I have a love love relationship with Spain and Spanish life in general. Smart 13 year old me jumped at the chance to learn the language at school so I could forever visit and enjoy the culture. Prior to this trip, I had already been to Spain a few times: Malaga, Grenada, Barcelona plus islands Menorca, Ibiza and Spanish speaking Cuba.
So when deciding on a sisters holiday for Summer ‘16 (June 19-24) and Valencia came up (coincidentally also my favourite Insta filter), I was excited to explore a lesser known part of this fab country…and boy it didn’t disappoint.
We had a simple easyJet flight there from Gatwick and took the metro directly to our accommodation. We had booked to stay in another Airbnb. This pristine 2 bed flat still remains my favourite Airbnb of all time and our host Nerea earned her status as the fourth sister! We lived near many fresh food markets and Mercadona (supermarket) so often cooked to economise.
We started our holiday at Tapearte with paella and sangria. After lunch, we took a leisurely stroll to explore the surrounding attractions, first starting at classic Spanish department store el Corte Inglés. Our next stop (max 10 minute walk from our place) was the infamous Ciudad de las artes y ciencias. The city of arts and sciences includes the science museum in which you can wander around some parts for free, a palm tree greenhouse, beautiful art structures and more.
We continued our walk to Turia Gardens which is a long stretch of greenery, parks, water features and cafe hotspots. Perfect for cycling and people watching.
We found the beach the next morning..a solid 25 minute walk from our place. Playa de la Malvarrosa is a gorgeous sandy beach which has many activities going on from sunrise to sunset.
After the beach, we continued to explore and soon found ourselves in the centre walking through squares naturally!
In the evening we went to High Cube…literally a floating cube by the seafront! A cool club to visit in the summer.
The next day, we visited Valencia Central Market which is large and mostly indoors (important for keeping cool!) It has beautiful architecture as well as an abundance of fresh food, drinks, souvenirs and more.
We visited Llotja de la seda aka Silk Exchange. It’s a impressive gothic building, previously used for silk trade which made it very important centuries ago. It’s only a couple of euros for entry (or €1 for students…and free on Sundays!) and inside the complex it has various buildings including a small chapel, grand hall and a cute orange garden outside!
Afterwards, we just carried on strolling through Valencia..on a sunny day it is just pretty side street perfection!
Our next big stop was Torres de Serrano. This impressive tower was once part of the ancient city wall. It’s a bit of a workout to get up here but once you are, the views are amazing!
Our incredibly busy day was not over yet. We passed through Palacio de Benicarló (old gothic palace now used for Parliament), Plaza de la Virgen (main sights here are the Cathedral of Santa Maria, the Basílica de la Virgen de los Desamparados and the Palace of the Generalitat) and Valencia cathedral which lives in Plaza de la Reina. By this point, we were in need of ice cream and shade!
After a full on day of exploring, we had a well deserved sunset rest on our fave beach.
There were still a couple of places to visit despite our epic few days of exploring! We had a great day visiting Oceanogràfic – a huge aquarium complex very close to the City of Arts and Sciences. It has every form of aquatic life to look at and learn about and a very popular dolphin show. We bought youth tickets for €24.20 online the day before.
In the evening, we went back to Plaza de La Virgen for paella, sangria and to hang out in the square which has plenty of restaurants, bars and evening entertainment. We found ourselves back at our favourite floating cube afterwards for the last time!
Our last touristy activity on our final day was to visit L’Almoina (archaeological museum). You walk through visualising how Valencia was built up through the ages until the modern day. Also €2 entry or free on weekends and bank hols.
Nerea our lovely Airbnb host invited us to the beach in the evening for the San Juan festival..this celebrates the beginning of summer with the whole city coming together to eat and drink around bonfires and then at midnight, you jump across 9 waves for luck! It was crazy and the best way to end our amazing trip.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this and have been persuaded to visit Valencia this summer! It is seeped in art, culture, history with friendly people, beautiful sights and quality classic Spanish cuisine….a trip for everyone!!