Valencia – perfect city break

Valencia – perfect city break

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When it comes to city break destinations, Europe is inexhaustible. There are so many unforgettable beautiful and exciting cities and it can be quite difficult to choose a destination out of the many possibilities. After a re-visit in Valencia in the winter of 2019 we must note that this Mediterranean metropolis qualifies as a bid for the almost perfect choice.

Summer and winter Valencia pampers its visitors with ancient history, intriguing culture, vibrant neighbourhoods, beautiful city break welcoming people and overwhelming futuristic architecture.

Several international airlines serve the city and as a major bonus, Valencia is said to be one of the cheapest cities to visit in Spain.

Beautiful buildings in central valencia

Being the third-largest city in Spain with almost 800000 inhabitants, Valencia stretches for miles and miles. The major attractions in the city center can easily be reached on foot and there is a well-developed bus network and a well-functioning metro that can easily be used if you want to explore further afield. However for us one of the city’s major benefits is its obvious love for cyclists.

Rent a bike

The city is crisscrossed with safe cycle paths and the other road-users are generally very considerate and attentive to cyclists.

First stop – La Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias

You can practically rent a bike on every second corner either at a privately owned bike-rental or by using one of the cities almost 3000 Valenbisi bikes. You just have to create an account and you are ready to go. There are 275 Valenbisi stations throughout the city. Check out

Many hotels also offer bikes for rent or even for free.

Last but not least Valencia is flat as a pancake and you almost only have to change gear when leaving the Turia Gardens.

We rented bikes at our hotel which set us back 11 € a day per bike. A bit pricy as we learned that bikes could be rented for a little as 6 € a day in the city center.

One of Valencia’s central squares with the colorful Basilica de la Virgen in the background.

The city center has so much to offers visitors and is best explored on foot but after a few days, you might want to explore the suburbs or maybe the long and very beautiful coastline. We choose to take our bikes for a spin up north along the Mediterranean Sea. We left our hotel early in the morning and luckily we had to pass by La Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias on the route. We had already spent hours here but we never get tired of this astonishing futuristic marvel of construction.

If you want to learn more, read our blogpost
Valencia – La Ciudad de las Artes i las Ciencias

After a gratifying reunion with The City of Arts and Science, we left Turia gardens and cycled towards the sea.

La Ciudad by night.

Paseo Maritimo

Coming from La Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias you will shortly arrive at the Valencia Marina and its a quite interesting area to explore on route to the beach. It’s possible to ride along the piers and watch the huge variety of boats that are moored here. The marina itself underwent a major renovation in 2007 when Valencia hosted the America’s Cup.

Manolo Valdes´ beautiful sculpture “Pamela hat” in the harbor of valencia

After passing the marina you will meet Valencias long palm-lined and a very beautiful beachfront promenade, Paseo Maritimo. The Promenade goes on for miles and miles. Here you can bike under the palm trees with the wind in your hair enjoying the unspoiled views towards the blue Mediterranean sea.

Paseo Maritimo

Along the promenade, you will find cozy cafes, trendy bars and delightful restaurants of which some are said to be the best choice when it comes to fresh seafood and paella. There are plenty of options when it comes to satisfying your hunger or thirst.

One of the many cozy cafes along the Paseo Maritimo

After refueling at one of the beachside restaurants you might want to get some sand between your toes and take a dip in the clear blue sea. The beaches of Valencia are long and wide and they never seem over-crowded. Unlike many other coastlines in Spain, the beachfront of Valencia is not clustered with large hotels and apartment complexes.

Valencias “Little Venice

After a cooling dip in the Mediterranean sea you can continue your ride all the way to Saplaya also known as Valencias little Venice. A beautiful complex made out of buildings in different shapes, sizes, and colors. In the middle of the huge complex you will find a beautiful large marina and it instantly becomes clear why Saplaya is referred to as Little Venice.

Saplaya, Valencias Little Venice

Its a beautiful, quite and picturesque place to take a quayside stroll. If you haven’t had lunch yet Saplaya offers some good choices in seaside restaurants. Or do like we did. Buy a selection of cheeses, locally produced sausages, Serrano, bread and a good bottle of Cava and have a picnic on the  beach of Saplaya. A picnic like that beats any restaurant, we think.

Serrano, Serrano, and Serrano

After your lunch, a little nap or a dip in the refreshing Mediterranean Sea you can ride back the same route you came or you can take a small detour that will take you into the countryside that surrounds Valencia. You just have to go back to the little white church in the small palm grove you passed on your way to Saplaya and here pass under the highway. On the other side of the highway you will find a small path that runs along a watering canal. Follow the canal and you will be passing through a beautiful agricultural area.

