One of the great things about moving to Valencia is the opportunity to integrate with a truly amazing culture and experience the city through a local’s eyes. From learning to navigate life at a slower pace to indulging in traditional cuisine, there are many ways that you can enjoy Valencia like a local.
This one may seem obvious, but it’s important to grasp the language so you can truly integrate. There are two official languages spoken in Valencia: Castellano and Valenciana. The former refers to the Spanish language as a whole and will be the primary language you encounter in Valencia and the rest of Spain.
The Spanish lifestyle is famously slow-paced, especially compared to other countries across Europe, like the UK. Valencia is no exception to this rule. If you want to live in Valencia like a local, take some extra time to relish in a long lunch (in fact, many local businesses close for a few hours around lunchtime) and enjoy as many leisurely strolls as your heart desires.
The bottom line is, take some time to live more thoughtfully and appreciate life instead of rushing through it.
Enjoy a Traditional Paella
When it comes to paella, Valencia offers the very best. It did originate here, after all! However, if you want to live like a local, avoid the overpriced tourist traps where the meaning of a ‘traditional’ paella is lost. A rule of thumb is to avoid those places with the pictures of paella on the menu (you know the ones). Also, to ensure you’re getting an authentic paella, we suggest avoiding the ‘ready to go’ varieties, and instead ordering one served in the pan.
A traditional paella predominantly includes chicken and rabbit and isn’t ‘wet’. Trust us: when you try the traditional version of this delicious dish, you never go back!
Shop at the Local Market
While there is no shortage of supermarkets in Valencia, locals prefer to shop for fresh produce at the local markets. We highly recommend this to feel like a local and because we consider this a more healthy and cost-effective option.
There are many fresh food markets throughout the city, so you can be sure you’ll have one nearby your home – wherever you choose to live. Nevertheless, we suggest shopping for fresh produce at Mercado Central (one of the oldest markets in Europe) from time to time. You won’t be disappointed!
Indulge in a Siesta
Similar to the topic of slowing down – Valencians typically love a siesta. We know that a daytime nap is a foreign concept for many people (literally), but we’d never go back to avoiding this refreshing addition to the day.
In Spain, everything runs a little later, as we’ll explore in the next section. Therefore, not only is a siesta enjoyable but perhaps a necessary part of experiencing Valencia like a local. You don’t want to be drifting off at dinner!
Of course, not everyone in Valencia treats themselves to a regular siesta all-year-around, but we definitely recommend indulging in a few during the summer months (especially on the weekends).
Do Things a Little Later
As mentioned, things in Valencia run a little later than you may be used to, coming from a non-Spanish background. A perfect example of this is meal times. For example, you can find many Valencians beginning their lunch breaks at 3 pm, and don’t even think of arriving for dinner before 9 pm – because even then, you’ll be early.
Personally, we believe that getting accustomed to ‘Spanish time’ is a pretty easy part of settling in Valencia, even though it may be a shock at first.
The siesta definitely helps.
Don't Miss the Fiestas
The annual fiestas are arguably the most exciting part of Valencian culture. Among the most famous is Las Fallas, which takes place in March (during non-COVID times). Las Fallas includes a variety of events, with the peak over five days and nights. Essentially, it’s a week-long street-party, executed spectacularly. Moreover and particularly impressive, the events’ massive scale and spectacularism don’t hinder the community feel.
We're Here to Help
At Relocation Services Valencia, our services extend beyond the initial moving period. We remain on-hand to help you settle into your new Valencian life and offer personalised guidance to ensure that you’re integrating successfully.
If you’re interested in finding out more, do not hesitate to contact us today.
We can’t wait to hear from you.