Are you considering a summer vacation or a short-stay winter break in Spain’s third-largest city? In this blog, we’ve put together a list of six of the best places where to stay in Valencia at any time of the year. To help you make the most of this truly mesmerising city.
When you choose to stay in Valencia, you can spend your days relaxing on the beaches or visiting the city’s sights and monuments.
You can immerse yourself in its vibrant, laid back lifestyle and culture. Enjoy the best of Spanish Mediterranean cuisine with Valencia’s famous rice dishes. And party the nights away at the many fiestas and festivals held year-round.
Read on, for our take on six of the best places to stay in Valencia, winter or summer.
Where to Stay in Valencia: Best Areas
1. Ciutat Vella, best place to stay in Valencia for first time visitors
Located on the Spanish Mediterranean coast, Valencia has over 300 days a year of warm summers and mild winters. The city is divided into 19 administrative districts, each divided into quarters. Ciutat Vella is one such district and the historic old town area of the city.
With a history dating back over 2000 years to Roman times, there is plenty to discover in the old town.
Immerse yourself in the culture and lifestyle of local Valencians as you stroll the narrow cobbled streets and alleyways. Admire some of Valencia’s oldest architecture, and stop for a Spanish coffee on one of the bustling public squares.
Although Valencia city is well served by a clean, reliable public transport system of taxis, buses, metro and trains, Ciutat Vella is one area that really should be explored on foot or by cycle.
Around the area, you will find Valencia Cathedral. Built in the 13th century it was a one-time temple, then a mosque before becoming a church.
Standing on its large impressive square with its intriguing, varied architectural styles, it also houses the city’s oldest museum, with works from Goya and Maella.
While here, take some time out on the square with its numerous fountains. And climb the 200 plus steps up the Miguelete Tower for some stunning views of the city. You will also find the Silk Exchange (Lonja de la Seda) close by.
With Gothic buildings dating from the late 1400s, it is a UNESCO world heritage site.
The centuries-old Central Market (Mercado Central) is also nearby. Primarily a produce market of some 300 stalls, a visit is highly recommended, even if just to get a first-hand insight into the daily life of local Valencians.
The building’s construction could also be of interest. It is a mix of intricate wrought ironwork, glass and ceramics with a 30m high glass dome.
Around the El Carme neighbourhood of Ciutat Vella, you will find a variety of other historic buildings and monuments.
Look out for the defensive 14th century towers Torres de Serranos and Torres de Quart. The Valencian Institute of Modern Art. The old home and now museum of Spanish artist José Benlliure, and the Church of Carmen.
Busy during the daytime with a good selection of shops, cafes, supermarkets and local markets, it is also one of the most popular neighbourhoods for nightlife.
As day turns into night, singles, couples and groups of all ages arrive, to enjoy the many café/bars, restaurants and clubs around the area.
Choose the El Pilar neighbourhood if you want to be central in Ciutat Vella. It is a short walk from the old town, and with the Angel Guimera metro station close by, it tends to be a little quieter during the evenings than El Carme.
Other places of interest in the Ciutat Vella district include:
- The Santo Domingo Church
- The San Juan del Hospital Church
- The Glorieta Gardens
- The Parterre Park
- The Parque de la Cultura
- The Town Hall
- The València Museum of Enlightenment And Modernity, and the Courthouse
Accommodation in all neighbourhoods of Ciutat Vella is reasonable, with Airbnb, hostels, guesthouses, apartments, boutique and high-end hotels and villas.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN CIUTAT VELLA
2. Extramurs, great location, shopping, and well-priced accommodation
In the early 20th century, with an increasing population living in Valencia, it was decided to expand outside the city walls. District 3, south of Campanar, and with Eixample and the city centre to the east, was the chosen area.
Most of Extramurs property was built between 1900 – 1960 and comprised various styles. It is a thriving residential and commercial district, with a mixed population of well-heeled and working-class residents.
Shopping centres, leisure facilities and hotels; colourful cafes, regional and international restaurants, trendy cocktail bars, pubs, clubs, schools and hospitals, plus lots of green open space, make Extramurs one of the most popular places in Valencia for house hunting.
