Here you can find most of the administrative and financial institutions, as well as a large number of cultural and historical buildings. There are six neighbourhoods in this district: La Seu, La Xerea, El Carmen, El Pilar, El Mercat and Sant Francesc.
Ciutat Vella, or the Old Town, is the best option for those who want to be in the middle of everything with lots to see and do. During Fallas Ciutat Vella becomes the epicentre of the festivities, during the cold months it is a beautiful place to walk around and maybe visit a museum, and during the hot Spanish summer there are hundreds of restaurants, cafes and ice-cream shops where you can take a break and have an horchata. Ciutat Vella is also very well connected by public transport to all other areas of the city (via bus and metro) and right next to the main train station that allows you to be in Madrid in less than 2 hours.
In Ciutat Vella you will mostly find flats in buildings that can go up to about 10 floors. Almost all buildings have lifts, and most flats have balconies. If you like the idea of living in the town centre but would like the house feeling, you can also find many top floor flats which are usually larger and have more open-air space. Because of the popularity of the district with short-term holiday lets, prices are at the higher end of the spectrum for Valencia.
Eixample (Ensanche): the shopping district
Here you can find the most popular commercial areas of Valencia, as well as the main train station and the city’s bullring. Most of the roads follow a grid pattern that form ‘manzanas’ (blocks). There are three neighbourhoods in this district: Ruzafa, El Pla del Remei, and Gran Via.
Eixample is the most eclectics areas in Valencia, the old and the modern mix in a place where you can find people from almost all nationalities. The area is very popular with tourists and locals. Day and night, it’s always busy. In Eixample you can find museums, libraries and many historic buildings or go to a concert at the bullring, sometimes from international superstars. The main shopping streets and department stores are located in and around the Calle de Colon area where Valencians from all over the city go to look at the latests fashions. The train station can be found right next to the bullring, and it’s not unusual to see tourists arrive dragging their bags behind them. Lately the more residential areas of Eixample have been turning into the hipster centres of Valencia with a lot of trendy stores, but the more old-fashioned classically Spanish ones are as popular as they were decades ago.
Living in Eixample could be either more expensive than average or cheaper, depending on the area and even which building in the same area. If your heart is set in Eixample, don’t give up if you can only find flats on the higher end, keep looking and you will find something more affordable.
Extramurs (Extramuros): where residential and offices meet
This is the area around the Gran Via Ferran el Catolic, just outside the old city walls. This part of the city follows Eixamples’s grid pattern in the areas next to it. There are four neighbourhoods in this district: El Botanic, La Roqueta, La Petxina and Arrancapins.
If you enjoy food, Extramurs is a great place to be. This area is the one with the highest concentration of bars and restaurants of all of Valencia. Many of them offer international cuisines that are hard to find in other areas. The nightlife is also lively as many cafes and bars switch gears when the sun sets and turn into pubs or open up dance floors. If you prefer a more relaxed lifestyle, Extramurs is right next to the largest green space of Valencia as well as being a great area to walk or cycle, as more and more roads are becoming pedestrian and bike-friendly. Valencia’s Sports and Cultural Centre can be found in this area, within the Petxina neighbourhood.
As with other districts Extramurs is a mix of the upscale and the working class, with housing prices falling all over the spectrum. It’s not unusual to find a block of flats next door to an office building. In general, it as a mid-range area, but you could get lucky and come across a bargain. Most buildings are quite old, dating from between 1900 and 1960, but they are all in good condition as maintenance of historical buildings is seen as extremely important by the local government.
Campanar: the area that took Valencia by storm
Here you can find the Conselleria d’Educacio (local education government) and several of the most important health hubs of the city. Valencia’s famous Bioparc is located in Campanar, within the Parc de Capcalera. There are four neighbourhoods in this district: Campanar, Les Tendetes, El Calvari and Sant Pau.
About 15 years ago Campanar was seen as the outskirts no-one dared venture into. After years of heavy investment from constructions companies, who very ingeniously promoted the area during the Fallas times, Campanar is now completely changed and a desirable place to live, especially the Non Campanar area. Besides the Bioparc one of the largest supermarkets of Valencia can be found here. The area is in general very quiet (except for the main arteries), as it is mostly a residential area. However it is very well connected by road and public transport to central Valencia and from here it’s very easy to get out of the city without having to navigate hours of traffic.
