Everything you need to know about spending a few days in Valencia's own Little Havana

What is this district by the sea?
Where gypsies sit amidst palm trees
So much beauty in these streets
Sure to sweep you off your feet

Tour the houses clad with tiles
So gorgeous, garish you will smile
With joy and wonder at their style

Fishermen built them for their wives
There to cherish all their lives
Each one a show of love and joy
Now Rita’s mission to destroy

Along these Calles, bright and charming
Her brown stripes grim and quite alarming
But still these houses shine like jewels
To knock them down, you’d be a fool

In March the Fallas burn at night
Fires to fill the streets with light
Music booms, firecrackers pop
The party never wants to stop

Semana Santa is the time
For Cabanyal to really shine
They drum in Easter with panache
Brass bands play, the pace is fast

The people are a charming mix
Look out the window, take your pick
They hail from Spain, Lahore and China
Proud and loyal, nowhere finer

Singing, clapping in the squares
Gitanos smile and sometimes stare
Emptying bins and filling trollies
Exchanging findings for their lolly

A place to swim, a place to fish
Al i Pebre their top dish Bacalhao, Fideu, Snails
Clochones, Sepia, Lobster tails

A market full of golden fruit
Gypsies in their leopard suits
Workers, walkers, grandmas, kids
Buying chickens, rabbits, squid

El Cabanyal is by the sea
You’ll find the waves, the salty breeze
Beyond the beach though, there’s much more
A chance to glimpse behind the door

A slice of history,
Rich and strong
Linger here and linger long

Valencia’s treasure,
Please don’t squander
Bring the people down to wander
And catch a glimpse of
Spain that’s real
Come here and you’re sure to feel

A place for all to holiday
El Cabanyal is here to stay

Aside

 Eat and Drink Cabanyal

Paella

Paella

Start the day with a Desayuno (breakfast) of tostada con tomato (tomato puree on toast) served with a coffee and a  fresh orange juice.

Order Almuerzo from 10.30am until 11.30 am. This is generally a filled bocadillo ( baguette) another coffee and a glass of wine or beer.

Wine comes in smaller measures here and is usually ordered with a snack. Beer is either a Cana – a glass of lager from the tap or a Tercio – a bottle.

Lunch or La Comida. Is the main meal. Look out for the Menu del  Dia – menu of the day –  displayed outside cafes and restaurants.

A typical menu includes three courses, bread, a glass of wine, beer or a soft drink and perhaps coffee too. Portions aren’t huge, but there’s plenty to satisfy your appetite and the bill will be anything from 7 to 12 euros a head.

Dishes range from paella, fried fish, a grilled chicken breast , a fillet of pork or perhaps a steak. A delicious fresh salad, perhaps a bowl of mussels and a pudding such as flan – Spanish crème caramel – make this into a meal nearly fit for Christmas dinner. Of course after all this food, everyone is in the mood for a sleep –the legendary siesta.

Food consumption eases up after lunch, but the bars around El Cabanyal still have tapas on offer.

Restaurants don’t start serving dinner until 8.30pm.

 

Seafood

Seafood

In El Cabanyal expect to find All y Pebre – a delicious dish made from peppers and eels, Pimientos Padron  – (roasted, salted green peppers) fried or grilled squid with lots of garlic and big slabs of tortilla. If you find yourself eating paella in the evening, you’re on the wrong track as Valencianos regard this as strictly a lunchtime dish.

Eating out is generally affordable and you can budget for £15 to £25 a day per person.

You can’t move for great places to eat in this convivial neighbourhood. Whether you’re looking for Valencia’s best tapas bar, a swish seaside café or a basic bodega, you’re in just the right place.

 

 


Casa Montana

Casa Montana

Casa Montana

Carrer de Josep Benlliure, 69

 

This Cabanyal  institution is a legend and has been in business since 1836. They serve a range of  heavenly wines, some stored enticingly in huge barrels behind the bar.

The menu features Valencian specialities as well as dishes from right across Spain and everything is excellent. You’ll find hams and cheeses, delectable Habas (beans), sizzling grilled peppers, fresh and delicious anchovies and  perfectly cooked Sepia(cuttlefish) on the wide menu.

 

Casa Montana is affordable and you can eat and drink well for around £20 a head.

 

 

Casa Montana interior

Casa Montana interior

 

 


Bodega De Pascuala

Bodega De Pascuala

Bodega La Pascuala

Carrer d’Eugenia Viñes 177

Monkey nut shells litter the floor and brandy bottles line the walls in this charming, atmospheric family run El Cabanyal favourite.

It’s famous for bocadillos as big as your arm and the
hearty menu del dia includes paella as a speciality.
Book  a table if you can and order paella in advance as there’s no guarantee of either.
Open from 9am to 4pm only, closed on Sundays

A three course menu del dia costs £8

 

Bodega De Pascuala

Bodega De Pascuala

 


Ca La Mar

Ca la Mar

Just y Vilar 19

Serving delicious, authentic Valencian food as well as the wonderful home-grown Turia beer, this bright, inviting bar is a vibrant addition to the local restaurant/bar scene.

As well as good inexpensive wines, they offer herbal infusions, delectable home-made cakes and more substantial main dishes at lunchtime. It’s a popular spot and one of El Cabanyal’s best bets for food, drink and fun.

 

Lunch for around £6

 


Bodega Lapeseta

Bodega Lapeseta

Bodega Lapeseta

Calle Cristo del Grao 16

Bohemian cool at bargain prices
in this lively and attractive bar.
Wonderful tortillas and tempting tapas
including interesting vegetarian options.
Lapeseta regularly hosts live bands and
stage concerts.

