Art collectives, pastel façades, bakeries, courtyard concerts and bohemian bars: this is Valencia’s hip neighbourhood. This is where you come to unwind on a sidewalk terrace after a museum tour.

Ruzafa (or Russafa in Valencian) is considered by many Valencia’s coolest and hippest area. Now agglomerated by the upscale Ensanche district, Ruzafa used to be the neighbourhood of immigrants and Bohemian artists. Today, in its streets you’ll find the newer waves of expats and trendy businesses coexisting with the old inhabitants.

Ruzafa, Valencia
Ruzafa on a Valencia map.

Back when Valencia was still called Balansiya, the neighbourhood was conceived as an ornamental garden. Its construction was ordered by the Muslim ruler Abd Allah Al-Balansi. Over the centuries, it became a public park, orchard, and farmland. Finally, in modern times, it became home to the city’s most vulnerable populations.

Recently, the area has seen several urban investments and make-overs. The façades have been repainted, the shops sold and redecorated, the sidewalks expanded, and some streets were made pedestrian altogether.

Colorful façades of Ruzafa neighbourhood, Valencia
Typical Ruzafa houses have colourful façades and balcony windows.

All this beautification came, of course, with privatisations and consequently the expulsion of those vulnerable populations that had a home here and that made the neighbourhood so different to begin with.

Today, Ruzafa’s two identities contend with one another: the multicultural, eclectic barrio, home to Valencia’s minorities, and the trendy, temptingly remodelled hip area. Here, you’ll find alternative painter workshops, designer studios, and poetry readings.

Art workshop in Ruzafa, Valencia (Sporting Club Ruzafa)
Ruzafa is known for its numerous art workshops and galleries.

Across the street, you’ll see foreign students living above gastro-bars and laid-back terrace bars. This is the place to go for library cafés and pop-up theatres, international food offers and second-hand stores.

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