Valencia Art Nouveau: Modernismo architecture

Valencia is a treasure trove of Art Nouveau architecture.

While Barcelona is known for its astonishing, world-famous Gaudi buildings, the Art Nouveau architecture in Valencia isn’t quite as well-known.

Walking around the streets of Valencia, I couldn’t stop looking up. There were so many gorgeous buildings to spot, especially in the decorated Art Nouveau style, or by its local name: Modernismo.

I wanted to take a guided architecture tour in Valencia focusing on Modernismo, but there wasn’t one available in English while I was there.

So I decided to learn about it myself and created a self-guided walk highlighting some of the most beautiful examples of the Art Nouveau or Modernismo architecture style I found around Valencia.

What’s Modernismo or Art Nouveau architecture?

Art Nouveau emerged in Europe at the turn of the 20th century and spread across the continent as well as to North America.

It’s a highly aesthetic style, characterised by curving lines, motifs from nature, and rich ornamentation.

In many cities in Europe, such as Paris, Riga, Brussels, Aveiro, and Poznan, you can find some truly beautiful and well-preserved examples of Art Nouveau architecture.

It was also a prominent style in design, decorative arts, painting, and other art forms.

Modernismo is the Spanish name given to the Art Nouveau movement in Valencia and Catalonia.

The most famous examples of Catalan Modernismo are Gaudi’s spectacular buildings in Barcelona.

The name Modernismo is a bit confusing since the name Modern or Modernist architecture is used to describe a much later architectural style that’s quite different from Art Nouveau: minimalist, functionalist, and with fewer decorations if at all.

Some examples are Eltham Palace in London, Bauhaus in Tel Aviv, and Modernism in Wroclaw, Poland.

In general, there’s quite a bit of inconsistency in the names given to architectural styles and movements. Learning to identify the characteristics helps place each building in context.

Anecdote: I once took a guided tour in Krakow. The guide was Spanish and told us about Polish Modernist architecture we saw on the tour.

In between stops, we had a chat and she said that coming from Spain, she’d initially been quite underwhelmed by Polish Modernism, expecting the extravagant Gaudi style, rather than minimalism.

To avoid confusion, I’m going to use the term Art Nouveau in this guide.

Valencia Art Nouveau architecture – Self-guided walk

The buildings in this self-guided architecture walk are within walking distance of each other.

Valencia is a walkable city, so you can easily take this self-guided walk in one day.

This tour is around the central parts of the city, but if you venture to other districts of Valencia, you’ll find even more Art Nouveau buildings.

There are plenty of places to stop for food or drink along the way.

A note about addresses in Valencia: There are two languages used in Valencia, Spanish and the local language, Valenciano. You may see street signs in either language.

Valencia Art Nouveau in the city centre

Norte Railway Station Valencia Art Nouveau

We begin the tour at the main railway station in Valencia, North Station (Estación del Norte).

This station really is a work of art. It has fascinating decorations inside and out. The exterior is decorated with flowers and symbolic oranges (Valencia is famous for its oranges).

Another local motif is ceramic mosaics, which are typical of the region. You can spot the ceramic panels by the entrance.

Stepping inside the station, I was delighted to see a very colourful room with its walls and ceiling covered with painted ceramics.

When you walk into the ticket hall, look up at the decorations on the ceiling, columns, clock, windows, walls, and just about everywhere else. I especially liked the delightful details at the ticket counters.

Address: C/ d’Alacant, 25, Extramurs, 46004 València

Castello 12 Valencia Modernism

Our next stop is Calle de Castelló 12. It’s about a 5-minute walk from the railway station. On the way, you’ll pass along the side of the station that’s also worth seeing.

When you enter Calle de Castelló, keep looking up, there are beautiful buildings along the street.

The house at number 12 is on a street corner and is especially beautiful. There are many typical Art Nouveau decorative details to spot, such as the curving lines and the sculptures of heads above the windows.

To get a better view of the entire building, you want to cross the street and appreciate it from a distance.

Address: C/de Castelló, 12, Eixample, 46004 Valencia, Spain

Edificio Francisco Sancho Valencia

Turn into Calle del General San Martin till you reach another impressive building on a street corner in front of you, facing the roundabout.

This is the Francisco Sancho Building, built in 1907

Look up and you’ll notice the floral decorations and the iron balconies typical of the Art Nouveau style.

Address: Edifici Francisco Sancho, Eixample, 46004 Valencia, Spain

Casa Ortega Valencia Art Nouveau

Walk along the (rather noisy) main road called Gran Via del Marqués del Túria till you reach number 9. This one is hard to miss!

Casa Ortega is a pastel pink Art Nouveau gem with an intricate facade, it’s easily one of my favourite buildings in Valencia.

I especially loved the sculptures above the door and the gorgeous windows.

This residential building dates back to 1906 and its original facade was beautifully preserved.

Address: Gran Via del Marqués del Túria, 9, Eixample, 46005 València, Valencia, Spain

A few steps from there across the street, you can spot the pretty building at Gran Via del Marqués del Túria 6.

