Let’s walk along the streets of El Cabanyal, a district in Valencia, Spain, which has preserved the spirit of fishermen and gypsies.
Read also: 41 things to do in Valencia
An insider view
First off, what cities do you think of when you hear about Spain?
You must have heard many recommendations of must-see places in Spain before, and let me guess – the city of Valencia was always at the bottom of these lists, right?
However, already living in Valencia and having visited dozens of cities in Spain, I understand that this is a huge mistake. Instead, we need more people to know about the Valencia region and its varied districts, such as El Cabanyal.
After four visits, I ended up in Valencia by accident, against all recommendations. However, whenever I visited Valencia, I discovered the city from new and surprisingly exciting vantage points, and I always wanted to return. So, having come here for the fourth time, I could not resist and stayed here to live.
So, here comes El Cabanyal.
On the last visit to Valencia, I settled in this district to be closer to the sea, thinking this is a typical tourist place with hotels and trendy bars. Instead, I found myself in the epicenter of events of city life. The district was not full of hotels but of cozy, colorful houses with people who followed their traditions and culture.
To understand this area, you need to know its history, which is relatively short.
The story of El Cabanyal
The Cabanyal district (also known as Cabañal) is Valencia’s best-known coastal area for a relaxing pastime. The site initially housed rows of fishermen’s cabins.
The city authorities continually intended to build in this coastal area with modern shopping centers, hotels, and office buildings. However, the city inhabitants always fought to preserve the district’s authenticity.
The old-timers of Cabanyal do not often leave their little district; they have their habits, rituals, and bars where they gather for breakfast, first for a cup of Spanish coffee, and by noon they switch to beer, and sometimes vice versa. They are accustomed to travelers and their tastes since many apartments are short-term rentals here, and they have been able to successfully defend the area against the government and developers.
Also, the Cabañal area was where the famous Spanish painter Joaquín Sorolla liked to create his pictures. The simple life of fishing families inspired him, with children carelessly frolicking on the beach, along with colorful gypsy women.
Malvarrosa beach and Las Arenas hotel area.
How to get from the city center:
The best way to get here is by the Valencia metro. On the blue line, get off at the Dr. Lluch station. On the green line, get off at the Las Arenas station. On the purple metro line, get off at the Neptu station.
1. The Malvarrosa beach
The beach is wide and long, so there is enough space for everyone. Its length is more than 3 kilometers, and its width is almost 135 meters. Unfortunately, the sea is a bit shallow.
Water temperature: Winter 58°F (14.6°C), Spring 61.16°F (16.2°C), Summer 76.1°F (24.5°C), Autumn 71.6°F (22.0°C).
2. Walk in the labyrinths of streets among colorful houses and graffiti
Follow one of the central streets – Calle Eugenia Viñes, where many examples of typical Valencian buildings have been preserved. If you want to test your bravery, you can walk past the gypsy houses, but better to do so during daylight and at a safe distance.
3. Watch the native inhabitants of the area in a street bar
Seeing how the natives greet each other and converse is a spectacle in and of itself. Join in, after all preserving live conversation beats texting any day of the week.
4. Visit the local market
You can find fresh seafood and fruit at the famous regional market – Mercado del Cabanyal.
Helpful tip Choose the longest line – this is a sign of the freshest products and kindest sellers. I recommend trying local products such as olives, jamón, and cheese.
5. Check out the Museum of Rice
Explore the history and production methods of Valencia’s main cereal crop.
6. Watch the sunset on the beach
If you are spending an evening on the beach in Valencia, the best place to watch the sunset is the Port of Valencia. The best view of the setting sun is from the observation deck.
Here you can enjoy the views of the endless Mediterranean Sea on one side and moored boats on the other. As the sun slowly sets behind the residential buildings of the Cabañal area, you can watch how the water changes its shades, and the city turns into a nightly celebration of life.
7. At night
Fábrica del hielo. In this refurbished space, the spirit of Berlin parties and outrageous hipsterism seem to combine, and a gastronomic, theatrical, and musical child is born. This is a great place to end the evening, and there is always live music, along with trendy Spanish people.
If you want to dance until the morning, continue to Valencia’s most famous disco bar – Marina Beach. This entertainment club has a pool, dance floor, and restaurants.
Where to eat in Cabanyal, Valencia
- La Paca
Features lush potato tortillas with various fillings – spicy sausages, spinach, zucchini, mushrooms, and a vegan version of the tortilla, without eggs.
- Casa Montaña
A restaurant with a hundred-year history. Patatas bravas, croquettes, and mussels are served here.
- La Pepica
Hemingway himself ate paella here. You should try it too.
- Casa Carmela
It is a magnificent place to taste paella.
It is a trendy place with different restaurants in trailers. You can find tapas, snacks, alcohol, and coffee all in a friendly atmosphere. The entrance is free and no reservation is required.
- In the late afternoon, you can drop by for a glass of Valencian vermouth at this bar.
Hello, my name is Nadia. I usually write about traveling (there are so many places to fit all the lifestyles), relocation (finding a job overseas or moving without losing an income), and living in a foreign country (adapting to a different culture and mentality).