Why I’m Spending Summer in Valencia, Spain

If you're curious about why I'm spending the summer in Valencia, Spain, and what there is to do there, look no further. Click to read this post and learn about all the great things Valencia has to offer...you might just end up booking a flight and seeing it for yourself! | http://passportandplates.com

SURPRISE, I’m spending the summer in Valencia, Spain! For any of you who thought you knew my summer plan, I just pulled a fast one on you, didn’t I? If you haven’t been following along in detail (you’re forgiven), I initially planned to base myself in Barcelona for July and August with a couple of trips within Europe planned here and there.

It didn’t take much convincing to get a friend of mine to join in on my summer adventure, but sadly the cost of renting an apartment in Barcelona for the summer quickly went from #ballinonabudget to straight up #ballin. Our dream of an inexpensive, sun-filled summer quickly faded until we reconsidered our options. Andalucía is deathly hot in the summer and Madrid was just as expensive as Barcelona. We wanted a city near the beach, but the resort towns of Malaga and Marbella weren’t exactly our vibe. So…Valencia. A city that neither of us has been to, but is raved about by the travelers that visit. It may be Spain’s third largest city, but it’s under the radar enough where our budget got us a fancy apartment near the center of town and a ten-minute bus ride from the beach. Needless to say, it only took us a week to decide to shift our plans to Valencia, find an apartment, and book it.

Shoutout to Spotahome for making this process easy to do from abroad! They offer verified apartments complete with videos and photos in 16 major cities worldwide which made the apartment hunting process significantly less painless.

But don’t just take my word for it! These are the reasons why I’m spending the summer in Valencia.

 

It’s barely in the guidebooks

I’ve looked at several guidebooks on Spain and was surprised to find Valencia completely missing from one (shame on you, Rick Steves!), and less than ten pages dedicated to the city in another. Some might see this as a deterrent for figuring out “what to do” while in Valencia, but I see the benefit: fewer summer tourists. Spain is chock full of tourists during the summer, and Barcelona attracts the majority of them. I know because my friends there love to complain about them! If being in Valencia means I can avoid large crowds of people, I’ll take it! Note: Yes, I’m fully aware that I’ll be a tourist too, but since I’m going to be on an extended workcation, I like to think of myself more as a temporary expat.

 

It’s home to paella and other good food

If you're curious about why I'm spending the summer in Valencia, Spain, and what there is to do there, look no further. Click to read this post and learn about all the great things Valencia has to offer...you might just end up booking a flight and seeing it for yourself! | http://passportandplates.com

YES PLEASE.

As much as all of Spain is associated with paella, this delicious rice dish was actually born in Valencia. Valencianos are so passionate about their paella that they have a festival dedicated to it every September. Another Valencian benefit is the low cost of living, which extends to the delicious food. Mercado Central and tapas, I’m coming for you!

 

It’s near the beach

Do I really need an explanation? The beach is ten minutes away by bus and I’m planning on getting so tan that people will actually start believing I’m African. Also WIN for having public transportation and not paying for beach parking like in Los Angeles!

 

There aren’t as many expats

I have nothing against expats and am probably going to seek them out when I get to Valencia because we all need friends, right? But it’ll be nice to feel a little forced to speak Spanish when I’m out and about. Fewer expats generally means more of a local feel. If there’s one thing I dislike about Barcelona, it’s its distinct lack of Spanish-ness. I’ve been told that this isn’t the case in Valencia.

 

The architecture is stunning

If you put me in a city with nothing but old buildings, I’d be happy. Not only is there beautiful Gothic and Romanesque architecture in the old town and at the famous Cathedral, but there’s also ultra modern architecture too. Check out that photo of the City of Arts and Sciences. So sleek!

 

There are tons of parks

If you're curious about why I'm spending the summer in Valencia, Spain, and what there is to do there, look no further. Click to read this post and learn about all the great things Valencia has to offer...you might just end up booking a flight and seeing it for yourself! | http://passportandplates.com

I love parks just as much as I love the beach.

The Culture Trip did an entire post dedicated to the parks of Valencia. Just the top ten, mind you. Since my roommates this summer will be my friend and her pet dog, I imagine we’ll be spending a lot of time at the park. But no complaints here! I love parks almost as much as I love cool architecture. What I’m not so certain of are my bike-riding skills…I wonder if I can still look cute in some sort of armored suit.

 

There’s an airport

While this may not be that big of a deal to some, I actually have to fly out of Spain twice during the summer. I distinctly remember studying abroad in a city without an airport and let me tell you, those three-hour bus rides at 1 am for 6 am Ryanair flights were brutal. Thanks to Valencia airport, I don’t have to take a three-hour bus trip to fly to London or Heidelberg this summer!

