too when you visited. Federico loves cooking for Dick and gets a real kick out of you guys enjoying the food. We can’t wait to see you guys again. The new place is close to here, same zip code, just closer to the ayutamneto (would be less than 15 min walk). I will miss the park being right out front, but there is actually 2 big parks about 6 minutes walk either way from the new place and the grocery store is even closer..and bakeries and a lot more cafes. Pack the suitcase!!! 🙂

      Reply
  17. First time I’ve read your blog…I’ve travelled a bit in Spain but haven’t been to Valencia. It sounds great though! I highly recommend travel around the country as it is beautiful and very diverse. My sister and I did a walkabout with buses and train thrown in and loved San Sebastian on the north sea; the Camino de Santiago (el Norte, Frances and Portugal); Leon; Santiago de Compostela and sea coast nearby; Ronda (love the history and the views), Seville (one of my favourite cities); Toledo is interesting; Allicante – smaller and laid back; and Monserrat near Barcelona is fabulous ….. Madrid was much too large! The border with France in the Pyranees is also very beautiful. There is so much to see in Spain, you don’t really need to go to other countries for a while…have a great time in your new home….I look forward to reading your future blogs! Laura

    Reply
    • Hi Laura, Thanks for reading and glad you found our little blog. I am a bit ashamed that we haven’t traveled more around Spain. It’s just hard to resist the cheap flights to other places. This has prevented me from taking Spanish classes and l am hoping to remedy that this year and next. Enjoy our backyard so to speak. I want to visit San Sebastian, Bilbao. We lived in Seville for 2 years and really liked it, the heat chased us away 🙂 . We lived in malaga for a few months too and didn’t even visit Ronda..imagine! Loved Toledo, not too crazy about Barcelona, but Girona was awesome. Thanks for reading and for commenting and glad to have you here :-).

      Reply
    • Thanks for the compliment Erin, and welcome. Valencia will be welcome you with open hands..well, until you price the locals out..haha! and then it’s war… 🙂 🙂 . You’ll find plenty of ecoats here for sure (never heard that term before!).

      Reply
  18. Nooooo! Silicon Valley folks? Oh man, I’m in Cali myself and I don’t really want to see ANY Americans, period. I know that sounds mean but I’ve lived in Spain before and loved it for it’s humble, non materialistic way of life. Well, I’ll get over it.

    Thanks for your blog 🙂

    Reply
    • Haaahhhhaaaa!!! What a great comment to wake up to in the morning! :-). I’m afraid that ship has already sailed. There are more and more Americans here even though l haven’t met more than a couple from the Silicon Valley area, we are not in the same league..haha! I hope like you that the Spanish way of life survives the huge ships loaded with passengers that are now disembarking here daily and discovering how wonderful life is. Thanks for the comment :-).

      Reply
    • Oh how lovely! :-). Now would be as good a time to say l enjoy reading your posts. Please give a shout out while here, maybe we can meet for drinks :-). You will like it for sure.

      Reply

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