The district is a weird mix of extremely old orchard-style buildings and residential new-builds with all the mod-cons. Prices in Campanar are slightly higher than other surrounding areas, but still within the mid-range for housing in Valencia. There are plenty of green spaces, and large commercial ones. Campanar is a good place for those who are looking for a residential area but want to be able to get to the hustle and bustle within a few minutes.
La Saidia: the area that came back from ruins
Historically, this area was a religious centre with several churches, monasteries, priestly orders and even a mosque. Currently only a few of those survive, along several sites of archaeological importance and the Museum of Fine Arts. There are five neighbourhoods in this district: Marxalenes, Morvedre, Trinitat, Tormos and Sant Antoni.
La Saidia has an American suburban feeling to it despite being very close to the old city centre and well connected by public transport to the rest of Valencia. In the past it was a working-class area but it almost destroyed several times by flooding of the Turia river before it was was re-channeled and the old bed was turned in to the Turia Park. Thanks to this environmental modifications the area has been the subject of an urbanist construction that made it look less traditionally European with wider roads and bigger blocks. Most of the main driving arteries of Valencia go through La Saidia, for better or for worse. If you are someone who enjoys driving you will appreciate the layout of the district and ease of access, but if you are someone who prefers getting lost in winding roads you won’t find much of that in this area.
This district is mostly residential with large municipal parks and a sport complex. Prices in the area are mid-range and seem to have stabilised as El Saidia has as many fans as it has detractors.
El Pla del Real: the greenest area in Valencia
This is where Valencia’s football stadium Mestalla is located. It’s an area renown for its green spaces. There are four neighbourhoods in this district: Exposicio, Mestalla, Jaume Roig and Ciutat Universitaria.
El Pla del Real is without a doubt the greenest part of Valencia, as well as the one with the largest number of university students. The main campus of the popular University of Valencia is located in this area and that shows in the amenities. There are many pubs and casual cafes to be found, most family friendly, as well as an incredible number of green spaces both large and small. It’s not unusual to see groups of people practising yoga or aero-boxing in one of the parks or come across joggers and dog walkers at all times of the day, even when it gets dark. There is even a horse-riding club in El Pla del Real. The area has a higher-than-usual population of English, French and German speakers due to the foreign students, and thanks to them you can find a cinema that shows all films with no Spanish dubbing.
The area is quite upscale and residential, and there are many new-builds. Because of the short-lets and room-sharing of the university students, prices tend to be high and family homes could be harder to find. However, the search could be worth it as this is one place where you could find a house instead of a flat.
L’Olivereta: the working-class area
L’Olivereta is probably the only district in Valencia that has kept it’s early and mid 20th century demographic without many changes. There are five neighbourhoods in this district: Nou Moles, Soternes, Tres Forques, La Fuensanta and La Llum.
This district is a true mishmash of history, housing and amenities. Some areas (such as Nou Moles or Tres Forques) have many government buildings, sports facilities and schools, while others (like Sauternes) don’t have any at all, not even a local park. In the area there are many places of interest including the Valencian History Museum, the Central Library and a market that might not be as breathtaking as the one in Ciutat Vella but it’s every bit as popular. The buildings are a mix of old and new, short and high, social housing and private residences, including low-rise houses with gardens and 60’s blocks of flats with no balconies.
The area is very popular with locals, migrants from other parts of Spain and Latin American immigrants; particularly families. In general the prices in L’Olivereta are very affordable, which makes it a popular area where stock moves very fast. Connections to the rest of Valencia are among the best with over 20 bus lines, the metro and many important road connections. All parts are different and not all buildings are worth the same, so it’s always best to see housing options in person. L’Olivereta is not an area most non-Latin expats consider, but it might be worth a second look if you are after a more immersive experience.
Patraix: the self-contained district
There are five neighbourhoods in this district: Patraix, Sant Isidre, Vara de Quart, Safranar and Favara.
Patraix is one of those places that doesn’t seem to stand out but manages to make locals feel extremely proud of it. It is in close proximity of shopping centres and some larger stores, but for most people it is an area they don’t visit unless they are passing through on they’re way to somewhere else. In the past decade the area has seen large redevelopments that have pushed it towards a more suburban style of hosing. However, with the economic crisis Spain went through some of these developments were left unfinished. These developments have revitalised local business and now there are many owner-operated restaurants, cafes, clothes stores and food shops all over the district. A person could do all of their shopping locally on foot, if they were so inclined. Patraix used to be one of the orchard areas and that village feeling can still be found in the older and younger generations. During Fallas the area doesn’t particularly stand out, but the locals have well organised and family-friendly celebrations that are open to everyone.