Valencia Art Nouveau  Turia 19

Back on the other side of the road (same side as the pastel pink house), the corner building at Gran Via del Marqués del Túria 19 has a super elegant facade.

From no. 19, I took a left into some quieter streets. Walk along C/ de Félix Pizcueta and keep looking up to spot some more great architecture. Then take a right into C/ de Ciril Amorós.

At number 27 I found a somewhat minimalist building with Art Nouveau elements. The wavy lines of the balconies piqued my curiosity.

Address: C/ de Ciril Amorós, 27, Eixample, 46004 València, Spain

Casa Ferrer Valencia Art Nouveau

Right next to it is Casa Ferrer, a great example of Valencian Modernism, with influences from its similar Art Nouveau styles of around that period, the Vienna Secession and the Glasgow School.

It has charming paintings above the windows and a super elegant balcony. You want to turn left to get a view of the gorgeous facade of this house from around the corner.

If it reminds you a little of the style of the Norte Railway station, that’s because those are the creations of the same architect.

Address: C/ de Ciril Amorós, 29, Eixample, 46004 València, Spain

Keep walking along the same street (Ciril Amorós) to see more beautiful buildings, notably the charming one at no. 48, and an impressive white facade with lovely ornaments at no. 58.

Valencia Art Nouveau around the Colon Market

Colon Market Valencia

At this point in the tour, we’re about to reach Colon Market (or Mercat de Colón / Mercado de Colón).

This gorgeous building is an iconic example of Valencia Art Nouveau architecture.

It was designed by architect Francisco Mora Berenguer, inaugurated in 1916 and restored in 2003.

The market has two facades, both impressive, each with its own original design and plenty of details to notice, like flowers, fruit, and local Valencian motifs.

When you step inside you’ll find a large open space underneath a metal framework with a symmetrical design. This is probably one of the reasons it was included in the Accidentally Wes Anderson list of exceptional places.

It’s not a traditional market, but more of a food hall with restaurants, cafes, and food stalls (there are more traditional markets in other places in Valencia).

You may want to stop there for a bite to eat or get some rest.

Address: C/ de Jorge Juan, 19, L’Eixample, 46004 València, Valencia, Spain

Chapa building

Get out of the market and walk along Ciril Amorós Street till the next street corner, then turn right into C/ del Gravador Esteve.

When you reach the main road, Gran Via, you’ll see the wavy lines of the Chapa Building rooftop.

This is part of an impressive 200m facade of this building, stretching between no. 63 to 67.

If any of the doors happen to be open you can have a look inside, the entrance halls are decorated with flowers and geometric shapes.

The lovely round balconies at the corner are worth viewing from across the road.

Chapa building

Walk along the Gran Via del Marqués del Túria till you reach no. 65 that has another impressive, symmetrical facade.

Again you can have a look inside. Even if the door is locked, just look through the glass.

Address: Gran Via del Marqués del Túria, 65, L’Eixample, 46005 València, Valencia, Spain

Turn into C/ del Comte de Salvatierra, walking back towards the Colon Market.

Again I encourage you to look up, there are beautiful buildings everywhere on this street.

Walk past the market and turn left into C/ de Sorni.

This street has an interesting mix of architectural styles.

House of Dragons Valencia

At the next corner, you’ll see the House of Dragons, decorated with dragons, flowers, and geometric shapes.

This historic house also features a mix of styles, Art Nouveau and “fantastic medievalism”.

Address: C/ de Sorní, 4, L’Eixample, 46004 València, Valencia, Spain

Valencia Art Nouveau in the old town

Vincci Palace Hotel Valencia Art Nouveau

Our next stop is about 5 minutes away. It’s the Vincci Palace Hotel, a historic hotel with a beautiful Art Nouveau facade.

I didn’t get a chance to see the interior, but if you do, it’s promised to be very elegant.

Address: C/ de la Pau, 42, Ciutat Vella, 46003 València, Valencia, Spain

Edificio Gomez I Valencia

Across the road, the Gomez Building, is an old Art Nouveau building from 1903 with floral decorations.

Just across the road again there’s a yellowish building housing the Red Nest Hostel, with charming balconies, windows, and a wooden door, all typical of the Valencia Art Nouveau style.

Address: C/ de la Pau, 36, Ciutat Vella, 46003 València, Valencia, Spain

Edificio Gomez II Valencia Art Nouveau

At the corner of this street, you’ll see the Gómez II building, a residential building with elaborate Art Nouveau decorations. I enjoyed walking around this building to see it from different angles.

Address: C/ de la Pau, 21, Ciutat Vella, 46003 València, Valencia, Spain

The last stop on this tour is Casa Punto de Gancho, another old building with a beautifully decorated facade, overlooking a square called Plaza de la Almoina.

It’s hard to ignore the red sgraffito ornamentation that makes this building stand out. It’s typical of the Art Nouveau style.

Address: Pl. de l’Almoina, 4, Ciutat Vella, 46003 València, Valencia, Spain

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Art Nouveau architecture Valencia Modernismo
Art Nouveau architecture Valencia Modernismo
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