Things to know
One of Europe's Cultural Capitals!
The port city of Valencia lies on Spain’s southeastern coast, where the Turia River meets the Mediterranean Sea.
It’s known for its City of Arts and Sciences, with futuristic structures including a planetarium, an oceanarium and an interactive museum.
Valencia also has several beaches, including some within nearby Albufera Park, a wetlands reserve with a lake and walking trails
Valencia has been called the "City of the 100 bell towers", of which the most outstanding are the Gothic Miguelete Tower (1381–1424), adjoining the cathedral, and the hexagonal Tower of Santa Catalina (1688–1705), a fine example of Valencian Baroque style.
The most important church is the cathedral, La Seo, situated in the ancient city centre. Begun in the 13th century (completed 1482), it represents several styles—its three doorways are respectively Romanesque, Baroque, and Gothic—and it possesses many works of art, including two large religious paintings by Francisco Goya, widely regarded as the most important Spanish artist of the late 18th and early 19th Centuries.
Valencia has many botanical gardens and museums of art and ceramics.
The City of Arts and Sciences is a large complex that features a planetarium, science museum, and arboretum.
Noted for its unique architecture, the complex includes L’Hemisfèric (The Eye of Wisdom), an eye-shaped building designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, and L’Oceanogràfic (Underwater City), Europe’s largest marine centre.
In the city centre you can also find the Silk Exchange - one of Valencia’s most beautiful buildings, a World Heritage Site, with its idyllic Patio de los Naranjos courtyard full of orange trees- and the Modernist Central Market – Europe’s largest fresh produce market, so taking in its stalls is a true experience.
A city of contrasts and cultural experiences.
A place full of contrasts awaits the visitor with a charming old town next to futuristic buildings. This is Valencia, one of Spain’s most welcoming cities to spend a few days.
Beyond the cultural effervescence of its cities, a stroll is always a good idea or bathing at its Mediterranean beaches. Of course, you must try the star dish, paella (true authenticity!) and other delicacies such as clams or tiger nut milk.
Any time is a good time to visit Valencia, although if there is one day that is even more special than the rest, it's 19 March, when they celebrate the famous Fallas Festival, by burning gigantic ‘cardboard sculptures’.
These monuments can take up to a year to create and are usually satirical or humorous in nature. On the eve of St. Joseph’s feast day, all the "fallas" are burned in the streets, except for those voted the best, which are preserved in the city’s Museum of Las Fallas.
Valencia offers over 300 days of sun a year with "Malvarrosa" beach known as one of the most well-known options to capture this.
Once there, the fine golden sand and blue water remind you of the famous paintings in which famed portrait and landscape painter Joaquín Sorolla would depict the city.
Those looking for ‘wilder’ landscapes can visit El Saler, or El Palmar and try its famous paella and end the day taking in the sunset at the Albufera, a navigable lake next to the sea known as the ‘mirror of the sun’, where you can see the best sunsets on the Mediterranean.
The beach is not the city’s only outdoor plan, you can also take a walk along the huge Turia city garden or a family visit to the Bioparc zoo.
When the evening comes, there is nothing better than sitting at a terrace or an innovative restaurant, (perhaps with a Michelin Star), and enjoying the buzzing nightlife atmosphere of El Carmen, or new fashionable areas for foodies such as Ruzafa.
How does Valencia Compare?
The average cost of living in Valencia is €1179, which is close to the world's average cost of living, ranked 4038th out of 9294 in a recent global list and 14th out of 153 in Spain.
The median after-tax salary is approximately €1472, which is enough to cover living expenses for 1.2 months.
Ranked 243rd (TOP 3%) in the list of best places to live in the world and 4th best city to live in Spain.
With an estimated population of 837,000K, Valencia is the 3rd largest city in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona.
In the last few years, Valencia has
gained in popularity and that means the cost of living has increased but it is still possible to live a low-cost life.
The average rent for a medium-sized apartment is €790. It varies a lot depending on the location (closer or further away from the city centre) and the different Valencia neighbourhoods.
The most expensive ones for buying apartments are: L'Eixample with €3,083 per m2, Ciutat Vella with €2,913 per m2 and El Pla del Real with €2,702 per m2.
The most affordable district is: El Forn d'Alcedo with €627 per m2 (according to studies from the Spanish real estate platform Fotocasa.
The average utility expenses for electricity, water and gas are €110 per month for an average-sized apartment. Electricity is relatively expensive if you compare it to other countries.
Most of the apartments in Valencia have ‘gas de ciudad’ or ‘gas natural’ which means they are connected and receive gas through tubes from the gas company.
For some apartments, you need to buy and refill butane gas bottles called ‘bombonas de gas’.
The most common internet providers
are Vodafone, Orange and Movistar/Telefonica. They all offer internet at home for between €15 and €50 per month. Valencia is also great if you need or want fast mobile internet as Spain is ahead of most other countries in Europe in terms of 5G.
Cost of Living
Not everyone is subject to income tax in Spain. If you are a resident for less than 182 days in each calendar year, you do not need to pay tax. Also, if you do not make more than €17,707 per year, receive a rental income of more than €1,000 and/or receive a capital gains and savings income of more than €1,600, you will not need to pay tax.
