By Izzy Green Fourth year, French and Spanish
No plans for Easter yet? Get yourself over to Valencia! Izzy Green gives us her top tips for enjoying the Spanish city, with some helpful advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Travel Aware Campaign.
In need of some sun, sites and great food? Valencia is your perfect Easter getaway. I was extremely fortunate to have spent five months in this incredible city as part of my year abroad and want to share my favourite spots and best tips with you - as well as some great travel tips I have learned from being a Student Brand Ambassador for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) Travel Aware Campaign.
Plan, plan, plan
My best advice for travelling in Valencia is to be prepared: plan your days! It’s not a huge city, but all of the sites are pretty spread out, so make sure you know where you’re going and what else there is to see around there! I recommend spending at least one day in the city centre, a day at the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, and a day by the beach - so make sure you also allow for at least three days for your stay!
I’d highly recommend using Airbnb for your stay in Valencia. It has some fantastic and extremely reasonable apartments in great locations, especially in the old town - which is the best place to stay. From my experience, and those of my friends, the majority of the hosts speak great English, and are often locals, so can give you amazing tips on places to eat/ drink.
Epigram / Izzy Green
Be hotel aware
If you do choose to stay in a hotel, however, something you might not know is that hotels have a legal duty to register the passport details of tourists on check-in - so don’t be alarmed if this happens to you! Allow them to register your passport details or take a photocopy but be sure to collect it from them straight after.
Go back in time in the Old Town
My favourite attraction in the city centre is, without a doubt, Plaza de la Virgen. The whole of the old city has a magical charm to it, with its stunning traditional Spanish architecture, its beautiful winding streets and endearing hidden shops; but Plaza de la Virgen is beyond breath-taking. Spend your day wandering the city but take a break in this Plaza to have a cortado and breathe in the amazing atmosphere of this stunning square.
Try the paella
The BEST place you can get this famous Valencian dish is, without a doubt, La Riua on Carrer del Mar in the city centre. This family-run restaurant serves the best, most authentic and traditional paella you can get in the city. While it may seem more expensive than other restaurants in an otherwise cheap city, it is absolutely worth it. It is extremely popular with locals, so I also recommend booking in advance.
Epigram / Izzy Green
Test out the tapas
There are some really incredible tapas places in Valencia. If you are in the city centre and are looking for some great value-for-money tapas, I really recommend Cafe Lisbon. It’s set in a bustling square, with lots of outdoor seating. I recommend ordering the patatas bravas, croquetas and tortilla, along with a jug of sangria, and soak up the great Spanish atmosphere.
Bask in the sunshine
Enjoy the beautiful April warmth of Valencia at the beach! Whether it is hot enough to sunbathe, or simply go for a nice warm walk on the sand, you can’t miss visiting the beach. If you are staying in the old town, I really recommend getting the bus, or alternatively use the cities amazing bike hire service Valenbisi! If you do go to the beach, however, be aware that in some places in Spain it is illegal to be in the street wearing only a bikini or swimming shorts/trunks - so make sure you take a coverup/ t-shirt with you if the weather is nice enough to sunbathe!
Watch out for your belongings
While I would say that Valencia is on the whole a very safe city, be very wary of pickpockets (especially near the beach). Try not to keep all of your belongings on you – I would recommend taking a photocopy of your passport with you so you can leave your passport in your hotel/ hostel. But do make sure you have a copy of it on you, as police officers may ask you for it (and you must be able to provide it!)
Immerse yourself in culture
The Arts y ciencias is an absolutely unmissable site. It is right at the end of the Turia, a former riverbed, which is now a beautiful park that stretches from the old city to the Arts and Sciences village. The Turia often has festivals happening on it too, so I really recommend strolling down the Turia to the complex. You should then hire a boat to row on the water by the magnificent modern glass buildings, even if you don’t go in the museum or aquarium themselves. By night, the area turns into one of the most incredible clubs in Valencia, Mya, as well as a rooftop bar lined with palm trees above, called Umbracle.
Featured Image: alelmes / Unsplash
Have you been to Valencia? Let us know!