With its attractive and well-priced accommodation, it is also an area that has become an increasingly popular base for thousands of the two-million people who arrive to explore Valencia every year.
It is not particularly well blessed with sites to visit being a residential area, but this is compensated for with its excellent bus and metro system, which will have you in the old town area in minutes. It is also home to Valencia’s central rail station.
The few places of interest in the area include Finca Roja, a large apartment block of over 370 apartments.
Built in the early 1930s, it is a block of social housing financed by the Valencia council to provide living accommodation for the many middle-class machinists and engineers who worked in the factories on the city’s outskirts.
The name, Finca Roja, translates to English as Red Estate. Red, being the colour of the bricks used to construct the complex.
Visit the Garden of the Hesperides, a pleasant open space with plantings of several different species of citrus trees.
Close by you can visit Valencia University’s attractive botanic gardens at Quart 80, founded in 1567. While there, you can peruse its Herbarium of over 10,000 preserved plants dating back to the Renaissance.
For getting back and fore, the metro from Guimera metro station will see you at the old town in just three stops, alighting at Colon station.
For a little evening socialising, there are some excellent tapas bars, local and international restaurants and expat and Spanish bars to enjoy a pleasant evening with like-minded people.
Choosing Extramurs for your stay in Valencia, accommodation is plentiful and competitively priced, with private lets, apartments, houses, and B&Bs, and a selection of attractively priced hotels.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN VALENCIA IN EXTRAMURS
3. Ruzafa, a buzzing area with bohemian vibe and nightlife
Although located just south of the old town, the district of Ruzafa could be in another world.
A somewhat rundown area of the city just 15 years ago, it has been transformed by its residents into a bohemian style area of arts and crafts workshops and stores, local businesses and artisan studios.
Now it is one of the most favoured areas in the city to live, and popular with visitors choosing where to stay in Valencia.
Gastronomy has played a significant part in the rebirth of Ruzafa, with some of Valencia’s top chefs opening new ventures in the district and popular international eateries offering the best of Asian, Italian, Mexican and Indian cuisine.
Craft breweries have established themselves to service the increasing number of cafes and restaurants with popular artisan beers and local wines. While in contrast, local bakeries provide a mouth-watering selection of favourite cakes, pastries and savouries.
Although not particularly blessed with historic architecture and monuments, Ruzafa generates its own vibe, not found in other city districts.
If you’ve chosen Ruzafa as your choice of where to stay in Valencia, then put a day aside to tour the area on foot, to get a genuine feel for what makes this district so different.
If your thing is retro-fashion, you will find clothing, jewellery, and accessories tucked away in the many vintage boutiques.
If you’re seeking a unique piece of pottery or artwork, explore the small independent galleries and craft shops for those one-off souvenirs or mementoes. Visit the local market, the central hub and gathering point for locals and visitors alike.
Then, explore more pleasant streets and alleys, where you will find buildings in pleasing pastel colours of the rainbow and an array of street art and murals.
For a bit of respite, stop off at one of the many café/bars for a filled baguette, tortilla or tapas plate. To be enjoyed while you watch the comings and goings of the local shop and office workers.
In the evening, you can treat yourself to a little fine dining at Canalla Bistro run by Ruzafa’s own Michelin starred chef Ricard Camarena, or at one of the many excellent local restaurants serving a range of popular regional dishes.
Accommodation for your stay in Valencia around Ruzafa is plentiful, with hostels, Airbnb, self-catering apartments, guesthouses, 5-star villas and boutique hotels.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN RUZAFA
4. Quatre Carreres, where to stay in Valencia close to Ciudad de las Artes
Located south of L’Eixample, Quatre Carreres, a one-time rural and agricultural area up to the late 19th century, has grown into one of Valencia’s most modern visitor attractions for the whole family. Thanks in no small part to Ciudad de las Artes, translating to City of the Arts.
After a massive flood in 1957, part of the River Turia running through the district was diverted, and the old river bed turned into a sizeable sunken park and garden.
During the 1970s, work began on improving the district’s infrastructure with an extensive rail goods yard being constructed and a dual carriageway (CV-500) running through the area.
A large urbanisation project was also undertaken to provide affordable homes for an increasing number of residents.
