We've just come back from a week's visit to Valencia, looking for a place to live for a few years. We've identified five areas that we like, and need your help to decide where to live! Each area has plus and minus points, both from a housing point of view, location and how well it would suit the dog.
This last one is an important consideration for us, and has occupied at least 50% of the time we've spent thinking about where to live.
Benimaclet used to be a separate town that was swallowed by the city many years ago, but still has its own identity. A lot of signs here are in Valencian, the local language which has a lot of similarities to Catalan (although the locals would snarl at you if you say that) and it has a nice community feel, even its own website!
It's home to a lot of students who attend the university a short walk to the east. It's well connected by metro and bus, but parking might be a bit of an issue if we decided to buy a car. It's a twenty minute walk into the city from here, so we wouldn't necessarily need one.
The kind of place we'd like to rent here is a 4 bedroom house for €950 a month like this rather beautiful example. There are some nice quiet streets near to the town square and church.
From Stanley's point of view this is okay - he'd get a small yard or garden to lounge in, most of his walks would be in the city but it's not too far to the Turia Gardens for a long off-lead walk.
Slightly further out from the city than Benimaclet, Alboraya feels much more like a town in its own right with a population of about 25,000. It's separated from the city by a large swathe of low-intensity farm land, criss-crossed by running and bicycle paths.
We visited during one of the town's many fiestas, where they carried a shrine of the Virgin Mary through the town in what seemed to be a mock funeral, complete with a dozen mourning ladies in black.
We would get more for our money out here with a 3 bedroom house with a small garden going for €800 to €1000 a month (like this example), but we'd probably need a car to get about. There are two metro stations serving the town, but most evenings the metro stops by 11pm so if we went into the city for the evening we'd need to drive home. It's probably an hour's walk into the city from here, or a fifteen minute bike ride. It's still in the central metro zone.
Stanley would be pretty happy here: he'd have a nice garden, some larger paved areas for walks and a big chunk of farmland to walk around off-lead. The only thing really lacking is water for him to splash about in.
Flanked on the east side by the beach and busy port, this part of the city is fascinating but not without its problems. In the 1990s the city government started a plan to extend one of the largest avenues down to the coast, through the middle of this neighbourhood. The residents naturally fought back, and the struggle continues to this day. What it means practically is that a lot of the housing in this area is rather run down, because landlords don't want to spend money renovating houses that may be demolished. Consequently there are a lot of poorer families living here, but also a lot of hipster types who take advantage of the cheap rentals on offer. There's a metro station or a walk of 20 minutes into the city.
We could get a lot for our money here too, with a 3 bedroom house in one of the nicer streets going for €850 per month (like this example). We wouldn't need a car day-to-day, but there's loads of parking on the streets so it might be worthwhile.
This isn't ideal from Stanley's point of view: there's quite of bit of rubbish in the street and some broken glass here and there. Most of his walks would be in the streets, or up and down the boardwalk at the beach - dogs aren't allowed on this beach.
Located twenty minutes out on the metro, Godella is definitely its own town. If we lived here we'd spend most of the time in the town, and only visit Valencia city from time to time. It's in zone B of the metro which makes it a little more expensive to get into the city. It's the most upmarket of the areas we like with some stunningly beautiful houses and villas which cost a little more - say €900 a month for a four bedroom house and garden with a swimming pool, like this example.
We'd definitely need a car to get around. It also has the novelty of not being completely flat, although these aren't hills by Cornish standards. There are a higher number of expats out here, and I don't think we'd have problems making friends but we'd definitely feel like we were out of the city.
Stanley would be pretty happy here: he'd have a good sized garden and some parks to play in close by. Still not a lot of water though.
The odd one out among our choices, this isn't one neighbourhood but a long sweeping arc, following a park through the centre of the city.
The Turia river used to flow through the middle of the city, and was famous for flooding. After a particularly bad flood in the 1950s the city government diverted the river to the south and turned the riverbed into one of the most beautiful parks I've ever visited. In fact its one of our main reasons for moving to Valencia.
Renting a house in this part of the city is out of the question; there aren't any. Our preferred option would be to rent a top-floor apartment with a roof terrace, which are a bit more expensive than houses we've looked at in other areas, typically going for €900 per month for a 4-bedroom apartment, like this example. We wouldn't need a car day-to-day because we're right in the middle of the city, so we'd have to rent one if we wanted to travel.
I don't know what Stanley would make of this: the roof garden might freak him out a bit, but he'd absolutely love the Turia Park. It's the only one of the options that allows him to mess about in water regularly, which is very important to him.
Here's a table summarising all of this:
|Area||Location||Housing quality||Housing cost
(more stars = cheaper)
Which area do you prefer?
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