The little neighbourhood of El Carmen is a must-see during any trip to Valencia thanks to its exciting mix of old and new. The winding cobbled streets and pretty squares are packed with street art, nightlife and independent boutiques, as well as landmark buildings like the Torres de Quart, the Llonja and the Central Market. There’s so much to see here that you’re guaranteed to need a coffee break or two, and the cafes here will not disappoint.
Café de las Horas
Cafe, Pub, European, $$$
Cafe de las Horas, Valencia | Photo courtesy of Valencia Tourism
Candlelight and a lush, baroque-style interior make this cafe unique in the city, and very well-known locally. It’s a lovely place to spend time after checking out the stunning sights at the Placa del Virgen nearby, with its friendly service, excellent coffee and homemade cakes. At night this becomes a hotspot for cocktails and events.
After a visit to the Llonja building, duck down the little street at the side and you’ll find a small square, lined with pavement cafes. Here, Cafe Lisboa is a perfect place to sit and enjoy a coffee al fresco, while soaking up the sun and lively atmosphere. There are plenty of impromptu musical performances, and members of a nearby dance school can often be seen practicing their Lindy Hop in the middle of the square.
Coffee at Mayan Coffees, Valencia. | Photo courtesy of Mayan Coffees.
If you’re a serious coffee lover, this is the place for you. After a walk to the top of the Torres de Quart to see the view, pop down to this little Mayan and Guatamalan themed cafe for a well-earned rest. Let the extremely knowledgeable baristas talk you through their selection of carefully-chosen coffee beans, before you make your choice. If you’re a big fan, you can also buy some beans to take home.
Coffee at Mayan Coffees, Valencia. Photo courtesy of Mayan Coffees.
If you prefer your cafes with a slightly grungy, alternative vibe, check out this quirky spot tucked away down a little street at the north end of El Carmen. There’s a programme of cultural events including language exchanges, and a family-friendly atmosphere. If the weather’s good there’s plenty of outdoor seating, and the vaulted space indoors is cosy and welcoming with its eclectic decor. This place transforms into a bar in the evening; there’s local Turia beer on tap, all kinds of snacks and tapas available. It’s named after the El Carmen Convent Museum across the street, which has free, temporary exhibition spaces open to the public, set in a stunning 13th-century monastery.
Many cafes in Valencia transform into bars after dark. Photo courtesy of Valencia Tourism
A historic cafe famous for its tiled facade and its horchata, a sweet local drink, served cold and very popular in the summertime. It’s not to everyone’s taste, but definitely worth a try while you’re in Valencia. They also serve coffee, tea, ice cream, churros, and other sweet local delicacies. Whatever you fancy, this unique and very central cafe makes a great place to stop and rest during a long day of sightseeing.
Horchateria de Santa Catalina in El Carmen, Valencia. Photo courtesy of Horchateria de Santa Catalina