Last weekend Nely and I took a trip to Valencia, the third largest city in Spain on the Mediterranean coast. While we had some trouble getting there, it was WELL worth the stress. After two failed attempts with Blablacar on Friday night, we were SO happy to finally arrive in the city Saturday morning after the 4 hour drive from Madrid. We had an nice Airbnb close to Ciutat Vella, the oldest and most central part of the city.
Like most Spanish cities that I have visited, Valencia has the typical narrow streets and old stone cathedrals, but it has a distinct smell and breeze of the ocean. People in Valencia used to speak Catalan, so in effort to preserve the original language of the city all signs are still in Catalan instead of Spanish. So once we got settled in, we walked around and tried the traditional sweet snack of Valencia, horchata and fartones at the most famous horchatería. We checked out some shops and explored one of the largest food markets in Europe, El Mercado Central.
After checking out the city Saturday afternoon we headed to the beach called La Playa de la Malva-rosa which is a short bus ride from the center. We walked along the water and got drinks in a restaurant nearby. That night we got a great dinner at a vegetarian restaurant called Las Tastaolletes in Ciutat Vella.
On Sunday we woke up and went for a run in this awesome park that surrounds the city called Los Jardines de Turia. We were surprised to see so many other people working out, Valencia seems like a much more active crowd than Madrid. The park was full of exotic plants, exercise machines, castles and secret little trails. It was the perfect place for a run!
For the rest of the day we rented bikes and rode to the art museum complex (Valencia’s No. 1 tourist destination) called La Ciudad de Las Artes y Ciencias. It is a collection of neofuturistic science and art museums with an aquarium. Nely and I decided to go to the aquarium. We weren’t super impressed with the some of the exhibits, but the dolphin show was fun! Then we biked to the beach again to experience a traditional Valencian seafood dinner of paella de mariscos at La Marcelina, a restaurant built in 1888.
Monday morning before heading back to Madrid we explored a trendy neighborhood called Russafa. We walked around and checked out an indoor market where we tried another local favorite calabaza asada (roasted pumpkin). SO TASTY! And then we headed back to Madrid in another Blablacar. Overall a super successful and enjoyable weekend trip!
- If you are going to Valencia soon, you should try to go to: Mercado Central, Las Tastaolletes, Federal Cafe, La Marcelina or Pepica’s for paella and Los Jardines de Turia.
- If you are in Europe, check out Blablacar. (https://www.blablacar.es/) It is a super easy ride share organization. We had a good experience when we actually confirmed our ride with the driver BEFORE reserving a spot.