If you're looking to escape the touristy centre of Valencia (and the prices that come with it) or want to experience the 'pueblo' feel without having to leave the city, a day trip to Benimaclet would be worth your time. Benimaclet was originally its own village, separated by the river, but became merged into Valencia with the city's expansion. Despite this it has managed to maintain much of the original 'pueblo' feel, something you'd normally have to get out of the city for. The Plaza de Benimaclet is a five minute walk from the tram stop and on the way you'll probably notice many bars displaying 'tercio y tapas 1.50', prices that aren't found in the centre. Many of these bars have live music at night. Once you enter the pueblo part of Benimaclet, it's easy to forget you're in a city owing to many car-less streets lined by idyllic little houses, especially if you stumble across the Plaza de Benimaclet complete with its own church. Once you've worked up an appetite by meandering around the streets, why not pick up a paella or other traditional Valencian cuisine from an asador - the cheapest way (around three euros for a portion big enough for two) to enjoy a home cooked paella. You could enjoy your paella sitting in the Jardines del Real, the main park in Valencia only a couple of hundred metres away.
From here there are three options (not including returning to the city centre). Firstly you could follow the Turia (the old river now converted into a park) down to the City of Arts and Sciences, one of Valencia's landmark features. On the way you'll pass the Palau de la Música and walk under many bridges each with its own feature.
Secondly you could carry on out of the city to Alboraya - the Spanish hometown of horachata, a sweet, milkly, nutty drink. I'd recommend the Horchateria Toni for the best tasting and value horchata in Alboraya.
My final option is take the tram down to the Malvarrosa beach (10 minutes away) and walk along the sea front or relax on the sand in the sun.
After doing all this you'll probably be ready to return to your hostel late in the evening, although Benimaclet is worth the visit, I'd recommend staying in a hostel in the centre for travel convenience.
A tip when travelling around Valencia - beware the road sign names. In the city the road sign names are in Valencian but on many maps they are written in Castillan, they are pretty similar but don't go looking for an exact name if you have the Castillan version.
To reach Benimaclet - from the centre of Valencia take the metro (line 3, 9 minutes) or about 30 minutes on foot from Plaza del Ayuntamiento, crossing the river at Puente del Real and following Carrer de Cavanilles.
The Pueblo part is off to the right of Calle Emilio Baro (facing the direction of Alboraya)
To reach Alboraya - take the metro (Line 3, Rafelbunyol - Aeroport) to Alboraya or walk from Benimaclet (about 1km from the metro stop vía 'Calle Emilio Baro' which becomes 'Avenida de la Horchata')
This website has details of events in Benimaclet:
Google map: bit.ly/1145Enn
Valencia is perfect for budget travellers - most of the best sights and most impressive buildings are free to poke around, so you can conduct your own architectural tour, with plenty left over for some paella!
Start at Valencia Cathedral, a mix of Romanesque and Gothic styles (with the 'Holy Grail' tucked inside!), and then head to the Palau de la Generalitat, a Gothic palace used by the local government, with elaborately tiled floors and frescoed walls.
Other must-see sights include La Lonja, a grand Late Gothic hall filled with grisly gargoyles and other grotesqueries, and the Colegio del Patriarca, a 16th century seminary adorned with religious frescoes.
Valencia Cathedral, Plaza de la Reina,
Palau de la Generalitat, www.gencat.cat/generalitat/eng/guia/palau/index.htm
La Lonja, Plaza de la Virgen, Valencia
Colegio del Patriarca, Nave 1, Valencia 46002
Looking for something free to do? Valencia has several large public parks and gardens which are great places for a quiet stroll or a scenic picnic.
The pretty Jardin Botanico is home to 7,000 species of shrubs and trees, and the Italian-style Monforte Gardens are filled with marble statues and beautiful flowerbeds. The Jardines de Rio Turia was once a river, but is now a strip of gardens, sports fields and playground, with a world-class concert hall smack bang in the middle.
Monforte Gardens, Plaza de la Legión Española, Valencia, V 46010 Spain
Botanic Gardens, Calle Quart 80, Valencia 46008
Jardines de Rio Turia, Antiguo cauce del Turia
Forget forking out for the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, this cathedral is free to visit and is just as much of an architectural jumble.
Work started on the cathedral in 1262, resulting in a building that ranges from Romanesque to Gothic, so it's a fascinating place to wander around. Take a trip up the Miguelete Bell Tower, a city landmark, or check out the a cup believed to be the Holy Grail.
These aren't the most scenic beaches in Spain; two former fisherman’s districts transformed in the 1960s into a slightly ugly urban sprawl - but there's still plenty of sand, a promenade of palm trees and the deep blue sea.
There are still a few traditional houses tucked along the mile-long esplanade, and the Paseo de Neptuno is a great place to pick up some cheap Paella.
For a quieter beach a little further afield, try Saler.
Take the tram from Pont de Fusta (opposite Torres de Serranos in Barrio del Carmen).
The Museo De Bellas Artes is a great free museum. Tucked away in the 19th century suburbs of the city, it costs nothing to gawp at 2,000 paintings by artists such as Goya, Velazquez and several other important Valencian artists from the 14th-19th centuries.
The building itself, a former seminary built between 1683 and 1744, is also pretty spectacular.
Calle de San Pío X 9
46017 Valencia, Spain
+34 963 870 300
Valencia manages to be both super chic and cheap, with a glut of boutique hostels and budget accommodation in the city center.
