El Cabanyal – El Canyamelar, located in the Poblats Marítims district of Valencia, is primarily a residential area with historical traces of its fishing heritage. Cabanyal’s fishing history is a cherished part of its identity, reflecting the neighbourhood’s close connection to the sea.
The district was once an independent municipality known as “Pueblo Nuevo del Mar” in the 19th century. It has always maintained its fishing heritage; the streets are adorned with colourful murals depicting fishermen and their boats and visitors can still experience the bustling atmosphere of the local fish market, where fresh catches are sold daily.
In the late 20th century, the Cabanyal neighbourhood lost its autonomy and became a target of the Special Plan for Protection and Interior Reform aiming to extend Avenida Blasco Ibáñez, which would result in the demolition of around 1,600 houses. The community rallied against it, and the legal battle ensued. Although the plan was eventually defeated in court, the neighbourhood suffered from political manoeuvring and decline. Today, the neighbourhood is slowly being revitalised.
Today, the area is a treasure trove of surprises, including incredible street art, quaint cafes offering coffees and cold beers and shops selling hand-made trinkets and souvenirs that beckon to explore their wares.
Strolling through the long, linear, maze-like streets of El Cabanyal- El Canyamelar reveals lines of houses, each boasting its own distinctive design on the facades, often made out of intricately designed ceramic tiles. These beautiful designs showcase the creativity and artistry of the local community and cause this barrio to stand out from the rest in Valencia. From brightly coloured patterns to pastel hues of yellow, blue, green, and pink, each house facade tells its own story and adds to the neighbourhood’s visual charm.
A day spent in El Cabanyal- El Canyamelar is a day filled with visual wonders, traditional cuisine, and a connection to the rich history of the area. Whether you are exploring the mesmerising ceramic designs, savouring local delicacies, or simply enjoying the beach, this neighbourhood offers an unforgettable experience that captures the essence of Valencia’s coastal charm.
Report by Emily Bray
Article copyright ‘24/7 Valencia’
Photo copyright Emily Bray / ’24/7 Valencia’