International expats named Valencia as the best city in the world to live and work with aspects like finance, housing and healthcare all taken into account. 

The annual Expat Insider survey from InterNations, an online community for expats, named Valencia as the best city for international workers. More than 15,000 expats took part in the survey and ranked 66 cities in terms of metrics like job opportunities, affordable housing and healthcare, ease of settling in, work-life balance and overall quality of life. The survey was conducted in March, just before the pandemic struck, and results were released in November.

View of Santa Barbara Castle on Mount Benacantil above Alicante
Alicante came second in the Expat Insider survey ©Leonid Andronov/Shutterstock

Valencia scored high marks across the board, particularly in the urban quality and cost of living indexes. A respondent from France said "health and culture are great" in the Spanish city, and 91% said local residents are generally friendly. What's more, Valencia is within reach of three other Spanish cities that made the top 10. The sunny city of Alicante came in second place, while Málaga and Madrid, came in sixth and ninth place respectively. All four destinations were singled out in areas like “ease of getting settled” and leisure options, but they didn't score too high in the job opportunities index.

Chinatown Restaurants in Singapore.
Singapore came in fifth place, noted as an easy place to settle in ©ZambeziShark/Getty Images

Lisbon came in third place, scoring high in climate. One Irish expat noted, Portugal in general is “a weirdly wonderful country, with plenty of idiosyncrasies but the people are kind, life is relaxed, the food and drink are excellent, and the weather is generally great." The Portuguese capital got top marks in personal safety, and 71% of respondents said they were happy with leisure options in the city.

Panama City came in fourth place, followed by Singapore (5th), Buenos Aires (7th), Kuala Lumpur (8th) and Abu Dhabi (10th). Kuala Lumpur was noted as the easiest city to get settled, as well as one of the best worldwide when it comes to finance and housing.

Rathmines Town Hall, Dublin, Ireland.  Designed by Sir Thomas Drew,  built in 1895 and now part of Rathmines College.
Dublin is the least affordable city for housing, according to expats ©noel bennett/Alamy Stock Photo

On the opposite end of the scale were Salmiya in Kuwait (66th) and Rome (65th). An Indian expat claimed "the local-expat divide, an unprofessional and rude bureaucracy, and the one-day weekend" while expats in Rome are dissatisfied with safety and politics. Dublin (60th) scored the lowest in the finance and housing index, with over three-quarters of respondents describing housing as unaffordable

For a more detailed look at the reports, see here.

This article was first published on December 5, 2019 and updated on November 30, 2020.

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This article was first published December 2019 and updated November 2020

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