I've already explored some of the best natural areas in Valencia, on the east coast on Spain. It's a region packed with mountains, national parks and stretches of open countryside, but also includes one of my favorite cities in Spain (and the one I currently live in). The city of Valencia is one often associated with the sea and the beach and paella (seafood rice dish I'll come to in later articles), but it's also one of the best cities in Spain to simply wander around. The food, shopping and atmosphere all drew me in the first time I visited and made me want to live here (and now I do!) For an overview of Valencia, check out the link.
Whilst there are restaurants and cafes all over the city, and like any Spanish hub, the food is incredible and very well priced, there are better areas than others...
If you are looking for some of the nicest and fanciest places in the city, then Calle Ribera is one of the best. It's one of the central streets right in the heart of the city, surrounded by tall elegant buildings, cinemas and high-end fashion. But the reason I love this street is the outdoor eating that almost every place on the street offers. The centre of this wide pedestrianized street is reserved for simple but classic table with umbrellas, each restaurant having their own little space. The designs, lighting and seating differs from place to place (as do the prices) but whether you want Italian, Spanish, Thai or whichever cuisine you feel like, it's a fantastic place to enjoy great food while watching the world go by. This type of outdoor eating is only possible when you have the climate to match, and Valencia certainly does.
It also doesn't hurt that this street is right next to a metro station (Xativa) and one of the closest streets to the Plaza de Toro, the Estacion del Norte (main train station) as well as being connected by plenty of bus lines too. It really feels like the heart of the city to me, and I don't think I'll ever get bored of it's energy and buzz.
Like any Spanish city, you can also find some incredibly high quality food for incredibly low prices around the city. My favourite area to find great local food for good value is the Cabanal part of the city. It's a little further away (around 35 mins by metro/bus), but this is where I have chosen to live, and being just five minutes walk from the beach is well worth the slightly longer journey. This is really a family area (as well as being a little more tourist heavy in the Summer), and so properly 'Spanish' local places here are easy to find. Myself and my girlfriend had a three course 'menu del dia' in a place across from our house and it cost us €12 in total (with drinks).
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