Patraix is a largely residential area, with a mostly working class and commuting population. Many families live here because prices are affordable, there are many schools and connections to the centre of the city are good with one metro station, one train station and many buses.
Jesus: the music centre of Valencia
Jesus is an usually forgotten area full of surprises, with a typical Spanish atmosphere. There are five neighbourhoods in this district: La Raiosa, L’Hort de Senabre, La Creu Coberta, San Marcelino and Cami Real.
Jesus is probably not the most exciting district of Valencia at first sight but there is much more to it than it seems. Music lovers will love Jesus with its music society that includes a symphonic band, a youth groups, a chorus, a strings orchestra and a school. The society takes active part in Fallas festivities as well as the local festivities in September performing formal music concerts and playing informally on the roads. A few years ago a cultural centre was opened with a large theatre, music rooms, exhibition rooms and a large libraries. Footballs fans can support one (or both) of the local football teams who share the San Marcelino stadium. Jesus also has a small but popular market and is currently going through a large redevelopment process as the abandoned military posts is being turned into a large park and residential properties.
Jesus is a good option for those looking for a relaxed atmosphere and good connections to and out of Valencia. There are many bus lines as well as metro and train stations, quite unusual for a district that is not central. The area is a mix of houses and mid-height buildings between 5 and 8 levels high. Prices in Jesus are affordable, but they go up for housing near the metro and train stations.
Quatre Carreres: the most photogenic area
From traditional water fountains to the modern City of Arts and Sciences, if you’ve seen a lovely photograph of Valencia that is not Ciutat Vella, chances are it was taken in Quatre Carreres. There are seven neighbourhoods in this district: Monteolivete, En Corts, Malilla, Fuente de San Luis, Na Rovella, La Punta and Ciudad de la Artes y las Ciencias.
Even those who know next to nothing about Valencia have heard about the City of Arts and Sciences, or at least seen it in during one of the many sports or cultural events that have taken place in or around it during the past 15 years. The reputation is well deserved as it is architecturally beautiful, and it boasts museums, an aquarium, the tallest opera house in Europe and among other things, a garden that turns into an open-air disco at night. Those who enjoy the arts will also be able to take advantage of the Spanish branch of the Berklee College of Music. And those who like languages can find the Official School of Languages here, where Spanish for English speakers is taught. Quatre Carreres also retains the typical Valencian orchards and traditional countryside buildings. In the area there is also a popular basketball stadium with regular matches.
All of Quatre Carrers has very good transport connections, but prices vary wildly depending on location. Most of the district is between low- and mid-range when it comes to housing. However the areas near the City of Arts and Sciences can be among the most expensive in all of Valencia.
Poblados Maritimos: the old fishing neighbourhoods
Poblados Maritimos is the area that made Valencia a thriving business centre in the past, and it is now a popular tourist destination. There are five neighbourhoods in this district: El Grao, Cabanal-Canamelar, Malvarrosa, Betera and Nazaret.
Thousands of articles and even books have been written about Poblados Maritimos as in the past 40 years it has been the subject of almost revolutionary urban planning. Where old fishermen’s houses used to be now stand large renown international hotel chains and expensive restaurants. The area is now extremely popular with tourists, while only a few years ago people would avoid the area due to the heavy fish smell. Even though Poblados Maritimos has undergone development at a large scale, older traditional buildings can still be found and many are being brought back to their old glory as a way to keep the history of the city alive. Poblados Maritimos is truly a district of contrasts. Sport fans should enjoy the area as many international water-sports competitions take place in the area. And if you are brave enough to try yourself, the waters are very good for surfing and all kinds of rowing sports.
Housing prices are all over the spectrum, with some houses only the very rich can afford and some flats where low income families survive. The closeness to the beach and the many amenities are making this area more and more popular, and prices are slowly but surely going up.
Camins al Grau: the forgotten district
The call to fame for this area is without a doubt the City of Arts and Sciences, which is not even part of the district but right next to it in Quatre Carreres. There are five neighbourhoods in this district: Ayora, Albors, La Creu del Grau, Cami Fondo and Penya-Roja.
This district usually gets eclipsed by the neighbouring City of Arts and Sciences. Most people use it as a way to get there and pay little attention to the areas surrounding it. Truth is that Camins al Grau deserves to be considered as an interesting place out of its own merit regardless of the City of Arts and Sciences. The area used to be mostly working-class residential and with some students who went to the old university campus, slowly it is becoming more popular with middle and higher-income families, but it still keeps it’s relaxed suburban feel. It is located very near to the beach, and if you like leaving the city for quiet beaches, the road connections are among the best. There are many shops in the area, mostly concentrated in the shopping centres. And also a large public swimming pool.