 

Eat and drink for £5

 

 

 


La Paca

La Paca

Bar Lapaca

Calle de Rosario 30

 

The sister to Lapeseta with the same variety of tapas and quirky interior, dished up with a warm welcome. It’s a cool hot spot but the clientele spans all ages.

 

Eat and drink for £5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Mayca's sunny welcome in Cafe Contigo

Mayca’s sunny welcome in Cafe Contigo

Cafe Contigo

Calle de la Reina 33

This bright and sparkly cafe is as cheerful and welcoming and as its  beaming, friendly owner

Maycu. Her healthy freshly-made salads feature tropical fruit and goats cheese

alongside a range of pastas and home-made burgers, sticky cakes, appetising

sandwiches and freshly squeezed juices. A book exchange and

occasional intercambio nights add to the inviting atmosphere of this likeable neighbourhood favourite.

 

 

 

 

 

 


La Maceta 01

La Mase

La Maceta

Calle Mediteraneo 22

Seaweed, tofu and mango enhance the intriguing flavours of tapas on offer in this vibrant bar/cafe. La Maceta’s open plan kitchen enables you to watch the  smiling chef invent the dish of the day, using ingredients freshly delivered from the Mercado del Cabanyal.
Maceta means plant pot in Spanish and you’ll see them effectively used as part of the delightful interior alongside retro plastic tablecloths and mismatched painted chairs.
The freshly prepared, eclectic menu reflects La Maceta’s vibrancy which spills out onto the sunny pavement, where the upbeat clientele gather from morning until late at night.

Lunch for 10 euros

 

 

 

 

 

 


La Fabrica is fun, functional and funky

La Fabrica is fun, functional and funky

La Fabrica

Calle Santo Cristo del Grao 14

Valenciano interior designer Emilio Gonzalve  creates and reconditions stylish industrial lights and furniture in his studio/garage in Barrio Carmen and sells them in this  striking bar. It’s as much emporium as eatery, although the food is  also a highlight.  Balcalhoa (cod) is the speciality amidst a range of quality tapas cooked up by Anna and Carlos, the friendly chef/front of house team. Funk, jazz and soul are on the menu on Thursdays nights.

Food and drink for around 15 euros

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Tasca Reina

Tasca Reina

 Tasca Reina

173 Calle de la Reina
Fresh fish and seafood by the kilo, Titaina, (El Cabanyal-style tuna ratatouille) and home-made hummus,  zingy vegetable pizza and spicy boquerones(anchovies) in a piquant tomato sauce are served with style in this new offering from the La Paca/La Peseta stable. Seafood tapas in a sunny, seaside setting. make a  sensational Sunday lunch or  late-night supper.

Food and drink for around 10 euros.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Nehuen Tasca

Nehuen Tasca

Nehuen Tasca

Calle Cristo del Grao 14

A full range of vegetarian tapas is served in this laid-back local favourite, opposite the Mercado del Grauh

 

Lunch for around £8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


La Mussola

La Mussola

La Mussola

Calle de la Barraca, 35

 

An atmospheric restaurant serving Spanish food mixed with French dishes at both lunch and dinner. At night, the four course menu on offer is hearty and refined and the cooking is skilled.

 

Dinner for £18, lunch for £12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Casa Guillermo


Casa Guillermo

Casa Guillermo

Calle del Progrés 15

Specialising in fresh, local anchovies, this famous bar/restaurant does a good selection of Valencian tapas and raciones.

It’s a pricier option but if you’re on a mission to find anchovies at their finest then this is the place to head for.

Dinner for £20

 

 

 

 

 


La Pepica

Paseo Neptuno 6

 

A seafront favourite, mainly because it’s the former haunt of Valencia devotee Ernest Hemingway. They serve paella and other hearty rice dishes in a laid-back but classic setting. The tiled interior is atmospheric and beautiful, authentic and charming – worth a look even if

you don’t eat here.

 

Around £25 a head

 

 


Bar Hermanos Haro

Bar Hermanos Haro

Bar Hermanos Haro

Calle de Columbretes 16

 

Popular, family run café bar, buzzing with local workers and a great spot for Almuerzo or a filling breakfast. Huge bocadillas filled with bacon and egg or tortilla.

 

Almuerzo for £4

 

 

 

 

 


La Otra Parte

Eugenia Vines

 

Cool, atmospheric laid-back bar,  opposite  the sea with a stylish interior and an interesting range of  tapas including good vegetarian choices and a delicious hummous platter

 

Dinner for £15

 

 


El Mercado bar 02

El Mercado Bar

Bar Mercado

Centro Mercado Cabanyal

Bustling market bar selling hearty, delicious, traditional tapas and good, strong coffee. Calamares filled bocadillo and freshly squeezed orange juice are on the menu alongside a top notch classically British egg and bacon sandwich – just the ticket if you’re feeling homesick.

Breakfast for 4 Euros
 

 

 


Casa Calabuig

Casa Calabuig

Casa Calabuig

Avenida del Puerto 336
Famous bar and café  founded in 1903 that serves  traditional food in its beautiful, original modernista interior, handy for the port.

 

Lunch for £9

 

 

 


La Regadera Cultural Association

Calle Progreso 23

A welcoming community restaurant offering exclusively vegan food in a bohemian chic environment. Locals must join the association in order to eat in this delightful spot but tourists can just visit to enjoy the set meals, herbal teas and home-made cakes.

 

The idea here is to

pay what you can afford. Expect to contribute around £8 to the cost of your meal.

