The classes are now over and that means it’s time to enjoy the so long-awaited summer! We will have a few months without any essays, reports or presentations so we might as well get the most out of it.
City breaks are for me one of the best options when travelling, whether in the UK or abroad, but you probably already know that as I’ve written about my experiences in various cities such as Verona or Bristol. On Easter break I travelled to Valencia, situated on the east coast of Spain – this is the perfect place for your summer city break.
Could you believe that Valencia has more than 300 days of sunshine a year? Well, me and my family were unlucky enough to book our holidays exactly for the week that was raining (yay). We were even told by locals that they normally spend Easter on the beach and there was not such bad weather since 73 years ago.
We did want to spend some days lying on the sand, but since that was no longer possible we decided to explore the beautiful and colourful city of Valencia. If you’re looking for a place where you can enjoy both the weather on the beach and in the city then I highly recommend Valencia. Although Barcelona is a great option as well, I feel like it is too overcrowded and both flights and accommodation are pricey.
In our case, as we were a big group we decided to stay in an Airbnb. The house was in walking distance from the beach and from the metro, so we could easily travel to the city centre. The closest station was Maritim-Serreria, and I highly recommend the area.
How to get around
In terms of transport, definitely use the metro. It can get you everywhere, and if you buy the TuiN card and charge it with €10 to €15, you’ll be able to travel around the city for at least a week.
What to visit
As I said before, Valencia is a very colourful city and so if you’re into street art you’ll love to visit El Carmen neighbourhood. The walls of the buildings all have different and distinctive art and it gets even better when you reach the museum. El Carmen museum is very modern so do expect to see contemporary art and not the usual paintings from some centuries ago. My favourite room was definitely the one where ancient sculptures are combined with modern art, the result is very original.
Although this is the creative and modern quarter of the city (a little bit like Digbeth in Birmingham), not everything is new. Serranos Towers, for example, are situated in El Carmen and they used to be part of the defensive wall of the city, which dates back to the 14th century.
Just by the towers, you can find the Turia Gardens which go through all the city centre. My suggestion would be for you to rent a bike and explore the garden, you may find something like this: The beautiful Flower Bridge.
Back to the streets again: in Valencia, I believe every street is unique, and I like to just wander and appreciate the architecture of the city. If you reach the Lope de Vega Square, you’ll have the privilege to see one of the narrowest buildings in Europe: La Estrecha.
If you’re in the mood for some ice cream while you’re there then definitely try the shop on the left side of La Estrecha.
Close by you can also find the Cathedral…
or this tower:
Which I have no idea of the name, but really liked its architecture.
Just like Birmingham, in Valencia, it’s possible to see the contrast between the old and the new. However, much more than new, this place looks futuristic and taken out of a movie: the City of Arts and Sciences is an amazing place to go. If you visit the museum and exhibitions you could probably spend the whole day there.
Finally, in the last day of our stay, the sun came out so we were able to go to the beach and even if you don’t feel like putting your swimsuit on, you should still visit the port and the surrounding areas.
Where to eat
We only ate out once as we preferred to cook at the house to save some money, however, I can still give you some suggestions:
First of all, try local food!! I cannot stress this enough… one of the best experiences when travelling is to get to know different cultures, and that also includes food. You’ve got burgers and pizzas in the UK, so try the typical paella or the tapas. Valencia is just by the sea so you can get great fresh fish as well.
My second suggestion is to avoid places where they call you from the door or streets and try to convince to go to their restaurant – well… DON’T GO. You’ll probably be overcharged or waste your money on food that went straight out of the freezer to the microwave and then your plate.
I’m sorry for such a long blog post but I really wanted to cover all of the important points. All in all, Valencia is a great city to visit and explore and hopefully, my tips and advice were useful to you.