The Best Neighbourhoods in Valencia

We recently listed a property in Benimaclet and described it somewhat controversially as the best neighbourhood in Valencia. The author of the listing will now be called to account at our next meeting sometime in the dim and distant future and if they can’t justify that description they will be summararily executed of course. However, some people agree that Benimaclet is the best, or at least one of the best, neighbourhoods in Valencia, even though it is largely overlooked.

Today though we thought we would look at the candidates for that title, why they are popular, who they are popular for and where they are in the city so that you get more of an idea of the layout of Valencia and what surprises may lie in store for you around every corner.

Also as a special feature at the end of the blog we have not just one property of the week but a selection from the areas featured in this week’s missive. Take a look at what your money buys you in Ruzafa, the Historic Centre, Benimaclet and the Cabanyal.


Benimaclet

Traditionally a student quarter due to its proximity to the Universities and the metro, Benimaclet has an independent vibe with no chain stores, few chain restaurants and a lot of places you are unlikely to find anywhere else in the city. It’s still a lively area for students with plenty of apartments that are rented out by the room to students. The area is relatively small but back in the day before the expansion of the city it was a small village on the edge of Valencia and due to this, the centre of Benimaclet is composed of small houses and alleyways gathered around the church and main square.

Not much we can say against Benimaclet except the big elephant in the room, noise. Wherever you go you see signs begging to “respect the rest of the people who live here” What does that mean? It means it’s loud at nights due to the number of bars, restaurants and clubs. This is especially true around the main square so bear that in mind.


Ruzafa

Ruzafa Street Market. There is the traditional food market and then the outside market a couple of days every week.
Ruzafa Street Market. There is the traditional food market and then the outside market a couple of days every week.

Lots of people contact us to say they want a flat in Valencia and it just has to be in Ruzafa. Ruzafa is always featured in those broadsheet newspaper articles about Valencia, largely because the writers of these articles have never visited Valencia or have read other articles which mention Ruzafa in them and therefore decide they have to include it too. Nevertheless, they are right in that Ruzafa is one of the best neighbourhoods in Valencia; central, vibrant, plenty to do, an excellent market and more. Ruzafa has plenty to offer with probably the most varied foodie scene in the city, you don’t go here just for paella.

The “fame” of Ruzafa though comes at a price. Property costs more in Ruzafa than in the areas that surround it and it’s likely that the property itself might be on a street with a bit of noise, although not all roads in Ruzafa are noisy. Recently the council has put in green zones where only residents of Ruzafa can park and orange zones where parking is a lot more expensive. It doesn’t make that much difference as nobody has ever thought “I’ll drive down to Ruzafa to go shopping as it’s easy to park there“, it never was. It just means it’s emptier of cars now.


Cabanyal

The Cabanyal is the first area people think of when looking towards Valencia beach. It lies just to the north of the Marina and is full of old fishermen’s houses and a combination of decay and renewal. The Cabanyal manages to keep its attraction despite all of the new modernisations going on because the majority of the buildings have protected facades and restrictions on what can be developed in the gaps between buildings in the worst part, the bit where Blasco Ibañez avenue was going to be extended down to the sea which will no longer be happening.

A recipient of plenty of EU money for its rehab the Cabanyal gets better and better and more and more popular with people over the years as the beach gets ever more used by Valencians who realise what they have on their doorstep. The extension of the pavements in Calle Barraca has allowed an explosion of new cafes and shops to complement the already exisiting Calle de la Reina’s offer and the number of events happening at the Marina on a regular basis along with its attractions mean there are always plenty of people milling around the Cabanyal.

It’s still a bit gritty and earthy in places and be careful of ground floor apartments here due to damp issues sometimes, but the Cabanyal has that city living feel while being right by the beach.


