Why I Chose to Move to Valencia

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.

Playa de la Malvarrosa Valencia
The view from my “homework spot” on Playa de la Malvarrosa – in October!

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.

Sampling horchata in Valencia
Sampling the traditional Valencian drink “horchata” in the Ciudad Vieja

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!

Henissi xx

Here are a few more of my favourite pics from that trip:

A night-time view of the Ayuntamiento (city hall) building in Valencia
A night-time view of the Ayuntamiento (city hall) building in Valencia
Paella Valenciana
My first ever paella valenciana
Street mural in Valencia
One of my favourite murals in Valencia

10 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Wowww! As an American, I always think of Barcelona or Madrid when I think of visiting Spain. But Valencia looks beautiful…and close to the climate I live in. I’m trying to build the courage to move a long distance from home, but too chicken to go that far yet!

  2. I haven’t been to Valencia yet, but I just remembered that I have a friend from there and your article gave me an extra push to visit her 🙂

  3. Glad you decided to live in this city. Many of us spaniards (and valencians) don’t appreciate how important is what we have. Despite all defects, thank you for making us see ourselves from other perspective. 😉

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