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VALENCIA

11 Valencia life hacks that will make you feel like a local

Valencia is rapidly growing in popularity, and in 2020 it even topped the list as the most desirable city to live in for foreign residents, thanks to its stunning architecture, beaches, laidback lifestyle, and of course famous cuisine. Life here can take some getting used to, however, so here are our top Valencia life hacks to help make things easier.

11 Valencia life hacks that will make you feel like a local
Photo: Andrea Castello / Pixabay

Use the Valenbisi system to get around
Valencia is a great city for cycling, especially along the Turia Gardens that surround the Old Town, but there’s no need to bring your own bicycle when you move here, which can often take up a lot of space in small apartments. Instead, you can use the Valenbisi system, where you’ll have a bike available to you 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. Find out how to sign up for the subscription here

Learn Spanish first and then Valencian
There are two official languages in Valencia – Spanish (Castellano) and Valencian. Valencian is a dialect of Catalan, which is a separate language from Spanish. Because of this, you may be wondering which language you should learn first. We recommend mastering a decent amount of Spanish first, before attempting to learn Valencian. This is because only 1.3 percent of people in Valencia city regularly speak in Valencian, according to a 2019 city hall survey. Locals prioritise the use of Spanish in 76 percent of cases, even though the city has two co-official languages. According to Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE) 35.2 percent of people in the Valencia region speak Valencian as their mother tongue. Unlike in neighbouring Catalonia, children in schools in the region are not taught in the local language, but in Spanish. 

READ ALSO: Do I need to learn Valencian if I live in Spain’s Valencia region?

Don’t buy single transport tickets
Don’t bother buying single tickets for Valencia’s transport system, which includes buses, metro lines and trams. Instead, save money by buying the Bono Transbordo ticket for 10 journeys. For Zone 1, it costs just €7.60. 

Make a plan during Las Fallas
Las Fallas is without a doubt Valencia’s most exciting and craziest festival, and while it’s great fun, it can also cause a lot of disruption to your daily life. Some locals even try to get away during this time. The festival lasts for around 19 days, with the majority of the festivities take place over five days from March 15th to the 19th. From March 1st, thunderous firecrackers called the mascletà are set off every day at 2pm in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, meaning that if you live or work anywhere in the Old Town, you’ll be able to hear it every day. Similarly, if you live anywhere in central Valencia, you’ll end up getting very little sleep for the five main days of the festival, with fireworks and firecrackers being let off at any time of the day or night. The central areas are also very crowded during this time.

The best thing is to make a plan to decide what you’ll do during this time – do you want to leave the city and spend the week somewhere quiet? Do you want to find some accommodation on the city outskirts? Or do you want to become full Valencian, book some time off work and revel in full party mode, even if it means little to no sleep for the week?

Join groups to make friends and stay connected
Like many big cities in Spain, Valencia attracts many foreign residents, digital nomads and travellers. This means that it’s a very transient city with people moving here and moving away very frequently. Because of this, and the fact that many foreign residents work remotely online or as freelancers, making friends and staying connected can be tricky. It’s a great idea to join groups to meet both locals and foreigners, especially if you’re working at home by yourself all day. One of the most popular groups in the city to meet others that also work online is Coffees & Co-Working.

Valencia life hacks. Photo: ebroslu / Pixabay

Make use of the Valencia metro system to explore further
Many people find when they first move to Valencia that they’re walking most of the time and perhaps using the buses or trams to get to the beach, however, the Valencia metro system is very easy to use and will enable you to explore a much wider area, including outer-lying neighbourhoods, as well as nearby towns and villages.

Make time to go to the beach
This may sound obvious because the beach was probably one of the main things that attracted you to Valencia in the first place, but you’ll find that if you don’t take the time, you won’t visit the beach nearly as much as you’d planned to. This is mainly because the beach is just under one hour’s walk from the centre and is quite disconnected from the rest of the city. Playa de las Arenas is the closest beach to the centre, but remember to make use of the whole stretch to get away from the crowds.

Make sure you choose a neighbourhood that suits your lifestyle
Valencia is a compact city and you can generally walk everywhere in the central areas, but it’s still important to choose a neighbourhood to live in that suits you. Perhaps you want to live in hipster Ruzafa or close to the beach in El Cabanyal, or maybe you want to experience the quiet village-like feel in Benimaclet. Read our guide on the best neighbourhoods to live in Valencia to help you decide. 

