Moving to a new city is always something of a blur. In an instant, the flight is behind you, you’ve been dropped off in the city centre and the locals are buzzing around you speaking a language you don’t understand. You’ll meet people, quickly make friends and start discovering a world you never knew existed and it’ll be perfect - until reality sets back in.
Don’t get me wrong, spending a year (or longer) abroad is a superb thing, but there are a few areas where the gloss doesn’t have quite the same sheen. Do you know if there is a compulsory health insurance policy in Spain? How do you go about finding student-friendly accommodation in Valencia?
Once the practicalities are over, you can get back to enjoying your time living in one of Europe’s most exciting cities - and we’re here to make sure the practicalities are just small bumps, not mountainous roadblocks. We’ve created this moving to Valencia guide so that things like the cost of living and public transport in Valencia aren’t unknowns, and so that you know the best places to go and things to see before stepping off the plane.
All of this and more in our free guide to Valencia. The whole team at Housing Anywhere is wishing you luck - have a great time!
Everyone knows that Spain gets an unfair percentage of Europe’s sunshine, but Valencia gets around 320 days per year of sun! In Rotterdam you’re lucky to get 320 minutes! It is a city of oranges, paella, warmth and beaches. In a way that sets it apart from the other Spanish giants Madrid and Barcelona, Valencia has an air of being unassuming and suburban, despite being the 3rd-largest city in the country.
With high speed trains, modern architecture and a prestigious technical university, there’s no doubt that Valencia is as up-to-date as any other major city. But still, it feels warm, traditional and personal, not distant and technology-mad.
Surrounded by both sun-struck beaches and tall mountains, Valencia is a paradise for all who love the outdoors. Believe it or not, you’ll even get used to the weather and start being able to study when it’s nice outside. It sounds unlikely, but you’ll manage to progress your degree, your tan and your life experience by spending anywhere from a few months to a few years in the gorgeous city of Valencia.
In Valencia, there are two main languages that are primarily spoken. Spanish is used predominantly, spoken by about 99% of the residents of Valencia. However, the local language is called Valencian, which is a distinct dialect that is readily spoken by many residents of the area, specifically in more rural regions steeped in tradition and by older generations of Valencia. Most street and government signs are written in both languages. You will also find that many inhabitants speak English as well.
Valencia is home to some of the most predictable weather patterns in the world, though it may be a little hot for those coming from further north. The average annual temperature is 23oC, and ranges from around 28-34oC in the daytime over summer.
Winters are pretty mild, and never get very close to freezing - the average is about 16oC during the day and 8oC overnight. It is blessed with 320 days (roughly) per year of sunshine, so if you’re a fan of colder climates, it might not be the city for you. As far as everyone else is concerned, it’s a paradise. Even better, the cost of eating and drinking out in Valencia is super cheap, so you can make the most of the great weather all year round, even on a student budget.
There are plenty of national holidays every year in Spain, as well as a few which are region-specific, like the Valencian Community Day which is, you guessed it, unique to Valencia. A handful of the most important days of the year are highlighted below.
January 6th - Epiphany (known colloquially as "Three Wise Men Day") is one of the most family-oriented and enjoyable days of the year. Parades take place throughout the major cities, celebrating the Three Wise Men who, much to the excitement of adults and children alike, leave presents in everyone’s homes! The next day, families will eat a Tortell de Reis, a tasty marzipan-stuffed pastry dessert, with two surprises inside: a dried bean and a sculpted figurine of a Wise Man.
Whoever draws the Wise Man gets to wear a paper crown (the winner!) but if you draw the dried bean, you pay for the Tortell!
March 19th - St. Joseph's Day is all about celebrating and remembering our fathers. Also known as Father's Day, it honors their role in all of our lives and is a public holiday in Valencia!
October 9th - Valencia Regional Day Celebrated annually on 9 October, the people of Valencia celebrate their liberation from Moorish rule way back in 1238. It is a public holiday throughout Valencia, and is the cause of some celebration!
Valencia has two official, warring languages: Valencian (a Catalan dialect) and traditional Spanish.
It is also the home of paella. You’ll eat a lot of it, and once you leave, paella may never taste the same anywhere else!
Despite being the capital of the Republic during the civil war, Franco turned Valencia into an agricultural powerhouse once it was ended.
Though the average temperature in summer is around 32oC, it has reached 42oC in the past - it can be absolutely scorching.
The Albufera Natural Park in Valencia is home to the largest park in Spain, as well as a huge array of biodiversity and rare wildlife.
If you walk the streets of the Barrio del Carmen, you’ll be walking through the 13th-15th century, where much of the architecture is unchanged.