Last year we already wrote about where to live in Valencia, but we felt that this topic needed some more attention.
We international expats who’ve already made Valencia our home, for however long, know full-well why this city really is the land of flowers, of light, and of love; as described by José Padilla in the popular song.
So, if you too have fallen in love with this fabulous city, then you’ll most likely want to know the best locations to live in Valencia as an expat, won’t you? Well, that really depends on the kind of expat you are; there are horses for courses. But have no fear, Valencia has it all, and you’re sure to find somewhere suitable for your needs – so read on, no matter whether you want the low-down on where to settle down, or just the perfect neighbourhood for a digital nomad to keep connected.
Table of Contents
Like most major cities, Valencia being the 3rd largest in Spain, most expats choose to live centrally, although this can change with the weather, especially for digital nomads, who may feel the lure of the beach as the days get longer and warmer. However, by far, the three most popular places for expats to enjoy the Valencia experience are; La Ciutat Vella, popularly called El Carmen, (the historic, old part of the city, whose walls were once connected by its twin entrances – the Torres de Quart and the Torres de Serrano); Ruzafa – the most vibrant; and La Gran Via area, more commonly referred to as Cánovas, which is one of the principle places in the area.
El Carmen has, for many, the most attractive buildings. They have that charming, old world style, which expats find so endearing, perhaps due to their ‘authentic’ vibe. Obviously, its main draw is location, you just can’t get more central. This also means that it has many bars and cafes with good, high-speed wi-fi, making it a winner for more short stay expats and digital nomads. However, centrality comes at a price, and this doesn’t just mean the rent. While El Carmen may be great for going out and seeing the sights, don’t expect to find too many conveniences like supermarkets or parking.
Ruzafa, on the other hand does have supermarkets. Its still currently the darling of the expat scene, both in terms of living, and of working. In fact, there are many businesses here that have been set up by entrepreneurial expats, which actually had a hand in helping to rejuvenate a once neglected area of the city, for more on this read why expats and digital nomads are the ambassadors of progress. It has a very vibrant and eclectic night life, packed full of night clubs, bars, and restaurants offering all manner of national and international cuisine.
Ruzafa has a lot going for it, being only a hop and a skip from the absolute centre. Again, it’s great for digital nomads, with quite a few coworking places around – one of them being right here at Globexs! Getting around from Ruzafa is also pretty easy too; links to the rest of the city on public transport are good. Or why not get some freedom of movement; there are many places to hire Bikes and E-scooters, the friendliest and best service I’ve found being Bikealao, who also have a shop I Grau/Cabañal. The only drawbacks of Ruzafa would be the lack of public parking and the sheer density of people traffic, especially during ‘Fallas’, an amazing festival which turns even walking into some kind of endurance sport.
La Gran Via, or Cánovas is another centrally located neighbourhood with great facilities, bars and restaurants. It’s a bit more upmarket than Ruzafa, and this is reflected in the both the size of the flats available, but also their prices. It has some truly wonderful, traditional architecture and bars such as St. Patrick’s and Portland where you can find expats of the, not just, Anglo-Saxon variety that offer quiz nights, sports events and so on. However, along with Ruzafa, this is the main area for Fallas – so either party on, or book a week’s holiday for the week leading up to the 19th of March,
Life’s a Beach
The neighbourhood known as the Cabañal or Canyamelar, covering the port and marina areas has, in the past couple of years, been growing in popularity, both for more transient types of expats, like digital nomads, but also for those looking for a more permanent base. A few good coworking places, such as Vortex have been operating here now for a while. A lot of properties are still affordable, even now, after the past few years when expat investment in flats around here really started taking off. There are still many traditional, old style flats in the area, but also a few modern developments.
Prices vary according to your needs – perhaps you’d like to buy a dilapidated shell of a building to refurbish and convert into you dream home within walking distance to the Mediterranean. The actual neighbourhood doesn’t have such a vibrant nightlife, but there are some great traditional restaurants to choose from, including one of the oldest, Casa Montaña, established in 1836. Some may be put off by one or two of the streets that have yet to benefit from the ongoing renovation plan for the area, but parking is easier too, and there are supermarkets and schools around, making it a reasonable choice for families.
Worth a look
Other areas which are definitely worth looking into, but not so well-known for most expats are; Monteolivete, which is an area just across a main road from Ruzafa, so close, but not in a party zone, and within walking distance to the world famous Calatrava designed City of Arts and Sciences. There are also plenty of supermarkets and schools, making it family friendly.
Benimaclet is also an interesting area, with quite a few traditional houses and streets still surviving to give it a somewhat village feel. However, because of proximity to both Valencia’s universities, it’s become a firm favourite with international students. However, if you are the kind of entrepreneurial expat that likes a bargain, then you should take a look at Nazaret.
This area is destined to be the next big development, with massive redevelopment plans already underway. It borders the river Turia and Port areas and was rather forgotten about, until now! With all the public and private money being pumped into the area, it didn’t take long for people to realise that buying a property in the area might be a wise investment.
Live in Valencia outside the box
There are also many areas not too far from the city that warrant your attention, especially if you have a family, or just like the idea of a garden and swimming pool! To finish off, here are just a few; Alboraya is nearly part of Valencia, but slightly north – it’s also the home of the local Valencian drink ‘Horchata’, made from tiger nuts and close to Patacona beach.
If gated communities are your thing, then maybe Puzol is for you; it has some rather swanky, up market properties and an international school Caxton college. It’s connected to Valencia by a short train ride.
Other places, a bit nearer, with connection to the city by metro are Rocafort, Campolivar, and Godella. They are all quite close to each other and offer similar facilities of private houses with gardens and swimming pools, and are near a few international schools with good reputations, such as Cambridge House.The metro journey to the city centre would take you about 30 mins – but hey, why not enjoy the splendid Valencian weather and bike in?
Check out our Blue Key series «Unknown but interesting neighbourhoods in Valencia«, for an indepth study about the lesser knows areas in Valencia.