Valencia is quickly becoming a popular city for people to move to. Whether it’s expats, retirees or digital nomads, Valencia seems to have an appeal to people from all over the world.
I currently call Valencia home myself and I often hear people who are thinking about moving to Valencia ask what the best neighborhoods are to live in.
Of course, where to live in Valencia largely depends on your own preferences and your budget. But, there are certain neighborhoods that are particularly popular. Those neighborhoods I want to share here, to hopefully help you decide where you would like to live in Valencia.
Where to Live in Valencia: 6 of the Most Popular Neighborhoods
I still remember how Ruzafa (Russafa in Valenciano) was a neighborhood most people avoided. Only a few years ago it was a poorer, grungy and less safe part of town.
Today Ruzafa is probably the most gentrified part of Valencia, packed with cute coffee shops, trendy bars and restaurants, and quirky boutiques.
Ruzafa is located just south of Valencia’s city center, very close to Valencia’s central train station and only a 15-minute walk from the popular Turia park.
Ruzafa is a young neighborhood with a lively nightlife scene. This is something to keep in mind when you are thinking about where to live in Valencia. Ruzafa does have quieter streets (I myself live on one) but many streets in Ruzafa are packed with bars and can get quite noisy on weekends. And during the annual Fallas festival Ruzafa gets particularly noisy and crowded.
What I love about Ruzafa is its multicultural feel and its wide range of bars and restaurants. Whether you are looking for inexpensive tapas or a fine dining restaurant, you can find it in Ruzafa.
Only a few years ago I, and many others, complained about how few restaurants there were in Valencia offering international food. And how few good coffee shops there were. That has changed all over Valencia, but more in some areas than in others. Ruzafa is a great example of this. Now packed with great cafés to work from, Ruzafa is especially popular with digital nomads.
Unfortunately, prices in Ruzafa are going up quickly, investors from all over the world have moved in and that does make me wonder how far this gentrification will go…
2. El Carmen
El Carmen, or Barrio del Carmen, is Valencia’s beautiful historical district. It’s located in the city’s old quarter, the Ciutat Vella, and is Valencia’s historical center.
With narrow streets, cool street art, cute boutiques and small bars and restaurants, it’s one of the most popular places for tourists to visit.
This means that El Carmen does get crowded and if you choose to live in this neighborhood of Valencia you have to be ok with that. But at the same time, there are still enough streets in El Carmen that most tourists seem to overlook, offering a quieter place to live.
If you love historic buildings and easy access to everything Valencia’s city center has to offer, then El Carmen is the place to be.
Before I moved to Valencia I frequently stayed with a friend in El Carmen and I loved being in the city center. But, she eventually decided to leave El Carmen and says some of the main reasons were the noise and the higher rent.
Another downside to the narrow streets in El Carmen is that many apartments get very little sunlight. Many people who are thinking about moving to Valencia underestimate how cold houses get in Valencia in winter. And that is when that lack of sunlight really does make a difference!
Lastly, more than any other neighborhood in Valencia, El Carmen gets extremely loud during Valencia’s annual Fallas celebrations. And yes, the main event only lasts for five days so you might think five days of noise is not that bad. In reality, however, celebrations last for about four weeks and it is a reason for many Valencia residents to escape the city for a few weeks or even to move to quieter parts of the city because it really does interfere with every-day life.
3. El Cabanyal
Valencia is located on the Mediterranean coast and has such a great climate, yet there are very few nice areas to live that are close to the beach. This is something that has always amazed me about Valencia.
But, Cabanyal is the neighborhood that is proving that this is now changing.
El Cabanyal is located right behind Las Arenas beach. It still has that old fisherman’s town feel to it although it is changing a lot. New ‘hipster’ bars and coworking spaces are opening their doors and more and more foreigners are moving in.
The community has managed to protect their old colorful buildings and some pretty, tiled façades. Art groups and theater companies give it that artsy vibe, yet at the same time investors have discovered the area and are buying up properties to renovate.
For a while now El Cabanyal has been the up-and-coming neighborhood in Valencia. Prices have gone up and although it is no longer the cheap place to live in Valencia, it is still relatively affordable.
If you want to live close to the beach, in a lively and safe area that isn’t too far from the city center then Cabanyal is the place to be.
El Cabanyal attracts expats of all ages and is becoming quite popular amongst digital nomads now that more coworking spaces and cafes to work from have sprung up here. El Cabanyal has less of a party scene and is very suitable for families.
For me, the biggest downside to Cabanyal is its distance to the city center. In winter the beach area is very quiet, many restaurants close and most events are organized in the city center. On top of that, there are still some areas around Cabanyal that aren’t the safest which makes me feel less comfortable about walking or cycling there alone at night.
Benimaclet makes you feel as if you are living in a village instead of in a city. And this is easily explained since Benimaclet actually used to be an independent village.
Because Benimaclet is close to two universities and less expensive than some of the other popular neighborhoods in Valencia, it attracts a lot of students. Yet at the same time, you find many families here that have lived in Benimaclet for generations and new expat families who made Benimaclet their home and say they would never want to leave.