Petxina

The Petxina is an overlooked area that we really like due to its location, facilities and prices. It lies just inside the riverbed near to the athletics stadium and to the west of the Botanical gardens. Just a ten minute stroll into the old town and fifteen minutes from the centre and the Bioparc and Parque de la Cabecera, the Petxina is an overlooked gem.

It’s one of those places that those looking for a walkable city love due to its location and locally owned facilities, full of small shops, supermarkets and cafes. There is a great sports centre and gym, easy access to the Yelmo cinema on the other side of the riverbed where they put on original version films rather than dubbing them and on plenty of public transport routes so you can easily get around.


El Centro Histórico

Valencia's Central market Dome and Ceiling
Valencia’s Central Market Dome and Ceiling. The Food Is Great but the Building is Even Better

Clustered around the Central Market, the historic centre of Valencia is one of the few areas where it’s easy to get lost when you don’t know the area as it’s not on a grid system. It’s the old Medievel warren of streets, connecting alleyways and surprises around every corner that attracts here. Being so central there is less outside space here with thin streets and cobbled roads allied to restrictions on private cars and public transport not being able to get around the streets meaning not too much traffic noise. However the counterpoint to this is the noise of tourist cases being pulled along the streets and a lot of human traffic taking in the sights.

Property in the old town tends to be more expensive per m2 due to its proximity to everything and lots of our American clients love it for example as they can ditch the car as everything is within walking distance. Life in the Historic Centre means visiting the central market for food, trying out plenty of small cafes, bistros and fusion restaurants and lots of walking around savouring the atmosphere.

On the negative side properties do tend to be daarker as the streets are thinner meaning buildings are closer together and you almost always need to modernise them. Oftentimes there is no lift and putting together a modernisation project can take time if it involves a historic building but the benefits outweigh the negatives here if you want to live in the heart of Valencia within a stone’s throw of everything.


Ensanche

The Ensanche is the slightly posher, slightly older, slightly more expensive big brother of Ruzafa. Divided by the Gran Via the two areas share many features but restaurants are slightly more expensive, their clientele from a slightly higher social strata and generally older and people who live there make a point of saying they live in “Ensanche but not Ruzafa”.

Properties tend to be larger here as the area was an extension of the centre originally for Bourgeois families wanting more space and wider avenues. The Ensanche has Ruzafa to one side of course but is also boredered by the riverbed and the Mercado de Colón and Calle Colón ultra chic shopping areas.

What people really love about this area is the quality of life, the selection of restaurants, the choice of cafes and shops and the light because the roads tend to be wider and more open. Facades are traditional and impressive and ceilings tend to be high allowing a feeling of space.


Aragón

To the North of the riverbed on the other side from Ensanche we can find Aragón, the old road out of Valencia towards Zaragoza. Dominated by the Mestalla Stadium the area of Aragón is a mixture of towers and medium/high buildings built at a later date than the areas inside the riverbed horseshoe bend. Easy access to the riverbed, the old town, the beach down Avenida del Puerto and the City of Arts and Sciences, all reached by the huge number of bike lanes and public transport which criss crosses the area, mean that Aragón is often chosen for its convenience rather than any great architectural merit of its own.

Again there are plenty of facilities to hand with a selection of great restaurants clustered around the Babel Art House cinema, plenty of green spaces and the Music Palace overlooking the riverbed, Aragón is another of those overlooked places when compared with it’s better known neighbours but it should always be on the radar for anyone looking for space and convenience, just don’t expect classical facades and medievel looking churches.


Monteolivete

Monteolivete benefits from its position between the City of Arts and Sciences, Ensanche and Ruzafa and has a brand spanking new metro line going through it to get down to the Port area and centre of Valencia. Underappreciated, overlooked and really good value, Mnteolivete has a combination of classical looking buildings and 1960s utilitarian looking buildings with plenty of parks, bike lanes and public transport to get around the city easily. Just a short stroll to the riverbed and the City of Arts and Sciences and not too far from the shopping centres of Colón, El Saler and Aqua you also have everything to hand in terms of local shop, cafes and restaurants to keep you occupied while you contemplate what a great value apartment you managed to buy here.