Camins al Grau is mostly a relaxed residential area. Buildings are usually short, streets narrow and prices among the cheapest of all of Valencia. Main roads are wide without much traffic, but with regular bus services. Prices get higher the closer to get to the City of Arts and Sciences and neighbouring shopping centres.
Algiros: the residential area popular with students
Algiros is an orchard come working-class housing area come university campus. There are five neighbourhoods in this district: L’Illa Perduda, Ciutat Jardi, L’Amistat, La Bega Baixa and La Carrasca.
Algiros is one of those places that has a little bit of everything, but not a lot of anything. It is very close to the beach with many green spaces popular with runners, dog-walkers and students. During the day the residential part of the district has a quiet small town feel to it, while the campus is a hub of activity. Thanks to the presence of so many students, Algiros also has several nightlife hotspots. When it comes to shopping, there isn’t much beyond the shops that will provide residents with the day-to-day basics in the form of supermarkets and small owner-run local shops. Thanks to the campus there are always cultural and sporting events taking place and some of the university premises can be used by the general public. The district is very much divided in 3 sections: the South is the residential area, the middle is the campus and the North is mostly green space.
Because the area has a large university campus and is near the beach, it is extremely popular with students. However, unlike other popular student areas prices are mid-range in Algiros. Most building are relatively new builds as the area has had a resurgence over the past three decades, and mostly residential.
Benimaclet: the up and coming area
Benimaclet is the new hotspot of Valencia, taking the baton from Campanar. There are two neighbourhoods in this district: Benimaclet and Cami de Vera.
This district used to be covered in orchards, which still surround it, but slowly started being built and it has been gaining traction for a few decades now. It is the perfect mix of city and countryside and only 10 minutes away from the beach with the tram. In recent years some larger shops have been opened, including a shopping centre. However, Benimaclet still maintains a typical Spanish village feeling with the smell of orange blossoms during spring and readily available horchata during the hot summer. Being close to a campus makes Benimaclet popular with students, but unlike other student-heavy areas of Valencia, this one has developed day-time family-friendly activities (such as local Fallas groups) rather than a thriving nightlife. Thanks to this, the district is a mix of students, pensioners and young families. Benimaclet doesn’t only celebrate Fallas, but also Carnival.
Most buildings are old and low but in good condition, the city of Valencia takes pride in the good maintenance of its buildings. However, Cami de Vera is slowly but surely being covered by high modern buildings. Benimalcet is for now still quite affordable, but if the trend continues they could get as high as those in Ciutat Vella. The whole area is becoming popular with commuters who take advantage of the good and affordable links to the town centre.
Rascana: the untouched orchards
Rascana is the most traditional of all the central districts. It still maintains most of its orchards and most of its population speak the local language. There are three neighbourhoods in this district: Els Oriols, Torrefiel and Sant Llorenc.
Rascana was an old Arab town, that became a monastery town until the early 1800s when it finally became an independent town, to be later added to Valencia before a century has gone past. Despite its strange history it still retains an Arabic orchard structure. It is one of the largest districts in Valencia, but also one of the ones with the lowest number of inhabitants, with one neighbourhoods having less than 70 people according to the latest census. Els Oriols is the Valencian neighbourhood with the largest number of immigrants, most of them from Ecuador. It used to be an area where orchard workers lived, but now it has become a low-income working class area of commuters as the tram connections are very good and reliable and the roads are easy to drive. Football fans can attend Llevant UE’s matches at the Ciutat de Valencia stadium. And those who dare learn the local language (Valencian, which is very similar to Catalan) can take advantage of the Valencian Language Academy and only fully Valencian library in all of the Valencian Community.
Most of the district is still unbuilt with large orchards, and small urban centres house most of the inhabitants. Rascana is the ideal location in Valencia for those looking for affordable rural accommodation, but keep in mind that driving is a must.
Benicalap: where Fallas live
Benicalap was an Arab town that went through the typical 60’s redevelopment with a twist, instead of building concrete blocks a town for artists was created. There are two neighbourhoods in this district: Benicalap and Ciutat Fallera.