But the ABC B&B is no backpacker's crash pad; me and my partner stayed in this small bed and breakfast run by a young couple, and the rooms are minimalist and super modern - all whitewashed brick walls, futuristic furniture and plasma TV screens on the wall. There was even a mini Apple Mac in our room!
Despite the super-cool exterior, the owners have just returned from travelling as a couple, and so offer a load of homely extras perfect for a budget romantic break, like breakfast in bed and a bottle of Cava in your room. The original building is also a beautiful old apartment with huge balconies overlooking the city.
It can be difficult to find somewhere cheap and romantic, but the ABC more than delivered. There are only a couple of rooms, so it's easy to get to know the other guests, and you're just around the corner from one of the main squares.
Calle del Taquígrafo Martí 10, Valencia, Spain 46005
The place is a small guest house, but newly renovated and with character. It is right in the centre of the city, pretty cheap, the owner is a real character, very friendly, as well as a qualified (and Napolitan) pizza chef.
The email address is:
This is a fantastic tapas bar in the historic centre of Valencia - great tapas including loads of veggie options (rare in Valencia!), wines by the glass and probably the best mojitos in all of Valencia (and the barman speaks perfect English).
It's a very modern, light, well-priced bar with great food and friendly staff.
Calle Cavallers 19
(next to plaza de la virgin)
This is the cheapest of the Hôme group of hostels in Valencia. The hostel is in an old building tacked on to a church and overlooking a square. Our room was brightly coloured but otherwise simple with large lockers, sleeping six people in three sets of bunk beds. On the ground floor there was a sitting area with several internet stations and free wi-fi, and on the third floor a large kitchen which was equally bright and modern. There was an open terrace on the same floor and on the roof was a much larger roof terrace where they hold paella demonstrations at the weekend. The multi-lingual staff on reception was friendly and helpful. The Barrio del Carmen is the place to be for nightlife in Valencia and around 10pm it starts buzzing with bars and nightclubs going on until dawn. We had the full benefit as we tried to get to sleep and at 1am the party was still going strong in the square below our window.
Because of its position in the heart of this area, it's a great place if you're in your 20s, on a tight budget and value a great nightlife over an early night.
You can see my review and photos on my blog:
Hôme Backpacker's Hostel, Plaza Vincente Iborra, Barrio del Carmen, Valencia.
Close to Plaza de la Virgen down a very quiet alley is this unassuming rather dark restaurant. Excellent food, with a choice of either the €12 lunch of the day or a special Dégustacion menu (which everyone has to choose) for €18. Very good quality modern Valencian cooking.
C / Conquista 3
Tel: 963 910 364
I spent a few days in Valencia in March. If you haven't been to "las Fallas de Valencia" you don't know what a party is!! They burn huge monuments made of wood and cardboard in the middle of the streets. There are thousands of "Fallas", firecrackers, and festivals everywhere!!
My friends and i stayed in Red Hostel and saved a lot of money for going out. The hostel staff told us where to go, how to get to parties and even a handsome receptionist went out with us to the beach!!
They have internet, air conditioning, kitchen, shared and private rooms... It's open 24/7 and waiting for us after party. Our rooms were coloured painted and we saw the river of Valencia by the window!! Best holidays ever had in a lovely hostel!!
L’hamadriada is the stand out new restaurant in Valencia for my money. Serving outstanding grilled meats and rice it’s much more upmarket looking than its modest prices might suggest (€9-€17 three-course menu del dia and tasting menus from €22-€35), cool staff and you get your food pronto (not always the case in Valencia). The location is fantastic — very central but down a side street out of earshot from all the mooked up party noise.
Plaza Vicente Iborra 3
Tel: +963 260 891
A modern, stylish but affordable hotel in the centre of Valencia.
Staff were helpful and friendly - rooms well furnished and spotless, with all of the expected facilities. Good value.
L'Abadia de San Martin 3, Valencia 46002
Nest is a new hostel located in one of the most beautiful streets in Valencia and just a short walk to many of Valencia's most interesting sites.The historical appearance of the facade has been maintained, while creating a 70's Pop design interior in huge rooms with lots of natural light. Here I found backpackers from all around the world and could share experiences in a friendly atmosphere. There is a great common kitchen which is fully equipped, a dining area and a gorgeous top floor to chill out, listen to music, watch the TV or a DVD and play pool.
In Calle La Paz, 36 Valencia+34 963427168www.nestyh.com10 min. walk from the train station, bus number 8 from the bus station stops just at the front door.
Most of the villages around Valencia have outdoor swimming pools which open during the summer months (July and August). These are incredibly cheap (less than a couple of euros to get in) and you can spend the whole day there.
The easiest ones to get to are those served by Valencia’s metro. Try Rocafort (right next to the station), Moncada (a bit of trek from the station, but in a nice location on top of a hill) or Betera (quite far from central Valencia, but the swimming pool is one of the best).
Moncada - POLIDEPORTIVO MUNICIPAL BADIA – PEDRERETA,
C/ Lepanto final.
Friendly, laid-back hostel chain Home now has three excellent branches in Valencia. The vast Backpackers, at Calle Santa Cristina s/n, has dorm rooms from around €13 per person per night or doubles for around €16 per person. The original and more cosy hostel at Calle La Lonja, 4, is similarly priced. The newly refurbished Home Deluxe at Calle Cadires, 11, offers themed double rooms for around €40 a night.
A truly Spanish, family-run tapas bar just by the famous towers. No frills and no tourists; just cheap, well-cooked tapas classics. Around €10 per head for a hearty meal, wine or beer and coffee.
Cervecería Serranos, Calle Blanquerías, 5
Send your feedback or queries to firstname.lastname@example.org