With its charming narrow streets, village-like atmosphere and a laid-back international vibe, Benimaclet has a lot going for it. It is located close to Jardines del Real (also called Jardines de Viveros) which is a lovely park. It isn’t as ‘hipster’ as Ruzafa or as pretentious as the Canovas / Mercado de Colón area, which many see as a plus.
For me the main downside to Benimaclet is that it’s neither walking distance to the city center nor close to the beach. But, it does have good public transport connecting it to both.
4. Cánovas & Mercado de Colón Area
If money wasn’t an issue, this is probably where I would live in Valencia.
Cánovas and the area around Mercado de Colón (Mercat Colón in Valenciano) are technically two distinct areas. But, they are adjacent and have a lot in common so I decided to include them as one.
This part of town is the more upmarket part of central Valencia where you can find beautiful apartments that sell for upward of a million Euros. The higher priced real estate of course also creates a certain more upmarket atmosphere with high-end end shops, good restaurants, and well-maintained streets.
Thankfully it’s by no means an area that is only for the rich. There are plenty of more affordable apartments in this area and the location is just great. Right by the city center, next to the Turia park and with good public transport, it is not difficult to see what this is one of Valencia’s most popular neighborhoods.
Cánovas offers good nightlife without the alternative, hipster vibe of Ruzafa and Mercado de Colón is a beautiful market hall with bars and a few nice restaurants, surrounded by a wide range of shops. Both the Mercado de Colón area and Cánovas are liked by dog owners because of its proximity to the Turia park.
If you are looking for an aesthetically beautiful neighborhood that is safe, centrally located and packed with good restaurants, then the Cánovas and Mercado de Colon area is a perfect place to live in Valencia.
Mestalla is located just east of the city center. It is a quieter and more affordable neighborhood in Valencia.
Mestalla is family friendly and has a wide range of residents. Although the neighborhood itself doesn’t have many spectacular features to highlight, it’s the location and price that make this part of Valencia interesting to live.
You are within walking or cycling distance of the Turia park and the city center and closer to the beach than all other neighborhoods listed here, apart from El Cabanyal. Public transport around Mestalla is good which makes it easy to move around the city.
If you are looking for a more affordable place to live in Valencia yet still want to be close to both the city center and the beach, then Mestalla might be a very good option.
Although I hardly ever visit Mestalla to go to a bar, restaurant or anything else, I am actually thinking about moving to Mestalla just because of its location and value for money. After a year and a half of living in Ruzafa I love the idea of being a bit closer to the beach and being able to park a car without having to drive around for an hour to find a space or pay a lot for parking – something that is an issue in El Carmen, Canovas and Mercado de Colón as well.
Map of 6 of the Most Popular Neighborhoods in Valencia
Moving to Valencia
Before you decide where to live in Valencia I highly recommend spending some time in the city.
Rent an Airbnb and get a feeling for the city.
The great thing about Valencia is that, although it’s Spain’s third largest city, all the main things to see and major neighborhoods to explore are located relatively close together.
Most parts of Valencia can be explored on foot and the rest is easily reached by bus, metro, Valenbici (the city’s bike sharing service) or inexpensive taxi.
I’m not saying Valencia’s public transport is perfect by the way (I avoid it as much as I can and will walk most places), but it definitely isn’t bad.
When it comes to renting or buying a place in Valencia, Idealista is the most popular website. I would recommend having a look at their website even before you come to Valencia, to get an idea of what’s available. But don’t bother making appointments far in advance because places move quickly in Valencia. And always contact the listing by phone if there is a phone number because they often won’t reply to emails for days, if at all.
Once you are in Valencia you can also walk into some of the estate agencies you’ll find all over the city, to see what they have to offer. Or, once you know where in Valencia you would like to live, post a message in one of the Facebook groups for expats in Valencia to check if anyone has any recommendations there.
Living in Valencia
I hope this list of neighborhoods will help you decide where you would like to live in Valencia. Don’t stick to exploring just these areas though. There are plenty of other neighborhoods that are nice and might meet your personal criteria better.
For example, check out the area around the Angel Guimera metro station or the area around Plaza España if you are looking for an affordable yet central place to live in Valencia. Look at Penya-Roja if you want a more upscale place to live, with the added benefit of being right by the Turia park and the City of Arts & Sciences. Or Camins al Grau for a cheaper option right next to Penya-Roja.
But what I am trying to say: use this list of popular neighborhoods as a guide, but do go and explore for yourself! And if you do have any questions about life in Valencia, leave a comment below and I will reply asap.
More Articles About Valencia:
- Interview With an Expat and Digital Nomad About Life in Valencia
- What to See & Do on a Short Visit to Valencia, Spain
- Top Things to Do in Valencia With Kids
- The Best Rooftop Bars in Valencia
- Authentic Chinese Food in Valencia: A Tour of Valencia’s Chinatown
- A Paella Cooking Class – A Great Day Out in Valencia
- Las Fallas Festival in Valencia – Everything You Need to Know
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