 

The more I read about Valencia, the more excited I get about visiting! Part of the reason I’m traveling so much this year is because a lot of my close friends are getting married in various cities across the world. It’s shaping up to be an exciting few months ahead! I can’t wait to share my adventures with you all!

 

Have you ever been to Valencia, Spain? If so, share your favorite spots in the comments below!

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  • Obsessive adventurer

    The City of arts is AMAZING! There is so much to do there, you easily spend an hour just taking pictures of the crazy buildings. I’ve visited every building and found everything to be worth the time, the planetarium; the science museum; the walk of sculptures (L’umbracle) and the aquarium is FANTASTIC!

    It has a beautiful old town which you can just wander around, full of lovely shops and gorgeous architecture.

    The central park ‘Antiguo Cauce del Rio Turia’ will also take a whole day of your trip. Just meander through, marvel at the beautiful fountains, the fun parks, the people practising tight rope walking (like seriously, is it that much of a thing over there?!) and take a million photos.

    The zoo is really good, it’s one of those modern zoos that try to break down the barriers between animal and visitor and it feels really open.

    As far as food and drink there is a big thing there for tapas. Lots of bars where there is a tapas buffet that you help yourself to and they count your toothpicks at the end of the meal for the bill. Nice chilled out vibe. There was a funky little chain out there called ‘cerveceria de montaditos’ which serves mini sub sandwiches in 100 different varieties. Easy cheap eats.
    We went to a funky little place called ‘creperie bretonne’ where crepes were served out of an old bus parked in the middle of the restuarant.

    Hope this helps 🙂

    • Wow wow wow SO many good suggestions here, THANK YOU! I really appreciate it. I’m even more excited about going now 🙂

  • I’m definitely jealous! A friend of mine and I were just talking about how awesome it would be to live in Spain for at least a month and eat tapas all day. It’s definitely something i’m thinking of for next year! Have an awesome time, looking forward to more of your posts on the city!

    • If you get a chance you absolutely have to do it and of course let me know if you have questions about anything :). I traveled throughout Spain last year (without a base) and loved it so much that I knew I had to come back. The food is to die for as well.

      And thank you! I’ll be posting tons I’m sure!

  • Utkarsh Kapoor

    I’m not so jealous because I just happened to be in Valencia two weeks ago 🙂 I actually went there for a conference to discuss science and ended up enjoying the architecture of the Medieval town and then headed to the beach. It’s a nice city to enjoy some sun, some amazing food esp paella, local beer and not to forget, the friendly and welcoming people. I was very impressed by the beautiful and very well maintained riverbed. Its a nice place to chill, lie down, play with your dogs, watch people performing acts. All in all, I would definitely recommend Valencia for a 2 day visit. I hope you enjoy and have a good time. Cheers!

    • Oh funny timing! 🙂
      It sounds like a lovely city and even though I haven’t been yet, I feel like it was really the perfect choice for the summer! Thanks for all of your recommendations. I can’t wait to explore some more.

  • Maria Berneiser Haase

    Valencia sounds like a perfect destination in Spain. I am surprised as well that it isn’t mentioned in the guide books. But maybe this isn’t so bad after all and you get to enjoy it without the masses of tourists.

    • Agreed! I’m really surprised that it’s just brushed over, but it definitely will make summer nicer since I won’t have to deal with too many tourists :). Can’t wait!

  • Jennifer Morrow

    Sounds great! I hope you have a wonderful vacation.

  • bc21578

    Didn’t know about the paella. When I heard of Valencia, I always thought of oranges!

    • Yes, they’re also super famous for oranges as well! I plan to indulge in my fair share of both over the summer 😀

  • Aimless Vagabond

    I spent a few months hitch hiking in Spain in 1999. How time flies. I’m still really curious about the Falles Festival, since I missed it entirely. Then again, there’s pretty much a festival every single day in Spain. As for Barcelona, it’s an amazing town, but amazing can happen anywhere. Best of luck to you in Valencia.

    • That’s awesome! I wish I had the guts to try hitchhiking. And yes, I’ve always been curious about Las Fallas as well! Sadly I think it’ll be in the spring but it’ll be nice to experience Valencia with less tourist. I like that philosophy – amazing really can happen anywhere 🙂

  • See Her Travel

    First you had me at “Not in the guidebooks”, then you had me at paella, and then it was a slippery slope of great reasons from there! Hope you have a great summer, looking forward to hearing more!

    • Hahah yessss not in the guidebooks is a definite one for me! And I will probably eat a ridiculous amount of paella! Can’t wait. And thank you 🙂

  • Excellent reasons! Can’t wait to read about your adventures 🙂

  • Jenny

    Sounds lovely! I’ve heard many good things about Valencia so I’m sure you’ll have a great summer! (and I mean, seriously, it’s Spain, so how could it NOT be good?)