The city is also well suited to expatriates, as its location in the west of the Mediterranean has to lead to an influx of differing nationalities and cultures over the centuries.
Valencia is one of the most popular cities for visitors in the whole of Spain because it has a great blend of ancient sights and modern attractions. While some may say it lives in the shadow of Barcelona and Madrid, Valencia has made many great contributions to Spanish culture and is the city that gave us the country's national dish, paella.
Expats considering a move to the city cannot fail to be impressed by its many stunning historical sights. These include Valencia's 12th century cathedral, the Torres de Serrano gateway, and the Llotja de la Seda (Silk Exchange), which is now an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Modern attractions include the City of Arts and Sciences complex as well as the ten acre Biopark Zoo.
Valencia is also known the world over for its festivals, with Las Fallas being the biggest. Held each March, it celebrates St Joseph and features live music, parades in traditional dress, and firework displays.
Expats with children will naturally want to know what the city's schools are like. As with the rest of Spain, options differ between public, private, and semi-private schools. Some of these are catholic and will only accept children from families who have evident faith, while others are secular.
State schools have had to endure cutbacks in recent years, but standards of education remain high and parents are not required to pay any fees. However, they are required to contribute towards the costs of books and stationery. Semi-private schools are typically ex-private institutions that now receive some form of governmental support. They will usually have fees, but these will be much smaller than those levied by private schools.
Private, international schools in Valencia include:
In terms of higher education, Valencia has a number of colleges and two universities — the Polytechnic University of Valencia and the University of Valencia, which traces its history back to 1499.
Getting around Valencia is relatively simple as the same organization, the Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat Valenciana (FGV), operates the bus, metro, and tram services. The Estacio del Nord is the city's main train station with regular connections to Barcelona, Madrid, Zaragoza, and Santander as well as the French cities of Marseille and Paris. Valencia airport is around five miles to the west of the city.