La Regadera

La Regadera

 


La Mas Bonita

La Mas Bonita

La Mas Bonita

Passeig Marítim de la Patacona 11

Yummy Mummies and Valencia’s most beautiful flock to this airy beachfront café, with a delightful courtyard garden and seaview terrace. It’s pricey but worth paying more for stupendous cakes and invigorating smoothies

 

Coffee and cake for £6.50

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Estrella de Mar

Estrella de Mar

Estrella del Mar

Just y Vilar 39

A smart café with pavement seating, selling a good range of cakes, pastries and savoury treats, including empanadas filled with spinach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Also see

Dr J J Domine, at the end of Avenida del Puerto is a strip of  lively small restaurants with sunny pavement tables. As well as being perfect for outdoor eating, each one offers a good value menu del dia with views of the port.

Calle Dr JJ Domine bars 02

If you want to be closer to the sea, you’ll find a range of restaurants all along the Paseo offering typically Valencian rice dishes as well as fish dishes.  There’s a mix of local customers and tourists here and they can be overpriced. The Neptuno at the port end of the seafront has a well-respected restaurant, and a sunny bar for coffees and cocktails.

Status

vivacabanyal

Architecture Cabanyal

Luis Navarro - 255

Luis Navarro – 255

Within this magical one square kilometer,  there are over 550 protected /listed  buildings. El Cabanyal is also on the Unesco and the World Monuments Fund List.

As you walk from street to street, it’s like exploring a living museum, a tribute to the  last 150 years of Spanish tile design.

Escalante - 225

Escalante – 225

On the facades  alone there are more than 200 different tile styles – all packed into a small simple grid system of streets running North to South and  parallel with the sea. Rarely do you see two houses the same.

Many houses run from street to street maximizing light and providing  an easterly breeze, especially welcome during the

hotter months. The architecture  itself is a  mix of traditional Barraque style homes, small single storey houses  built in the 1840’s , replacing the older Barraque  huts made of wood with thatched roofs .

Larger  Art Nouveau, Art Deco and  Modernista styles  were introduced between 1880s to the 1940’s  and  low rise blocks  built from the 1950’s

onwards

. Today El Cabanyal maintains much of  its original

village feel and many locals still see it as a separate part of the city. Everything is right

on their doorstep, so there’s really no need to venture into the rest of Valencia.

 

 

 

Fiesta Cabanyal

Fiestas in and around Cabanyal  Las Fallas Valencia is most famous for this extraordinary five day festival, celebrated in mid March each year, to herald the beginning  of Spring. Carpenters and wood-workers  traditionally made effigies out of old wood, which were then burnt on 20th March to make way for the new shoots of the season. Today the statues and…

Stay-Cabanyal

Where to stay in El Cabanyal

Within the delightful fishermens’ houses  you’ll find stunning rental properties and airbnbs for a range of prices. It’s easy to book light, airy apartments with wonderful sea views from sunlit roof terraces. Rates span from £20 to £150 a night, depending on the size of the property.  So for a chance to stay in one of the neighbourhood’s beautiful old buildings this is the way to go – booking through www.airbnb.com or www.tripadvisor.com

 

Air BnB Terrace

Air BnB Terrace

Self-catering is a good option as there’s a good choice of bars and restaurants.  Or you can buy fantastic fresh produce in the market, making cooking a pleasure.

Along the Paseo de Neptune, a strip of seafront hotels offer accommodation for a range of budgets, from basic to luxurious.  All have bars and restaurants with glass-fronted terraces. Order a cold beer, a glass of Cava or a plate of paella and enjoy the breeze from the sea.

The Avenida del Puerto is a good alternative to the beach, sweeping right down to the harbour, with quieter streets and squares leading off this wide boulevard.

Lined with shops and cafes,  it’s particularly appealing at the port end where

Las Arenas

Las Arenas

This  swanky 5 star hotel sits in prime position on the seafront. Built in 1898 as a spa for the people of Valencia, it’s been restored, rebuilt and transformed into a luxury resort with two large swimming pools overlooking the sea. A gleaming cream monument,  Las Arenas has lush gardens, bright, tasteful and elegant rooms, some with wonderful sea views and the snazzy Sorolla restaurant.  An in-house spa, with indoor pool has an enticing range of treatments.

There’s no doubt this is the most upmarket seaside hotel in Valencia and it’s certainly impressive, if a little clinical.

 

Double rooms from £129

 


Urban Youth Hostel Hostel & Bar, Avenida del Puerto 280

Urban Youth Hostel

Urban Youth Hostel

 

Opened in October 2014, this vibrant, quirky hostel has a mix of dorms and private rooms .. Situated at on the Avenida del Puerto, it’s well located for the beach and the city centre.

The reception area is painted in bright colours with an arty theme and features a buzzing bar. The hostel also offers guests use of a terrace, a restaurant, a games room, a library and a shared kitchen so you can cook.

 


Hotel Marina Atarazanas, Plaza Tribunal de las

Aguas

 

 

This gleaming, inviting Hotel is situated in a quiet square, minutes from the port. It’s a good option for anyone wishing to be close to the sea but away from the seafront action.

Rooms are modern and stylish, there’s a rooftop sun terrace and seasonal pool, a restaurant and coffee shop with outdoor seating.

 

A Double or a twin room is around £50

 

 

 

 

 

 


Hotel Neptuno Valencia on Paseo de Neptuno

 

Neptuno

Neptuno

Right on the seafront, this is the most appealing of the seaside hotels – classy, simple in design and inviting. Its restaurant/bar has glass doors open to the sun and sea air  and serves renowned typical Valencian food as well as cocktails, wine and coffees.

Rooms are plain, smart and comfortable and there’s a rooftop terrace with a pool, where you can lounge and swim if you don’t feel like taking a dip in the Mediterranean, seconds away. It’s stylish, affordable and with its prime position on the Paseo, it’s extremely popular.

 

Double rooms from £80

 


Apartmentos Puerto de Valencia, Jose Aguirre, 36

 

These bright, airy, spacious and tasteful apartments make a great self-catering option, a few minutes walk from the beach and the port. Situated in an elegant period building, they are well equipped with washing machines, TV and wifi.

