Before we visited Valencia, we knew almost nothing about the city other than paella was its heart and soul! This is Spain’s third largest city. Every article and guidebook included the highlights: the City of Arts and Sciences, the Old Town, and the beaches. Yet, very few mentioned one of Valencia’s quiet and unsung attractions – its street art.
There is an abundance of street art. If this happens to be something you’re interested in, you will stroll through the city on a treasure hunt seeking out the city’s many murals.
The highest concentration of street art murals can be found in El Carmen, a once run-down neighbourhood at the northern end of Valencia’s Old Town. Crumbling, neglected walls covered with colourful graffiti sit in contrast with grander buildings, cobbled streets and pretty pavement cafes, making for an unusual atmosphere and striking sight.
Graffiti, you could argue, is not permitted in any city. Yet, here, the murals contribute positively to the area. Street murals are inviting, allow you the opportunity to explore parts unknown. You are engaged with the district you are exploring. Ducking down little alleyways, looking around corners, you never know where you will find pieces of street art. And all this for free
Strolling around the small neighbourhood of El Carmen is a must for any visit to Valencia, around Plaza del Tossal, the nearby cobbled streets of Carrer de Dalt, Carrer de Baix, Carrer de Llíria and Carrer de na Jordana.
The murals in all shapes, sizes and styles can be found in high concentration. To add to the experience, there are many bars and restaurants to be refreshed.
I admire street art, there’s an inclusivity to it that has somewhat of a transformative social effect. It has a creative vibe that can partly be attributed to its open spaces being used as an urban canvas. And it can be current, rolling with popular culture, depicting political messages or simply offering a slice of local culture.
Walk around and see how many you can spot – it makes for a fun scavenger hunt! I’ve only covered a few of the prominent street art pieces here in Valencia – there are a lot more you will find as you walk through these cobblestone streets. This is a fascinating medium of expression in a city. Such an adventure is bound to inspire you as a visitor.