There are so many different things to see in Spain, but if you’re looking for a perfect spot for a relaxing weekend, Valencia must be considered. It’s the right mix between historic and contemporary art, the weather is nice in every season, the sea is within walking distance and the biggest park in Europe surrounds the city.
Street art is one of the best reasons to come to Valencia, because it hosts lots of murals and graffiti by some of the most famous urban artists in the world, such as Blu, Escif, David de Limon and Julieta, who is my favourite!
In this post, you find a tour of the most important historic places and then my self-made tour off-the-beaten-paths to discover some hidden treasures of Valencia street art. At the end of the post, there’s a map to clear up any confusion.
Valencia was founded by the Romans in 138 BC, and then occupied by different peoples, such as Visigoths and Moors. The latter were expelled during the XIII century, but they left traces that are still visible in Valencia’s architecture, e.g. in the labyrinthine alleys of El Carmen quarter.
From the XIII century on, a huge rebirth started in Valencia, thanks to trade, both by land and by sea. A new art style developed in this period, called Renaissance. The historic spots that date back to this period are the Cathedral of Valencia (called La Seu) and the Llotja de la Seda, the trading place.
Another period that had a big influence on the actual appearance of Valencia was Modernism, whose best-known artist was Gaudì.
The Mercado Central, the Mercado de Colòn and the Estacion del Norte are famous representatives of this refined and ground-breaking style, but you can also see some buildings in El Cabanyal, the neighbourhood that is situated just behind the shore and that offers a very authentic and inward sight of Valencia’s lifestyle.
The last date I want to mention is 1957, the gran riada as they call it. During this year, the River Turia overflowed many times and left Valencia isolated and lots of neighbourhoods covered by mountains of rubble.
There was once a project to pave over Turia’s riverbed to build a motorway but, due to the objection of the inhabitants, it was never approved. Thanks to this, the biggest park in Europe took life in its fertile soil. The Gardens of Turia are 9-kilometers-long and embrace the old city centre in a charming and lush way, from the zoological Bioparc, in North West Valencia, to the City of Arts and Sciences, in South East.
Historical buildings live side by side with masterpieces of contemporary art, which pop up all around Valencia. The city is bursting with creativity! Murals and graffiti make it feel like an open-air museum. Anyone who wants to experience Valencia’s alternative soul should go off-the-beaten-paths and try and follow this surprising walking tour.
If you’ve just visited the Central Market and the Llotja de la Seda, I strongly suggest you wander and get lost in the narrow alleys nearby, but… keep an eye out for the street art! You can find it everywhere: between the reds, blues and yellows of the houses, on the irregular walls of houses that have been pulled down, but also on lowered shop shutters.
Part of the game consists of finding the ninja by David de Limon that, like a real ninja, can hide and reappear where you don’t expect it, often in other artists’ works.
Maybe the most famous mural in this area is the cross-stitch house, in Placa de Lope de Vega, next to Placa Redona. In the same square, you can also find St. Catherine’s church and the tavern that boasts the narrowest façade in Europe, the tasqueria La Estrecha.
The quarter that has the major number of urban art in Valencia is El Barrio del Carmen, an old neighborhood also known for its suggestive little squares and alleys, its varied options for places to eat, drink or have a tapas and its super fun nightlife.
A great number of murals and graffiti are placed everywhere here and it’s not uncommon that the authors are worldwide famous artists.
Start your itinerary from Placa del Tossal, the hearth of El Carmen quarter. On the West side, two stunning masterpieces coexist on the same huge wall.
On the left, the one by Escif is surreal and indecipherable as usual and represents a yellow car that is crashing down from the top of the building.
On the right, a big Moses by Blu is holding the two Tables of the Law in his hands. But, under the squiggly and intricate yellow beard, you can clearly see that on the tables the 10 Commandments aren’t present, instead the symbols of money, that turn this mural into an absolute condemnation towards the materialistic vision of life.
Heading East from Placa de Tossal, you immediately find Placa de Sant Jaume: the streets Calle Alta and Calle Baja start from this square and are both adorned with really impressive street art. One of the most famous is the one by Erica il Cane, where a rabbit and a chicken are fighting about which one is the best ingredient for Valencian paella.
Going back West, in Placa de Tavernes de la Valldigna, you’ll see a massive creepy mummy, that cannot but be traced back to Deih, whose characters are often suspended between life and death.
And now, heading North to the little Mossén Sorell market, that is worth a visit, you arrive at my favourite street artist, who was born in this city, Julieta. Most of her subjects are sweet Japanese dolls and other kawaii characters, often with sleek vegetation and flowers.
All around Valencia, you can find a lot of her street art, and I think that the one in Carrer de la Corona, that goes from the market to the West, is simply perfect.
The subject is an extremely nice Japanese little doll. Her dark blue hair goes down to the floor in a soft braid, leaves and flowers find their places through the wavy locks. This art completely covers the length of a yellow apartment block and is stunning.
This character’s delicacy is even more outlines by another mural, that can be seen in the distance along the same street, of an old sour-looking woman. If you’re interested in an itinerary about Julieta, read the tips in the blog by Floinviaggio. It’s in Italian but there’s a very clear map. You can find a map also at the end of my article.
You’ve almost finished your Valencia street art itinerary, but there’s the last kilometers left to explore, and it looks like an open-air museum! Go to Carrer de Na Jordana, that is really full of murals and graffiti.
Then, proceed to Carrer del Museu, where you can find Casa de los Gatos: it’s a 3D small yellow house built and painted on a light blue wall, with its door, its small windows, its garden and its civic number. It’s the entrance of a shelter for cats, built after the death of four little cats in a terrible flood. It’s frequently photographed for its cuteness and, I think, also because it’s a symbol of how art can create beauty from sad events.
From the house of the cats, you’ve come very close to Carret de Moret, also known as Calle de los Colores, thanks to the great number of colourful street art on its walls. The most famous are: the girl sitting on the bridge, the drummer and the two kissing lovers. Lots of couples from all over the world look for this mural while visiting Valencia, just to take a photo and post it with the hashtag #kissmevlc.
Ok, my itinerary is finished, but the last thing I want to suggest to you is: go back to the city centre walking down Carrer de Roteros, where other masterpieces are placed, and some of them are by Julieta!
So, what are the nooks and crannies of Valencia you have enjoyed the most? I leave you my maps with my favourite attractions: the green palette means “street art”, so don’t miss it out!
Ciao! Sono Claudia, la fondatrice di getgoingirl.it, lo spazio web dove unisco le mie più grandi passioni: i viaggi e la scrittura. É sempre il momento buono per un’avventura zaino in spalla, per un trekking al ritmo che senti tuo, per una visuale insolita e alternativa da scovare in giro per il mondo. Naviga per argomento, destinazione o tipo di viaggio e lasciati ispirare!
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