A Memorable Long Weekend in Vibrant Valencia

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Valencia Getaway

Valencia, with its 300 days of sunshine each year, is a gem waiting to be explored. As Spain’s third-largest city, it strikes a delightful balance between being a popular tourist destination and retaining an uncrowded charm, making it an ideal spot for a weekend city break. Nestled between Madrid and Barcelona, this city on Spain’s southeastern coast offers a mix of Blue Flag beaches, distinct neighborhoods, fragrant orange groves, and a rich heritage.

One of Valencia’s standout features is its commitment to the environment. In 2024, it proudly holds the title of European Green Capital, showcasing its dedication to sustainability. So, why not kick off the New Year by adding a long weekend in Valencia to your travel to-do list?

What to Do

Valencia is a city that boasts not one but three UNESCO listings for Intangible Cultural Heritage. The crown jewel among them is La fiesta de las Fallas. Picture this: streets electrified with parties, pyrotechnics, and oversized sculptures called ninots. Crafted from materials like plaster and papier-mâché, these ninots are true works of art. If you can’t make it to Valencia during the Fallas festival, fret not; there are museums dedicated to these fantastic creations – the Museo Fallero and Museo del Gremio de Artistas Falleros.

Another UNESCO-listed gem is the weekly Tribunal de Las Aguas. Eight robe-clad farmers gather outside the Door of the Apostles in the Plaza de la Virgen to discuss the distribution of water in La Huerta, an ancient farming area known for its Arabic irrigation system. While you’re at the cathedral, make sure to peek at the agate chalice inside, which is claimed to be the Holy Grail. If you’re feeling adventurous, climb 207 steps up the Miguelete tower to experience Spain’s manual bell ringing, yet another UNESCO treasure.

Apart from its cultural richness, Valencia offers abundant green spaces. From Parque Central to the flower-filled Monforte and Turia Gardens, the city is a paradise for leisurely strolls. If you’re more into cycling, Valencia has you covered with around 120 miles of bike routes, including the new Metropolitan Green Ring, a 35-mile circular corridor connecting farmland to the coast.

And of course, don’t forget to soak up the sun on one of Valencia’s Blue Flag beaches, like Cabanyal and Malvarrosa, both within walking distance of the city center.

What to See

Art and design aficionados will find Valencia to be a treasure trove. With over 60 cultural spaces and architectural wonders like the art nouveau Estación del Norte, it’s no surprise that the city was named World Design Capital in 2022. Your options range from the Museo Nacional de Cerámica y Artes Suntuarias “González Martí,” housed in a baroque palace showcasing ceramics and decorative arts, to the futuristic Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (City of Arts and Sciences) by architect Santiago Calatrava. You can also explore the street art in the old-town district of El Carmen. Make sure not to miss La Lonja de la Seda (the Silk Exchange), a lavish gothic-style UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Where to Eat

Valencia is a gastronomic paradise, and you won’t run out of dining options. Lively areas like Ensanche are filled with inviting bars and restaurants where you can dine al fresco among elegant pastel buildings. If you’re looking for an authentic Valencian experience, head to Albufera, the birthplace of paella. Here, restaurants serve up this hearty rice dish, typically made with rabbit and chicken, inside thatched-roof fishermen’s houses. After your meal, explore vast rice paddies or take a boat ride on one of the country’s largest lakes.

Food markets are a cornerstone of Valencia’s culinary scene. Don’t miss the new Mercado de la Imprenta, located in a former printers’ building, or Mercado de Colón, a national monument with architectural echoes of Gaudí. At Mercado de Colón, you’ll find Horchatería Daniel, specializing in Valencian horchata, a sweet drink made from ground tiger nuts traditionally enjoyed with long spongy buns called fartons.

For a unique dining experience with panoramic views, consider Sea Saffron’s offerings, which include tapas and wine on Valencia’s highest rooftop, overlooking La Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias.

Where to Stay

Valencia offers a variety of boutique accommodation options in its enchanting old town, Ciutat Vella. Hotel Palacio Vallier, a five-star gem in a 19th-century mansion, is a beautiful choice. Discover the remains of a third-century Roman perfumery during its renovation, savor sweeping views from the rooftop terrace, and enjoy cocktails in a bar inspired by the revered Valencian ceramic brand, Lladró.

If you prefer a stylish self-catering option closer to the beach, Apartamentos Barracart is a great choice. Run by the family that operates the popular Casa Montaña tavern, these flats are located in El Cabanyal, an old fishing district that retains its earthy charm despite gentrification. Quirky little museums, including one dedicated to rice, are nestled among vivid, tiled facades. It’s a short stroll to the beach and a 30-minute bus ride to Valencia’s city center.

Plan Your Trip

Valencia is easily accessible with direct flights from airports like Gatwick, Manchester, and Edinburgh, with flight times averaging around two-and-a-half to three hours. From Valencia Airport, you can hop on metro lines 3 and 5 or bus route 150 to reach the city center conveniently. Consider the Valencia Tourist Card for citywide public transport and discounted attractions.

As you embark on your Valencia adventure, remember that this vibrant city offers a perfect blend of culture, cuisine, and natural beauty. Enjoy your long weekend exploring the charms of Valencia, and make memories that will last a lifetime.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Valencia Getaway

Q: How do I get to Valencia for a long weekend getaway?

A: Valencia is easily accessible with direct flights from airports like Gatwick, Manchester, and Edinburgh, with flight times averaging around two-and-a-half to three hours. From Valencia Airport, you can hop on metro lines 3 and 5 or bus route 150 to reach the city center conveniently.

Q: What are some must-visit cultural attractions in Valencia?

A: Valencia boasts over 60 cultural spaces, including the Museo Nacional de Cerámica y Artes Suntuarias “González Martí” and the futuristic Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias. Don’t miss exploring the street art in the old-town district of El Carmen and La Lonja de la Seda, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Q: Where can I enjoy authentic Valencian cuisine?

A: For an authentic Valencian culinary experience, head to Albufera, the birthplace of paella, where you can enjoy this hearty rice dish inside thatched-roof fishermen’s houses. Food markets like Mercado de la Imprenta and Mercado de Colón are also excellent options. Try Valencian horchata at Horchatería Daniel.

Q: What are the outdoor activities available in Valencia?

A: Valencia offers abundant green spaces like Parque Central and Turia Gardens, ideal for leisurely strolls and cycling. You can also explore the Blue Flag beaches of Cabanyal and Malvarrosa, perfect for sunbathing and swimming.

Q: Where can I stay in Valencia for a unique experience?

A: Consider staying in the enchanting old town, Ciutat Vella, at Hotel Palacio Vallier, a five-star option with historical charm. Alternatively, Apartamentos Barracart in El Cabanyal offers a stylish self-catering option closer to the beach.

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6 comments

TravelLuvr23 December 25, 2023 - 2:09 am

valencia soundz amaze! wanna go asap! lotsa cultural stuff 2 c.

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Jetsetter101 December 25, 2023 - 5:23 am

gatwick 2 valencia in 3hrs? perfect! metro 3,5 or bus 150 frm airport – got it!

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HistoryBuff22 December 25, 2023 - 5:42 am

la lonja de la seda – 1492! need 2 see dis. thx 4 d info!

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NatureLover456 December 25, 2023 - 9:40 pm

green spaces+beaches=heaven! park central sounds chill.

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FoodieExplorer88 December 25, 2023 - 11:03 pm

yummie paella in albufera! can’t w8 2 try horchata & fartons @ mercado colón.

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ArtsySoul December 26, 2023 - 12:30 am

luv street art! gotta check el carmen out. arts & sciences looks futuristic!

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