Valencia: Spain without the crowds


Valencia is a nice little city.  Apparently it’s the third ‘most important’ in Spain (source: Wikipedia. So trust that at your peril).  I’m not sure how they measure importance; whether it is size, population or some other means.  I’m sure Malaga must be vying for attention saying ‘hey we’ve got Picasso’ and Bilbao must be screaming ‘what about us, we have the film festival’.  However, according to Wikipedia at least, the bronze medal for important cities in Spain goes to Valencia.


Science City. Sounds boring? that’s what I thought but really it’s not. The building itself is must-see, even if you’re not interested enough to go inside

It’s on the coast, a few hours’ drive down from Barcelona, but not as far down as Alicante.  It’s a virtual straight line across from Madrid.  I hope my directions there aren’t too technical for you.   If you need to know exactly where it is then it’s probably better you look on a map, rather than trust me for directions.  If you live in Northern Europe you’ll recognize Valencia as the place where all your oranges come from.


It has a lot in common with Barcelona.  It doesn’t have the stunning Gaudi buildings but the atmosphere somehow seems very similar.  Also, in common with Barca, they speak Catalan, so maybe that explains it.

The train station

The train station

It’s a nice little city to wander around.  If I’d had longer I would have hired a car and taken a drive around the nearby towns (apparently there’s a hot spring somewhere in the vicinity but you need your own transport to get there).  However since I only had four days I simply stayed in the city.


Valencia is known for its festivals, particularly Las fallas (in March) and La Tomatina (in August).  It gets very crowded in the city during these times and accommodation is in short supply.  However if you travel outside of this, as I did, there is plenty of good-value hotel space to be had.

The market

The market

Valencia is often described as having its back to the sea.  There is a perfectly good beach there, easily reached from the city.

Valencia is often described as having its back to the sea. There is a perfectly good beach there within easy reach of the city. Not even remotely crowded.

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