Arrancapins

Just south of the Petxina and west of the Gran Via Fernando el Católico you can find Arrancapins. The Central point of this area is the Abastos Market where there is a sports centre and a huge selection of restaurants surrounding it and you are just a ten minute walk from the Old Town and centre of the city.

Property here is mostly comprised of medium rise mid century apartments with a few newer buildings thrown in for good measure. You are never far from all of the facilities expected in a city with good public transport connections and bike paths. Not too much to look at culture wise around here but for families there are plenty of schools around and it’s easy to live right near one of them meaning your child’s morning commute might only be a few paces.


Malvarrosa

Malvarrosa Beach
Malvarrosa Beach by The Mediterranean

The scruffy working class little brother of the Cabanyal, the Malvarrosa is a continuation of the beach in the Cabanyal sandwiched between the aforementioned beach area and the more modern vibes of the Patacona.

The Malvarrosa is a 1950s and 60s offshoot of the Cabanyal where property is cheap and cheerful execpt for the one row of Villas overlooking the beach from a distance where you can expect to spend over a million to get one of them, scarcity you see. However just two streets back from there you have the more gritty Malvarrosa with its ugly looking Franco era apartment blocks where you get really good value for money, after all, what does it matter wht the outside of the building looks like if you have modernised the inside and are just a few minutes walk from the wide expanses of sand lapped by the Meidterranean sea.

You need to be careful of a couple of buildings in Calle Padre Anton where the prices are too good to be true, you wouldn’t want to live there, but the rest of the Malvarrosa is pretty cool. For those looking to have easy access to the city but even easier access to the beach and its activities at a low price then the Malvarrosa is a great location to be in.


Patraix

Just down Calle Jesus from the centre of Valencia we find Patraix, another of those areas which used to be a small village on the edge of the city which is now subsumed into Valencia itself while retaining the central hub of houses around the local church and plaza. Not too great a walk into the centre and again having excellent public transport links, Patraix has a community feel and plenty of facilities for you to enjoy.

Property prices in Patraix are reasonable as you get more bang for your buck when you are willing to walk that extra 5-10 minutes from the centre. Plenty of parks and facilities and a growing sense of a place on the up, Patraix is another overlooked area that our clients tend to like when searching for properties.


Campanar

On the other side of the riverbed from the Petxina, Campanar is the area that David from this parish calls home. Originally on the edge of the city and still bordering plenty of fields of artichokes and more, Camapnar has Old Campanar, originally a village apart from the city full of old houses and windy cobbled streets and Nou Campanar where the skyscrapers and buildings with facilities such as communal pools, gyms and car parks abound.

The area of Campanar towards the riverbed is full of facilities such as the bowling alley, the cinema, pavement cafes and more showing its value to families and it borders the Nuevo Centro shopping centre and Corte Inglés Outlet store meaning there are plenty of shopping opportunities too.

The range of property means there are plenty of different price points in Campanar and location wise it’s just about perfect for getting into and out of the city on the CV35 motorway towards the international schools, suburbs and inland towns and villages for your days out. Campanar is also hemmed in on one side by the Valencia ring road giving easy access to all parts of the city while only being a twenty minute walk into the old town and centre. Well located and with good amenities, Campanar is another overlooked area offering great value for money.

What’s Your Choice and Why?

It’s easy to contact us and let us know more about what areas you recommend and why. Just shoot us a mail on information@valencia-property.com and we will add in your comments to the blog post or message us on whatsapp or twitter. We expect tellings off from those of you who live in other areas of the city and love them so let us know why La Zaidia, Patacona, La Seu, En Corts, Mislata, Malilla or more should be included.


Properties of the Week Are in…

The Cabanyal this week. An excellently positioned two bedroomed modernised apartment between the market and the beach just off Avenida del Mediterraneo.

