Where to stay in Valencia
Did you know that Valencia is the third biggest city in Spain? Thus, Valencia comes directly after Barcelona, with Madrid being the first when considering inhabitants. Naturally, the city is divided into different quarters, which all have their benefits. Whether you want to live in the historical center of El Carmen, or you prefer to live close to the beach, you will find your best place to stay in Valencia, Spain.
El Carmen – the picturesque old town
Winding narrow roads, shining streetlights, historical buildings and a vibrant atmosphere. This is what makes El Carme the place where to stay in Valencia. Many restaurants and bars add to the lively feeling you get there and although it buzzes with life, you can find some quiet streets to take a rest from all the hustle and bustle. To live in El Carmen feels very special – the dreamy and romantic setting affects your mood straight away and you feel as if you are really on a holiday, away from all the everyday life’s struggles.
If you want to catch that special feeling but don’t want to spend all your holiday money on accommodation, the HolaHotel Del Carmen might be a good option for you. It is in the middle of everything – the nightlife, the most interesting sights and the many restaurants. If you don’t want to go out for food, you can dine at the 24-hour restaurant of the hotel. The hotel has a rooftop sun terrace with a hot tub and a pool and a nice view of the city form the rooftop.
If you want to live in style, you should choose the Caro Hotel, a luxury boutique hotel that combines original features with contemporary design touches. The Gothic arches, medieval staircases and Arabic stonework will make you feel as if you have travelled back in time. But don’t worry, the hotel is equipped in a very modern way, so you won’t have to do without a flat-screen TV, air conditioning and sound proofed walls.
El Cabanyal – the sea area
If you want to feel like a local and to escape the touristy places of Valencia, you should go for El Cabanyal. The quarter sits directly behind the Las Arenas beach. You can find nice buildings with tiled facades designed in a modernist style while walking around. As well, you will find authentic Valencian paella in one of the quarter’s many restaurants.
At 4-5 pm each weekday, the port of the district turns into a fish market, which is called La Lonja de Pescado. To find it, you just have to follow the fishy smell. Once you have reached it, you can buy fish directly from the fishermen, like a local.
The Hotel Balandret is a good option where to stay in Valencia. It has a brilliant service, nice and airy rooms and a direct view of the sea. The metro station is only five minutes walking time away, and of course, the beach is only a short walk away, so you can enjoy your swim in the Mediterranean Sea without much effort.
The Gabbeach Hotel Boutique is directly by the sea as well and has a very nice breakfast and comfortable rooms. If you are on a romantic holiday, you should go for the sea view suite!
L’Eixample – the urban expansion
Translated from Catalan, the name of the district means “The widening” or “urban expansion”. And this is exactly how the district developed, as an extension to the old city. Here, you can do all that shopping that you didn’t have time for at home. The main shopping street, the Calle de Colón, has many international shops, and if you go a bit more south, you can find designer boutiques and pricey restaurants.
The main station, the Estacion del Nord, can be found as well in this quarter. With La Gran Via and Ruzafa, L’Eixample includes two of the main areas for going out and enjoying nightlife.
La Gran Via or Canovas – classy and exclusive area
Locals often refer to the Gran Via as the Canovas. The reason for this is the Plaza de Cánovas del Castillo, the unofficial entrance to the neighborhood. It is located very close to the Parque del Turia. The Gran Via barrio is a very exclusive quarter, with many classy old buildings, shady streets and wonderful restaurants. This makes it one of the best places to stay in Valencia, Spain.
Although the layout of the city is quite logical, with streets set up in a grid, you can get lost in the many relatively look-alike streets. However, this is not a problem, since it gives you more time to admire the upscale architecture.
Although it has a very intense nightlife, you will not see bars and restaurants packed with hipsters in La Gran Via. The atmosphere is more mature than in other quarters like Ruzafa, and less alternative. This can be very refreshing from time to time.
It’s no surprise, that La Gran Via offers nice and comfortable hotels, like the Hotel Dimar with big and clean rooms and a central location. If you want to live in a manor house from the 19th century, you should choose the Hotel Hospes Palau de la Mar. The five star hotel has an own garden and a swimming pool; naturally is a bit on the pricey side.
Ruzafa – the alternative and creative area
Once being a rough part of town, Ruzafa is now the hipster place to be. A place for all the colorful and non-conformist characters to hang out and to create a vivid and unique neighborhood. Whether it is a secondhand store, a cupcake-bakery or an art gallery you are searching for – Ruzafa has it all. Add restaurants, bars and clubs to the scene, and you might get a good picture of what Ruzafa feels like. When it turns dark, it is the best place to party, so people from all over the city find their way to the quarter and enjoy a good night out.
If you wonder where to stay in Valencia, you should try out Ruzafa. Here you can find all kinds of accommodation, from very cheap youth hostels to upscale hotels.
The Petit Palace Ruzafa in Calle de Sueca, one of the main streets for enjoying restaurants and nightlife, has a very rich and tasty breakfast. The old building with the typical Valencian balconies makes it a special place to spend your time in Valencia. The Sohotel is very stylish and clean as well, with big rooms and a good service.
But you can find very nice apartments as well, if you want to cook your own dinner and have a bit more privacy. There are many portals offering accommodation, like Airbnb or booking.com.
How to get around in Valencia
So wherever you are staying, it will be no problem to get from one place to another. If you think, El Carmen is the best place to stay in Valencia, Spain, but Ruzafa is where you want to go out, no problem, there are various ways to go there in a short amount of time.
Valencia has a comfortable metro system with six different lines. It won’t lake you long to understand it, the plan is not very complicated and the metro is very useful to find your way to the airport or the harbor. A single ticket costs 1,50 Euros and the price for ten journeys is 7,20 so it is not too pricey to use the metro. However, keep in mind that metros only operate until 23:00 pm during the week and 23:30 pm during the weekend, so you have to choose a different option if you want to find your way around during the night.
A taxi might be your chosen alternative, since it will transport you directly to your destination and it offers a comfortable and safe journey. Admittedly, it is more expensive than buses and the metro, but it is a brilliant way of transport if you are looking for some comfort.
Taking a bus could be a nice way to find your destination if you want to see more of the city while travelling. The only downside is that stations are usually not announced, so you might have to ask the driver or other passengers for when to get off the bus. A single journey is only 1,50 Euros and all the mentioned quarters offer lots of bus stations, so you will always find a station near your accommodation.
If you want to be more independent, hiring a car, a bicycle, a Segway or walking is a good alternative. Hiring a car is only recommended when you want to travel outside Valencia. Using a car in the city will give you a hard time if you are not used to travel by car in a big city.
But walking and cycling are popular ways of getting around in Valencia, since its many parks offer some space for recreation. Being outside is highly recommended. The sun will warm your skin and you will be able to produce some vitamin D. So you will not only reach your destination, you will restore your health. Doesn’t sound fabulous?