Where to Stay in Valencia: 5 Best Areas + Hotels (From A Local)
Valencia, Spain’s third largest city, is divided into 87 neighborhoods, many of which were separate villages not long ago and still have their own distinct identity and culture. So where you stay in Valencia can have a significant impact on your trip.
Luckily, I have been living in Valencia for years and I’m excited to walk you through the best neighborhoods and hotels in the city. My hope is that this article will make it easier for you to decide where to stay in Valencia.
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Best places to stay in Valencia
Hotels on map: 1. Only YOU Hotel (5 stars) • 2. Hotel Puerta Serranos (4 stars) • 3. BONNIES Suites & Spa (apartments) • 4. Palacio de Rojas (apartments) • 5. Hospes Palau de La Mar (5 stars) • 6. NH Collection (4 stars) • 7. Goya (apartments) • 8. Soho (aparthotel) • 9. The Westin (5 stars) • 10. Mythic (1 star) • 11. Ramirez Flats (aparthotel) • 12. Las Arenas (5 stars) • 13. Sea You Hotel (4 stars) • 14. Boutique Hotel Balandret (3 stars) • 15. Ilunion Aqua 4 (4 stars) • 16. Sercotel Alameda 41 (4 stars) • 17. Opera House B&B (3 stars) • 18. Core Suites (aparthotel)
Where to stay in Valencia
Valencia has some superb hotels and apartments, but with so many neighborhoods and so many things to do and see, deciding where to stay in Valencia can be intimidating. It doesn’t have to be.
Most first-time visitors choose to stay either in the historic Old Town or the lively beachside areas. If you’re looking for something different, Valencia has a few other charming neighborhoods that I’ll discuss below.
While putting together this guide on the best places to stay in Valencia, I kept several factors in mind , such as convenience, safety, and noise levels.
As you might expect, no neighborhood is perfect. I did my best to highlight the pros and cons of each. I also chose a few of my favorite hotels in each area. Hopefully, this will help you decide where to stay.
1. Old Town
This area of Valencia is best for: sightseeing, nightlife, first-time visitors, shopping
Pros of staying in the Old Town:
- Central location
- Romantic atmosphere with a lot of history
- Close to many of Valencia’s major attractions
- Lots of restaurants, bars, and cafés
- Excellent public transport connections
- A wide array of hotels, hostels, and apartments to choose from
Cons of staying in the Old Town:
- This is the busiest area of Valencia. The Old Town is bustling with activity during the day. It can also be loud as people tend to linger on terraces until the wee hours, particularly in summer.
The Old Town is hands down the best area to stay in Valencia. It is centrally located, easily explored on foot, and has a wide range of accommodation options suitable for all budgets. It is ideal for families, couples, and solo travelers, making it extremely popular and the first choice for the majority of visitors.
This district is divided into six neighborhoods, each with its own unique character. Here you will find streets lined with opulent palaces and graceful Modernista architecture but also dilapidated buildings that have been abandoned for years.
This striking contrast makes the Old Town incredibly charming and attractive. Its narrow, labyrinthine streets are the perfect place to get lost on purpose, as you never know what hidden gems you’ll find around the corner.
As its name suggests, this is the oldest part of Valencia. It has been inhabited since Roman times and is littered with vestiges of the past, from the ruins of the old town of Valentia that can be seen at L’Almoina Archeological Museum to fragments of the Muslim and Christian walls inside restaurants and boutiques.
Many of Valencia’s historic sights and museums are located here, including the Cathedral where the Holy Grail is on display, the UNESCO-listed La Lonja, and Mercado Central, the largest fresh produce market in Europe.
El Carmen is the most famous of the Old Town’s six neighborhoods. This bohemian neighborhood is packed with clubs, bars, and restaurants and truly comes to life after dark.
Another neighborhood that stands out is San Francesc, home of the City Hall as well as Valencia’s main shopping streets. Here you will find many Spanish brands, including a recently opened Zara megastore, as well as dozens of hotels to suit every taste and budget.