In wine lies the truth, common knowledge really, we’ve all been there, saying something we probably shouldn’t have after a couple of glasses of “What the hell was I drinking last night to feel like this today” another universal truth seems to be that Cabanyal has well and truly come of age, and good entry level apartments, ready to pop and pour, can be a rare tipple.

Here in this building from 1927, a good vintage by all accounts, we find this two bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment, sold lock, stock and barrel as seen in the photos, with good structure, floral notes and hints of forest fruits that must be coming from the Cabanyal Market around the corner then a crisp finish in the form of an evening stroll on the beach to walk off all that bacchanalian excess.

So while we’re all waiting for the Craft Beer Article, drop us a line, and name your poison.

Ok that’s enough of that, I’ll put a cork in it.


The Benimaclet Property Mentioned Above

Is this really the best neighbourhood in Valencia? Well, it’s a contender and this property is really good.

This is a decent, value for money apartment, 2 bedrooms, in good shape, nice balcony overlooking a park. But its the location that makes it worthy of our listing it.

This property is in Benimaclet, the original bohemian barrio of Valencia. Today its filled with a huge variety of restaurants and alternative bars, small fruit and veg shops stocked directly from the nearby farms, and vintage clothing shops. It’s proximity to the Universities also helps explain its alternative feel, its the part of town where you’ll see more rainbow and republican flags hanging from balconies than anywhere else.

But as well as what it has, you are also very close to everything else.

Within 5 minutes walk
– Metro stop for beach, airport and city centre
– Viveros park, leading to the riverbed and more than 5kms of parkland in either direction.

Within 10 minutes walk
– Levante football stadium
– The countryside
– Valencia University
– The Historic quarter of the city centre

We don’t get too many properties coming up in this area, so take your chance while you can. Check out this apartment with us, and remember the name Benimaclet, best neighbourhood in Valencia?


Not Quite in Ruzafa

I must admit when I first went to look at this apartment I thought that being on the second floor overlooking a busy avenue might be a turn-off but, while the entrance to the building is on said avenue, the building itself stretches back and behind its next door neighbour and lo and behold, you’re balcony overlooks a much quieter and pleasant street!

An excellent investment opportunity, this recently renovated apartment is only 200 metres from Ruzafa and is well connected with all types of public transport. Motorised blinds, A/C in every room, central heating and made-to-measure wardrobes mean this apartment is as turn-key as a turn-key can get. The red kitchen might not be to everybody’s taste but that’s a minor quibble, it’s easy to get kitchen units repainted.

So, if you are thinking about a place where you can escape for a few months of the year and make a bit of a return on your investment for the other months, the quality, price and location of this property should make you want to arrange a visit asap.


Historic Centre Elegance

We are straight back into work after the summer break and new clients are arriving daily so its nice to get out and see some good properties, hopefully over the coming weeks owners and life in general will get back to normality and we will see plenty of new listings on the site, especially if they are as good as this one, a Duplex Apartment in the very centre of Valencia, with everything to hand including the rather fancy looking renovation at La Plaza de La Reina, complete with water misting systems which are very welcome in this long hot summer.

This property has been excellently renovated by the owner with a great attention to detail and use of excellent materials, on the main floor we find an open plan living space with kitchen and balconies to a side street just off a pretty square, whilst the bedrooms to the interior and rear are light and cool and quiet, as you would expect in a property built in 2001 there is very good insulation, plumbing, wiring, double glazing, and A/C that is certainly earning its keep at the moment.

All in all a very good apartment in a prime location. And yes, no terrace, but no problem, if you have all of Valencias charms on your doorstep why the hell would you stay in anyway?


If you Liked This but Would Prefer the Suburbs…


And if You Want to Know More About Valencia’s Districts

A Guide to Valencia's 19 Districts

Neither Here nor There in Alternative Valencia
Neither Here nor There in Alternative Valencia