How to get the most from your Erasmus experience in Valencia

    How to get the most from your Erasmus experience in Valencia

    9/18/23 12:40 PM

    Any way you slice it, doing an Erasmus is a spectacular life experience. It's obvious that your priority is - or should be - to study and make your resume stand out.

    But, doing an Erasmus or studying at a university far from home is not unforgettable just for academic reasons. What really makes being in a city special is... living it up while you’re there!

    And Valencia is a great place to do that, because, in addition to having prestigious universities, it's a city that can be enjoyed to the fullest... if you know how.

    Below, we tell you what you can do to make your Erasmus or university year in Valencia the experience of a lifetime, and not just another unceremonious rite of passage.

    Let's go.

    Erasmus in Valencia: what you need to know

    Studying in Valencia is really convenient, no matter your nationality.

    Because of the great accommodations, because it's affordable, because of the great educational options, its climate and lifestyle. And speaking of lifestyle, here are some tips on what to do to make your day-to-day as a student in Valencia easier and more fun.

    Embrace the customs of Valencia

    You came here to play, right?

    Well, adopt local customs and be a Valencian, starting with the schedules: we eat at 2 p.m. - some even at 3 p.m.! - and we have dinner between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m.

    Breakfast depends on everybody's own schedules, but it's normally between 7 and 8 a.m.

    You may have heard of esmorzaret, but if you're still unfamiliar with it, it's a very Valencian custom that you definitely have to include in your list of things to do in Valencia while on Erasmus.

    It's a late breakfast - between 10 and 11 a.m. - in which people eat all types of gourmet sandwiches, served with olives, pickled foods and local peanuts in their shell.

    Just one tip: don't have breakfast that day

    esmorzaret valencia

    The thing is, Valencians take their gastronomy very seriously, almost like a religion; we have delicious recipes based on the Mediterranean diet that will have you licking your fingers. If you're visiting a restaurant, opt for one that uses local products, of which there are many.

    And to eat at home, shop at neighborhood stores or at municipal markets, which have fresh, local products at good prices.

    Other typical customs include greeting each other with two pecks on the cheek, having a drink in the street at the end of the day while catching up on things, inviting family or friends to your house to eat on Sunday, enjoying a good rice... And many others, as you will find out.

    Use public transportation or a bike

    Valencia is flat and has a layout and size that will let you get almost anywhere in the city in no time.

    How to get around Valencia

    You can take an EMT bus, which has lines all over the city. They're red and the stops show the estimated time of arrival. You can also get this info on its app. Download it, it works great.

    We also have a metro and a tram. By combining the two, you can go everywhere and they run most of the day, from 4 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

    If you prefer doing your own thing, there are plenty of private rental bikes around town that work great.

    And last but not least, you can get around by bike.

    Take advantage of the 9 kilometers of bike lanes, the good weather almost all year round and the city's flat layout. You can use the public rental service, called Valenbisi, or rent a bike from one of the many bike rental companies that operate in Valencia.

    valenbisi valencia

    And don't rule out walking, which is often a perfectly good option for getting around and getting to know the city. And that's just what we're going to talk about next.

    Fall in love with every facet of Valencia

    If you're going to be on Erasmus in Valencia for a year, take the opportunity to soak up the wealth of a city that has more than 2,000 years of history, which is saying a lot.

    Starting with the rich heritage of the city, like the Cathedral of Valencia, which guards the Holy Grail and from whose tower - El Miguelete - you can see the entire city, or the Silk Exchange, which is a World Heritage Site, the modernist Central Market, the Serranos Towers and a long list of monuments in Valencia that have flourished over its two millennia of history.

    In addition to its monuments, be sure to venture into its lesser-known side, the one that requires more than a short visit to explore, and since you have an entire year to do it, don't miss this chance!

    Where to begin?

    Virgen square valencia

    Every neighborhood has its own charms that make it worth visiting. Here are the main areas of Valencia, so you can start planning:

    • The Historic Center: it's the oldest, and the one with the most eventful history. In addition to monuments, there are thousands of charming little bars.
    • La Alameda, City of Arts and Sciences and the Oceanographic: the most avant-garde neighborhood with the most illustrious gardens.
    • Ensanche and Ruzafa: the areas with the most flavor, perfect for wandering the streets and immersing yourself in the best cuisine and shopping.
    • Marina, Beaches and the Cabañal District: by the sea, to go to the beach, stroll or eat in style.
    • Bioparc and Parque de Cabecera: a mega park where you can spend a quiet day with friends and visit a small slice of Africa.

    A good way to start is with a guided tour, to soak up the history and personality of Valencia. And then you can re-visit those places that caught your eye on that initial tour.

