The beautiful beach city of Valencia sits just 3 hours away from the capital of Spain, making it the closest access to the ocean. Its proximity makes it a very easy weekend excursion to take from Madrid, and one I would highly suggest to anyone looking to escape the heat of the city with a trip to beach!
To get there, we used Bla Bla Car. Bla Bla Car is a ride share service in select countries, primarily in Europe. It allows travelers to book seats in a car with a registered driver making the same journey that they are. It cost us each about 15 euros each way, and both experiences with drivers were very pleasant! Definitely the best value method for traveling around Spain. There is also a major train station as well as an airport, making Valencia very easily accessible from different parts of Spain and Europe.
The River Hostel
This hostel is an excellent choice for both young and older travelers. More like a hotel than the typical youth hostel, it is a huge complex with plenty of amenities. It was clean and very inexpensive. It has bikes to rent, and it is located right in the city center and next to the bus stop for the bus to the beach.
Things to See & Do
Located about 5 kilometers from the city center, this beautiful and enormous expanse of beach is the perfect spot to soak up the sun, run into the water, and just kick back and relax for an entire day. We rented beach chairs which were 4.50euros for the whole day, although they did start closing down at 6 p.m.
For 8 euros we were able to rent bikes from our hostel for 24 hours, which turned out to be an excellent way to get around the city. From our accommodation in the city center, there were bike paths the entire way to the beach. We biked through the huge park near the Arts & Sciences building and were able to use the included locks to lock them on the racks along the boardwalk of the beach. It was great exercise, safe, and super fun!
Food & Drink
Valencia is where the origin of the delicious rice-based Spanish dish originated, and Paella Valenciana is a variety that is loaded with seafood. It is a dish to share, and many, if not all, restaurants serve it. Be prepared to wait a bit, as it can take over half an hour to make the dish, but I can guarantee you it is worth the wait.
Agua de Valencia
The oranges in Valencia are something else, and as one might expect, a drink made with juice from Valencia oranges is incredible. Agua de Valencia combines orange juice, cava or champagne, vodka and gin. Delicious and refreshing.
The Brunch Corner
Thanks to the influx of British tourists to Valencia, there are several places scattered throughout the city where one can get an “English Breakfast.” This was perfect for us, as our hostel didn’t have an included breakfast and it was filling so we could get through our day of biking and sitting on the beach!
Beachside Restaurants & Bars
There are a plethora of restaurants and bars lined along the beach on Playa Malvarrosa. There are so many to choose from, with a range of prices and levels of “fancy.” Many have their menus displayed, making it easy to cruise and choose a spot with things that sound good to the individual diner. One place we passed that had a very reasonably priced menu was La Barraca, where we had beers, but I cannot speak to the quality of the food, except for that it looked good!