Where to stay in Valencia’s Old Town:
- Only YOU Hotel (5 stars) – a chic and contemporary hotel with a rooftop terrace, restaurant, and cozy cocktail bar (my favorite in Valencia!). Perfect for a sophisticated and stylish stay.
- Hotel Puerta Serranos (4 stars) – a charming boutique hotel with comfortable and elegant rooms
- BONNIES Suites & Spa (apartments) – spacious and well-appointed suites for 2 or 4 people featuring a spa, sauna, and hot tub. Perfect for a romantic getaway.
- Palacio de Rojas (apartments) – a historic palace-turned-boutique-hotel with individually decorated rooms and suites
2. Ruzafa & Eixample
This area of Valencia is best for: nightlife, food and restaurants, local vibe
Pros of staying in Ruzafa & Eixample:
- Beautiful architecture
- Within walking distance of the city center
- Lots of restaurants, bars, and cafés
- Trendy with hipster vibes
Cons of staying in Ruzafa & Eixample:
- Noise levels can escalate significantly in the evening, as people flock to the terraces, especially during summer
- Accommodation options are limited mostly to apartments
Eixample is a district bordering the Old Town, which puts it within walking distance of the city center.
Eixample is divided into three neighborhoods, the most well-known and popular with tourists being Ruzafa. This vibrant neighborhood went through a sweeping gentrification process in the past decade and is packed with trendy bars and cafés, as well as family-owned boutiques and independent galleries.
During the day, Ruzafa is a quiet neighborhood that draws visitors with its array of colorful buildings from the early 1900s and sun-drenched terraces. But as night falls, Ruzafa transforms into a sidewalk bar where 20 and 30-somethings flock to savor locally-brewed craft beers and delicious tapas.
The other two barrios, Gran Via and Pla del Remei, are more upscale with many elegant Modernista buildings, including the gorgeous Mercado de Colón, the most beautiful gastro market in Valencia.
Similarly to Ruzafa, these two neighborhoods also come to life in the evening, the main difference being that they are packed with Instagram-worthy restaurants instead of bars.
Of course, the above is a bit of an oversimplification, as you’ll find anything from bakeries and cafés to bars and restaurants throughout Eixample. But in broad strokes, Ruzafa has a higher concentration of bars while Pla del Remei and Gran Via have more restaurants.
Eixample also has its fair share of nightclubs. So if you want to party until the wee hours, this is the perfect place to stay in Valencia. Unlike the Old Town, this area is not bustling with activity in the morning so you can sleep in.
Note: Ruzafa and Gran Via are the epicenters of Las Fallas Festival. I wouldn’t recommend you book your stay in this area between the 15th and the 19th of March unless you plan to party until 3 – 4 am, as locals do.
Where to stay in Valencia for nightlife:
- Hospes Palau de La Mar (5 stars) – luxurious hotel situated in a beautifully restored 19th-century palace with a spa, and a gourmet restaurant. Perfect for a pampered city break
- NH Collection Colón (4 stars) – stylish, comfortable rooms, a sun terrace, and a great location on Valencia’s main shopping street
- Apartamentos Goya (apartments) – spacious, modern, and comfortable apartments for up to 6. The apartments have a fully-equipped kitchen
- Soho Valencia (aparthotel) – great accommodation option for up to 5 people. Located in Ruzafa. Offers an airport shuttle service
3. La Zaidia & El Pla del Real
This area of Valencia is best for: budget travelers, families, local vibe
Pros of staying in La Zaidia & El Pla del Real:
- Quiet, family-friendly residential area
- Close to several parks and green areas
- You can walk or bike into the city center. Depending on where your accommodation is located and where you want to get, it can take 20 to 30 minutes to get there on foot
Cons of staying in La Zaidia & El Pla del Real:
- Limited dining and shopping options, especially in La Zaidia. El Pla del Real is closer to the university area and it is a bit more lively
- Limited accommodation options, mostly privately owned apartments that get booked months in advance
La Zaidia and El Pla del Real are two districts situated on the other side of Turia Gardens, the green ribbon that crosses Valencia. They might not be the prettiest, but they are family-friendly and chill and they are just one bridge away from the Old Town.