    Bike guided tours valencia

    And yes, there is also a tour bus, which offers a comfortable way to see Valencia's landmarks.

    Once you get to know the city, you will realize that culture is part of its way of life: well-kept museums for everyone, exhibits, theaters... If you're the restless type, the cultural agenda is non-stop. Be sure to check it out every week.

    And 2023 is also the Year of Sorolla, which celebrates the centenary of his death with exhibitions and special events. Blessed coincidence, don't you think?

    Green everywhere

    You'll notice how green Valencia is as soon as you arrive, because, to begin with, the city is split in two from east to west by a large landscaped area: the left and right banks of the Turia River.

    But there is no water, far from it.

    Instead, there is a gigantic garden known as the Jardín del Turia, which is a veritable oasis in the middle of the city, with 9 kilometers of green areas for people to walk on, and that used to be the old riverbed.

    But there are other parks and gardens in Valencia, some larger like Parque Central, Cabecera and Turia, and other, more secluded parks to explore, such as the Jardines del Real or the Jardín de Monforte.

    And very close to the city is the jewel in the crown, the Albufera Natural Park, with its obligatory boat ride to enjoy its diverse flora and fauna, and equally mandatory paella on the shores of the lake.

    Albufera valencia

    And if you have the chance to go a little further, hiking and dips in natural pools also make for a nice day outing in Valencia.

    Impressive, eh?

    It will come as no surprise that Valencia will be the European Green Capital in 2024, a recognition that rewards cities committed to the environment - we were the first Mediterranean city to achieve this.

    Remember also to show your commitment to sustainability when visiting any green space. No extraordinary measures required, just common sense: leave nothing behind, don't make a fire, don't bathe where it's not allowed and respect nature.

    Party on

    As you will know if you have chosen Valencia for Erasmus or for your degree, Valencia is a party town.

    And if you didn't know, now you do: Valencia nightlife is a big deal.

    On weekends especially, the streets are abuzz with activity, as people enjoy the gastronomy, terraces, pubs and nightclubs.

    Our good climate helps, for sure. But most of all, it's the wide variety of activities: tardeo (afternoon socializing), nightclubs, tapas bars, great restaurants and neighborhoods with moods to suit all tastes.

    The most popular neighborhoods for tapas and drinks are Barrio del Carmen and Barrio de Ruzafa.

    And the favorites for dancing and nightclubs are the Marina de València and the area around the City of Arts and Sciences.

    There are more, but these are the top ones.

    valencian night

    While we're at it, please help keep Valencia the friendly city that it is, and do your best not to disturb the neighbors when you go out at night. No drinking, singing or screaming in the street, ok?

    And here's another tip: Do you know where the expression "being under the Valencia moon" comes from?

    Top activities that will turn you into a full-fledged Valencian

    In addition to knowing what being under the Valencia moon is and drinking the typical Valencia cocktail, there are some activities that will make you worthy of the title "adoptive Valencian".

    Write down these classics:

    • Going up the Miguelete.
    • Watching the sunset from l'Albufera.
    • Eating paella on Sundays.
    • Learning to cook a classic Valencia paella.
    • Seeing a mascletà during the Fallas on a weekday in March.
    • Experiencing an offering and a cremà from the front row. The Fallas are not to be missed.
    • Having an esmorzaret on Saturday and pairing it with a vermouth - which is what we call an appetizer. And after the vermouth, straight to the meal.
    • Having an horchata, or orxata, and authentic fartons.
    • Getting to know Mestalla and watching a Valencia C.F. game. Don't forget to cheer on the local team with an "Amunt València". And be sure to catch some basketball with Valencia Basket Club in La Fonteta. Excitement is guaranteed.

    There's no shortage of options. Here are some more.

    museums valencia

    So you don't miss a thing if you come to Valencia for Erasmus

    If you want to find out what's happening in Valencia during your stay, there's an agenda available. You will find out about the markets, concerts, exhibitions, festivals, presentations, food fairs, sporting events and other events taking place in the city.

    And if you're a foodie, you should also subscribe to the Delicious Valencia blog to keep on top of all the news.

    And that's it for this guide to make your year in Valencia unforgettable.

    But since we all know you're not coming here on holiday, here is the link to a post with tips and FAQ that you'll no doubt need answers to about studying in Valencia.

    If you know someone who may be interested, be kind and share this generously, on social media, WhatsApp or however you like.

    And if you want to share with us your Valencian discoveries, or tips for other students, that would be great. You can leave us your comments, impressions or recommendations by writing to, so we can continue this post together.

    Forward with Valencia!

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