The loft penthouse sleeps two and the second apartment, complete with whirlpool tub,  sleeps four.

Sheets and towels are provided and both apartments have a sparkling, modern feel.

 

From £47 per night for the studio and £67 for the larger apartment

 

Book through Booking.com or be bold and turn up on the day ,ready to negotiate the best price.
This works well out of season but is not advisable in the height of summer.

 Hotel Balandret, 20  Paseo Neptuno 

This tasteful, stylish boutique hotel is the new highlight of Valencia’s seafront strip. Its 21 bedrooms feature tiles and marble in subtle shades to offset the Mediteranean warmth.

A reproduction

of La Balandrito – the little yacht – one of

Sorolla’s famous paintings, honours the famous Valencian artist and lights made from trumpets are a tribute to the city’s famous brass band culture. The airy restaurant with its outdoor sea view terrace serves Valencian mussels and calamares with curry sauce as well as traditional paella.

Double rooms from 90 euros

 

Creative Cabanyal

Creative Cabanyal

If you’re looking for art, theatre, museums  and music, you can enjoy a rich cultural experience within  the neighbourhood and its surrounds

 


Portes Obertes poster 2011

Portes Obertes poster 2011

Portes Obertes

 Cabanyal Open Doors

Every year thousands of visitors and residents get a chance to see inside some of El Cabanyal’s beautiful houses during the Portes Obertes. This diverse programme of events spans over two weeks and is a wonderful opportunity to discover these endlessly intriguing neighbourhood in more depth.

Portes Obertes -Cabanyal 2014

Portes Obertes – Cabanyal 2014

This is also a chance to learn more about the work of local artists,

as well as collections by famous Valencianos. There are tours, talks, theatre performances, films, concerts and exhibitions by Salvem El Cabanyal – who have done such an incredible job  of campaigning to save the area.
See www.cabanyal.com for up to date information.

 


Teatro de Marionetas

Teatro de Marionetas

La Estrella, Teatro de Marioneta

Calle dels Angel 33

 

This charming puppet theatre is famed throughout Valencia for its magical shows.  It’s a marvellous option if you’re travelling with children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Dressanes Del Grau

Dressanes Del Grau

The Drassanes Del Grau

Plaza Juan Antonio Benliure

 

This spectacular spot on Plaza Juan Antonio Benliure was once used for ship-building and is now home to a series of exhibitions, many featuring work by local artists. It’s an enormous space and sadly can’t fulfill its tremendous potential because it lacks government funding.  It’s a worth a look for the architecture alone.

 

 

 

 

 


museo_de_la_semana_santa_marinera

The Semana Santa Museum

The Semana Santa Museum

Calle Rosario 3

 

This

fascinating free local museum on Calle Rosario is the home of the amazing statues you see being paraded around during Semana Santa celebrations.Each different association or Brotherhood has its own costume complete with pointy hats. If you’re there for Semana Santa or just want to know more about the Easter festival, this is a great place to explore.

 

 

 

 


Street Art

 

Just wandering around El Cabanyal is a visual treat, as apart from the wonderful array of tiles, you’ll see amazing street art. Escif has left his unique mark here as well as the compelling Are You Dead? stencil art.

 

 


Blasco Ibanez Museum

Blasco Ibanez Museum

Blasco Ibanez Museum

Paseo Maritimo

The former home of Valencia’s greatest writer is a gracious seafront villa, where paintings, photographs and memorabilia reveal something of his life story.

Sadly, it’s  the Avenida Blasco Ibanez which Valencia’s mayor, Rita Barbera controversially wants to extend, knocking down many precious El Cabanyal houses in the process. The famous writer loved the area and was revered by the local people, so hopefully this willful destruction will never happen in his name.

 

 


El Musical Cultural Centre Rosari

El Musical Cultural Centre Rosari

The Teatro el Musical

Plaça del Rosari, 3

 

In Plaza del Rosario this popular theatre with a lofty contemporary interior and an original façade is dominated by an impressive doorway.

Touring repertory companies offer lively performances here with a frequently changing programme.

 

 

 

 

 


Live Music

Everyone

loves Hay Nada Mejor que 27 Amigas, a well run club/bar on Calle de la Reina, which offers a diverse range of music nights and events. Most popular is the Sunday Jazzmingo, which starts at 7pm and is a mellow evening of live jazz in a relaxed but gently buzzing atmosphere.

La Peseta on Calle Cristo del Grao is also a fun and popular venue with regular live bands.

  You’ll find more music next door at the laidback vegetarian restaurant of Nehuen Tasca.

 


Las Naves

Las Naves

Las Naves

Carrer de Joan Verdeguer, 16
This brilliant arts space on Juan Verdeguer space offers a wealth of cultural opportunities. Courses, shows and regular exhibitions draw visitors and locals to what is proving to be a dynamic and innovative arts project. The library and the photographic

studio offer an invaluable local resource. Party nights and cultural weekends complete this dazzling project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What to do in Cabanyal

What  to do in  Cabanyal

 

El Cabanyal Street Market

El Cabanyal Street Market Market

 

Shop in the Vibrant Street Market

Valencia’s biggest street market is a weekly Thursday event  in Cabanyal  and the highlight of the week for  locals. Hundreds of stalls line the streets as it hustles and bustles its way down the Calle Mediteranni and  Calle Escalante.

It’s an enthralling insight into local life and a brilliant place to find bargains. Many of the stalls sell household goods such as sheets and towels but there are good shoe stalls too and if you’ve been admiring the gypsies’ leopard print glamour, you’ll find the full wardrobe here from leggings upwards.

 

 

DSC_8541

El Cabanyal Street Market

 

Best of all though are the stalls selling mounds of second hand skirts, trousers, jumpers tops – mostly for one or two euros each. Some of the smarter dresses are on hangers but generally you’ll need to patiently rummage through.

