Next up in our series, Allison talks about life in Spain’s third largest city, Valencia, after a year in Almería, Andalucía.
City and Comunidad: Valencia, Valencia
I was a Language Assistant for 2 years in an elementary school in Almeria, but now I teach at private academies in Valencia.
Living situation: I live in a shared 3 bedroom, 1.5 bathroom apartment with a great terrace.
How did you find your flat? My boyfriend and his friend were looking for a new apartment once their year contract was up on their old place, and they stumbled upon a sign outside the building and gave the landlord a call.
Rent: €400 a month split between 3 people.
What do you spend on utilities? We use only one bombona (gas tank) per month, because everyone is good about turning it off when they are done using the hot water. So, that is about €18. Water and electricity come every 2 months and really depend on the time of the year. Water usually hovers between €20-30 and electricity can be anywhere from €18-80, but is usually around €40.
Cell phone company and plan: I have had Orange my whole 3 years in Spain and I use the Delfin plan without the text messages. It has 100MB of internet a week for about €2.40 and calls cost 15 cents to establish and 1 cent per minute; it’s the same for SMS messages I think.
What do you pay for internet? We have Ono that comes with a landline that we share in the apartment. It is about €38 every month.
What do you spend on groceries? I share the grocery bill with my boyfriend so for us it is around 100-125 euros a month. It would be more expensive but we get a pretty steep “friend discount” at our local fruit and veggie stand, which is great since I am a vegetarian.
Do you have any other sources of income? When I was a language assistant I did a lot of private classes for 12 euros an hour. This year I haven’t had time to do any.
Are you able to save any money? It depends on what you want to use your money for. I saved a lot this year so I can travel a bit this summer. Being very careful with everything I bought this year meant I could save around half my monthly pay.
Your favorite tapas bar? I have to answer this one for Almeria! (sorry, Valencia…your tapas will never live up.) My favorite restaurant is La Cabaña del Tio Tom which is right on the beach. Their tapas are massive. I loved to get one called El Probe which has 2 fried peppers, French fries, caramelized onions, ali oli, bacon, a fried egg and bread. That and a caña will only set you back 2.50!
Your favorite coffee hangout in Valencia? Hands down Dulce de Leche in the Ruzafa neighborhood. It has a great terrace, really good desserts and good organic coffees, teas and fresh juice. It is a little pricy, but worth the splurge.
Nightlife: I am not a disco fan. I honestly can’t remember the last time I went to one in Valencia. I know that most here don’t have an entrance fee, and you can get discounted drinks by talking to the promoters in the street. They usually end up being €4-5.
How do you get around? This past year, I worked in a town about 40 minutes away from Valencia. Luckily, it had a metro stop, but it was in a different zone than the city center. I had an all inclusive card for all the public transport in Valencia that cost me €56 a month for zones A and B. It was super convenient because I could use it just to go to the center, or hop-on hop-off the busses whenever I wanted. Now that I am finished with that job I just buy a bonometro and bonobus to use in the city. Both are 10 journeys. The bonometro costs €7,20 and a bonbons costs €8.
What you like about living in Valencia: Valencia is beautiful. I love going on long walks either through the city center or the Turia River bed which is a huge park that runs all throughout the city.
And dislike: I think the only thing I can say that I truly dislike is the fact that the public transport stops at 10:30pm. That is just crazy to me.
How easy is it to travel around Spain and Europe from Valencia? Very easy! Valencia has a nice sized airport that connects you to a lot of other cities in Europe. The bus and train stations have a lot of options, too.
Your guilty pleasure purchase: I would say Dulce de Leche is my guilty pleasure. I try to only go there once a month. Another is getting horchata at Valencia’s oldest horchateria, Santa Carolina. It is delicious.
What to see in Valencia: I think the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias is Valencia’s most touristy spot. All throughout the year you can see groups of people marveling at the futuristic buildings. I like going there because Berklee College of Music has free concerts outside in the summer.
The Cathedral is another fun thing to visit here. You can pay 2 euros to climb up the tower to get some really nice views of the plaza and the old part of the town. Also, apparently the Holy Grail is inside this cathedral.
Something you wish someone had told you before moving to Spain: Spaniards do things on their own time…even the government. Don’t stress! It would have been nice to know before stressing about all the paperwork and everything. Things usually work out in the end, so don’t worry too much about anything.
Interested in participating in COMO’s Cost of Living series? Send an email to email@example.com for the details.