We often write in these blog posts about how good Valencia is in terms of lifestyle. We show you images of properties and areas that show Valencia “in the whole” and give you a broad overview of what awaits you in the city and around. On our social media channels we show you impressive views, great properties, Valencia Blues, the stunning countryside and news about what is happening in and around the city. We even once posted an epic image based post about 112 Reasons for Moving to Valencia. However today we are going to focus on some of those little things that make Valencia a satisfying place to live. Things that we often overlook but increase the liveability of the city. Take a look at 20 great little (and not so little) things about Valencia.
The Riverbed Park
It seems unusual to say it but a city with a riverbed park as the jewel in its crown might be condemned as having little to offer. Valencia is the answer which gives the lie to that. The riverbed park is probably the happiest accident that ever happened to a city and I say an accident because it was born out of tragedy in the floods of the late 50s. You can read more about it in the linked article.
Life in Valencia goes on around the riverbed which snakes through the city meaning you are never far from it and being able to use it. Whether it’s for exercise, relaxation, sport, firework displays or just the vegetation the riverbed park offers you so much to do and see. And it makes the air of the city so breathable. People who live in Valencia now are so happy that their parents and grandparents chose to make the river into a park in an act of foresight well before its time.
Valenbisi and More
Valenbisi is great as you can pick up a bike anywherre and drop it off anywhere but you have to realise that we also have a similar service for scooters, motorbikes and even cars. In these Covid times you can choose to get around on the excellent public transport or go your own way on these affordable methods, Valenbisi you can get for just 25 Euros per year. And remember as we have said before Valencia is not a huge city so it doesn’t take long to get anywhere.
Destination Carbon Neutral
Valencia has an aim to become the first Carbon Neutral Tourist Destination. The city hopes to become Carbon Neutral by 2025 and is taking steps that move it closer to this goal year on year. All emissions derived from tourism are measured and the city looks into how to reduce this carbon footprint and brings forward measures to get to the goal.
Street Art and Sculptures
Every month more and more street art appears in and around Valencia. This has now got to a level where we even have a village in Castellón, Fanzara, which hosts an annual street art festival. Just by walking around the city though you can find great art works on gable ends of properties, previously blank walls and more. Also there are regular exhibitions of sculptures in places such as the City of Arts and Sciences or in various places around the Old Town.
When you walk around Valencia you look up. Invariably you will find some classical facades especially in areas that were developed in the early years of the 20th Century such as Ensanche and Ruzafa. Equally the modernism of the City of Arts and Sciences area is interesting for architecture students and the fishermen’s houses of the Cabanyal are also an interesting counterpoint. I made this video of some interesting facades 13 years ago. Take a look at what we are talking about.
Outdoor Exercise Classes
The riverbed park is the hub for these activities but you can also find them in the Parque de Cabecera or down on the beaches. Anything from Aerobics to Zumba, passing through Circuit Training, High Intensity Training and Yoga. Walk through the park and invariably you will see any number of individual training and group sessions going on.
Villages in the City
Valencia isn’t huge by any means, see our article here about the size of the city. However it used to be a lot smaller and over the years various areas have been absorbed into the city while maintaining their feelings of being villages. Areas such as Benimaclet, Patraix, Campanar and the aforementioned Cabanyal still boast their own central areas of low rise housing centred around the local churches. In fact every Barrio in Valencia has something to recommend it and they all have their local bars, cafes, restaurants and shops, mostly independent, as the chains stay in the central main shopping streets.
Valencia has had a much more open policy for refugees fleeing wars than many other places. Valencia welcomed the rescue boat Aquarius after it picked up refugees in the Mediterranean and it had been refused docking in various places beforehand in 2018. The town hall also welcomed child refugeees from Ceuta. There’s still work to do on giving ongoing support to the refugees once here but taking them out of immediate danger is the first step at least.
The Drive to Improve Things
The current Valencian government seem to want to improve things in terms of sustainability, diversity, liveability and more. They are trying to make Valencia a desireable place to live wherever you find yourself in the city by connecting up all of the neighbourhoods through bike lanes, metro and bus routes to make sure areas previously isolated on the edge of the city such as Nazaret, Benimamet and Mislata become more a part of the city. Equally, proposed improvements tend to be community led projects where the neighbourhood has a say on what is going to happen or be built.
The love of cafes and bars is one of the enduring things about Valencia and the extension of outside terraces due to the reaction to Covid means there are plenty of places to enjoy your favourite tipples outside in Valencia’s excellent climate. Sunny side of the street in the winter, shady side in the summer. It is in these bars and cafes and even in the restaurants where you socialise with your friends and family, they are your terraces when you don’t have one in your apartment and even if you do, you still use them.
Valencia’s beaches in the city and both to the North and South are excellent but the city beaches are surprisingly clean. Why surprisngly? Well, Valencia also has one of the largest and busiest ports in the Mediterranean. This usually means a bit more pollution and congestion but Valencia’s beaches are clean and well looked after. They also offer lots of activities such as paddle board, volleyball, beach football and most importantly sitting at a Chiringuito beach bar and watching the world go by.
