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Discover the unusual and quirky Valencia

Julia Palmer

Not all students look for the same things, that is true, but Valencia is the cream of the crop among Erasmus cities in Europe. Not too big and not too small, affordable, with different neighbourhoods and close to the beach? Need more reasons to move to this beautiful city? Sit back and carry on reading as we show you why Valencia is the perfect destination for your Erasmus.

Benimaclet – A centre of culture

Do you like to be surrounded by students, families and rather hippy-minded people? Then Benimaclet is your place. This neighbourhood in the north zone used to be a town, and still today, it feels like it. There is a community sensation on its streets; there are many events and projects that aim to create bonds between all neighbours as well as building spaces for art, culture, feminism, sustainability and collaborative economy. It’s nearby most universities, there are plenty of bars and supermarkets and there are metro and tram stations.

When in Benimaclet, don’t miss out CSOA L’Horta, an occupied traditional house with urban gardens, open for people to go and grow fruits and vegetables, where cultural, social and political events and workshops take place.  Also, if you want to enjoy a beer or a coffee while looking at an exhibition or hearing some live music or poetry, go to Tulsa Café or Kaf Café; and if you feel adventurous and playful, go to Fusionart a space for expression and fun, where you can learn how to juggle, dance and be free and spontaneous.  

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El Carmen – The historic becomes underground

Are you all about vintage and the underground scene? Go to El Carmen. It might seem a normal historic city centre during the day, but when the sun goes down its true soul comes out. Restaurants, bars and clubs of all kinds, music, cuisine and vibe.  Check out Radiocity if you like singing and dancing, or participate in a language exchange!  Moreover, take a sneak-peak into Spain’s fascist days, having a drink at Cristopher Lee, an old clandestine cinema-bar. This is one of Valencia’s best-kept secrets where you can enjoy delicious cocktails and eccentric decoration. Besides, El Carmen has lots of second-hand shops and peculiar boutiques with amazing bargains!

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Barrio de Ruzafa – The boutiques’ paradise

If you like modernist architecture, fancy restaurants and boutiques, Ruzafa. might be for you. This neighbourhood used to be one of the most bohemian and underground. Although it still preserves that vibe, most of the buildings have been restored and there are many fashion shops of all styles and prices –which, to be honest, are guilty of the gentrification that residents of this area have suffered over the last 10 years.  However, in Ruzafa, you can still find traditional restaurants like Los Madriles and eat what Spanish grandmas cook for their families. For beers and pizzas, La Finestra –also under the name of Olegari in Benimaclet- is the place; great service and good price for value!

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Barrio del Cabañal – The multicultural fishermen town

If you can’t stay away from the sea and you want to be surrounded by many different cultures, you must go to Cabañal. This neighbourhood used to be a fishermen town until it became a district within Valencia city. Then, the neighbourhood deteriorated due to lack of investment of the council, and thanks to the citizens, Cabañal is resisting and growing strong and soulful. Here, you can find La Col.lectiva, space where weekly workshops are done (yoga, theatre, social integration, handicrafts..) with the aim of creating a cultural network in a neighbourhood with such diversity.  Also, for gigs and other scenic arts shows, go to TEM (Teatre el Musical); there’s a great and broad agenda. Eat cheap at Work in Progress for interesting reinvented tapas, live music and shows, or La Paca -right in front of TEM- for traditional Spanish and Valencian food (with its speciality in omelettes, don’t miss out the vegan tortilla!). Finally, go to 27 Amigos for a memorable night with non-commercial music of all genres.

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Buñuelos from Horchateria El Collado

Other great places for expats in Valencia are:  Cines Babel (movies in original version with Spanish subtitles), Sankofa (a cultural association in Patraix neighbourhood, with a great range of events and courses), La Peligro (to dance ska, rockabilly, punk, R’n’R, Soul, Funk, Punk, Power Pop, Rhythm & Blues, Groove… until the sun comes out) and Horchateria El Collado (for the best horchata, fartons, hot chocolate, churros and buñuelos!)

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Valencia is not too big, it’s affordable, the weather is wonderful, it’s by the sea but also nearby the countryside, it has really good universities, it’s well-connected to other cities like Madrid or Barcelona, the food is amazing, people are diverse and kind-hearted…and I could keep counting reason why Valencia is such a nice place to live in, but, hopefully, you will find out yourself very soon!

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If you need student accommodation in Valencia, you’ll find the student home you’re looking for on Uniplaces.

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