Both of Benicalap’s neighbourhoods are completely different from one another. Benicalap itself is a mostly residential area built around the old Arab town centre. There are trams, the metro and many popular cycle lanes that allow easy access to the centre of Valencia and the beach. However, bus services are limited to a few local services and only one that goes to central Valencia. The area has a large park as well as a market, and the new stadium of Valencia CF, Nou Mestalla, is located here. The other part of the district is taken by Ciutat Fallera. A neighbourhood created as a way to keep all Fallas artist workshops within the same place as a way of sharing resources and making commuting for artists easier. All the roads in Ciutat Fallera are named after important Fallas’ personalities and the residential area is taken over by mostly Fallas-related workers. Ciutat Fallera also houses the Fallas Museum where all previous winners are kept and displayed to the public.
The residential areas are very affordable considering the good public transport connections and closeness to the beach. Both the centres have a good selection of shops, large and small. The only negative point about living in Benicalap are the crowds that can take over the streets during Valencia football matches, but there are rarely any safety issues.
Poblados del Norte: traditionally old-fashioned Valencia
With a mostly ageing population, Poblados del Norte is the most old-fashioned area of Valencia. There are seven neighbourhoods in this district: Benifaraig, Pueblo Nuevo, Carpesa, Casas de Barcena, Mahuella, Masarrochos and Borboto.
Poblados del Norte is a very large district with very few inhabitants. The area is mostly rural with many producing orchards and very near the coast. Each of the seven neighbourhoods celebrates Fallas as well as their own local festivities. If you like popular Spanish celebrations that take over the streets, Poblados del Norte is the perfect place for you. Population numbers have slowly been increasing in the past decades, mostly due to recent government investments in transport links and sporting facilities. There are now several bus lines that serve the area, as well as the metro. As for sports there is a modern multi-sports facility with the only hockey field of Valencia. As owners age and the younger generations decide to sell the orchards, the land is slowly being used to build industrial states that are helping regenerate the population of the area and bringing more young people and families.
Most of the Poblados del Norte’s population is spread around and there’s only one real town centre: Mahuella. Prices are quite hard to compare to other areas, as housing is so different. When it comes to Mahuella, houses and flats are very affordable and among the cheapest in the city. The orchard ‘caserios’ are averaged-priced.
Poblados del Oeste: the international business centre
Poblados del Oeste is the place most business people visit when they go to Valencia. There are two neighbourhoods in this district: Benimamet and Beniferri.
Poblados del Oeste is the main business tourism area of Valencia. The Fair Centre and the Convention Centre are both located here, and both among the most important in Europe and the world. The Fair Centre is home to many annual professional fairs as well as some open to the general public included some dedicated to manga, games and toys, youth activities, beauty, hobbies, weddings and dogs. The area is also the home of the Velodrom, where international cycling competitions take place, as well as many concerts and other sporting events. Thanks to the Fair and Convention Centres the area has become heavy in professional tourism services. There are many international hotels, a casino and short-term let offices, as well as everything locals need for day-to-day living.
The district is right in between the airport and the city centre, at only 3 miles from each with very good connections, including the metro. Because of this, it is ideal for those who travel regularly but still need to go to central Valencia. The area is a contrast of some of the highest buildings in Valencia and low houses with gardens, and prices vary from the very affordable to the almost ridiculous. If your heart is set in Poblados del Oeste, shop around.
Poblados del Sur: the home of paella
Poblados is the place Valencians go for a bit of untouched nature. There are eight neighbourhoods in this district: Horno de Alcedo, Castellar-Oliveral, Pinedo, El Saler, El Palmar, El Perellonet, La Torre and Faitanar.
Poblados de Sur is home to the largest lake in Spain, Albufera, with a marshes area mostly used in the past as rice paddies, and now almost completely returned to its original natural state thanks to the whole area being designated a natural park due of protection. However, rice is still a large part of the local economy, alongside fishing. This combination of local products allowed the development of what is probably the most popular Spanish dish: paella. The beaches are sandy and with dunes, which provide a very different experience to the city centre beaches of Malvarosa and Les Arenes and very popular with the locals who will travel from central Valencia to enjoy less crowded beaches. The natural areas have woodland sections with a variety of evergreens, and the whole district is a favourite among hikers and sports personalities, particularly El Saler area. There is also a large industrial presence centred in a number of industrial states.
Connections to the area are extremely good for drivers but lacking when it comes to public transport, with only a few bus services serving the town centres. Most of the district is rural with typical ‘caserios’ and the town centres have mid-hight buildings. Prices vary depending on whether the target market is local working families or foreigners looking for holiday homes.