Once I had decided to move to Spain, there are lots of beautiful cities I could have chosen to make my home. So why choose to move to Valencia?
For me there were plenty of practical reasons for choosing this city, but the ultimate deciding factor was that once I visited I fell in love (as it is for so many expats).
I wandered the barrios where I thought I might be able to see myself living and I felt at home
I arrived in Valencia for the first time at the start of October 2016 to do a week-long intensive Spanish course at Don Quijote language school. I knew that Valencia is a Mediterranean city with a mild climate, but since it was the start of autumn I figured I would need jeans and long-sleeved t-shirts and probably light-weight jumpers and cardigans to throw over the top. Wrong! The first day I was here I had to go find a mall to buy shorts and lighter-weight t-shirts because I was melting!! As a sun-worshiper that was great for me.
What followed was a week of speaking Spanish in classes all morning until 1pm, and then going to the beach each afternoon with classmates to chill for a while before either taking a siesta or going out to explore what the city had to offer. In the evenings I’d meet back up with my classmate and we’d go out for (a very late) dinner and then check out the local nightlife.
On that trip I discovered the Playa de la Malvarrosa, the amazing Turia Gardens (a converted riverbed turned park which is the hub of Valencia city’s outdoor life), and the impressive architecture of the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias. I experienced the hive of night-time activity in the barrio of El Carmen. I sampled paella for the first time in the city of its creation. I wandered the barrios where I thought I might be able to see myself living. And I felt at home.
I wasn’t the only one to be bewitched by Valencia. By the end of the week a number of people in my class were saying how much they’d love to move to Valencia, and one year on two of us have actually done it!
From a practical point of view there were quite a few things to consider when choosing a new city (I will post more about this later). For me the most important ones were
- Climate (and beach proximity!)
- Distance from family and friends back in London
- Job opportunities
- Opportunities for building a social life
- Pace of life/lifestyle in general
Based on my research of Spanish cities, those were the things that made me want to come here and check out the city in the first place; and those were the considerations I used in choosing where to do my intensive Spanish course. But what cinched the decision to move here was the incredible vibe you get when you come here. The feeling of calm that comes over you as you soak up the laid back Valenciano lifestyle (even if only for a few days). This city captivates you and it makes you want to either stay or come back… so I did!
Here are a few more of my favourite pics from that trip: