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Areas to Walk Around in Valencia

It has been repeatedly stated that Valencia is "delicious to get lost in". If you are the kind of traveller who enjoys getting lost in every-day streets rather than hopping from one must-see to another, don't worry - you won't have to work hard. Just step into the centre of the city and you will get lost immediately.

Valencia is very convenient to see in the way that it is condensed. The nice areas to soak up Valencian culture, heritage and vibe, are usually compact and well defined, while the residential areas of little interest to you indeed have absolutely nothing to find.

For a poinltess and meaningless trip through the frames of Valencian life we recommend the following areas:

Centro

Of course. Whether you want to or not, you will come across stunning must-sees but because you are just wondering around you won't fell like you're on the rail track. The part of the Centro in the triangle formed by Plaza de la Reina, Glorieta and the Bullring is a more upmarket, visually done-up and showed-off part of the city that will suit a discerning "European elegance" traveller. Take a stroll wherever you like through little authentic streets and sunny squares surrounded by exquisite architecture and complete will all kinds of restaurants, cafes, shops and people going about their daily life.

The Carmen part of the Centro (a square formed by Plaze de la Reina, Torres de Serranos, Torres de Quart and IVAM) is a more deliciously chaotic, quieter and rebelious part. It used to be the central Muslim neighbourhood before the reconquista and it still feels like something not quite in acordance with Valencia. This is an alternative and bohemian district full of interesting characters - some of them will be to your taste and some won't. A maze of quiet, narrow streets ans squares, often messy and uncared-for, yet warm and pretty just 10 metres away, shocking with complete ruins and stunning with corners of charming ambience, the Carmen is for the open-minded and not looking for superficial make-up. The beauty here really is in the eyes of the beholder, and a litlle more deep down. It is a trip of frames through Spain, North Africa and Latin America, all in one. Needless to say, if you are looking for quirky Valencia you will find it here - the shops can be totally strange, the restaurants a total jem of a find and the places to have a drink are worlds of their own.

L'Example / Canovas

Right south of the Centro is the typical XIX century expansion that you find in other Spanish cities. Tall wide neo-classical and modernist architecture arranged in a strict grid pattern. It makes for a nice stroll just to enjoy the sun, watch some people and appreciate the beauty of the buildings - many, many beautiful buildings. There are no sights here (apart from Mercado de Colon) so it is just a walk-around area. The part closer to the river, known as Canovas (around Plaza de Canovas) is much livelier with restaurants and bars, and gets very animated at night.

Ruzafa

Between the train tracks and l'Example lies Ruzafa - some of its inhabitants proudly call it "little New York". Ruzafa also has plenty of nice views but it can be more run down and the main attraction here is its multi-cutluralism. You will pass people of all colours, faiths and nationalities on the streets of Ruzafa. You can have a snack in a Cuban, or a Moroccan, or a Mexican, or a Chinese. You can shop for ethnic items from many parts of the world. This multi-culturalism is not for show to a tourist - people simply live here, together, enjoying the atmosphere of tolerance. So don't expect it to be shiny.

Cabanyal

The district right behind the southern part of the beach is a nice little tour when you get bored of lying around in the sun. Formerly a fisherman neighbourhood, Cabanyal is charming in its authenticity and rows of little cute colourful houses decorated with detail and often with genuine Valencian ceramics. Cabanyal has kept its authentic character - what you will see on the street is spontaneous course of genuine Valencian life, as if Cabanyal was still a village. The main street is Calle de la Reina, although you will find many beautiful corners everywhere. Cabanyal is especially great over Easter, exploding with the festivities.

The River

And don't forget the river! You could walk in the garden itsels, or along the bank. Those are two different trips but both are really worth it. A lot of Valencia's charm can be enjoyed from Turia. Best thing to do is to walk in the river when you have seen the Centro and going in the direction of the City of Arts and Sciences. It is the prettiest stretch of the garden and it makes your piligimage to the Space Age Shrine even more of a dramatic, gradually evolving experience. Taking a bus or a taxi is just not the same.

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