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Help choosing a city

Help choosing a city

Old Jan 9th 2015, 1:43 pm
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Default Help choosing a city

Hey everyone. I'm new here and was hoping you could give me some advice, please?

My parents and I think are think of moving into an apartment or villa in a Spanish city with warmish winters, a beach and lots of things to do for both pensioners and a 20 something year old man.

We've narrowed it down to Valencia, Barcelona, Almería and Huelva with Valencia perhaps being the frontrunner at the moment.

We've ruled out Málaga, Cádiz, Alicante etc. for having too many Brits and the islands as we wish live in mainland Spain.

Any advice would be much appreciated, especially from people living in Valencia, Barcelona, Almería or Huelva.

Many thanks!
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Old Jan 9th 2015, 6:04 pm
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Default Re: Help choosing a city

Hi and a warm welcome to the Spanish forum on BE. Myself and Fred James are the moderators for the Spanish forums whilst BEVS moderates Europe. Moderators are there to ensure that the site runs smoothly within the rules of BE. This is so that members gain the information that they are looking for and find their experiences on the forums to be friendly and worthwhile.

Problems and complaints should always be addressed to a moderator who will look into the matter and deal with it efficiently and fairly. Our members who post in the Spain Forums are usually friendly and helpful with a wealth of knowledge about the issues of living in Spain. I hope that you enjoy your time participating in the forums.

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Old Jan 10th 2015, 3:49 am
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Default Re: Help choosing a city

Hi mah88 and welcome

There are so many different factors which may influence your choice of where to stay. Are you all physically able and mobile? Do any or all of you speak Spanish and what quality was it that gave you the impression that Valencia would be more preferable? How warm would you like your "warmish winter" to be?
Can one really have too many Brits?
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Old Jan 10th 2015, 8:40 am
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Default Re: Help choosing a city

Originally Posted by jonboy
Hi mah88 and welcome

There are so many different factors which may influence your choice of where to stay. Are you all physically able and mobile? Do any or all of you speak Spanish and what quality was it that gave you the impression that Valencia would be more preferable? How warm would you like your "warmish winter" to be?
Can one really have too many Brits?
Hi Jon, thanks for the welcome.

In general, we are able and mobile. I speak advanced Spanish and my parents just a couple of odd words.

I think we're leaning towards Valencia as we know it gets decent weather all year round, it's a fairly big city so we know they'll be more to do, say, over Almería and we just found it a very friendly city with a good mix of modern and old when we visited for a week in 2013. Plus I've already got some (Spanish) friends in Valencia.

I think minimum, 17/18*c (16*c at very least) would be good during the day for winters.

Haha! I just think my parents aren't keen on Alicante and Málaga from the bad rep they get as drunken weekend destinations for Brits and we know there's a load living in those cities, whereas we'd prefer to mix with the locals.

What do you think?

Last edited by mah88; Jan 10th 2015 at 9:05 am.
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Old Jan 10th 2015, 8:46 am
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Default Re: Help choosing a city

Originally Posted by mah88
Hey everyone. I'm new here and was hoping you could give me some advice, please?

My parents and I think are think of moving into an apartment or villa in a Spanish city with warmish winters, a beach and lots of things to do for both pensioners and a 20 something year old man.

We've narrowed it down to Valencia, Barcelona, Almería and Huelva with Valencia perhaps being the frontrunner at the moment.

We've ruled out Málaga, Cádiz, Alicante etc. for having too many Brits and the islands as we wish live in mainland Spain.

Any advice would be much appreciated, especially from people living in Valencia, Barcelona, Almería or Huelva.

Many thanks!
Good thread, will be watching this thread with interest, like you I also have an interest in residing in Spain and Hello from Australia.
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Old Jan 10th 2015, 9:03 am
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Default Re: Help choosing a city

I think that Valencia will have much to offer the family with great connections to other cities, within Spain and beyond. As you have already spent a year there then you are in a good position to know if it will meet your requirements.
I think it probably best to find a flat with a good level of insulation so that the winters are more bearable and heating less expensive.

I wonder about your parents and their “couple of odd words”. Hopefully, they will with tuition and some immersion, develop an interest in the language as it would open up the rest of society to them.

I can’t preach much as I speak damn all Spanish!

You will come across the odd brit the worse for drink, if you do point me to the railway station so I can get the train back to Gandia.
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Old Jan 10th 2015, 9:10 am
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Default Re: Help choosing a city

Originally Posted by jonboy
I think that Valencia will have much to offer the family with great connections to other cities, within Spain and beyond. As you have already spent a year there then you are in a good position to know if it will meet your requirements.
I think it probably best to find a flat with a good level of insulation so that the winters are more bearable and heating less expensive.

