I’m happy to finally cross Spain off of the travel bucket list!
My boyfriend planned us a vacation in Valencia, Spain for the last week in June. I definitely left my comfort zone by leaving my French habits at Charles de Gaulle—I don’t know any Spanish—but we had an amazing time exploring the city and the beach together.
Here are some quick tips on how to enjoy your week in Valencia, Spain:
What to Eat & Drink
All of the tapas, trust whatever tapas dishes your restaurant offers, but be sure to definitely try iberico ham and manchego cheese
Paella is the plate of Valencia. You’ve probably seen paella in other parts of Spain, but Valencia is where the dish was conceived. Read this article to learn more facts about paella and what to look for in a real paella.
Sangria. I feel like I shouldn’t have to explain this.
Agua de Valencia is basically a boozier, Spanish mimosa. I tried it at night, but it would be an ideal drink to have by the beach or during a hot summer day in Valencia.
Horchata is a Spanish cold beverage made of water, sugar and tiger nuts. If you’ve traveled to Latin America and seen horchata, there is a difference between Spanish and Latin American varieties. Try an authentic horchata at Horchateria de Santa Catalina in Plaza de la Reina.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t really end up liking horchata at all. It looks like milk, but kind of tastes like orange juice, but not really… I saw signs for places that had chocolate horchata, which may not be traditional, but it could taste better.
Where to Visit
Playa de Malvarrosa is one of Valencia’s beaches that has an expansive view of the water and the port. I was pleasantly surprised to see the length of the beach and the clarity of the water. We did rent an umbrella and chairs every time we took a beach day for 13 euros, but it’s possible to skip that expense if you only bring a beach towel and prefer to soak up the sun.
If you walk along the promenade towards the port, you will approach Paseo Neptuno, the main restaurant strip by the beach. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from and perfect for people who enjoy a bar scene at night.
If you walk all the way onto the pier along the boats, you’ll see a great view of the entire beach and the promenade.
Located near Valencia’s City of Arts and Sciences Museum, Oceanografic is the largest aquarium in Europe. This was the only museum we made the time to see, but it was well worth it.
Plaza de la Reina is the busiest square in the Valencia’s historic city center. You’ll see a lot of restaurants made for tourists, but if you do your research or really walk through the back streets, you’ll find authentic Valencian restaurants.
Mercat Central, one of the largest covered markets in Europe
Carrer Colon and the streets running parallel make up the best shopping area in the city center. Stock up at Spanish stores like Zara, MANGO and Stradivarius, the prices are slightly less expensive in Spain!
Several blogs I read encouraged visitors to explore the Ruzafa neighborhood, an up-and-coming trendy neighborhood to experience local, Valencian culture. It’s only a short walk from Carrer Colon, maybe less than 15 minutes.
Where to Stay
My boyfriend found an airbnb less than a 10 minute walk from Playa de la Malvarrosa, so naturally we spent a lot of our time by the beach. We loved getting drinks and dinner by Paseo Neptuno, but staying at an airbnb gave us the option to cook some of our own meals in the apartment instead of eating at restaurants for every meal.
If you’re curious about what an upscale stay in Valencia looks like, check out This is Glamorous’s stay at The Westin Valencia.
And remember to pack…
- Flip flops
- Sunscreen/beach towel
- Reusable tote bag