Is Valencia good for expats, you ask? The only reason that you’d be mulling that question is because you might be thinking of making the hop to this sun-drenched spot on the shores of the lapping Mediterranean Sea. We say this: Great choice! There are oodles of reasons why the town is the right one to pick.
This guide will outline just five of them in detail. We’ll dive into the whole Valencian region to showcase why we love it for would-be emigres. From the soaring sierras to the shimmering coast, the tasty tapas options to the tempting villas and their pools, there are stacks of bonuses to relocating to this corner of Spain.
We’ll also deal with a few more practical parts of the move. That means taking a look at what you can expect to spend as an expat in Valencia (clue: It’s pretty good news for the bank account) and what sort of property prospects there are (clue: There are loads). So, let’s get a-going: Is Valencia good for expats?
Is Valencia good for expats? Well…do expats like ceaseless sunshine and balmy temperatures, long summers and beach days well into the autumn? We think it’s safe to say that most do, which is why this corner of southern Spain draws so many thousands each year. Yep, it’s no secret that the climate and the weather are two of the central reasons why expats have their eye so firmly set on the land of oranges and broiling paella. Let’s take a closer look at just why it’s quite so fantastic…
First, the peak of the summer: Temperatures in Valencia have been known to whiz well past the 40 C (104 F) mark in months like July and August. Usually, though, the days are baked in a beach-worthy 30 C (86 F), with cloudless skies to boot and not a drop of rain to be felt – there’s only 8mm of the wet stuff in July and most of that falls high in the Valencian sierras.
Said summer also lasts WAY longer than it does in the UK or much of the northern USA. The Mediterranean climate enjoyed this far south in Europe means that spring gives way to the main hot period around May time. Meanwhile, things don’t really start to cool again in earnest until late October and early November, leaving all those lucky expats far more time to soak up that much-needed Vitamin D.
Talking of Vitamin D, Valencia is just about perfect for enjoying this hot, hot, hot climate. It’s got Blue-Flag beaches washed by cooling sea waters on one side, but also access to the higher reaches of southern Spain in the form of the Serra Calderona on the other. Head up to the latter and you’ll find an area replete with walking paths and chilled mountain hamlets that stay (relatively) cool in the peak months.
The closeness of the beaches
Think Spain, think beaches. That’s the way for many a would-be expat looking to venture to this corner of the world. The good news is that Valencia doesn’t disappoint on that count. The whole city is perched right on the Valencian Gulf, with the first beaches beckoning a mere two miles from the beating heart of the town. Yep, you can live in the thick of the city and ride a tram out for an evening swim and sangria on the Med in these parts.
And that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. Holidaymakers generally see this town as the gateway to two of the most alluring stretches of coastline on the continent. The first is the Costa del Azahar, which runs north from Valencia. The second is the Costa Blanca, which is usually said to begin with the lovely town of Dénia a little to the south.
The Costa del Azahar is a wonderworld of eye-watering beaches that are strung by palm trees and backed by classic whitewashed fishing villages. It’s not as developed or as explored as much of the rest of the Spanish Med, holding secrets like the rolling stretches of Playa de Cudolá and the scrub-backed hills of Parc Natural de la Serra d’Irta. The Costa Blanca isn’t like that. It beats with life throughout the summer, with parties erupting in Benidorm and lux B&Bs awaiting in Calpe. You’ll be able to visit both with ease. Tempting, eh?
Get those taste buds ready, would be expats. Valencia is a veritable foodie hub of Spain – and that’s really saying something in the country that gave the world tapas, Iberian ham, and Manchego cheese. Drawing influences from the Mediterranean Sea and the highland regions that lie to the north and the west, the city’s culinary repertoire is riddled with freshness and earthiness alike.
There’s one creation here that stands head and shoulders above the rest. Cue paella. The Valencians claim this iconic concoction as their own. Its history is thought to extend back more than 1,000 years to when the Moors ruled southern Spain, but it remains the trademark dish of the country. We can see why. A zingy mix of seafood, game meat, stock, saffron, spices, and rice, it’s everything the Med kitchen should be. Eat it in one of the local tavernas in the old town but be sure to order it the day before – that’s the way it’s usually done!
The rest of Valencia’s food scene ticks over to a medley of tapas – taste the stuffed codfish esgarraet and the bunyols pumpkin fritters, all washed down with a full-bodied Mourvedre or Tempranillo red wine from the nearby vineyards. For desert? Well, there’s surely nothing for it but the choco-dipped churros with horchata on the side. Is Valencia good for expats who love food? You bet it is!
The cost of living
We think you might just be pleasantly surprised at the cost of living in Valencia. For one, this town rarely makes it onto lists of the most expensive cities in Spain. Those top spots are typically claimed by Madrid – the booming capital – and Barcelona – the uber-sleek hub of Catalonia. In fact, Valencia isn’t even in the top five here, falling below the likes of Malaga and Zaragoza in the unenvied ranks of the priciest places to live in the home of flamenco and matadors.
The picture gets even rosier when you compare Valencia globally. Stat and travel price curator Numbeo rates the town as 32.15% less expensive than London and a whopping 54.1% less expensive than New York. The cost of renting somewhere in the city center is a major reason for that – it’s thought to be more than half the price of renting in the English capital!
You should also find that your money stretches further when it comes to day-to-day purchases. Hit the markets in Valencia (the Mercat Colon and the Central Market are our two favs). They’re packed with stalls offering stacks of tasty tomatoes for just as couple of euros a kilo, homemade breads, fresh-caught fish, honey, dairy products – you name it, all likely for less than you’re used to paying in the supermarkets back at home.
The availability of property and rentals
Valencia has long been one of the most popular regions for expats escaping the cold northern parts of Europe for a dose of that fabled Spanish sun in their silver years. More than that, it’s long been a mainstay holidaying destination, a major golfing retreat, and a big sun, sand, and sea hotspot. All that helps to nurture a pretty darn healthy property market. Where there’s demand, there’s supply, you see – and there’s certainly a plentiful supply of living options between the orange orchards and the sierras in this part of Spain.
Mhmm…from cozy inner-city flats between the Mudejar spires of Valencia itself to lux villas perched on the Mediterranean to uber-cheap farmhouse ruins waiting to be done up in the mountains, this region has it all. Just a quick glance at A Place in the Sun’s list of available properties and you see there’s just over 800 currently up for grabs in Valencia and its vicinity. Idealista – another property curation site – offers even more, to the tune of 7,500 currently selling properties.
What’s more, reports show that this could be the right time to buy. Despite some dips in activity during the pandemic years, property sales in the Valencia region and southern Spain more generally look back with a vengeance. Experts at Valencia Property report an uptick in overall transactions across the board, but also rising prices to match – they say apartments are costing 25% more over the last two years, and the average price of a house is now at the 340,000 euro ($328,355) mark.
That said, the good news is that there remains plenty of choice and plenty of bargains to be had. Yes, the price tag might be increasing, but you should still be able to score a villa with a pool for WAY less than you would down on Miami Beach and whatnot. That’s especially the case if you don’t mind venturing to more rural parts of the region and away from the popular beaches and the coast.
Is Valencia good for expats? Our conclusion
Is Valencia good for expats? We’d say it most certainly is. This guide outlines just five reasons why, from the wallet-friendly cost of living to the stunning beaches to the tasty food that beckons on the other side. Of course, this really is just the tip of all the awesome reasons why Valencia should up top for expats. There are many, many more. Whether you’re chasing Moorish history sites or want to make a base to travel throughout the rest of Spain, this town really does have you covered.