When visiting any new city or country, it’s a good idea to get a handle on the layout, transport and customs before taking off – we love Valencia and have taken several familiarisation trips for your benefit over the years (yeah, it’s a tough job) so here are our top tips, tricks and secrets!
Getting to Valencia by plane is the most obvious and by far the simplest and best choice when you’re travelling in from the UK. Handily, the city has its own airport and now that this corner of Spain has grown in popularity as a holiday destination, many budget and traditional airlines offer often very reasonable flights direct from many different airports around the UK. Handily, Valencia airport is only 9km from the centre of the city, meaning that there’s no need to worry about expensive transfers, long taxi rides or sitting on cramped buses and trains for hours with suitcases. Take the Metrobus into the city if you’re keen to get a cheap deal, as it only costs €1.45 and will take around 30-40 minutes when traffic is slow-moving. Alternatively, take the Metro for a speedier albeit rather more squashed transition or pick up a taxi outside and expect to spend between €11 and €15.
Ferry to Ibiza
Although it’s not possible to get to Valencia by sea from the UK, if you have a free day, getting a ferry over to the island of Ibiza for a night out in the incredible clubs only takes a couple of hours and it’s well worth it if you have the time.
Handily, the central part of Valencia is easily explored on foot and although you’ll need a little more help when you want to visit the City of Arts and Sciences or the beach, the city is really quite a looker and so strolling around and stopping for the occasional coffee or cerveza is definitely a pleasure rather than a chore.
Valencia is flat and many of the locals as well as tourists love to get about by bike. There are over 250 rental spots all around the city and the charge is very reasonable.
This city has its own underground train system which is not far-reaching, but handy when you want to reach major points within the centre. Buy a rechargeable chip for €1 and then add on an additional €1.50 for a single at any of the automated machines.
The EMT bus travels to just about every corner of the city.
There’s so much to see and do in Valencia, from the cultural to the slightly crazy, so make sure you schedule in a little sightseeing time to your trip if at all possible. Here are the biggest and best attractions!
City of Arts and Sciences
Even if you don’t manage to get inside this spectacular edifice which defines the city, you’ll hardly be able to miss it, as its iconic, ultra-modern bubble design is incredibly striking and well worth a look. Inside, there’s an IMAX cinema, an interactive science museum, an aquarium and a planetarium. Bring out your inner geek or just your inner child and give the Ciudad de las Artes y Ciencias a try!
Barri del Carme
If you’re looking for a break from the traditional tourist areas and love to visit unusual, bohemian spots, then a trip to this district is for you. Visit trendy shops, cafes and galleries and hang out with the local rabble of alternative types, hippies and the gay community. Uproarious fun which always ends up as a huge party at the end of the day.
The Mercat Central
Ideal for foodies, this huge fresh produce market is located in a crumbling modernist building which is slowly being restored at the traditional Spanish pace. Get ready to chow down on some seriously delicious bits and pieces.
La Lonja de la Seda (Silk Exchange)
Valencians used to make silk here way back when and although production stopped many years ago now, the gothic building is still a sight to behold and is decorated with a variety of very cheeky and naughty gargoyles… see how many you can spot!
The Valencian football team is one of the best in Spain and the whole of Europe. They won the Spanish league in 2004 for the sixth time as well as the UEFA cup. They’re known as ‘las che’ or the goats, play in red and yellow and are constant rivals to fellow successful Spanish team, Real Madrid.
Somewhat surprisingly, Valencia has two American Football teams and the Valencia Firebats have represented their country in the European playoffs since 2005.
Motorsports Between 2008-2012, the European F1 grand prix took place on the Valencia street circuit, including Fernando Alonso’ famous win for Ferrari in 2012 when he started halfway down the track.