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.
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.
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.
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?