I'm considering expatriating from the U.S. to either Barcelona or Valencia or Nice, France sometime after a lengthy visit to the Mediterranean in October (but since this is the Spain forum, I'll limit my questions to the Spanish cities).
I'm having a tough time deciding between Barcelona and Valencia. They both have advantages and disadvantages to the point where they come out pretty much equal. I admit to not having yet visited either city, but my choices are straightforward because a warm climate in a big city on the water are prerequisite to anything else. Those criteria put Barcelona and Valencia in flashing lights. (I have visited Nice twice before and liked it but didn't love it.)
Perhaps getting more detail from you all will help:
1. A warm climate is important to me, as I mentioned, but after doing the research, it seems Valencia is only about 4 or 5 degrees Fahrenheit warmer, on average, year-round. Does one city really seem warmer to any of you, on the whole? I know Valencia is drier, but that's not an issue.
2. I love to go to concerts by well known acts - mostly rock, pop and folk. According to Pollstar, where I research upcoming shows, Barcelona has tons of concerts whereas Valencia seems to have very few. Is that true?
3. I know some Spanish and am willing to learn more, in fact a lot more. I really enjoyed learning French, with which I can get by pretty well, and would welcome the opportunity to learn Spanish in depth. I'm thinking it might be futile to learn Spanish (at the expense of Catalan) in Barcelona, as most people speak Catalan. I'd rather not be in an environment where people speak among themselves in a language I don't understand. Do most people speak to each other in Catalan in Barcelona? In Valencia, do most people speak to each other in the Catalan dialect of Valencian, or in Spanish?
4. Being retired and single, and very active and social, I'd like to have access to a wide variety of activities. I've checked out groups in both cities on Meetup, and it seems Barcelona comes out way ahead. Barcelona has social groups devoted to music jams, French conversation, paddleboarding, volleyball, padel, card games, tai chi, meditation, drum circles, writing, politics and philosophy. Valencia, according to Meetup anyway, does not have those.
5. Lastly, to further complicate things, mountains (which I love) are in view and easy reach of Barcelona. I don't think that's true of Valencia. But on the other hand, the cost of living in Valencia is lower.
Thanks for reading and taking the time to help me decide which road to take.