Chic and central
The funky district of Ruzafa (also spelt Russafa) is a 15-minute walk from the city centre’s commerce, culture and historic monuments such as the Lonja, the silk exchange built between 1482 and 1533.
The beach and Valencia’s main attraction, the City of Arts and Sciences, a cultural leisure centre, are just a little further, and the Mediterranean island of Ibiza is a ferry ride away for weekend trips.
The rapidly evolving restaurant scene in Ruzafa offers an international variety rarely found in Spain, featuring eateries such as Tora, a Japanese izakaya tavern, Zakaria for Moroccan cuisine, Barn6 for Lebanese and vegetarian, or Miobio for vegan. There are countless fusion options, and the Ricard Camarena Restaurant offers Michelin-starred Spanish and Mediterranean fine dining.
Ruzafa’s municipal market (open Monday to Saturday) has the same luscious produce as Valencia’s celebrated Central Market, but without the hordes of tourists.
With its book-lined walls, Ubik Café is part library, part event space, part buzzing bar, and attracts an international crowd. Nearby, Olhöps specialises in craft beers, Bar Vermúdez in vermouths, and every street has tapas bars with terrace tables. Nightclubs and live music venues keep the party going till late.
Elegant town houses
Handsome terraces of tall 19th-century town houses are evocative of Parisian streets; behind the front door, expect spacious, high-ceilinged apartment conversions and contemporary design as the gentrification process gathers pace.
Ruzafa is attracting large numbers of creatives and start-ups. Despite its inner-city location, the area is popular with young families drawn to its sense of community. Lack of parking keeps traffic to a minimum, which is important when enjoying a drink at one of the pavement cafés and making the most of the warm, sunny climate. Numerous trendy shops, such as Gnomo, an eclectic boutique, and galleries have opened in recent years.
With more arriving all the time, joined by yoga studios, gyms and the like, it is little wonder that Ruzafa residents say they rarely need to leave their barrio.
Photographs: Alamy, Getty Images/iStockphoto