Rent via an agency rather than privately
If you’re new to the city and don’t yet speak Spanish very well, it’s better to rent an apartment via an agency rather than privately from a landlord. This is because you’ll often find private rental ads that sound too good to be true, and this is because they often are. Rental scams are growing in the city and even though an agency will charge you more, it’s safer and you’re less likely to fall victim to a scam. Many landlords don’t speak English very well either and agencies can often help you navigate the language barriers if you’re not that confident yet. 

Take advantage of the menú del día 
It’s common in Spain for restaurants to serve menus of the day at lunchtimes, offering a choice of starters, mains and sometimes desserts for a set price. While sometimes in some Spanish cities, these menus are not always of great quality, in Valencia you’ll find that the majority of them are and many cost less than €12. As well as the typical Spanish restaurants offering these deals, in Valencia, you’ll find everything from Italian to sushi restaurants offering a menú del día. 

Escape the city in August
Like many cities in Spain, Valencia shuts down for the month of August. It’s very hot and in normal years, the city is crowded with tourists. Most locals escape to the beach or the mountains during this time to keep cool and stay away from the crowds. It’s also impossible to get anything done in August, with many official offices and businesses taking holidays for most of the month. Do like the locals do and find a small coastal town or village to escape to. 

READ ALSO: Living in Spain: Why Valencia is officially the best city in the world for foreign residents

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PADRON

Can I get my padrón online in Spain?

The padrón certificate is a handy multipurpose document you receive when you register with your local town hall in Spain. It can often be frustrating having to apply for it in person, so are you able to apply online instead?

Can I get my padrón online in Spain?

Empadronamiento is a registration process which adds you to the census of your local area. The associated certificate – el padrón – provides you with official proof of your address.  

For your local town hall, or ayuntamiento in Spanish, it serves the purpose of knowing exactly how many people are living in the area, which in turn helps them receive adequate funding for public services.  

But your padrón certificate is very useful for you too, as many official processes in Spain require you to prove your address.

For example, you may need it to get your driving licence or to register as an autónomo (self-employed). 

READ ALSO: 16 things you should know about Spain’s padrón town hall registration. 

Technically, you should apply for your padrón within the first three months of moving to Spain, or if you move home to a different area within Spain.

You may also need to reapply for it if you need it for another official process and it is older than three months.

If you’ve already been living in Spain, you’ll know that getting documents such as your padrón can take longer than you probably hoped for. This can be very frustrating, particularly having to first get a prior appointment (cita previa) from your town hall, as this ends up stringing out the process.

Being able to apply online instead of in person could save you a lot of time and should make the whole process easier, but is it possible?

Can you apply for the padrón online in Spain?

The short answer is yes, it is often possible to apply for your padrón certificate online. However, it may depend on the area you live in.

For example, if you live in Barcelona or Madrid, you are able to apply for your certificate for the first time online or renew it online too.

Those in Barcelona should visit the relevant page of the Ajuntament website here where you can fill out and submit the online form.

Those in Madrid can fill out and apply for the form here, while in Valencia, you can apply via the following link here.

You will simply need to follow all the steps, filling out all your personal details as you go and then submitting it at the end. 

Remember, you will also need to have digital copies of your ID documents such as passport, TIE or other residency cards, the deeds if you own the property where you live or your rental contract if you are renting.

You may need a digital certificate or [email protected] to be able to officially identify yourself during online processes, but this may not be necessary for all town halls, it will depend on what type of system they have set up.

For example, if you live in Granada and have your digital certificate, you can apply online, but if you don’t, then you will need to apply for it in person.

In Madrid, those who don’t have a digital certificate can apply for the padrón via e-mail.

In some other areas, you may be able to apply to renew your certificate online, but if you’re applying for the first time then you will still need to go in person.

As is so often the case with official matters in Spain, there is no standard procedure which applies across the board for getting a padrón online.

You may ask one civil servant who tells you it is possible, then turn round and quiz another funcionario, who completely rules it out. Perhaps you’re better off first Googling “solicitar padrón a través de internet” (apply for padron online), plus the name of your town to see if it is an option.

‘Spain is different’, Spaniards often say in English when being critical about their country. When it comes to applying for a padrón online, Spain and its 8,131 town halls most certainly are different.

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