I wonder about your parents and their “couple of odd words”. Hopefully, they will with tuition and some immersion, develop an interest in the language as it would open up the rest of society to them.

I can’t preach much as I speak damn all Spanish!

You will come across the odd brit the worse for drink, if you do point me to the railway station so I can get the train back to Gandia.
The only hesitation I have about it is I love Andalucía a bit more with their culture (flamenco) and their accent, but we can't find the right city for us there.

Sorry, I meant to say 'we spent a week' there...shows how tired I am!

Yeah, I was going to talk to them about the language. My dad especially can be quite stubborn so it'll be interesting to see if they actually bother to learn some Spanish. I really hope they would!

Hahah of course. I'm surprised you would go out to Valencia for a night out as Gandía seems to be a party city what with Gandía shore haha.
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Old Jan 10th 2015, 9:30 pm
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Default Re: Help choosing a city

Originally Posted by mah88
The only hesitation I have about it is I love Andalucía a bit more with their culture (flamenco) and their accent, but we can't find the right city for us there.

Sorry, I meant to say 'we spent a week' there...shows how tired I am!

Yeah, I was going to talk to them about the language. My dad especially can be quite stubborn so it'll be interesting to see if they actually bother to learn some Spanish. I really hope they would!

Hahah of course. I'm surprised you would go out to Valencia for a night out as Gandía seems to be a party city what with Gandía shore haha.
I live in Huelva province so I will give you some positives and negatives here.
The ratio of 'Brits' is lower and in my experience the types of people here are (on average of course) bit more adventurous because it's not your standard Brits abroad area. Huelva isn't on the coast but there are some nice places that are. Punta Umbria and Mazagon are close to the city of Huelva. Of the two I prefer Punta Umbria and nearby towns. Miles and miles of beaches! A bit windswept at times.
The west side of the country has cooler but much cleaner water as it's the Atlantic. Consequently wonderful aAtlantic seafood. The heat is dryer on this side which means it's easier to keep cool. The rain we have comes down all at once instead of the 'drizzliness' you can get in Barcelona for example. Airports can be the problem here but that's only a problem if you're to-ing and fro-ing a lot. You have to use Seville or Faro in Portugal. Jerez has a few flights. The fact that there are fewer airports keeps the level of development down to comfortable. If you want to be in a british area and don't mind being a little away from the beach there is a healthy population of Brits on the Costa Esuri. Try dropping in on the Ayamonte/costa Esuri subgroup. They seem to be v friendly and supportive. I live inland so I'm not an expert but where I live the expats we do get in the nearest town to me are by and large really nice people because they are 'of a type'. I'll call them 'adventurous' to avoid any negatives against any other group. There is work here Teaching English but precious little else for a young person. But if you're being a carer for your parents that won't worry you. The Hospitals around here seem very good too. You need a bit more Spanish to get by though.
Also you need to consider heating in winter as it can get cold in the houses which are often not built for the cold. But follow the way the Spanish do things and you'll overcome that easily. Took me ages to get those little things right. I always thought English ideas would transplant. They don't ;-) Are your parents flexible in their attitudes? If not you may find yourself better off living in a British enclave. Have lots of fun looking! Spend several weeks or even months before you buy. Or better still, rent.
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Old Jan 10th 2015, 9:34 pm
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Default Re: Help choosing a city

Oh. For cities onh the Atlantic coast also try Jerez and Cadiz. Why does it have to be a coastal city?
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Old Jan 11th 2015, 12:25 am
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Default Re: Help choosing a city

Originally Posted by angiescarr
I live in Huelva province so I will give you some positives and negatives here.
The ratio of 'Brits' is lower and in my experience the types of people here are (on average of course) bit more adventurous because it's not your standard Brits abroad area. Huelva isn't on the coast but there are some nice places that are. Punta Umbria and Mazagon are close to the city of Huelva. Of the two I prefer Punta Umbria and nearby towns. Miles and miles of beaches! A bit windswept at times.
The west side of the country has cooler but much cleaner water as it's the Atlantic. Consequently wonderful aAtlantic seafood. The heat is dryer on this side which means it's easier to keep cool. The rain we have comes down all at once instead of the 'drizzliness' you can get in Barcelona for example. Airports can be the problem here but that's only a problem if you're to-ing and fro-ing a lot. You have to use Seville or Faro in Portugal. Jerez has a few flights. The fact that there are fewer airports keeps the level of development down to comfortable. If you want to be in a british area and don't mind being a little away from the beach there is a healthy population of Brits on the Costa Esuri. Try dropping in on the Ayamonte/costa Esuri subgroup. They seem to be v friendly and supportive. I live inland so I'm not an expert but where I live the expats we do get in the nearest town to me are by and large really nice people because they are 'of a type'. I'll call them 'adventurous' to avoid any negatives against any other group. There is work here Teaching English but precious little else for a young person. But if you're being a carer for your parents that won't worry you. The Hospitals around here seem very good too. You need a bit more Spanish to get by though.
Also you need to consider heating in winter as it can get cold in the houses which are often not built for the cold. But follow the way the Spanish do things and you'll overcome that easily. Took me ages to get those little things right. I always thought English ideas would transplant. They don't ;-) Are your parents flexible in their attitudes? If not you may find yourself better off living in a British enclave. Have lots of fun looking! Spend several weeks or even months before you buy. Or better still, rent.
Thanks for the help!

