Valencia, thanks to the America’s Cup and the Formula 1 race has exploded onto the map and is recognised across the world as one of the happiest, sunniest, friendliest cities to relocate to. Moving to Valencia is a big step for anyone, so here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get prepared.
Table of Contents
Before you consider moving to Valencia, we can’t stress the importance of visiting the city first to get a feel for it. There are many great areas to live, so rent a place and spend at least a few days exploring to get a feel for the different areas on your list. The best city centre areas are El Carmen, Ruzafa and Benimaclet. The Cabanyal area near the port is on the rise and is becoming more expensive to buy real-estate (though it’s still a good investment). Outside the city, most expats choose L’Eliana and Lliria which are quiet and have all of the amenities for living. Most of the real estate in these villages is found on urbanizations (residential estates).
Learn a little Spanish
Knowing at least a few words of Spanish before moving to Valencia helps. At least to be able to ask for things in a restaurant, and understand (or at least be able to follow) some of the things you’ll need to do when you start getting settled in. Try Duolinguo if you’re just looking to get started. Many expats also recommend Michel Thomas.
Documents, Visas, Residency permits
If you’re coming from outside the European Union, visit the Spanish embassy in your country to organise your Visas. There are many types of visa; student visa, working visa,golden visa, tourist visa ,etc. Often you will need a proof of self-finance, and of course, a lawyer. Contact us for an application on moving to Valencia.
Food and drink
Valencia has a very mediterranean diet. Lots of fresh vegetables, plenty of olive oil and of course a lot of paellas (which is Valencian in origin). Valencians have a big lunch at 2 pm, and eat their dinner very late at 10 pm. When you arrive, we recommend drinking bottled water as Valencian tap water has high mineral levels which upsets tourists’ stomachs. They also have to use a lot of chlorine and lots of water comes from the desalination plant. It’s better to at least start off drinking bottled water, at least for the first few weeks.
Join expat groups to get to know people quickly
By far the biggest expat meeting group in Valencia in the Internations group. They tend to throw meetings at the end of every month, plus special events for Halloween, Christmas and Fallas. But also join the Valencia expats facebook groups which has thousands of users and is a great place to ask for specific things and people are helpful there. This is a great way of meeting people when moving to Valencia.
Valencia has its own language. Which doesn’t matter too much as Valencians always revert to Castilian (standard) Spanish for foreigners. In the city centre and inland (west) more people speak Castilian. But to the south and north of Valencia there are Valencian speaking villages such as Sueca and Villarreal. English is becoming much better in Spain and around Valencia city centre you’ll mostly have no problems getting by in English.
Packing and preparation
Depending on whether you’re moving your possessions and your home to live in Spain, or whether you are coming to a second home that you might rent out for extra income. If it’s your own house. Pay extra and get full insurance and a reputable moving company, budget for this in your house-hunting and don’t skimp. If you’re moving to Valencia to rent a place, for work, or for Erasmus; go light. Don’t take more than two large suitcases (you can always bring more next time). There’s a new Ikea just to the south of Valencia if you need any extra furnishings for your apartment.
The cost of living in Valencia
Rent on average for a 3 bed flat is around €1000/month. The housing market is growing again and house prices have just recovered to normality. For €150,000 – €200,000 you can get a nice city flat or a larger house on the outskirts. Click here to compare rental apartments in Valencia before moving to Valencia.
Living in Valencia is cheaper than in other big cities in Europe. A meal out for the family in a normal restaurant should be around €60. You won’t pay more than €15 to go anywhere in the city in a taxi. A new Primark has just opened right in the center for cheaper clothing. So what’s the catch? Wages. Valencia has low wages. If you are coming to work for a multinational this isn’t really a worry. But for those looking to come to Valencia to work, the average wage is €1200-€1500/month.
Foreign residents in Spain are obliged to pay income tax on their earnings, known as Impuesto de Renta sobre las Personas Fisicas or IRPF. This like most places is staggered according to earnings, ranging from 19% for under €20,000/year to 45% for top end earnings above €60,000. All of the information you need on taxation can be find on the English site of the Agencia Tributaria (IRS or Inland Revenue for the sake of argument). If your main income is made in Spain you will be considered resident and therefore eligible to pay tax.
A few things to watch out for
Valencia is a nice city with around 1,000,000 inhabitants. But it’s not without its blemishes. Spain, on the whole, is not a violent country, far from it, but it is notorious for theft. In the city centre of Valencia, mostly around Plaza de Ayuntamiento and Plaza de la Reina there are thieves who target foreigners. The most common robberies are swiped from tables on terraces (covered by a map), or handbags being sliced at the bottom.