Many people associate the words Madrid and Barcelona with Spain quite easily, but the third most populous metropolitan city Valencia is just often off the tip of the tongue. Valencia is located on the Eastern coast of Spain in the Valencia and holds my favorite beach of all for its long, sandy stretches and laid-back vibe. It is also the birthplace of paella— a hearty rice dish cooked with saffron, rosemary, olive oils, and all sorts of combinations of meats, seafood, vegetables, and beans. Valencia also served as the perfect “home-base” location while we were surviving the La Tomatina Festival in the nearby town, Buñol. Join me in this true itinerary as the end of a two-week journey in Spain wraps up in Valencia and Ibiza in this series of Spain travel: Part I, Part II, and Part III.
The city of Valencia does a great job promoting its many cultural attractions and it’s fairly simple to find maps with points of interest at many of the attractions. Entrance fees are also reasonable at several euros or less.
Lodging: Airbnb apartment, Ibiza
There are plenty of daily flights to from major cities to the island Ibiza, but Valencia is especially convenient (they’re only 150km away). Ibiza is notorious for its nightlife, world-class DJs, summer parties, and hails electronic music fans from all over. Having fun here does cost a pretty penny, though; expect club, drink, food, and lodging prices to skyrocket! My roundtrip ticket on budget airline RyanAir cost $205 USD for a 45-minute ride each way. Be extra vigilant when reading associated fees, check-in rules, and all of the fine print when booking with a budget airline company– some even charge a fee for printing your boarding pass at the airport (yikes)!
On our first evening in Ibiza, we pre-purchased tickets to see DJ Deadmau5 at the Amnesia nightclub. The dance floor was packed, so opting in for the VIP pass at $99 USD gave us some reprieve from the crowds and a great view of the stage. While this is still expensive, it wasn’t so bad considering we did not have to wait in a single queue got to see a famous artist perform.
Lodging: Airbnb apartment, Ibiza
Ibiza also has a “downtown” area with plenty of (more affordable) restaurants, shops, and cafes. After a light lunch al fresco, we took our quick flight back to Valencia. This time, we stayed at the Russafa Youth Hostel– one of these most pleasant and professional hostels I have ever stayed in. The owners were kind enough to let us store our luggage a few days earlier before we had departed for Ibiza so we were able to pack light and avoid baggage fees.
If you get the opportunity to visit the same city twice (perhaps flying in and out of the country), I always recommend staying in different neighborhoods each time. This is a simple way to experience even more out of the same city by walking down a different street, discovering local bars and restaurants, and expanding your mind map. The Ruzafa district, in particular, has overcome a darker reputation and has been reborn as a colorful, artsy, and food-centric neighborhood. I spent one last warm afternoon bathing in the Balearic Sea and enjoyed a plate of patatas bravas (crispy potato wedges topped with a mayonnaise and tomato sauce blend) at a beachside restaurant. In true Spanish fashion, my husband and I settled into our streetside chairs, watched pedestrian traffic over glasses of wine, and enjoyed a slow seafood meal at Casel.la.
It dawned on me that it had taken seven cities and two weeks later to finally fall into the steady pace of patience and the lazy passing of time. Traveling can be a transformative experience; I realized that slowing down and gentle enjoyment is a vacation in itself.
Take an Afternoon Stroll: Barrio del Carmen, Valencia
Explore: Ruzafa district, Valencia
Enjoy the Heights: Torres de Serranos, Valencia
EDM Single of the Summer: Prayer in C – Lilly Wood & The Prick & Robin Schulz
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