In the Spring of 2015, I was living abroad in London. Despite having traveled, a classmate of mine had never seen the ocean with her own eyes. My cousin, some friends, and I decided that needed to change. And what better way to experience your first beach trip than galavanting to Spain for the weekend?
A group of us successfully spirited her away (with her consent, of course—though she didn’t know our destination until we were boarding our flight) to Valencia, a city which is near and dear to my heart. While there is lots more to see and do than can be experienced in 2 or 3 days, you can still get a great feel for the city over a weekend.
- The City of Arts and Sciences
- Aquarium, aka L’Oceanogràfic
- Valencia Cathedral—keep your eyes peeled for the Holy Grail!
- Miguelete Tower
- The beach(es)—there are several, but here are some of the best:
- La Malvarrosa
- El Saler
- Port Saplaya
- Sagunto beach
What to eat:
- This area of Spain is the birthplace of paella, and there are tons of restaurants where you can find it in its various forms
- Horchata in Spain is different from what you may be used to! Try some at Horchateria Daniel.
- Tapas are found pretty much everywhere in Spain, but Valencia boasts one of the oldest tapas bars. Founded in 1836, Casa Montaña is a great place to try some “little dishes.”
- Getting to and from the airport was pretty easy using the metro. We were able to buy “tourist cards” at the airport that gave us 48 hour access to the metro and buses. The bus system isn’t as easy to use as London’s, but if you have Google Maps or have printed off the route beforehand, you’ll be fine. Also, people are friendly and happy to give you directions!
Where to stay:
- Though there are plenty of hotels in this beach city, we opted for an Airbnb, which I highly recommend if you are traveling with friends, or want the freedom to cook your own meals in a kitchen. We rented Susana Barbara’s beach house.
Before you go:
- Check dates, times, and prices for any churches or museums you’d like to visit
- Do some research about what else you can do in this awesome city if you’re not planning on spending most of your time at the beach. Some additional sightseeing could include Valencia’s beautiful gardens, Parque Gulliver, or Barrio del Carmen.