Best Area To Stay In Valencia
Valencia has a wide variety of neighbourhoods, so it’s definitely worth doing a bit of research before you choose where to stay. Chances are we’d all choose the lively Russafa or picturesque Ciutat Vella if we had bottomless pockets full of 50 euro notes. However, in reality, we might need the everyday Olivereta or the strangely modern Beniferri to balance the books. I lived in this city for over a year. In five different neighbourhoods, and having explored all that the city has to offer here is my opinion about the best area to stay in Valencia.
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- Ultimate Guide to the Best Areas to Stay in Valencia
- Ruzafa – The Cool Area to Stay in Valencia
- El Carmen – The Old Town of Valencia
- Ciutat Vella – The beautiful neighbourhood in Valencia
- Benimaclet – The alternative area in Valencia
- El Cabanyal – The beach town area in Valencia
- Beniferri – Is this really Valencia?!?
- Olivereta & Extramurs – Live like a local
- North of the park
- Looking for some ideas for things to do in Valencia?
Ultimate Guide to the Best Areas to Stay in Valencia
Let’s start with the most popular areas in Valencia, because if you can you’ll probably want to stay in one of these two.
Ruzafa – The Cool Area to Stay in Valencia
First up is my personal favourite; Ruzafa, Russafa or sometimes even Ruzzafa depending on what you´re looking at. I’m going with Ruzafa because that’s the English spelling, and as you can see I’m writing in English.
So here’s why many people, like me, think that Ruzafa is the best area to stay in Valencia.
It’s sleepy by day and a lively dancing hub at night. The people, the bars, the shops and the restaurants are easily the most relaxed and fun-loving anywhere in the city.
- You´ll always find somewhere open for food and drinks at any time of the day. Do you want dinner at 6 pm in a quieter part of town? Good luck with that. Although most places will still close in Ruzafa, you will find plenty of options in this neighbourhood that stay open all day.
- It’s close to the centre. You can walk up to Gran Via (the main shopping street) in about 10 minutes. If you stay north of Turia Park you´re walking for at least 40 minutes until you can hit the high street.
- You’re also only about 10 minutes from Xativa metro station. Handily linked to three different lines, easily getting you around the whole city.
- It has the best LGBT scene in Valencia. Even if you´re not part of it, you know it brings a great atmosphere. Ruzafa is a neighbourhood full of people being themselves and no one judging them for it.
Here’s why it might not be the best area to stay in Valencia for you:
- The price. Unsurprisingly it costs to be in the best place. Of course, you can find cheaper apartments if you look around but overall you´ll be paying more here than in most areas.
- The noise. It is very noisy at the weekend. The tons of bars don’t seem to want to close and the Spanish culture of terrace drinking means the cacophony of chatting and laughing fills every street corner until the early morning hours.
El Carmen – The Old Town of Valencia
Next up on your search for the best area to stay in Valencia is El Carmen, or as the locals call it, Barrio del Carmen. Whereas Russafa is built in simple American blocks, El Carmen is more like a labyrinth. Seemingly purposefully designed to get you lost and then stumbling into a new bar along the way.
The vibe is still relaxed and lively but it’s more spread out. You´re now on the oldest streets in Valencia. You´ll spend your time winding down narrow alleyways and breathing in the history as you try to follow Google Maps which is struggling to know its arse from its elbow, but that just adds to the fun of this neighbourhood. It’s best to put the phone down and enjoy the sights and sounds that surround you.
So, here’s why people think EL Carmen is the best area to stay in Valencia…
- Nightlife. It’s a very lively neighbourhood full of bars, restaurants and culture. It’s where you´ll find the best independent theatres in Valencia too.
- Location. It’s perfectly positioned between Turia Park and the city centre. So it’s well placed for exploring the main stuff on foot.
- History. It’s the most historic neighbourhood in the city. It’s no surprise that most walking tours spend the majority of their time on these streets.
Here’s why people avoid staying in El Carmen…
- As you can imagine it’s also pretty pricey. Nothing is crazy expensive in Valencia. That’s one of the beauties of the city, but compared to other neighbourhoods you’re paying more to be here.
- The apartments. It’s not known as the Old Town for nothing. Most apartments here are pretty basic and are in crumbling, surprisingly dark buildings. If your windows aren’t higher than your neighbour opposite it’s unlikely you’ll get any direct sunlight into your apartment.
- You´ll also have won the lottery if your building has an elevator. Sure, two flights of stairs might seem like nothing, but these are steep, unforgiving stone steps that combine with the blissful heat to turn you into a sweaty, wheezing, unfit mess.
Okay, so far I’ve indulged in my two favourite neighbourhoods In Valencia. I can’t deny that bars and restaurants are usually central to my travelling plans. “Irish bar in (insert place name here)” is usually how I choose where to stay when checking out a new city.