If you’re feeling bold, head for the impromptu/illegal gypsy stalls in Plaza de la Cruz de Canyemelar. It’s a case  now you see them now you  don’t, as the local police move in swiftly to move the gyspy vendors along

 

 

 

DSC_8521

El Cabanyal Shop

 

 

Even if you don’t want to shop, the Thursday market is a brilliant opportunity to tap into the local colour and atmosphere. The cafes are in full swing, the brandies are on the table, the enormous bocadillos are being consumed with relish and everyone’s having a high old time.

 

 

 

 

 


The Walks

Rosari

Take a Guided Tour

 

 

Marga Aguitur is an excellent local guide who can lead you up and down the streets of Cabanal, explaining the history of the significant houses with plenty of background information and colour.

 

 

 

 

For more information see www.paseoandoporpobladosdelamar.blogspot.com

 


Valencia Bici

Valencia Bici

Cycle by the Sea

Valencia is the perfect city for cyclists and there’s nowhere better to get on your bike than along the seafront. The promenade stretches from the port area at one end to the more peaceful Playa de

Patacona at the other. You can even keep going with just a tiny inland diversion for a few minutes before reaching Alboraya, where there’s a pretty and colourful marina overlooked by lovely holiday and residential apartments.

Sign up for the valenciabisi scheme(www.valenciabisi.es) and to cycle very cheaply providing you do it in half hour stints. You’ll pay an initial fee of 22 euros and if you go over the limit, you pay a few euros more. There are plenty of bike stations along the way

where you can drop off your bicycle and then stop for a swim or a coffee.

 


Mercado El Cabanyal

Valencianos know that this lively indoor market is the best place to buy fish in the city. Two aisles of stalls sell beautifully displayed pescado.  Stall holders will lovingly clean and prepare it for you. It’s more expensive than in the supermarkets (which generally have a fantastic fish counter) but tastes better and fresher.

You’ll also find wonderful fresh fruit and vegetables artfully arranged in a way that makes you stop and stare.  Entire stalls  are dedicated to ham and cheese,  olives and pickles and slightly scary-looking dried fish.

Chickens complete with beaks and feet compete with rabbits galore and plenty of pigs. Don’t be surprised to see an entire head looking at you through the glass cabinet.

In other words, this is a place to buy real food from real people, who are friendly and helpful. If you can speak Spanish, it helps, but if not, you’ll get by with pointing and smiling.

 


Learn Spanish

 

Learning a language by the sea is very appealing and is great way of enriching your holiday experience.  Solea Language School on Eugenia Vines is opposite the seafront and offers excellent private tuition or small group classes in a warm, friendly atmosphere with additional activities

also on offer. Take a tour of the market, try a wine-tasting or go to see a film, learning Spanish while you have fun.

 

www.soleaspanishschool.com
info@soleaspanishschool.com

 

Ride an Electric Chopper

C/Dr Juan Jose Domine, 6 

Electric chopper 01


See Valencia at a different speed by hiring an amazing electric bike. Mariano (right) and David can customise this sleek and exciting vehicles from 2,000 euros

or just hire one for 10 euros an hour.  This faster, fun way to explore is new to the city and if you’re not happy to go it alone,  take a guided tour around town or as far away as the beach at El Saler.

 

La Lonja de Pescado

 

If you want to buy cheap fish, straight out of the Mediterranean, walk along the harbour, past the beautiful Tinglados buildings and to the small port area.

The strong fishy smell lures you in to a busy market place where fishermen who look as if they’ve been at sea for days are allowed to sell 20 per cent of their catch to the general public. Just peering into the containers is fascinating. You’ll see octopus and eels still wriggling, gigantic sea bass look-a-likes and huge prawns.

The sale takes place each weekday from 4-5pm and if you go near the end, you can often pick up a big bagful of fish for around five euros. Don’t expect the fishermen to gut and clean them but they will share a few cooking tips if pressed.

 

La Lonja

La Lonja

 

 

Away Days from Cabanyal

Away Days from Cabanyal

 

If you feel like a change from the beach and the barrio, there are plenty of places to visit on a day trip. Use the Metro, the bus or the train, walk or cycle. Getting around is easy and affordable.

 


Into the City Centre

 

A 15 minute Metro ride on line 5 from Maritim Serreria will take you into the centre of Valencia.

 

Mercado Colon in centre

Mercado Colon in centre

Get off at Colon,  one of Valencia’s main shopping streets. Or Xativa for the Estacion del Norte, an ornate Art Nouveau gem and one of the most beautiful stations in the world.

From here it’s a five minute walk to the Plaza del Ajuntamiento with its magnificent Post Office and grand town hall. Take a walk around the  nearby Mercado Central to explore its amazing selection of food stalls and admire its stunning domed roof.

Post office dome in centre

Post office dome in centre

Continue into Plaza de La Reina to see La Seu, the splendid Gothic cathedral. Walk up the side of this 13 century wonder until you reach another gracious square, the Plaza de la Virgin.  With its fountains, statues and beautiful Basilica, this is the most elegant plaza of them all.

El Rastro

El Rastro

El Rastro

El Rastro

 

If you’re exploring on a Sunday, take the metro to Aragon which is minutes from the fascinating flea market, known as El  Rastro, home to hundreds of stalls selling everything from furniture to postcards. Name your price and be prepared to barter with the  generally good humoured traders.

 

 

 


Albufera

Albufera

On the Paella Trail

Take the bus from outside El Saler shopping

centre opposite the Ciudad des Artes y Ciencas to El Palmar, the birthplace of paella.