La Zaidia has a couple of attractions, including the Fine Arts Museum and Viveros Gardens. If you’re visiting Valencia with kids, you might also want to check out the Natural Science Museum inside the gardens.
El Pla del Real, on the other hand, is sandwiched between the city center and the university area. It is home to the Monforte Gardens, arguably the prettiest gardens in Valencia, the Mestalla Football Stadium, which can be visited, and several beautiful Modernista buildings.
In terms of entertainment, the proximity to universities and Blasco Ibáñes Avenue makes this neighborhood way more interesting than La Saidia. Also, Paseo de la Alameda, bordering Turia Park, has many restaurants and bars.
These two residential neighborhoods are connected to the beach by tram and metro and to the city center by metro and bus. Depending on where your accommodation is, you might be able to walk into the Old Town though.
Biking is also very easy in these neighborhoods. There are bike lanes everywhere and very little traffic. In addition, Turia Park is nearby, and you can bike along it to get to the City of Arts and Sciences and Bioparc. These two major attractions are located on opposite ends of the park and are ideal for families.
Top hotels in this area:
- The Westin (5 stars) – luxury hotel in a stunning Modernista building with a lush interior garden. All rooms come with their exclusive Westin Heavenly Bed (so comfortable!)
- Mythic Valencia (1 star) – a unique hotel built in an industrial warehouse. Located in La Zaidia, each room is unique with urban art playing a big role in the decor
- Ramirez Flats (aparthotel) – stylish one-bedroom apartments with fully equipped kitchenettes in Pla del Real
4. El Cabanyal, Malvarrosa & El Grau
This area of Valencia is best for: beach, nightlife
Pros of staying in El Cabanyal, Malvarrosa & El Grau:
- Close to the beach
- Lots of amazing paella and seafood restaurants
- Bohemian atmosphere
- Vibrant nightlife, particularly in summer
- During summer, the temperatures can be more enjoyable due to the sea breeze
- Hotels with sea views
Cons of staying in El Cabanyal, Malvarrosa & El Grau:
- You will need to take a bus, tram, or bike if you want to visit any other parts of Valencia
- Trams stop running around 11 pm. Night buses are infrequent
- During winter, many businesses close or have reduced opening hours from Sunday to Thursday
If you choose to stay near the beach these three neighborhoods, part of the Poblats Marítims district, are the best. El Grau is right next to the bustling marina, while Cabanyal and Malvarrosa stretch along the beach.
El Grau was founded in the 13th century, right after the Reconquista. Originally a port town, it still preserves several historical sites, such as the 14th-century shipyards and early 20th-century Modernista warehouses. The nearby marina is a hotspot for nightlife with the largest concentration of clubs in Valencia.
Neighboring El Grau, El Cabanyal was founded in the first half of the 19th century as a fishing village with whitewashed huts and a distinctive grid street plan. While the huts are long gone, El Cabanyal still has many interesting Modernista-style houses with colorful tiled facades built by the Valencian bourgeoisie in the early 20th century.
In 2020, The Guardian included El Cabanyal among the 10 coolest neighborhoods in Europe due to its quaint streets and hipster venues, such as La Fabrica de Hielo, a large bar in a former ice factory, and Mercabanyal, a chill gastro market with food trucks.
North of El Cabanyal, Malvarrosa owes its name to the pink malva fields cultivated here in the mid-19th century. Shortly afterward, this area also began to attract the Valencian middle class, including personalities such as Joaquín Sorolla, who immortalized the Malvarrosa beach in his paintings, and writer Blasco Ibáñez, whose house is now a museum open to the public.
