Continuing to tell the story of my Spanish adventure was put on hold for a couple of weeks due to being sick and getting back into the swing of things. So, I apologize for the delay. BUT, for those whom are still interested, the next stop in my little Spanish adventure was Valencia, Spain. Now, most people don’t really put this city on their list because not many super touristy things actually exist there, or at least, not at first glance. However, I’m definitely glad that we put it on our list. Even though I would not say that it was my favorite city in Spain that we went to, I would definitely say that it is still worth the visit.
The first half of our first day was spent in the train, but it wasn’t all terrible because we got an amazingly gorgeous view of the Mediterranean sea on one side and the mountains on the other side the entire way down! If you choose to go to Valencia from Barcelona there are regional trains through Renfe that are around ~15€. As a budget traveler, you know how much I like a decent deal like that. Now, because it is a regional train, it did take about 3 and a half hours, but again, the gorgeous view makes up for it!
I really enjoyed Valencia because it seemed to have a much more beachy town feel to it than Barcelona, with more of a local vibe as well. Though Barcelona is a beautiful city with much to offer, Valencia is a great stop if you want to get away from all the tourists!
Also, Valencia, of course, has a beach! Again, like I said in my Barcelona post, February is not always the best time to hang out on the beach, but the beach is FREE! So, if you are a budget traveler like I am, this is a great spot to relax a bit. Plus, since there are less tourists, it’s quieter, making it a lot more enjoyable.
I thoroughly enjoyed the sand here too! It was so soft!
After the beach, you can head on over to the old historic quarter of the city. Again, at first glance, it does not appear that Valencia has much to offer, but just start walking around, allow yourself to roam a bit. You’ll see some beautiful things. I promise.
- Torres de Serranos: These towers were once a part of the medieval city walls. The architecture is beautiful, if you are a fan of Gothic architecture, and it’s only 2€ to go up into them and explore or 1€ if you are a student. I must admit that there isn’t much to see inside the towers, except using your imagination to imagine what it would’ve been like to be a medieval soldier. However, being up in the towers does give you an amazing view of the city.
2. Cathedral of the Holy Chalice, aka the Valencia Cathedral: Though we did not go into the cathedral because it costs 5€ and because we were on our way to exploring elsewhere, we did walk around it, admiring the beautiful architecture. I really enjoyed viewing this cathedral because it seemed to have many different sides, none of which were the same.
3. Also, don’t forget to take a few minutes and enjoy the comforting sounds of the beautiful fountain across from the Cathedral.
4. If you continue exploring, you’ll see that there is also a lot of art to enjoy along the way. Something that I really appreciated about Valencia was the amount of street art present. It really tells you want kind of city it is, and what kind of feel the city has. Plus, I always find street art intriguing because it seems to always not follow any particular ”rules.” It seems to be much more abstract and to be very attention-grabbing.
5. Also make sure to stop by the City of Arts and Sciences: a park in the old river bed that is gorgeous to behold, with plenty of options for things to do, such as a planetarium, an interactive science museum, an open-air oceanographic park, and an opera house. Of course, all of these things cost money, but it is FREE to walk around in this beautiful park and to see the beautiful architecture. I particularly enjoyed this experience because our couch surfing host, Nacho, was kind enough to show us around and tell us a bit about it, especially some of the history of its development. Not only was Nacho a fantastic host because he was very kind, welcoming, and fun to be around, but he really loved sharing his culture with us. He loved telling us about Valencia and about some of its history. His English wasn’t the greatest, but I’d like to think hosting us was a great time for him to practice his English. So shout out to him for being a fantastic host! Also, I highly recommend walking around this park. It’s beautiful!
6. The City of Arts and Sciences is actually just a portion of a very large park called Jardi del Turia. This park was developed in an old river bed, where the Rive Turia once was, and there are many different parts to the park that you could probably enjoy for at least an hour or two.
7. Also, don’t forget to just walk around the Old Historic part of the city. There’s nothing like strolling through old European streets and just soaking in the culture of the city. Plus, there are adorable little shops and restaurants all throughout the city center where you can do some shopping or enjoy some tapas!
8. Lastly, enjoy some local eats at the Mercado Central. It’s a great place to see some locals in action in their everyday lives and to grab some local grub!
Though Valencia was not the highlight of my Spanish adventure, it was definitely worth the stop, if not for anything else but the beach. Plus, staying with a local definitely maximized the experience!
Hopefully I won’t wait so long to post about the next city in my adventure in the Iberian Peninsula, but until then…
A plus mes amis!