This small town is a shrine to rice recipes and sits at the southern limit of the freshwater lagoon of

La Albufera, 10 kms from Valencia. Rice is cultivated, harvested and cooked here and it’s also a famous bird sanctuary.

El Palmar

El Palmar

Take a boat trip on a barquet – a Valencian flat-bottomed boat – visit the Raco de l’Olla Visitors Centre, for a spot of birdwatching.
Eat lunch at one of the 25 paella restaurants.
Most are run by fishermen whose catch includes eels from La Albufera.
El Palmar is also a good place to try Ali y Pebre, the traditional eel and pepper steak.

 

 

 

 


El Saler beach

El Saler beach

Find a

Wilder Beach

If you’re looking for a wilder beach than Las Arenas take a bus to El Saler, a few kilometres out of the city.  They run regularly (less in winter) and stop outside the El Saler shopping centre. The journey time is around 20 minutes.

You can also cycle there quite easily along dedicated paths, the last stretch being alongside dunes and pine forests.

There’s a clutch of bars and restaurants in the town of El Saler or you can pick up a  picnic and settle in for a day of sun and swimming in the clear Mediterranean.

 

 

 


 

Castillo de Sagunto

Castillo de Sagunto

Visit an Historic Town

 

 

A half hour train ride from Valencia Cabanyal station will take you to Sagunto, a  lovely hilltop fortress town with

amazing panoramic views.

Explore the Roman theatre, home to a three week open air arts festival each August, as well as a former Jewish quarter.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Benicassim

Benicassim

Take a Trip to a Festival City

 

Catch the train to the seaside town of Benicassim. from Valencia Cabanyal station. It’s a two hour journey but worth it to see the home of the famous music festival, which takes place in July.

No matter when you visit though, this is a delightful excursion to a classy resort.  You’ll find stunning, sandy beaches, good swimming and a trail of splendid art deco villas along the seafront.

Shops, bars and seafood restaurants will keep you busy until it’s time to take the train home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Artists of Valencia

Valencia’s Favourite Artists

 

Joaquin Sorolla by  Gertrude Kasebier

Joaquin Sorolla by Gertrude Kasebier

Joaquin Sorolla  y Bastida
Painter

Valencia 1863 – Madrid 1923

The painter of vibrant sunshine without equal

Valencia’s most famous artist studied in Madrid and Paris and then in Rome, alongside fellow Valenciano Josep Benlliure

After his training,

Sorolla settled in his beloved Valencia. His open air paintings of the fishermen, the oxen pulling the fishing boats to shore and the sea bathers in early 1900’s Cabanyal and Levante are some of the most important and evocative studies of the area

They also represent one of Sorolla favourite themes, key in his development as a painter and  are amongst some of his most famous  works. Visit Valencia’s Museo of Belles Artes to see a gallery dedicated to Sorolla’s life and paintings.

 

 


Agusti Centelles

Agusti Centelles

Augusti Centelles
War Photographer

Valencia  1909 – Barcelona 1985

‘I call myself an image hunter’

Centelles is known as the Spanish Robert Capa and is a pioneer of photo-journalism , a staunch Republican who is most famous for his images of the Spanish Civil War.

Centelles was apprenticed in the 1920’s to the Spanish cinemamatic pioneer Ramon Banos. By 1934 he was an independent photographer for the Spanish press and his images were often used in  pre-Republican propaganda stories.

He reported the conquest of Teruel, one of the war’s fiercest battles, but by 1939  had fled to France  taking his most important negatives with him.  Franco had seized all those left behind.

In France Centelles was  imprisoned in  the Bram P.O.W camp , where he set up a small darkroom and  continued to

photograph the camp and its prisoners, leading to some of his most important work.

On his eventual return to Spain in 1946 he left all his remaining negatives  in the attic  of a house in Carcassonne, realizing that they might be seized again by the Francoist authorities, implicating his fellow  Republicans.

In 1976 , 30 years after leaving France and  after the death of Franco, he returned to Caracassone to retrieve his negatives which  now form part of the photographic collection  at the Salamanca Centre of History  .


Mariano Benlliure

Mariano Benlliure

Mariano Benlliure
Sculptor

Valencia 1862 – 1947

The younger brother of painter Jose is widely considered to be the last great Spanish realistic sculptor. Born in Valencia’s Maritim district,  Mariano’s  naturalist detailed approach tinged with  the spontaneity of Impressionism, made him very popular throughout  Spain.

His work progressed from his early bullfighting figurines to the more grandiose public monuments 

of prominent Spaniards including Goya and  Velazquez, writer Trueba and King Alphonso XII.

Mariano Benlliure was depicted on the  500 peseta note from the 1950’s and

his works are held in all the major galleries across Spain, as well as in the Museum of Jose Benlliure in Valencia.

 


Eduardo Munoz Bachs

Eduardo Munoz Bachs

Eduardo Munoz Bachs
Graphic Designer – Cuban Poster artist

Valencia 1937 – Havana 2001

Though born in Valencia , Bachs and his family moved to France when he was two years old and then to  Cuba  in 1941, probably fleeing their native country because of the Spanish Civil war.

Even though Bachs was a gifted artist, he had no formal training or art education .  In 1960 he made the first poster for the Instituto Cubano de Arte e Industria Cinematográficos (ICAIC) , founded shortly after the Cuban Revolution to produce and promote Cuban cinema .

Over the next 40 years  Bachs  produced over 2000 film posters. Today he is  seen as the greatest Cuban poster designer of all time

 


Rafael Guastavino

Rafael Guastavino

Rafael Guastavino
Architect and Builder

 Valencia 1842 – North Carolina 1908

The greatest ever architect you have never heard of.

