What to do in Cabanyal
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Ride an Electric Chopper
C/Dr Juan Jose Domine, 6
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.