Moving to a new city can certainly feel like a daunting exercise – besides finding a coworking space, you will likely think about choosing a new neighbourhood, navigating the local processes, and securing a fair deal, there is plenty to consider. The good news? You’re not the first! And hopefully this article will help simplify things for you when relocating to Valencia. Decisions, decisions! 🙂
So first off, choosing a neighbourhood (aka ‘barrio’).
Architecture & Style
When it comes to architecture, Valencia is an old vibrant city with a mix of modern, less modern, and drop dead gorgeous classical buildings. If exciting glimpses of Roman, Art Deco, Modernist, Art Nouveau and Gothic on every turn is your thing, you’ve chosen the right city. We would suggest starting your familiarisation by foot in El Carmen and the old town, a leisurely walk south across the Gran Via (‘Big street’) into Ruzafa and Canovas, together named L’Eixample, before heading east to the Turia riverbed, which you can follow towards the beach (known here in Valencia simply as ‘el río’). On your way you’ll dip under bridges dating to the middle ages and eventually bump into Santiago Calatrava’s stunning ‘Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias’ (City of Arts and Sciences) in Camins el Grau, a new modern area popular amongst families. You’re now quite close to the gridded barrio of El Cabañal (or El Cabanyal written in Valenciano). This is one of the most fascinating neighbourhoods in Spain, and the buildings are a mix of single storey Baroque from the 1840’s in addition to multi-level art nouveau, art deco and modernist structures, along with several high rise buildings. A hidden gem of traditional Spanish tiled façade designs, Cabañal stretches from the Maritim subway stop towards La Marina de Valencia (Valencians’ harbour) and to the beach. Being the proximity to the sea the key reason why we chose this neighbourhood as our first Vortex Coworking location in Valencia; for those looking for a #workbythebeach lifestyle.
If specialty coffee culture is your thing, we recommend checking out Los Picos in Ruzafa, CafetéaTE al Cabanyal in the market of El Cabañal, and Federal Café in the old city centre. Some say that it’s hard to swing a cat in Ruzafa without interrupting a flat white loving hipster, and they might be right. In practice, the early signs of hipster communities are in many of Valencia’s barrios as the city continues to recover from recession and young Valencians seek out new eateries and coffee spots. In short I would say Ruzafa is a developed international hipster area, where El Cabañal is the rough diamond with loads of authentic Spanish places to discover, El Carmen the classic place with loads of atmosphere in the tiny streets and you can let the student in you get alive in Benimaclet where you find cool bars and hangouts. Unique and different is embraced in this historical city, and nowhere is this truer than in the city’s restaurant community which continue to evolve to Valencian, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Argentinian, Venezuelan, Chinese, Middle eastern recipes, tastes and fusions. We recommend exploring widely, as new places are popping up every week. Top tip, El Cabañal has some hidden gems – including one of Spain’s oldest taverns (Casa Montaña), possibly the best paella in town (Casa Carmela) and authentic Flamenco nights in Mar d’Amura.
Day to day convenience
There can be a decent diversion in convenience across Valencia’s neighbourhoods, and some areas tend to cater to the residential needs of singletons, families, or house-shares better than others. Whether it’s for schools, social bars, or supermarkets it’s worth checking your list of needs before inking a contract. In general we find that the mix of commercial to residential use is well balanced, and availability of fresh produce and convenience stores is pretty good.
(Mercado Central), Cabañal market (Mercado Cabanyal) and Ruzafa market (Mercado de Ruzafa) come highly recommended. Additionally the city is served by great public transport system (which has less greater connections in Ruzafa), including a metro that connects the beach to the city centre and airport, so proximity to this service might be a big consideration when searching out your new casa in Valencia.
Valencia on a budget
While Ruzafa, El Carmen and El Cabañal tend to be the primary hotspots for internationals, we would also recommend checking out barrios on the fringe of the more hip areas, including Camins al Grau for families – because of the schools and proximity to the river and shopping centres like Aqua to do some hassle free shopping with your little ones – Malvarossa because it’s right at the beach, and also Benimaclet just north of the university. Especially for the budget conscious, or the more intrepid travellers amongst us. In general the barrios around the popular threesome tend to be a good choice if you don’t want to end of spending hundreds of euros just for being on a prime spot, but would like to benefit of these areas close-by.
In summary, we recommend exploring this wonderful, walkable city of diverse barrios and styles. In the next series of blogs we’ll dig deeper into the barrios so that you can soon tick all the boxes; finding a coworking place to your liking and knowing where to live. Don’t worry too much as Valencia might seem big because of all the barrios, but this lovely city has a great overview with easy connections. In meantime, if there’s anything we can do to help, just let us know!
Written by Silke Bongers, owner of Open Door Valencia, a real estate agency specialized in making your housing search hassle free for the international market. She offers several services to help you finding your dream house in the city that you’ll surely fall in love with; Valencia! Get in touch with Silke here