If you’re looking for a second home in Spain, Valencia isn’t the most obvious place to go for, but that can be a massive advantage. Far from the concrete and clubs of the go-to expat hotspots such as nearby Benidorm, Valencia offers the buzz of city life, incredible historic sights, and the chance to immerse yourself in another culture, along with sun, sea and sand.
Valencia enjoys a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot summers, making it very attractive for those moving from northern climes. Valencia and the surrounding area have something to offer everyone, whether you’d prefer to live in the city centre, at the beach or in your own rural retreat.
Those who want to make the most of the city’s shopping, arts and nightlife, or soak up the incredible charm of the historic Ciutat Vella (old city), will probably find themselves looking for a second home in the heart of Valencia. The up-and-coming historic neighbourhood of El Carmen is particularly popular with those who don’t mind living in older buildings with plenty of charm but little in the way of soundproofing. Elsewhere, busy streets and traffic can be a problem, but many flats have quiet courtyard-facing bedrooms. The city centre is small and diverse, so make sure to explore the neighbourhood thoroughly first to make sure it’s right for you.
Multicultural, bohemian Ruzafa is the place to be in central Valencia, and home to many expats from all corners of the globe. This lively area has plenty of nightlife, but also maintains its own brand of charm and a village-like atmosphere. You won’t find many modern apartments here, but if you want a cool city-centre escape with an endless choice of chic cafes and retro boutiques on your doorstep, this is the neighbourhood for you.
Located just south of Ruzafa, towards the City of Arts and Sciences, this is a quieter, more residential neighbourhood with much lower prices than Ruzafa but still within walking distance of the centre of the city. There are bargains to be had, and some more modern accommodation, but there are no tram or metro lines nearby, so this area is more suitable for people who have a car.
Valencia is lucky enough to have a long stretch of wide, sandy beach just a short drive from the city centre. If you’re dreaming of sand and sea on your doorstep, check out the areas of El Cabanyal and Patacona, both popular spots for expats.
Another area favoured by foreign buyers is Port Saplaya, famous for its marina, often referred to as Valencia’s ‘Little Venice’ thanks to the water channels running between pretty apartment blocks, just a stone’s throw from the sea. Port Saplaya is officially part the village of Alboraya, just north of Valencia.
With its pretty squares and well-maintained gardens, this small town in the north of Valencia has a charming atmosphere. It also boasts a metro connection, beautiful villas and international schools, making it a hotspot for the city’s wealthier international residents.
If you’re dreaming of a country retreat, look outside the city to the surrounding Valenciana region, which has everything from mountains and lush market gardens to coastal towns and orange groves. Whichever part of the Valencian countryside you choose, you can find an abundance of rural properties with land, or villas with private pools. Properties in and around towns such as Gandia, Oliva, Denia and Xabia are popular with expats looking for a slower pace of life in rural Spain.