If you are working in Spain, your employer can deduct your tax from your paycheck. It is also your choice not to have this happen, particularly if you are going to be paying tax in another country.
Most people in Spain do not have their tax deducted from their paychecks, instead choosing to pay their tax bill by June 20th for the previous year. Unless you are a good saver, this is not always the smartest option.
Personal allowances (tax-free thresholds) for Spanish income tax purposes are €5,151, which increases to €6,069 for persons over age 65 and €6,273 for persons over age 75.
Child allowances for Spanish income tax purposes are: €1,836 for the first child, €2,040 for the second child, €3,672 for the third child and €4,182 for additional children. In addition, Spain has a maternity allowance of €2,244 for each child under three years old.
Eligibility to Work in Valencia
Spain is an enticing country to live in. Unsurprisingly, thousands of people apply for jobs in Spain and many make the move each year. Non-EU citizens need a Spanish Work Visa to be able to legally start work.
If you want to live and work in Spain, there are two main branches of authorities that you will be dealing with: the immigration authority under the Secretary of State for Migration (La Secretaría de Estado de Migraciones), and the labour and employment authorities under the Ministry of Labor and Economy (Ministerio de Trabajo y Economía Social).
Fortunately for EU, EEA, or Swiss citizens, moving to Spain is simple, and they can live, work, and study in the country without restriction. However, most non-EU/EEA citizens, also called third-country nationals, need a work permit and must secure an employment contract before they can apply for one.
UK citizens who wish to come to Spain to live and work post-Brexit will also need a residence and work visa.
Work permit exemptions
Some people don’t need to obtain a work permit to work in Spain, however, they may still need a visa to enter the country. These include university professors, technicians, and scientists. Others who benefit from this exemption include those moving to Spain to develop scientific or cultural programs, foreign journalists, artists coming for specific performances, clergy, and trade union officials. If you are joining a family member who has a Spanish work permit, you may not need a visa.
Rules for volunteers
If you are a citizen of a country with short-term, visa-free, entry to Spain, you can enter the country to do volunteer work without a permit. However, you must respect the limits of the visa-free entry agreements that Spain has with your country; for example, 90 days for US citizens.
When you arrive in Spain, to stay long term, you must apply for a resident permit (Tarjeta de Residencia – TIE) and a Foreigner’s Identity Number (Número de Identificación de Extranjero – NIE) through the local Foreigner’s Office (Oficina de Extranjeros) or police within 30 days.
What is a Work Visa?
Workers who are not from EU countries need to obtain a Work Visa to be able to live and work in Spain. Without a Work Visa, a company cannot legally employ non-EU citizens.
There are various types of Work Visas for Spain for different types of jobs and for different lengths of employment. Some of the most common types of work visas are:
Long-term Work Visas
Seasonal Work Visas
Au Pair Visas
EU Blue Card
How to get a Visa to Work in Spain
There are numerous different types of Spanish Work Visas. Most require going to a Spanish embassy or consulate in the individual’s home country although, for some certain types of visas, the prospective employer makes the initial application on the employee’s behalf.
Work as an Employee (Highly-skilled)
To work in Spain as a highly-skilled employee, non-EU citizens need to find a job which is listed as a ‘Shortage Occupation’. This is a job for which there is a lack of suitable candidates within the EU. The employer must then request a Work Visa from the Ministry of Labour.
Work permit applications can take up to 8 months to process so forward planning is needed. Once the Ministry of Labour has approved the application, the embassy or consulate issues the work and residence visa.
Visa for Seasonal Workers
The process of obtaining a Work Visa for Seasonal Workers is similar to the process for highly-skilled workers. Employers need to apply for the visa on the worker’s behalf from the Ministry of Labour.
In addition to this process, seasonal workers need to demonstrate they have suitable accommodation arranged, their travel costs are covered, and that they will return to their country once the job has finished. The visas are valid for the duration of the work contract.
Self-employed and Freelance Workers
To work in Spain as a freelancer, it is necessary to apply for a Work Visa at a Spanish consulate or embassy. The work visas are valid for one year but can be renewed if all the conditions are still met. The required documentation includes:
Proof of sufficient finances to support yourself
Proof of relevant skills and experience
A business plan (if applicable)
Any contracts or commissions from companies
Any required licences or registrations (industry or job-specific)
EU Blue Card
The EU Blue Card is for people who spent at least 3 years completing a higher education qualification which allows them to work as skilled professionals.
People who have a minimum of 5 years of professional experience at a high level are also eligible. The employer submits the application on the behalf of the applicant.
A work contract that includes a salary which is at least 50% more than the average wage in Spain (or at least 20% more if the skills are in demand) is a requirement. Once approved, the worker also needs to apply for a visa from a Spanish embassy or consulate in their home country. Blue cards are valid for one year but can be renewed as long as the conditions are still met.
Visa for Au Pairs in Spain
Au pairs can apply for a special Visa for Au Pairs at a Spanish embassy or consulate in their home country before coming to Spain. Applicants need to meet a few conditions to successfully apply:
Be aged between 17 and 30.
Possess an au pair agreement with a host family which states the salary and conditions.
Provide proof of sufficient finances to self-support.
Possess medical cover.
Visas for Au Pairs are valid for one year but can be extended if the conditions are still met.