Looking for destinations for your post-lockdown travel bucket list? Why not spend a sunny weekend in Valencia? This Mediterranean gem promises sunshine, culture and one of Spain’s best culinary scenes.
Arriving late into Valencia? Not to worry. Spain is known for its late-night culture. Dinner typically is not until around half past nine or ten. Adjust your body clock and grab some tapas when you arrive. If you are looking for something typical on your first night, try Casa Almudin, a rustic local bar known for its vermouth and patatas bravas. Another good choice for traditional flavours is La Bernarda tucked away in the atmospheric Mercado de Tapineria square. Try a classic Ensaladilla Rusa and Pimientos de Padrón. If you are after something more modern, try fresh flavours at Gallina Negra or international fusion tapas at Refugio.
Looking for post-dinner drinks? Of course you are! You are on holiday, after all. Take a seat in the ambient Plaza Negrito for a post-dinner gin and tonic. Want to try something quintessentially Valencian? Sit in the dazzling Baroque interiors of Cafe de las Horas and try the classic Agua de Valencia: a deliciously lethal combination of fresh Valencian orange juice, gin, cava and vodka.
Soak up the Saturday morning atmosphere in the heart of the city with breakfast at Central Market. Europe’s largest food market is known for its stunning art-nouveau architecture as much as for its wide array of fresh produce. Grab a fresh fruit juice from the many colourful stalls or a coffee at the well-hidden Retrogusto stand. Want the excitement of the bustling market place without the busy crowds? Take a seat at one of the neighbouring cafes and enjoy a sun-soaked breakfast. We suggest a tostada con tomate (toast with tomato and olive oil) and cafe con leche (milky coffee). This is the ideal spot for people watching.
The Old Town of Valencia is steeped in history, dating back to the 11th Century. Get to know your surroundings with an intimate small-group walking tour of Old Town Valencia. Your passionate local guide will share local folklore and traditions alongside the most famous landmarks of the city. Discover the palatial ceilings of the Iglesía San Nicolás and stop for photos in the iconic Plaza de la Virgen. No trip to Valencia is complete without trying traditional Valencian Paella. Why not try it in an 11th Century venue? Sea Saffron walking tour culminates with a unique dining experience in one of the city’s most incredible spots. Taste traditional local tapas, prizewinning regional wines and paella surrounded by the original city walls. This stunning interior terrace is an authentic and memorable way to discover local cuisine and culture.
Take advantage of the verdant park which runs throughout the city. The Turia Gardens is an impressive 9 kilometres and is one of Valencia’s best assets. Formerly a river, this long stretch of park is perfect for an afternoon stroll or to sit and watch the world go by. If you are seeking more culture, Museo Bellas Artes is situated just across the Turia Gardens. Formerly a seminary, a military base and a hospital, the building has served many roles over the years. Aside from being a truly spectacular building, the museum boasts the oldest art collection in Valencia with paintings from the 15th to the 19th Century. Second only to Madrid’s Prado in terms of size, the gallery is famed for its Joaquín Sorolla collection as well as a room devoted to Francisco Goya. Spend a while getting lost in the sea of paintings and the stunning domed ceilings.
For your evening plan, check out Valencia’s trendiest barrio, Ruzafa. This neighborhood is known as the hipster district of Valencia thanks to its art scene, colourful buildings and buzzing nightlife. They are also at the cutting edge of Valencia’s culinary scene. Book ahead at Canalla Bistro. The informal restaurant of Michelin-star chef Ricardo Camarena, this funky spot is the definitive way to perceive how Valencian gastronomy is evolving. Based on local ingredients with Asian and South-American influence, the tasting menu offers a new concept of traditional tapas. For fish lovers, the salted sea bass (lubina al sal) at Ruzafa’s Bocamada is unparalleled.
Spend the morning at the beach and admire the stunning mediterranean coastline. An easy bus ride will take you to Malvarrosa, Valencia’s most well-known beach, or a little further along to Patacona. In Patacona, you will find one of Valencia’s most beloved brunch spots. With its pastel-coloured aesthetic, La Más Bonita has an extensive brunch menu with uninterrupted beach views. This is a popular choice so worth getting there early or opting for one of the many beachfront spots in Playa Malvarrosa.
The City of Arts and Sciences, the avant-garde architecture of Santiago Calatrava, put Valencia on the map as a must-visit destination. The innovative designs are based on animal anatomy and evoke the feeling of stepping into a science-fiction film. Its seven structures are multi-functional, including a science museum, an opera house, an aquarium and an open-air nightclub! Learn the stories behind the truly spectacular structures on the award-winning City of Arts and Sciences tour followed by rooftop wine-tasting and tapas! This small-group experience consists of a tour around the awe-inspiring complex before ascending to Valencia’s highest rooftop. From here, see the sun set over the city of Valencia and its surrounding region. These panoramic views are the perfect setting for a wine-tasting of prizewinning regional wines paired with a carefully-selected tapas menu of local produce. The ideal way to end a wonderful weekend in Valencia!