The Streets of Valencia

I met a girl once who told me about Valencia.  She talked about riding bikes to the beach, street art and perfect weather.  For my final stop in Spain, before I left the country for good, I knew I had to see this utopia for myself. From Madrid, I took the train to Valencia. Though the AVE train is crazy fast, tickets are very expensive so best keep an eye on flight prices to find a good deal. If you’re coming from abroad too, Valencia is a great choice to fly into compared to crowded and expensive Madrid and Barcelona. Once there, Valencia is wonderfully cheap. We stayed, not far out of the center, for only €10/night (for a double occupancy room) and food is also much more affordable (and better) than you’ll find in a lot of the more popular destinations.

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Valencia is one of those lucky cities to have its own bike sharing program and I can see how biking would be the best way to get around the city, which seems pretty flat and accommodating to cyclists. Though it does have a metro system, staying above-ground offers you a great opportunity to see what, for me, was one of the most attractive things about Valencia: the abundance of quality street art.  Everywhere you go murals plaster every blank surface and the skill and creativity seem unmatched in other parts of Spain. I highly recommend walking around at night when buildings are eerily lit.

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Valencia boasts a fantastic mix of modern culture with just the right touch of ruin (man, I love me some crumbling buildings) all alongside a vastly deep history. Valencia is, in fact, one of Spain’s oldest cities and originated as a Roman colony. It marries its modernity and antiquity perfectly (check out City of Arts and Sciences and then wander around the historic center) and somehow isn’t bursting at the seams with tourists like many other Spanish cities. Walk the tree-lined streets and eat paella in its birthplace to your hearts content. Oh yeah, and you can always go to the beach.

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My biggest regret about Valencia is that I didn’t time my trip to take advantage of the Las Fallas festival, which is generally regarded as the best festival in Spain. I’m kicking myself. I rarely have the desire to go back to a place again (it’s a big world!) but if I had the chance, I’d go back for that.

Have you been to Valencia? What did you think?

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9 responses to “The Streets of Valencia

  1. We recently spent a few nights in Valencia and really enjoyed it. The food was great and we were amazed at how inexpensive it all was; finally ‘splurging’ on paella (the ‘original version’ with meat rather than seafood), since in other cities it’s quite expensive, but here it was very reasonable and very good. So was the lobster soup. I think I took photos of the very same street art you feature in this post. It was so amazing!! The only thing we didn’t like was the weather; a bit too warm and humid in October ;-)

    • Yes, the paella was much cheaper and better I thought, than in other places. The heat and humidity would probably get to me too… I was there in June and it wasn’t too hot yet. I just got lucky!

  2. Hi Alexis,
    So you made it through your teaching term in Spain (I remember you we’re considering going home early!). I spent 3 days in Valencia and though I enjoyed my time there I didn’t really understand what all the fuss was all about. It didn’t enchant me like other spots did but I did enjoy the mix of modernism and old buildings, especially the ones in ruins. Hope you are well!

      • Loved Asturias- all the pueblos and cities there. San Sebastian, Bilbao and even Vitoria- Gasteiz has a charm. Sevilla, Granada and Cordoba…
        parts of BCN…I also feel I saw the dark side of it.

        What are your favorites?

  3. Hi Alexis,
    Is it possible that you can provide the name of the place where you stayed for €10/night? I will be visiting Valencia in May 2014. Any websites you can recommend with affordable but nice accommodations? thank you.

    • I found my place on Airbnb but the accommodations were very simple, I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say “nice”. I do recommend Airbnb though, you can find great deals on some beautiful apartments! Other than that, I usually use booking.com to search for hotels.

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