Valencian farmland

Many different crops are grown here. One of the most common of course is the famous Valencia oranges but in the agricultural area north of Valencia you will most likely find yourself riding through endless fields of Tiger-nuts or Chufa in Spanish. This little nutritious nut has been grown for human consumption for more than 4000 years. Thus, Tiger nuts are one of the oldest known crops in the world. In Spain, they are turned into a deliciously sweet milky drink called Horchata and can be bought in cafes and from small stalls all over Valencia.

The popular Horchata nuts (or Tigetnuts).
Photo from Pixabay by Antociano.

After a couple of miles, the path is crossed by a road. Here you can choose to turn left and ride back towards town. On most of the trip back, there are safe bike paths.

Explore the Ruzafa district

After a long day of biking, you have probably worked up quite an appetite. We recommend you to check out the vibrant district of Ruzafa. Don’t be fooled by your first impression. Even though the quite shabby barrio won’t win any architectural contest, Ruzafa is still the place to be in Valencia these days.

Typical street in the outskirts of Ruzafa

During the day, Carrer de Cuba, Sueca and Cadis don’t make much of themselves but when the afternoon turns into evening and the shutters are removed from the countless doors and windows in the small streets, the neighborhood completely changes character.

Central Ruzafa

The streets come alive with people on the search for a cheap meal, fine dining, a drink, a party or just a company. Here you will find all kinds of bars, cafes, and restaurants. We had some of our best dining experiences in Ruzafa. The food is delicious, fusion like, experimental and cheap.

El Almacen turned out to be one of our absolute favorite restaurants. Absolutely amazing food.

If you look for something extraordinary we recommend you to try the amazing Tapas at The food is freshly made a la minute, its tasty, it’s bold, sometimes naughty and it’s innovative. The restaurant is small and intimate. The atmosphere cozy and laid-back. We found it to be a bargain and would go again and again.

Plaza del Ayuntamiento by night.

After such a culinary experience you should stroll back towards the old town and enjoy Valencia by night. Many of the magnificent and impressive old buildings are lit in the most specular way. Be sure to stretch your neck all the way back as many of the buildings are equipped with the most incredible statues on their rooftops.

We are absolutely enchanted by Valencia. Few cities have so many different facets to show it’s visitors.

Picnic on the beach beats any restaurant.

Valencia is a cornucopia of history, culture, new and old architecture, exciting gastronomy, smiling friendly people and a lovely Mediterranean climate.

We have visited twice and would love to go for the third time.

Our top picks
  • Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias
  • Turia Gardens
  • Old town
  • Paseo Maritimo
  • Saplaya
  • Biking
  • Ruzafa
  • Valencia by night
Good to know

• There is free access to CAC but an admission fee to the museums, IMAX and Opera
• Do visit CAC in daylight and also in the evening. The light-setting is stunning.
• Don’t visit the Turia gardens during the night
• Rent a bike
• During high season do by your tickets in advance when possible
• Eat lunch at the Palau de la musica. Situated in the Turia gardens close to CAC. They have a
quite garden where they serve delicious food and wine at a very reasonable price.
• Take a break next to the Hemisferic and try the Tigernut milk or Horchata in spanish

We stayed at

Hotel Malcom and Barret is a boutique like hotel situated 20 minutes on foot from the old town, 10 minutes from Ruzafa and 15 minutes from Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias.
The hotel is modern with beautiful decorates and very clean rooms. The rooms come in different sizes, from 12 to 20 square meters and are located in two different buildings next to each other. In the main building,​ the hotel serves a delicious and rich breakfast with gluten-free options. There is also a lovely and well attended restaurant with a mouthwatering a la carte card filled with international and local dishes. It seemed like the restaurant also was very popular with locals, which is often the best recommendation.
The hotel staff was very friendly and helpful. Always smiling and very attentive.
It is possible to arrange airport pickup through the reception at a very reasonable price.
You can rent quality bikes at the reception, 11 € per day.
If you don’t fancy to walk or cycle you will find several bus-stops right outside the hotel.

Accommodation value for money

Valencia gallery – just enjoy or click to go to next image

4 thoughts on “Valencia – perfect city break

  1. Very interesting article, what beautiful photos! How wonderful it is to have a rest in Valencia, and to live there, – is really a small Paradise, a small Venice! It is especially thrilling to see the sights of the city, while riding the electric vehicle

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