Both Cabanyal and Malvarrosa have a fabulous promenade stretching along the 200-meter-wide beach. Aside from historical restaurants like Casa Carmela and La Pepica, dozens of seafood and paella restaurants have opened along this promenade in recent years.
Note 1: El Cabanyal and Malvarrosa neighborhoods have a reputation as poor and problematic areas, especially at night. However, the problems are isolated to a few streets. The marina and the beach promenade are safe and lively areas year-round.
Note 2: If you’re planing to visit Valencia for Easter and want to see a variety of Semana Santa processions, I recommend staying in this area. This is where the bulk of events takes place, with some of the most interesting ones happening at midnight or dawn. Having your accommodation nearby can be super convenient.
Where to stay in Valencia near the beach:
- Las Arenas Balneario Resort (5 stars) – the most luxurious hotel in Valencia with tastefully decorated rooms, sea views, a spa, a private garden, and a fabulous breakfast
- Sea You Hotel Port (4 stars) – modern hotel in El Grau with a wonderful rooftop bar overlooking the city
- Hotel Boutique Balandret (3 stars) – beachfront hotel with bright rooms and a wonderful on-site restaurant
5. Camins al Grau
This area of Valencia is best for: couples, families, shopping
Pros of staying in Camins al Grau:
- Close to the City of Arts and Sciences and the Turia Gardens
- Located roughly halfway between the beach and the city center
- Close to several large shopping centers
- Plenty of dining options
- Modern hotels, some with unbeatable views over the City of Arts and Sciences
Cons of staying in Camins al Grau:
- You’re neither in the city center nor by the beach so you’ll have to take the bus or bike almost everywhere
Camins al Grau usually goes unnoticed as most visitors only visit the City of Arts and Sciences nearby and rarely explore this district. Yet, Camins al Grau has a great hotel infrastructure and an increasing number of restaurants and bars.
This is one of the newer areas of Valencia that really only developed in the second half of the past century after the Turia River was diverted to the outskirts of the city. Prior to that, this was mostly an industrial area connecting the city center and the harbor.
As you might expect, Camins al Grau doesn’t have any historical landmarks. What it has instead, is proximity to the City of Arts and Sciences and one of the prettiest stretches of Turia Park. Also, Gulliver Park, a wonderful playground inspired by Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, is close by.
For shopping enthusiasts, the Aqua and El Saler commercial centers as well as El Corte Inglés department stores provide endless shopping opportunities.
Camins al Grau is especially great if you’re a repeat visitor or want to be within biking distance from both the city center and the beach.
Hotels in this area are modern and have three and four stars. Some have elegant rooftop bars and unrivalled panoramic views over the City of Arts and Sciences and Turia Park, while others have Michelin-starred restaurants on the premises.
This area is great for families due to the proximity to parks and the City of Arts and Sciences. But it can also be a wonderful choice for couples looking to splurge on a romantic getaway.
Top hotels in this area:
- Ilunion Aqua 4 (4 stars) – stylish rooms and a 1-star Michelin restaurant on the 9th floor. Located in the Aqua Commercial Center
- Sercotel Valencia Alameda 41 (4 stars) – a beautiful hotel with views of the City of Arts and Sciences and Turia Park
- Opera House Valencia B&B (3 stars) – stylish rooms, some with views to the Reina Sofía Opera House (part of the City of Arts and Sciences)
- Apartamentos Core Suites Valencia (aparthotel) – elegant apartments with a fully equipped kitchen and an outdoor swimming pool and terrace
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Final thoughts about the best areas to stay in Valencia
There you have it, the ultimate guide to where to stay in Valencia, area by area. Valencia has a lot to offer and this is also true when it comes to finding the perfect accommodation. From luxury hotels to cozy apartments, you are truly spoiled for choice. Now, whether you decide to stay in the city center or by the beach, the choice is yours.