‘It can be challenging’: Expats on ‘biggest adjustments’ to ex-pat life in Valencia, Spain

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Expat couple Vicky and Josh love the country and planned their move to Spain meticulously, now documenting ex-pat life their on their Youtube channel, A Couple of Nomads. They impressed the many wonderful things about living in the country.

The couple moved to Valencia, Spain, an area they have dubbed “the best place in Spain.”

Valencia was ranked the number one destination in the world for ex-pats recently in The Expat City Ranking 2020.

Vicky and Josh said: “There are many great things about living in Spain, lots of history, beautiful Mediterranean beaches, and great food.

“There’s our favorite word here in Valencia, ‘tranquilo’, which loosely translates to just relax, don’t worry about it, there’s no rush, which is completely different to our previous way of life.

“Spain also has a fabulous terraza culture, where we can sit outside with good friends year-round, sipping on local wine and enjoying some delicious tapas with good conversation.

“So overall, there is a great quality of life.”

However, the couple did detail some challenges they faced when adjusting to the country.

“Overall it has not been too difficult to adjust,” they said.

“Life here has many of the conveniences that we enjoy back home.

“We would say the biggest adjustments were eating hours and business hours being very different from where we come from.

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Business hours in Spain are quite different from many Western countries.

Traditionally the working day in the country is split into two halves.

The first of these begins at 9am and ends at 2pm. Working hours then start again at 5pm until 8pm

In the middle is the famous Spanish “siesta”, a long break in the middle of the day.

During this time many businesses may be closed.


Across the country these hours may vary a little, so it depends on your exact location.

Mealtimes in Spain differ from elsewhere, too. Breakfast is usually between 7am and 9am, and is often small.

Then a snack or “almuerzo” is common between 10:30am to 12pm, often a sandwich.

Lunch is typically eaten between 2pm and 4pm, and is generally quite a large meal.

The late afternoon snack, known as merienda, bridges the gap between lunch and dinner, which is eaten after 8:30pm.

The couple said getting used to business hours has meant rethinking their attitude to shopping.

“We are so accustomed to many stores being open all day or sometimes 24 hours a day, both of these are very hard to find here.

“Also, Sundays are a real-time to relax and spend time with family here, so it can be challenging to find many things open.”

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