Barcelona vs Valencia for an expat

I think Spain is the best country to live in Europe if you have income/business in other country. I have been living in Marbella, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Valencia. Both Valencia and Barcelona are big cities and I compare living in the city and not the metro area.

Weather and Pollution. The weather in Valencia is a little bit milder, but for me there is not big difference.

Parks. This is why I like Valencia the most. It has 9km long park Turia located in the old bank of the river. Apart from that I like the Cabecera park (next to Bioparc zoo), Jardin de Vivers (collection of roses and kids playground to learn traffic signs) and finally the new Parc Central next to Ruzzafa. The city of Barcelona really lacks parks and greenery.

Business life

Barcelona here is real winner. 4x more startups funded in 2021 compared to Valencia. Trade shows and fairs. Meetups and conferences = probably 10x difference. Barcelona startup district.


Both cities have great international schools. Read about Valencia schools here and Barcelona schools here.

Real Estate

My favourite neighborhood Padralbes – 6800 euros per square meter (2022 June). Sarria – Sant Gervasi – 5800 euros per square meter. The most expensive El Pla de Remei in Valencia – 3900 euros per square meter.


Barcelona is a clear winner here, where it has more than 6x bigger airport by passenger count.

Final Verdict

If your priority is family life – choose Valencia. If your priority choose Barcelona.

** with 0,5M income Barcelona can be good with family too.



This was my second visit to Istanbul after 10 years. First time we came to Istanbul for a weekend, visited museums and mosques and stayed in old town. The goal of this visit was friends wedding, which was at Cubuklu 29. My turkish friends recommended to stay in Taksim or Karokoy. Karokoy is in the crossroad between old town and Asia. What i liked the best about Karokoy that it feels like western Europe: nice people, good cafes and restaurants.  3 minute walk from Morgan Karokoy hotel (photos bellow) was the best turkish breakfast experience and somewhere for the half of hotel price (20euros for two) at Namli Gourme Karokoy

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Where to stay in Singapore?

Where to stay in Singapore?

I have been to Singapore 5 times and try to stay at a different hotel each time. I usually stay in Airbnbs but Singapore does not have centrally located flats for rent.

My recommendations:

Do not stay in mid range hotels. Better capsule (The Pod) than the mid range. My future bucket lists hotels in Singapore: Lloids hotel, Raffles and ParkRoyal.

Fullerton hotel – Iconic hotel with a view to Marina Bay Sands just in front of Merlion fountain.

Aerotel – the hotel at the airport terminal (do not have to go out) with a pool. Great before long flights or if you have layover

Shangri La Singapore – great hotel with nice pool and amenities for kids. Many Singaporeans choose this hotel as staycation. (we chose this hotel because one week before our stay, Donald Trump was staying here for Trump – Kim summit)

The Pod – boutique capsule hotel/hostel. The stay cost including breakfast is cheaper than regular breakfast in city. Was staying solo and highly recommend this place. Great for socializing and in my surprise interesting people are staying here and you can have great conversations during breakfast where you share 2 tables only. The socialization point here is much better than in 5* hotel. I didn’t here any noise at night and shared bathrooms was not a problem at all.

Marina Bay Sands. One of the best hotels i have ever been to. Impressive business machine with huge load of people

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Hiring a babysitter in south east asia

Even though the countries in comparison to western European countries are poor, it is really difficult finding a good nanny/babysitter.

The best way so far to find one was going to massage salons and asking if anybody wants extra job or their friends do. If it doesn’t work out, the trick is to ask for 4 hours per day – I usually started from 8AM till 12PM.

The Rates i have paid:

Chiang Mai 4 hours – 500 THB. (13 euros) (English speaking with University degree.

Live in Babysitter from Chiang Mai – 6 days a week, 10 hours a day with a lunch break when children sleep – 20.000 THB (513 Euros)

Hua Hin – 300 THB for 4 hours (No english at all. Good at cleaning)

Penang (Batu Feringhi)  babysitter from Filipines –  4 hours – 40 MYR (9 Euros)

Bali there are few local babysitter conpanies, run by australian people, and they are good if you come for week or two and you need incall for few hours a day, but if you want to hire for a month or live in the cost goes to 800-1200 usd.

We have personally used kiidu service, and paid 100 for service and 400 usd for nanny

Indonesian (bali) people compared to malaysian and thai are eager to work and harworking. Even though i had babysitter hired, i have been offered 3 times in period of a week for babysitter services, so i could say that finding babysitter in Bali is really easy

Chiang Mai

The first impression about Chiang Mai was negative. Traffic, pollution, no parks in walking distance, non pedestrian zones, especially bad pavements for baby strollers.

And after one week, my opinion has changed drastically. It has all the cities amenities as well you feel as in village, where you know your neighbours and meet same people in town . Recommended videos for Chiang Mai:

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Alhambra del Mar Marbella review

Main places to find a rental is, but particular apartment was found in

I could recommend Norwegian realtor and another real Estate agency in Puerto Banus

We have spent 7 winter months in Marbella. Renting a 140 square meter, 2 bedroom, 2.5 bath apartment for 1750 euro at Alhambra del Mar condominium.

The best thing about this condominium is – location. It is in the middle of the old town and Puerto Banus. Both walking distance. Many cafes and restaurants are close and my favorite Cuppuccino cafe just 50 meters from my apartment. Only 10% of apartments have people living during winter months.

Negative things about this condominium: no heated pool. (november is already cold to swim)

No decent tennis court nearby. (Grand Melia hotel which is 5 minutes walk has both tennis and padel courts, but tennis courts are very poor)
view from balcony

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