In the 1990s, a new hospital was built, an extensive shopping and leisure complex completed, new hotels went up, and a start was made on Ciudad de las Artes.
The first bricks were laid for this futuristic complex on the southeast area of the river bed. It comprises six structures (hence the ‘City’ in the title) and two bridges.
Designed by Félix Candela and Santiago Calatrava, work began in 1996. With the first innovative building, L’Hemisfèric, an IMAX Cinema, planetarium and laserium, opening in 1998.
In 2000, the Museum de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe opened. Built in the shape of a whale, it is an interactive science museum on three floors.
In 2001 L’Umbracle opened, featuring a fabulous landscaped walk highlighting Valencia’s indigenous plant species, and the Walk of the Sculptures, an outdoor gallery of the work of sculptors from around the world.
In 2003 L’Oceanogràfic was opened. The largest open-air aquatic complex in Europe, it covers 110,000 square meters and uses 42-million litres of recirculated and filtered water.
Each building in the complex represents different areas and environments from the Mediterranean to wetlands and tropical seas, to the Red Sea and the Arctic.
2005 saw the opening of Palau de Les Arts Reina Sofía. A cultural centre for music and the performing arts, it is surrounded by 87,000 square metres of ornamental pools and landscaping, and over 10,000 metres of walking trails.
In 2007 the first bridge was opened. Montolivet Bridge utilises old roadway and new construction to cross the old dry riverbed.
In 2008 the second bridge opened. Assut de l’Or Bridge connects with Minorca Street on the south side and also crosses the dry riverbed. Its main central tower reaches 125 metres high and is the highest point in Valencia.
Finally, in 2009 the last piece of the current complex was opened. L’Àgora is a major concert and sporting venue holding live performances, concerts, sports events, exhibitions and conventions.
Projects to further increase the complex are currently in the pipeline.
For the evenings, the area has an excellent selection of local and international restaurants. You can enjoy a Valencian paella, Fideuà, fresh fish and noodles, or All i pebre, eel and potato stew simmered in a garlic, paprika and almond sauce.
Accommodation is good in all sectors, from self-catering to 5-star luxury. Best of all, if you choose Quatre Carreres for your stay in Valencia, you are just a five-minute walk from Ruzafa and the Gran Via area, and a pleasant 20-minute stroll from the old town.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN VALENCIA IN QUATRE CARRERES
- ($$) NH Valencia Las Artes
- ($$) Hotel Valencia Oceanic Managed by Melia Hotels International
- ($) NH Valencia las Ciencias
5. La Zaidia – Benimaclet, where to stay in Valencia on a budget
Bordered by Benimaclet in the north, Zaidia is another rural borough that initially lay outside the old city walls, and is named after an ancient Moorish palace.
Unfortunately, hundreds of residents lost their lives in the floods of 1957, but the tragedy spurred the authorities on to re-route the river, and begin a period of significant development in the area.
Today, with five neighbourhoods and a population of over 50,000, it is connected to the ancient town area (Ciutat Vella) by four old bridges. The Trinitat, Serranos, San José and Fuste bridges.
A pleasant, relaxed area to base yourself for a stay in Valencia, La Zaidia has several attractive parks such as the Jardines del Real, the Marchalenes City Park and the Turia Gardens.
One of Spain’s largest municipal parks, Turia Gardens stretches for over 9km of lush green open space.
All the parks are full of trees, shrubs, bubbling fountains, colourful flower beds, birds and wildlife where you can enjoy a little relaxing downtime from all the hectic sightseeing.
Alongside Turia Gardens, you will also find the old Valencia railway station circa the 1890s. Since 1995 it has been used as a police station. Behind the station is the Pont de Fusta tram stop, which will transport you to the local beach.
Along with the interesting architecture of the area, you will find an old convent (El Convento de la Trinidad) and the Museum of Fine Arts.
The area is well served by all the facilities you would expect in a popular residential district, including shopping centres, cafes, bars and restaurants.
Just to the southwest of La Zaidía lies the pretty neighbourhood of Benimaclet.
Becoming a part of Valencia City in 1972, it is a picturesque, relaxed area of narrow streets, low-rise buildings and properties decorated with bright ceramic tiles.