The thing is, we're quite difficult and picky cos we want to find the perfect place. Ideally, it'd be in or very near to a city with an airport which is by or near to the sea with year round warm temperatures (ruling out the north). We want a city because we've always lived in towns or villages and want to have lots of things to do, but not one with lots of Brits.

I'm hesistant about Huelva because I've heard from a friend's friend who's my age that there's not much to do, added to the fact there isn't an airport.

However, Jerez is good suggestion; it's a city and has an airport and near to the sea. I've been there before for the day but didn't realise it was a city.

My parents are still able bodied so I'm not a carer but as for work, it depends on whether I complete my degree which I'm doing at the moment.

As for them learning Spanish, I've spoken to them and they're up for it but I get the impression they expect me to teach them!

But before all that, we have to decide on a place and then we hope to rent in the area for a bit to see how it is.
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Old Jan 11th 2015, 9:17 pm
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Default Re: Help choosing a city

Originally Posted by mah88
The only hesitation I have about it is I love Andalucía a bit more with their culture (flamenco) and their accent, but we can't find the right city for us there.
There are very few Brits living in the city of Malaga, hardly any at all

They live in province of Malaga but not in the city itself

Malaga is like a Spanish paradise in the middle of the Costa del sol. It is a lovely city
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Old Jan 12th 2015, 12:36 am
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Default Re: Help choosing a city

So we've decided that my career is more important than just finding a place in the sun, but as a compromise, it still has to be somewhere warmish in the winter. With that in mind, we've narrowed it down to the big cities; Valencia, Barcelona, Sevilla and Malaga, probably in that order that as there is more unemployment in Andalucía.
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Old Jan 12th 2015, 5:05 am
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Default Re: Help choosing a city

Originally Posted by mah88
So we've decided that my career is more important than just finding a place in the sun, but as a compromise, it still has to be somewhere warmish in the winter. With that in mind, we've narrowed it down to the big cities; Valencia, Barcelona, Sevilla and Malaga, probably in that order that as there is more unemployment in Andalucía.
Oh! ok you are planning on looking for work, that may have some bearing as to where you are going to stay. I don't do work but then again most of Spain don't either. Hopefully some one on the forum who works in Spain will be along to give you their take on things. Did you mention the "work" word earlier?
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Old Jan 12th 2015, 6:17 am
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Default Re: Help choosing a city

Originally Posted by jonboy
Oh! ok you are planning on looking for work, that may have some bearing as to where you are going to stay. I don't do work but then again most of Spain don't either. Hopefully some one on the forum who works in Spain will be along to give you their take on things. Did you mention the "work" word earlier?
Haha yeah. No I didn't as I wasn't sure if it was gonna be a holiday home or permanent or whether it'd just be a base for me while I find somewhere else to work. My goal is to work in Spain, but we're looking to rent with a view to buy and it'd be more economical to find a place in a city where there's work rather than get separate 2 places.
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Old Jan 12th 2015, 11:51 am
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Default Re: Help choosing a city

Jerez/Cadiz are like ground zero for unemployment. And housing is in general quite expensive (to the local economy) in the province due to several factors (Cadiz city which virtually an island, Gibraltar, Rota US Air Base, very upscale areas like Sotogrande). The airport is a joke (very few flights)

Seville is not on the coast; weather is far more extreme. Cold in winter and VERY hot in summer. I don't think it is good for an old person.

Huelva: nothing to do and very polluted (chemical industry).

Malaga could be OK; but I will go with Valencia. Housing in the city is very cheap; probably the cheapest for its size in Spain. I am not familiar with the job market, but it shouldn't be worse than Andalucia (= ground zero).

Valencia is a bit more cosmopolitan than Malaga and Seville. By any means, Valencia is Spain's 3rd largest city (even it is in another league to Madrid or Barcelona); but definitely ahead of Seville or Malaga.

Something good about Valencia is the location. It has great train connections to both Madrid and Barcelona (like +1h and +2h.) so you could go back and forth in the day (for instance, job interviews), and an airport with many connections (of course Malaga is larger but no Seville). Andalucia is more remote to Europe and the rest of Spain.

Of course Barcelona would be better (specially to find a job), but cost-wise Barcelona to Valencia is another different planet.
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