In November 2022, InterNations – the world’s largest expat community – voted Valencia as the world’s best city to live in.
So what’s so special about Valencia?
In this MumAbroad Life interview, Stephanie Kirtley Alacreu of Encantada relocation services tells us why she ditched a high-flying career in fashion in New York City to move with her family to Valencia.
Stephanie says that for $80 she’d leave a New York grocery store with a ‘small bag’ of items – in Valencia, she leaves with a full shopping cart.
But Valencia is not just about having an apartment 3x as big and ’50x less expensive’.
The quality of life is also superior, says Stephanie.
She says her family ‘live outdoors’, are ‘on the beach every weekend’, and thanks to mountains an hour north of Valencia go ‘skiing in the winter’ too. Perhaps the most rewarding aspect for Stephanie is how children are an ‘integral part’ of life in Spain, and it’s common for them to be out playing until 11 or 12 o’clock at night without worry.
In this interview, Stephanie talks up the neighbourhoods of El Carmen, Rusafa, Campanar, Gran Via, Benimaclet, Cánovas and trips to the Malvarosa and El Cabanyal beaches.
Bureaucracy was the most challenging part of moving to Valencia, says Stephanie.
For non-EU citizens, the work starts in your home country. Whether applying for visas, seeking advice, finding schools, choosing places to live or planning the move, you’re going to engage bureaucracy.
Sometimes things can come as a shock – like how the top private international schools in Valencia often have a waiting list. Then there are the rules and regulations for applying.
Stephanie says it’s hard, and especially if you don’t speak Spanish. That’s why she set up Encantada relocation services with her sister-in-law Maria, who’s a Spanish lawyer. (Maria also advises you don’t consider moving in August, at Easter time, or during the popular Fallas festival in March.)
Originally from the UK, Stephanie lived and worked in Paris and New York with a career in luxury fashion (Balenciaga, CG, ordre) before she settled in Valencia in 2019.
Soon afterwards she launched Encantada, a bespoke relocation service for Valencia and Costa Blanca with her sister-in-law Maria Alacreu.
Stephanie believes there is so much opportunity for expats in Valencia. Especially now that workers are working fully remotely or only need to visit the office once a month, it will make sense for thousands more to choose beautiful Valencia.
Encantada means ‘pleased to meet you’ or ‘my pleasure’ in Spanish.
Find out more about Encantada here: https://www.encantadaworld.com/
You can read the MumAbroad profile page for Encantada here.
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MumAbroad was founded in 2007 as a resource for expat mums who struggled without the support of their extended family.
By 2014, the network had grown to include information on child-related services, schools, family activities, shops, family holidays and restaurants across Spain and three other European countries. The international network is proud to feature a Women in Business directory, giving home-country, expat and immigrant women a platform to reinvent themselves after maternity leave and serve the MumAbroad community.