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Valencia and Ibiza, Spain (part iii)

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.

Day 10

Lodging: Airbnb apartment // Listing 

I fell in love with the unique styles of Valencian street art. A beard made of worms has never looked so good!
We left our modern Barcelona apartment and took a Rail Europe (Renfe) train to Valencia and headed to our Airbnb rental located in the historic center, or “Barrio del Carmen“. This is a vibrant and lively area that offers restaurants and shops interspersed between medieval-era structures. Of the all the cities we had visited during this Spain trip, I felt Valencia had the most authentic character about it. 
This graffiti piece was on a door right next to our Airbnb. It brought a smile to my face every time I walked in and out of our flat.
If you plan on visiting Valencia during August, be warned that the city will likely be full of people attending La Tomatina. Most La Tomatina tour groups bus participants from Valencia to Bunol, which is located about 40km away. We spent our first afternoon in Valencia gathering necessities for La Tomatina and exploring what the city had to offer. There were plenty of shops within walking distance and I found myself stumbling upon a handful of museums within a one-mile walking radius of barrio del Carmen. While it was difficult to narrow down exactly which museum I wanted to visit (I was debating the army figure museum  Museo L’Iber), I eventually decided to go with Casa Museo Benlliure  (talented family with multiple members gifted in painting and sculpture) for its artistic allure and collection of antiques.
A decorative bat and a crown embellishment on a locked gate at the Torres de Serranos in Valencia.
The massive Torres de Serranos served as a beacon; letting me know that our flat was just around the corner. Just before the sun set, I purchased my ticket to explore the aged tower. Torres de Serranos offers an excellent view of the city– extra adrenaline bonus if you take in the view next to the short ledges up top. Even as a petite person, I could have easily toppled over if my weight had been shifted incorrectly.
 
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.

Day 11

Lodging: Airbnb apartment // Listing 

The world’s largest tomato fight festival– La Tomatina in Bunol, Spain. See my full survival guide here
 

Day 12

Lodging: Airbnb apartment, Ibiza 

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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)!

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You might encounter huge lines at the major nightclubs. Try to book your ticket beforehand to avoid the queue.

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.


Day 13

Lodging: Airbnb apartment, Ibiza 

Ibiza is the place to let loose, dance, and have your pick of the best EDM DJs on the scene.
While there are certainly a few historical points of interest on the island, I opted to spend my time in the laziest of ways– sleeping in late, relaxed brunches, and snoozes on the beach. During the day, club promoters will walk around the beach to market their event that evening. For those of you that have boundless energy– there are even yacht parties or “booze cruises” throughout the day. As for me? I rested for a night out to the smaller and more relaxed Space nightclub to see DJs BassJackers and Ferry Corsten.
 

Day 14

Lodging: Russafa Youth Hostel through Hostelworld.com

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.

The view outside my bedroom window at the Russafa Youth Hostel. How many hostels have views as beautiful as this one?!

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.

 

Day 15

 

We woke early to enjoy our last morning in Spain– taking in the quiet murmurs of the sleeping streets.

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. 

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Valencian Specialties: Paella and Orxata

Take an Afternoon Stroll: Barrio del Carmen, Valencia

Explore: Ruzafa district, Valencia

Enjoy the Heights: Torres de Serranos, Valencia

Dance Until SunriseAmnesia and Space, Ibiza

EDM Single of the Summer: Prayer in C – Lilly Wood & The Prick & Robin Schulz

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Like what you are reading? See more on Spain.

 

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