Like most big cities, Valencia has it’s fair range of different neighbourhoods and they are pretty diverse. After living there for a winter whilst working in marketing for a language school, I started to get my head around which neighbourhoods stood for what and what was special about each one. So here you go…
Russafa is possibly one of my favourite neighbourhoods, probably because in recent years it has become much more ‘hipster’ meaning there are many cool bars, restaurants and shops. If you want to enjoy some nightlife Russafa has many of the main nightclubs, one of my favourites being XL playground playing indie, pop and electronic music until 4am. The buildings in Russafa are really beautiful and if you’ve been, some remind me of the neighbourhood, Gracia in Barcelona.
Benimaclet is a little more out of the centre, well you have to cross the river (it’s actually a former river which has now turned into a park!). But It’s worth the walk and there are loads of lovely bars and restaurants here with live music, one of my favs being Loca bohemia. I like Benimaclet because there are less tourists and you’ll mostly find Spanish people wandering around. Meaning it must be good, right?
El Carmen, the most famous part of Valencia and the old town! Home to the cathedral and the church both placed in Plaza de la Reina. I’d recommend climbing the 207 steps of the cathedral’s bell tower to get a lovely view of the city! There are many bars and restaurants in the old town as you can imagine, also some of the best nightlife can be found here. Try Blanco y Rojo which is a bar/club and has some lovely cocktails! Valencia’s most famous drink is Horchata, made from almonds and milk, the best place to drink it in the old town is Santa Catalina Horchateria!
La Gran Via
La Gran Via is a part of L’Eixample like Russafa. ‘L’Eixample’ also exists in Barcelona, the name is Catalan which means ‘the widening’. This area is an expansion of the old town and you’ll find lots of big avenues and impressive architecture. You can visit this area to find some big brand shops, maybe not so popular for those looking for more independent areas (like me) but after living there a while you always need to go shopping at some point! I’d recommend drinking in The Portland Ale House despite not being so Spanish, it’s a great place to meet expats and they also have a language exchange there.
Malvarossa is the beach and port area in Valencia, a little further out of the centre and come with a mixture of feelings. The city beach is a nice place to have a swim but can get pretty busy in the summer months but it’s always nice to have a stroll along there or enjoy lunch in a restaurant with sea views! In the spring and autumn the water is nicer and you have to go here for a swim! The area a little bit set back from the beach is called Cabanyal and is a fairly poor neighbourhood, but the council are planning to renovate the whole thing. Locals living here aren’t so happy about it so there are a lot of problems being discussed but it would be interesting to see what happens in the end! I hope it works out well…
Have you visited or ever lived in Valencia? What is your favourite neighbourhood and why?
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