Located on Spain’s east coast, Valencia is a 2,000-year-old city boasting wide sandy beaches, striking architecture, a buzzing food scene, and culture, without the crowds found in other large Spanish cities. It’s the third-largest city in Spain, but the main attractions – including the cathedral, the Mercado Central, and the Unesco-listed Lonja de la Seda – are walkable around the town centre.
It’s (almost) Always
With 20km of long, sandy beaches and more than 300 sunny days each year, you can stretch out a towel and soak up the rays year-round in Valencia. Closest to the Old Town and just minutes away by bus is the urban beaches of Las Arenas, La Malvarrosa, and La Patacona.
From Romanesque, Moorish, and Gothic to Rococo and Art Nouveau, you can chart Valencia’s history by strolling through the city streets. Your first stop should be the 13th-century cathedral, which was once a Roman temple and later a mosque. La Lonja de la Seda, a Gothic chamber of commerce that is now a Unesco World Heritage site, is also a must-visit. Don’t miss La Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, a modern masterpiece designed by renowned architect Santiago Calatrava.
Stroll around Old Town
Wandering through the warren of narrow alleys, you’ll be struck by the abundance of vibrant street art that sits in contrast with the grand old buildings and cobbled streets. When you need a break, grab an outdoor table and soak up the local atmosphere in the Plaza de la Virgen.
Birthplace of Paella
For authentic paella Valenciana – made with chicken or rabbit, white beans, and snails – visit La Pepica, a Valencian institution by the beach, once frequented by Ernest Hemingway. Paella aside, the city’s dining scene revolves around spectacular seafood and tapas, which makes it perfect for a foodie pilgrimage.