Whatever your reason to want to be moving to Valencia, Spain, it is an exciting plan that equally causes plenty of stress and worry. That is why you are looking for blogs and information online! Well, I won’t claim I know it all, but I am one of those people who took the leap and jumped! We moved to Valencia from the UK at the start of 2018, and we have not regretted it.
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What neighbourhoods are good in Valencia, Spain?
I receive a lot of emails from people who are thinking of moving to Valencia from the US, or the UK, and are full of questions. Many come as a family with children, so there are obviously a lot of concerns to do with schools and family-friendly neighbourhoods in Valencia and its suburbs. After having lived here now for more than 2.5 years, I have a pretty good idea of what would work best for new arrivals, even if you have never been to Valencia before.
List your criteria
The biggest question is usually: which neighbourhoods in Valencia are good to live in? First: Valencia is a very safe city. It is the third largest city of Spain, with about 800.000 inhabitants in the city itself, but you will quickly know your way around and feel right at home. So no neighbourhood is awful, but there are some that are more attractive than others. And of course, it is very personal. If you come from a big house in the suburbs, then you may find it unappealing to move into a shoebox city flat, and likewise, a city dweller may not like the idea of living in an out-of-town village. Think about what your criteria are as a family in terms of living space. Then compare them to the various neighbourhoods to get a better idea of what would be a good match.
Which neighbourhoods in Valencia Spain have good schools?
Another question I get asked all the time: Where should we live to find a good school for our children? You can read more about schools in Valencia on my blog post Choosing schools in Spain. Here are a few things to keep in mind when trying to find a good school and neighbourhood in Valencia:
- You can’t apply for a public or semi-private school if you have no address
- You can of course select a school and try and find a home nearby
- It is common for schools to be full. The ayuntamiento or district council, will then have to find you an alternative school closest to your address
- It is advisable to visit schools in advance to get an idea. Schools are very personal and what suits one expat, doesn’t suit another.
- It is very common to change schools here in Spain, so don’t worry if you change your mind after a year
- It is a good idea to rent an Airbnb for a month on arrival and explore neighbourhoods and schools while you are here
- Official school applications always happen in May, but you can get in throughout the year if there is a place
- Most out-of-town private and semi-private schools have bus transport arranged from the city centre
- Give yourself and your children time to adapt. Read my blog Emigrating with kids? The first year is a write off
Turia park: your 11 km city garden
The 11 km riverbed that was developed in the 1980s as a green park surrounding the city centre, is one of the best features of Valencia. If you base yourself near to it, you’ll always have access to a fantastic outdoor space for your daily exercise, play park visits and picnics with friends. There are cycle paths all along the park, that eventually lead you to the beach. It is lovely, year-round. Different sections with different flowers and trees, cultural buildings, fountains, sports fields and midie15th century bridges. Plus, the wonderful iconic Ciudad de Artes y Ciencias, at the very end, together with the biggest aquarium of Europe: Oceanogràfic. If you are looking to meet other expats quickly, you can find numerous exercise classes by English-speaking teachers on weekdays all through the park.
The list of different neighbourhoods of Valencia, Spain.
Good city centre neighbourhoods in Valencia
Often called the hipster neighbourhood of Valencia, Russafa (or Ruzafa, in the Valencian spelling), is a lively area, just south of the historic centre.
If you want to live amongst pretty old buildings, ancient towers and windy old streets, and hear the cathedral bells, El Carmen is the place to be.
The now pretty much gentrified old fishing village, right on the beach, is characterized by its colourful tiled facades and little bars in side streets.
Arts and Sciences
If you prefer bright, modern and comfortable over characterful and old, you may want to look at the areas around the City of Arts and Sciences.
Which towns and suburbs around Valencia are good for families?
Now this will make the whole search area a lot bigger of course. Many expats choose to live in the suburbs or towns within a 30-minute drive of the city, and many go north because of where schools are located. International and private schools in Valencia are more easily accessible if you live in these areas, although most schools provide bus transport from the city centre as well.
For some a bit too far out, for others the perfect place to live La Eliana, just off the CV35 road to Lliria. It is a nice, quite large, town about 30 minutes drive from Valencia. It does have a metro connection too.
I live in this area and I think it offers the best of both worlds: just 10 mins on the metro to the city centre, but still with a very village-y feel. There are lots of schools dotted around here, ranging from public, to Catholic concertados, to English private schools and everything in between.
This is a quiet residential are, or urbanización, mostly consisting of villas with pools and gardens. There are international schools nearby and it has a metro station.
Perhaps not the ideal location connection-wise (it has no metro station – but it does have a bus), but it is my favourite beach.
This urbanización is about 30 minutes out from Valencia, but located in a very pretty spot, just at the foot of the mountains of La Calderona. The American School of Valencia is located within the urbanización, and it is therefore quite a popular area among expats.
A good bit of advice? Order a large map, stick it on the wall and pin your short list areas on it. Knowing the map will make you feel you know the area, before you have even moved here.