However, don’t be fooled by its outer village façade. A substantial percentage of Benimaclet’s residents are mature students, young business people and expats who have chosen this area to stay in Valencia.
They add a youthful, modern vibe to the place that can be found in the busy cafes, bars and restaurants.
Between both districts, visitor accommodation is plentiful in all sectors, with prices tending to be lower than in the central city areas. The area is also well served by bus, tram and metro services.
Being midway between Ciutat Vella and the beach, whether you want a day of sea and sand, or an evening dining in the city, both can be quickly and easily reached.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN LA ZAIDIA – BINIMACLET
6. El Cabanyal – Malvarrosa, where to stay in Valencia near the beach
If your idea of paradise is an upmarket bucket and spade holiday, it doesn’t get much better than the surrounding areas and beautiful beaches of El Cabanyal (Las Arenas) and Playa Malvarrosa.
Starting close to the marina, the pristine fine golden sand beach of El Cabanyal is 200 metres wide and stretches as far as the eye can see along the front.
A gentle slope into the blue Mediterranean, and lifeguards on duty during the season, make it very child friendly. It is also well equipped to help those with mobility issues, with wood boardwalks stretching down to the sea.
The beach has plenty of sunbeds and parasols for hire, with on-the-beach bars selling snacks, drinks, fresh juicy melon and other sunshine must-haves.
Along the wide, paved, palm tree lined promenade are luxury hotels, villas, souvenir shops, bars, restaurants and exclusive beach clubs.
Even if you are staying in one of the complexes around the marina or beachfront, the residential area of El Cabanyal cries out to be discovered.
It is a neighbourhood of narrow streets and alleyways, with colourful two-storey fishermen’s cottages and friendly local cafes, shops, and bars to be explored by visiting tourists.
That said, El Cabanyal is also moving with the times. Its old 1920s cinema has reopened as a cultural centre hosting concerts, the performing arts and business conferences.
With increasing visitor numbers, new restaurants are also opening, offering the best of regional and national cuisine. Many of them providing live entertainment while you dine.
If you want a change of scenery, a walk along the wide beachfront walkway will bring you to Valencia’s most famous beach. Being close to the centre, Playa Malvarrosa is the favourite for residents, especially during weekends.
An extension of the beaches that begin with El Cabanyal close to the marina, it continues the vast expanse of golden sand and stretches for over 2km along the coast.
Playa Malvarrosa is another scrupulously clean, disabled friendly beach. It has plenty of sunbeds and shades, water sports of all kinds, beach volleyball courts and a host of other activities ideal for the whole family.
The wide palm-lined promenade to the rear of the beach is full of hotels, villas, bars and restaurants with touristy shops selling towels and beachwear, jewellery and souvenirs.
In fact, if you choose Playa Malvarrosa for your beach holiday in Valencia, you have all you need locally.
Nonetheless, for a bit of respite from the hot summer sun, walk back from the beach, here you will find pleasant gardens, local shops and supermarkets and some excellent bars and restaurants that are a little easier on the pocket.
The evenings have something for everybody, from a-la-carte eateries to fast-food takeaways. If you like busy and buzzing, stay around the marina/beachfront areas, where bars are open until the early hours.
If you prefer more laid-back family bars, look around the areas to the rear of the beach line.
Accommodation around both areas is excellent. Beachfront lodgings tend to be more expensive than second or third-tier establishments, so if you’re happy with a pleasant ten or fifteen-minute stroll to the beach in the morning sunshine, savings can be considerable for families on a budget.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN EL CABANYAL – MALVARROSA
Finally, the Spanish love to party, and Valencia is no different. Throughout the year, various areas of Valencia enjoy celebrations and fiestas for saints days, holy days, local traditions and anything else they can think of for a knees-up.
The big one in Valencia though, is Las Fallas, which runs from the 15th to 19th March and attracts visitors from around the world. It is a fiesta of street parades, fireworks, eating, drinking, and the burning of puppet effigies in the streets like you won’t find anywhere else.
So, if you’re looking for where to stay in Valencia to enjoy this celebratory spectacular, early booking is highly recommended.