Valencia is a compact city just 8km across and 6km north to south. This means you are never far from anywhere when you are in the city and equally getting out of the city into the surrounding Huerta, (Orchards and fields), means you can connect with nature easily either down at the Mediterranean or inland in the hills and valleys surrounding the city. Of course this means that the facilities are always close by and you have access to the whole Valencia experience wherever you are.
The Valencian people are friendly and welcoming to people from outside and they also support the underdog in many cases, supporting those that are downtrodden and fearful. Spain in general has a greater sense of community than many other places with a higher percentage of people volunteering to help out in charities and willing to protest about injustice and abuse of power. Back in the day the Occupy Wall Street protests spread to Valencia and there are regular marches in support of LGBT rights, Black Lives Matter and more. Younger people especially get involved in this.
The Menu of the Day is an important part of Spanish life and the fact that people love their Menus mean that bars and restaurants compete to be the best. You can find a wide selection of Menus all over the city but many of them rely on the basics in Valencia of Valencian Salad and Paella/Fideua as one of the starters. Always worth a punt on the Ensalada but the Paellas maybe not so much. You can find more adventurous Menus in many of the fusion restaurants and a Menu of the Day is generally accompanied by beer and wine and includes dessert and a coffee to finish too so it’s a very filling experience.
The Maxi Almuerzo
Valencians are not big on breakfasts, oftentimes a coffee or a glass of orange juice is the breakfast. However the Almuerzo, the mid morning snack is pretty stunning especially in the places that specialise in maxi bocadillos or huge long sandwiches like the one below.
Now an Almuerzo is a Valencian speciality and there are even bars that effectively open just for the Almuerzo closing for lunch. You get your drink, your bocadillo, olives and nuts and your coffee to finish off and it may cost you as little as 6 Euros! The huge bocadillos at the Pastoret in Naquera for example are just 6-8 Euros and they are as long as your forearm and hand.
The Bike Lanes
Valencia as a city now has more bike lanes than most other European cities including cities that are much larger. There are also more being built consistently to connect up every part of the city allowing you to ride around off the roads and safely. The bike lanes also connect up the towns surronding the city with the main city and as Valencia is flat, cycling becomes an easy, safe and pleasurable activity.
Bring Your Own Bottle
Valencia is full of fountains so you can quench your thirst but also now Valencia is putting more in, supplying spring water for you to fill your refillable bottles meaning there is less need for plastic water bottles. When the remodelling of the Plaza de la Reina is complete expect to see more available there too.
You can cycle down to the Albufera from Valencia on the bike lanes. Protected and unique this wetland supplies the water for the rice fields that help to make Valencian paella. However, the area is wonderful and the beaches in and around El Saler are also fantastic with the sand dunes protecting the Albufera from the Mediterranean. If you want to escape from a city for some peace and quiet the Albufera is a must.
There are universities, colleges and polytechnics in Valencia and as a result there are some 70,000 students that come into the city each September with plenty of them on the Erasmus scheme from around Europe. This means that there are plenty of events aimed at students, bars and restaurants offering cheap drinks nights and more. Obviously Covid has played a part on putting a brake on much student activity but there are still hotspots of student living and activity such as Blasco Ibañez, Benimaclet, Juan Llorens and more.
The Light and The Blue
Valencia has beautiful light. The paintings of Sorrolla captured that light and have attracted artists ever since. The Valencia blue can be stunning and as we have 300-320 days of sunshine and blue skies there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy both the light and blue skies.
Valencia is changing while maintaining its essence. The make up of the city is changing with more foreigners moving in along with people from other parts of Spain as they come in as students, to work in the start ups around the marina or to try their luck on the Mediterranean as the interior of the country empties a bit more. This diversity means that new restaurants, events, sports and shops open meaning there is a constant change in the look and feel of the city while maintaining what makes Valencia unique. and adding to it. More diversity gives more interesting life experiences and a more open atmosphere.
Would You Add Anything?
And do you agree or disagree? Do you see your future in Valencia and if so, when? So many people now are looking at Valencia as the next destination in their life and possibly their forever destination. Will you be joining them and joining us? Does this idea of Valencia whet your appetite? If so contact us and we will help you with your move to Valencia.
Property of the Week
A spectacular beachside villa in Cullera with amazing views over the bay.
If your dream of living in Spain is waking up to the sun rising over the Mediterranean, look no further.
Located in Cullera town, this is a large property over 3 floors, with 2 terraces from which to enjoy the amazing views. 4 double bedrooms, one en-suite. A large private garage, and if you can’t be bothered to walk the 100 metres to the beach, there is a shared pool immediately beside the house.
Cullera is a big seaside town 40kms to the south of Valencia, on the edge of the Albufera natural park. Unspoilt beaches run to the north and south, and the mountains are a short drive to the west if you do manage to get sick of the beach now and again.
The villa is east and south facing, so you could probably fry an egg on the terrace in July, but that’s the point really. Sun, sea and sand as far as the eye can see from this property.
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