Looking for your next European city break? Valencia in Spain is a city that is growing in popularity as a fascinating place to explore with less saturated tourism than many other cities in the continent.
In fact, Valencia is growing in popularity with expats and the digital nomad crowd, with a boom in arrivals over the past few years. But for those planning a city break in Europe, one that includes a bit of everything, there are many excellent reasons to choose Valencia.
We’re going to keep it simple and highlight the 6 best reasons to visit Valencia in Spain on your next holiday.
If you decide that Valencia is not for you, check out this list of the best cities for your first international trip.
1. The Turia River Gardens
Running right through the centre of Valencia is the Turia River, well, it used to. The river was diverted after a devastating flood in the 1950’s, and today the riverbed is a fantastic park. At 9 kilometers, Turia River Gardens is the longest park in Europe and is a popular place to hang out, play sports and enjoy the lifestyle in this lovely city.
Throughout the gardens you’ll find verdant fruit trees, quiet corners to people watch, intriguing monuments, boating lakes and excellent views.
2. The home of Paella
If you think of Spain you probably think of paella, the rich rice based dish served in a huge pan. Well, the Valencia region is the home of paella, and sampling it here is an essential experience.
For the truly authentic version, head to Albufera, a wetland area to the south of the city where you can enjoy your paella in a tranquil rustic setting. But, the city of Valencia itself offers more than a few great places to sample this local speciality. We recommend Rincon 33 in Carrer de la Corretgeria (near the market).
3. Stunning architecture
Spain isn’t short of picturesque cities, such as Barcelona, Sevilla and Granada. But Valencia isn’t to be outdone. From the ancient Torres de Serranos or the Plaza de la Virgen, to the space age City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia offers plenty of stunning and instagrammable architecture.
One of the best reasons and the joys of visiting Valencia is wandering the old town and stumbling on a hidden plaza surrounded by quaint old buildings. And, of course, a tapas restaurant where you can sit and take in the view.
4. Tapas lifestyle
Although tapas has conquered the world, it’s so much better (and of course more authentic) in Spain. Although Valencia isn’t technically the home of tapas, there is plenty of choice for excellent small plates across the city. From the beachfront restaurants to the bars of the old town, one of life’s little pleasures is grabbing a plate of tapas and a beer and watching the world go by.
5. Miles and miles of beach
Valencia sits on the Costa de Azahar, which sits between the Costa Blanca and Costa Brava. What this means is; lots of sunshine, sparkling blue seas and miles of beachfront. Valencia itself is set slightly back from the beach, but Playa de Malvarrosa, El Cabanyal and Patacona are all easily accessible by tram, metro, bus or bike from the centre of town.
6. The nightlife is pretty good too
After hours, you’ll find lots of places to let your hair down in Valencia. In fact, the party vibe is one of the best reasons to visit Valencia for many people. Thanks to the city’s student population and year round tourism, there is almost always a big night somewhere in town.
The popular areas are Russafa, which is a trendy neighbourhood to the south. El Carmen in the old town is also a vibrant nightlife area, and Plaza Negrito near the market is surrounded by lively bars.
7. It’s not like Barcelona (yet)
Don’t get me wrong here, Barcelona is fantastic. But… The sheer volume of tourists in the summer months does make it feel like a theme park sometimes. Valencia gets busy, no question about that, but there is still space to feel like you’re really experiencing the real city and nowhere in the city really feels like a tourist trap.
The Central Market is still easy to visit and enjoy some local food, and the popular City of Arts and Sciences and Plaza de Virgen never feel swamped with selfie taking hordes. So, if you want to visit a vibrant Spanish seaside city, this is a great reason to visit Valencia.