Spain's Valencia named best city in the world for foreign residents

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Spain's Valencia named best city in the world for foreign residents
Valencia named best city in the world for foreign expats. Photo: Jonny James / Unsplash

Valencia has been voted the world's best city to live in if you're a foreign resident, ranking top for its quality of life, leisure opportunities and ease of settling in, a new survey by Internations has found. 


If you’re planning on moving to the city of paella, futuristic architecture and crazy fire festivals, or you're already a resident there, you’ll be pleased to discover that Valencia has been voted number one out of 50 cities worldwide as the best city for "expats" to live in.


Spain’s third-largest city beat the likes of Dubai, Mexico City, Lisbon, Bangkok, Basel, Melbourne, Abu Dhabi and Singapore, which all made up the top 10 spots in the survey by Internations, one of the biggest foreign resident communities with over 4.5 million members. 

The best and worst cities for "expats" in 2022 according to Internations' survey.

Madrid and Barcelona were also listed in the top 20 cities, with Madrid coming in at number five and Barcelona just missing out on the top 10 at number 14.

All of the Spanish cities on the list did very when it came to quality of life, culture and leisure, as well as cost of living and ease of settling in, but ranked poorly when it came to bureaucratic matters and work.

READ ALSO - Moving to Valencia: A guide to the best neighbourhoods to live in

Valencia was voted top for its liveability, friendliness and affordability and also ranked number one in the "Quality of Life" index.

Foreign residents in Valencia loved the city’s travel infrastructure – 85 percent describe public transportation as affordable, compared with 70 percent globally. Valencia was also voted for the number of opportunities for recreational sports (92 percent happy vs. 75 percent globally). 

READ ALSO: How much does it really cost to live in Spain’s Valencia?

The city ranked highly for health and well-being as well due to affordable healthcare (coming in 2nd) and easy access to medical services. Furthermore, 92 percent of its foreign residents said that they feel safe there, compared with 81 percent globally.

valencia best city expats Foreign residents in Valencia appreciate the city's travel infrastructure, healthcare offering, safety and cost of housing. Photo: Jonny James/Unsplash

Valencia also scored well on affordable housing, coming in at number three, but received mixed results when it came to local bureaucracy.

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

By far the worst part about living in Valencia according to its foreign residents is the work situation. It ranked in at last place when it came to career prospects and 50 percent of foreign residents also rated the local job market badly, compared with only 27 percent globally.

READ ALSO: The downsides of moving to Spain for work

Overall, only 56 percent said they are happy with their job, which is below the global average at 64 percent. Although, it should be noted that only 8 percent of respondents said that they moved to Valencia for work-related reasons, compared to 36 percent globally.

The most popular reasons for moving to Valencia were a better quality of life and the plan to retire abroad.


As for Madrid, which came in at number five on the list and also scored highly for quality of life, foreign residents particularly loved the climate and weather (88 percent were happy with it vs. 62 percent globally). It also ranked well due to its travel opportunities (95 percent vs. 82 percent globally) and leisure activities, as well as culture and nightlife (90 percent happy vs. 67 percent globally).

The Spanish capital also did well when it came to cost of living and affordable housing, but again fell down when it came to bureaucracy and jobs. Around 22 percent said that moving to the city has not improved their career prospects.

Internations' ranking of Spain's three most highly rated cities: Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia.

Barcelona on the other hand ranked number 1 in the world for leisure, which included dining options, culture and nightlife (93 percent happy vs. 67 percent globally), but ranked below its neighbours when it came to safety and security, ease of settling in and finance. Despite this, 54 percent rated the cost of living positively, compared to 45 percent globally.

Barcelona also got fewer results for Local Friendliness coming in 22nd place out of 50.

Work and employment, however, was the biggest issue for foreign residents in Barcelona, similar to Valencia and Madrid. 30 percent believe that moving to Barcelona has not improved their career prospects (vs. 18 percent globally), and 22 percent feel that they're not being paid enough. 

Last year, the Andalusian city of Málaga was voted the second-best city for foreign residents in the world by Internations members, but surprisingly isn’t even on the list this year. It scored highly for cost of living, making friends and socialising. 


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