Rafael Guastavino studied in Barcelona  and  was a contemporary of Antoni Gaudi.  He is most famed for inventing the Guastavino Arch , inspired by the tiling of his home town  of Valencia . This self -supporting vaulted arched ceiling was held together by interlocking tiles  and has been used in the construction of over 1000 buildings around the world  including 300 buildings in New York.

Many are still standing,  including The  Carnegie Hall , The  Oyster  Bar in Grand Central Station, the  Old City Hall Subway station and the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art – enriched by the splendid Arch  and the work of this talented Valenciano.

 

 

 

 


Escif

Escif

Escif
Street Artist – Muralist

Valencia – 1983

‘I’m not interested in being told that what I do is pretty, not even that I do it well. I’d rather provoke some kind of thinking in the spectator. I’m not looking for decorative paintings, I try to wake up viewers’ minds.’

Spanish muralist and street artist Escif hails from Valencia,  but is active globally with recent works popping up throughout Canada, Italy, and France.

His use of subdued colours and simple lines helps the artist communicate his humorous and direct commentary on capitalism, politics, the economy and other sensitive social issues.

Valencia

Valencia

Escif was educated in fine arts and conceptual workshops inspired by comics books , film and classic painters but most of all by daily life

He starting painting his hometown streets in the late 1990’s as part of the XLF crew , who  include Dieh, Cesp, and Sr Marmota. More recently he has collaborated with the Argentine artist Hyuro.  From his satirical and politically charged small works  to his huge murals spanning  entire buildings he is the most famous street artist to have come out of Valencia.

 


Blasco Ibanez

Blasco Ibanez

Vicente Blasco Ibanez
Novelist – Journalist – Politician

Valencia  1867 – Menton 1928

Blasco Ibanez , Valencia’s most famous writer, studied law  but never practised it. As a militant Republican he founded the controversial newspaper El Pueblo ( The People ) and was imprisoned  over 30 times for his political beliefs .

He is most renowned as a realist writer, who produced over 30 books  including  Flor De Mayo,  a love story set in  El Cabanyal which gives moving, evocative descriptions of the fishermans’ quarter .

Five of his novels were made into films. Of these The Temptress and  The Torrent, filmed at  Hollywood MGM studios were also the first movies to star  Greta Garbo.  Rita Hayworth  and Rudolf Valentino also featured in films made from his works.

The former home of this rightly revered author in  Malvarossa is now a Museum, dedicated to Ibanez and his work.

 

 


Santiago Calatrava

Santiago Calatrava

Santiago Calatrava
Architect – Sculptor – Painter

Valencia  1951

Calatrava is one of the world’s most famous architects, whose Neofuturistic buildings have won numerous awards.

He studied in Valencia and Zurich and his spectacular work has been used for bridges and transport hubs.

The extraordinary City of Arts and Sciences and the dazzling Alameda Metro Station are his most important  landmarks in Valencia.

Worldwide,  the new World Trade Center Transportation Hub, the Bahnhof Station, in Zurich and the Samuel Beckett Bridge, Dublin are also key Calatrava creations.

Calatrava’s acclaimed ceramics and sculptures are often the first steps toward the realization of his architecture.

 


Josep Renau

Josep Renau

Josep Renau Berenguer
Photomontage – Muralist – Poster Art

Valencia 1907 – Berlin 1982

‘I am not a Communist painter , Just a Communist who paints’

After studying fine art in Valencia , Josep won his first poster competition aged 18. With the onset of the Spanish Civil War he began designing posters  in support of the Republicans as well as posters for Tourism Valencia including  the famous  Las Arenas/ Cabanyal Art Deco poster.

In the late 1930’s , Renau helped design the Spanish Pavilion in Paris and later commissioned  Picasso  to paint a mural, which eventually became Guernica.

Renau fled Spain for Mexico and made his living from designing film posters.  His most famous works are a collection of montages known as The American Way of Life  – forerunners to the 1960’s American pop art culture.

 

 

 


Jose Benlliure y Gil 1917 self portrait

Jose Benlliure y Gil 1917 self portrait

Jose Benlliure y Gil
Painter

Valencia 1858 – 1937

Born in Cabanyal- Canyamelar,  Benlliure  comes from a family of artists. His two brothers were the sculptures Mariano  and  painter Juan Antonio.

Known as the favourite son of the city, he began painting at the age of 10, often selling his works to pay for household  expenses. Formally educated in Valencia and Rome, his works  combined  family and religion with local customs.  By the age of sixteen he had portrayed the  Duke of Aosta and King Amadeus of Savoy,

Benlliure, became  the director of the Museum of Belles Artes in Valencia and has a street named after him in El Cabanyal.

The Prado in Madrid  and the Victoria and Albert Museum in  London hold his  works in their collections and today his house in Valencia is a Museum which also shows Sorolla’s paintings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

History of Cabanyal

The History of El Cabanyal

The history of El  Cabanyal spans 700 years, but has never been at a more crucial stage. In May 2015, Joan Ribo was elected Mayor of Valencia and pledged to revive the fortunes of this often blighted neighbourhood. To the delight of the long suffering local people funds are being raised and invested to restore and rejuvenate the beautiful streets and houses. Personal as well as public projects have now begun to make El Cabanyal into one of the highlights of the city and into a better place to live for its inhabitants.

In 1997, the Mayor of Valencia, Rita Barbera embarked on a personal crusade to destroy the area, by carving it up with a four lane avenue running from the city centre.

Could you imagine this happening in Covent Garden or Greenwich Village? No…of course not.  Such a destructive plan would be inconceivable. Here in El Cabanyal, however, were it not for the bravery of the local residents, who for generations have done everything in their power to stop the Mayor in her tracks, this important historic quarter would be largely rubble. No wonder that so many eyes are focused on it,  from Unesco to the World Monument Fund.