However I do occasionally take pleasure from the sober things in life too, so I am qualified to give you some good advice on other options of what could be the best area to stay in Valencia for you. Allow me to summarise them for you:
Ciutat Vella – The beautiful neighbourhood in Valencia
Ciutat Vella borders El Carmen. However though, instead of narrow streets, it is full of the city’s grandest buildings and stunning plazas that will get you snapping away. Good luck trying to find a way to get it all into one magical photo. You can´t. A quick Google of ´Plaza del Virgen´ will show you what I mean.
However, apartments are at a premium here and so are the prices. Considering you can walk here within 15 minutes from lots of cheaper areas I can’t see the logic of staying here. Unless of course, you wear Louis Vuitton scarves and Gucci loafers, but realistically you´re unlikely to be reading this blog, or at least got this far down it if you do.
Benimaclet – The alternative area in Valencia
It’s also the student area so you can get pintas for cheap, very cheap in fact. The locals have such an amazing range of unique and colourful haircuts that they leave a man like me dreaming of what could and should have been, in my hairier youth. This place used to be its own independent village until the city grew and swallowed it up.
It’s all about bars, restaurants and independent shops. Again, apartments aren’t so easy to come by but it’s a buzzing neighbourhood outside the city that´s well connected by the local metro station, getting you to Xativa station in about 5 minutes.
El Cabanyal – The beach town area in Valencia
Another area that was up until recently a village in its own right. Ask anyone in Valencia and they´ll tell you that Cabanyal is the up-and-coming neighbourhood. The Russafa of the 2020s. Currently, though, you´ll mainly find rundown streets that look more shifty than stylish.
There´s one modernish main road cutting through and some side streets with new hipster bars popping up on a regular basis, but away from that it’s still heavily populated by the poor ex-fishing community and Romany Gypsies.
There are cool bars in the central area and it is the neighbourhood closest to the beach, but unless you plan on spending most of your time by the sea, I’d recommend taking the tram or metro to the coast and having a walk around before committing to staying there.
Beniferri – Is this really Valencia?!?
Walking up and out of Beniferri station is a strange experience. Suddenly you´re surrounded by tall modern buildings and wide clean streets lined with glass-walled restaurants and cocktail bars. How long was I on that train??
This neighbourhood is about a 10-minute train ride from Turia Park, it’s not worth the walk. Here you´ll find a completely different atmosphere. It has a more corporate feel but still has that relaxed vibe that makes Valencia special.
You just have more space and cleaner air. If you’d prefer a more modern stay with a short train journey into the real city then check out Beniferri.
Olivereta & Extramurs – Live like a local
These two neighbouring areas are west of the old town but give you a genuine feel of what it’s like to live like a local. The apartments are much, much cheaper than living in the centre. You also have the lively Carrer de Joan Llorenç. A street full of cheap and busy bars, where there isn’t a tourist to be seen, allowing you to soak in the true Valencian lifestyle.
You’re also never more than a few yards away from a supermarket. Living around here for a few months easily convinced me that I wanted to stay in Valencia for a lot longer!
North of the park
I call it this because it includes a number of different neighbourhood names on the map. It’s basically all of the orange tree-lined streets from Turia Park up to Avinguda dels Germans Machado. I’ve grouped it together because it’s all much of a muchness in this area. You´ll have a huge choice of cost-effective apartments as it’s a ´normal´ local family area.
There are still millions of traditional bars and restaurants on every street. Sandwiched by Chinese-owned stores selling any bit of tatt you could ever need, except for potato mashers!!
I lived in this area for 4 months over Christmas and I loved it. Apart from my time in Russafa, it was my favourite place to be, as everything was still just a walk or train ride away, and the day-to-day living was so relaxed and enjoyable. If you´re staying for a long time and want to save some euros, I´d recommend this area.
Of course, there are other neighbourhoods in Valencia where you can find tons of apartments available! But in my opinion, whether you’re planning a short city break or even if you’re planning on moving to Valencia, you should choose one of the areas I’ve talked about if possible.
The most important thing is that you´re thinking about going to Valencia, and all I can say about that is to DO IT!!
Looking for some ideas for things to do in Valencia?
If you’re wondering what else you should be doing in and around Valencia, may I push you in the direction of Get Your Guide. These guys are the best place for all of the available tours and trips on offer. You can book safely and securely online, and if you change your mind you can even get a full refund if you give them enough notice. So if you’re planning on getting out and about you really should look at Get Your Guide. This is a link directly to the tours that they offer in and around Valencia.
If you’re hungry for more travel tips and stories head on over to my blog where I’ve got more tips and info, including these ones about Valencia…
About the author – The Sketchy Traveller
I’m not really a stickman, but it seems that I like portraying myself as one.
I’m an English guy who’s been travelling since 2017. I was never good at taking photos, sketching just seems to work better for me, and in my opinion, why do you want to see other people’s 4K videos and pictures of the world? Surely it’s better to see it for yourself. You get in touch through the contact page or Instagram.
I look forward to hearing from you.