 

Bulldozer coming into Cabanyal -2010

Bulldozer coming into Cabanyal -2010

 

 

Beautiful historical houses have already been lost forever.
The local government has bought over 500 properties

through extortion and low level thuggery, of which 125 have been knocked down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a crime against history.
Where once there were houses, now there are Rita’s scars and stripes  –  plots that have been walled up and painted with ugly bands of brown and fawn.

 

 

 

Cabanyal demolition in 2010

Cabanyal demolition in 2010

 

 

 

 

Some of the demolished houses don’t even form a part of her grand plan for the extension of the Avenida Blasco Ibanez and were destroyed pointlessly.

Vicente Blasco Ibanez, the great writer, political activist and staunch Republican would turn in his  grave if he

knew that an avenue named after him would rip

apart the neighbourhood  that he loved so much.

 

 

 

 

Cabanyal - circa 1940

Cabanyal – circa 1940

El Cabanyal has always had its problems, from the  devastating fires of  1796 and 1875  to the cholera  epidemic in  the 1860’s,  from the Spanish Civil War to the major floods of 1957 .

Added to this, over the last 50 odd years it has been totally neglected by the Valencian government.

Even if residents want to reform their homes, Rita Barbera has denied them planning permission.  Despite all these obstacles Cabanyal survives and appears to thrive.

 

 

 

The neighbourhood of El Cabanyal  and the  surrounding Maritim  villages date back to the 13th century when they formed an independent municipality separate from the  walled  city.

 

Calle San Pedro engraving

Calle San Pedro engraving

1883 map of Pueblo Nuevo Del Mar

1883 map of Pueblo Nuevo Del Mar

 

 

 

 

The first depiction of the area was provided by Flemish painter Anton van den Wyngaerde in 1563, and  in the early 1600’s , Valenciano historian Juan Gaspar Escolano recorded that  Cabanyal  comprised of just 40 huts and fishing shacks.

 

 

By the 1700’s Cabanyal and its neighbourhoods of Canyelamar Capa de Franca and Grao became part of the city of Valencia. Known as the Pueblo Nuevo del

Mar .  Grao as the port area began to flourish through world trade.

The neighbourhoods were divided not only by class of people but by the  small tributraries / streams that ran from the sea towards the city  running east to west. Meanwhile the houses were built on a grid system  of streets running  north to south.

 

Fishermen

Fishermen

Cabanyal fisherman - circa 1910

Cabanyal fisherman – circa 1910

 

 

 

Cabanyal was mainly populated by local fisherman and boat owners. Canyemelar next to the port of El Grao was home to the  wealthier classes and boat captains  and Capa de Franca was also a quarter for local fisherman as well as a small community of Gypsies.

 

 

 

 

The population lived in humble barraques, small one-storey houses built of wood with a thatched roof.  Remnants of this style of  house  can still be seen today, dotted along the original  streets of  Escalante, Luis Navarro and Baracca.

Mediterráni 1888

Mediterráni 1888

CChildren in Calle Hombres de la mar - Circa 1950 © Robert Frank

Children in Calle Hombres de la mar – Circa 1950 © Robert Frank

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By the late 1800’s the population of Cabanyal and Canyamelar  grew to around 10,000 inhabitants of which 70% of the population were still living in the old style barraques

The first great fire of 1796 wiped out over 250 of these barraques and a decree by the local government promoted the building of stone houses. The second fire of  1875 devastated more barraques and a fully blown ban was put in place of rebuilding this style of house

 

Farmacia

Farmacia What came from this  were the  new beginnings of the glory period  in the history of  Cabanyal .

For the next 50 years ,from the 1880’s to the 1930’s,  Cabanyal , was transformed, not only by the local people but by inner city dwellers from Madrid and Valencia itself.

The more wealthy incomers built bigger, grander, taller houses , some three and four stories high. It became common for local fishermen, gypsies and port workers to live next door to wealthy metropolitan types,

Between 1880 and 1940, the new Cabanyal exploded with colour and hundreds of  houses were built , inspired by  the movements of the era  – the popular Modernista/Art Nouveau  style ,  with hints  of Art Deco and Arts and Crafts . The beautiful tiling of the facades  of many of these houses were inspired by the light and the colour of the sea.

 

More streets were built including the grand Calle de la Reina, far wider and lined with larger and more substantial houses.  Apartment blocks sprung up too around the original  old streets of Barraca, Progreso, Luis Navarro and Jose Benlliure.

Throughout the decades from the 1950’s to the 1990’s Cabanyal and its surrounds were  blighted by  a boom in  the construction of  bland  non descript tower blocks . These provided homes,  were never more than seven stories high  and were complementary to the style of the older houses. Nothing could match the beauty of the original homes, however.

DSC_7500 (1)

Fortunately there are still hundreds of  these left in Cabanyal, and  it retains a charming local neighbourhood character. Many streets are in desperate need of repair and in theory the local urban planning proposals to rejuvenate the area could provide the perfect solution, if only the funding was available.

Local residents are only too aware that even in the last 15 years the area has  been  degraded. If the money spent on buying houses for destruction could have been used to restore them, El Cabanyal would be far more of a tourist lure, bringing visitors and revenue.

El Cabanyal and the Poblats Maritim could become a living museum to the past 150 years of Spanish architecture and tiling  and a credit to the city of Valencia.

 

The future is looking bright for this beautiful Spanish barrio. Artists  and students needing spaces with cheap rent  are moving in  and over the last few years there has been an influx of foreigners from England, Germany,  France  and Switzerland .

And who can blame these incomers from Northern Europe?  You can buy an apartment in El Cabanyal for 30,000 Euros  and an amazing house, ripe for conversion for 100,00 euros.  The neighbourhood is a mere  five minutes from the wonders of the beach, yet is part of a city full of history and culture, bathed in sunshine and brimming with life and character. Who could ask for more?