Psst…Spain’s most enchanting destination is the World Design Capital 2022.
And great news – direct flights between Prague and Valencia commence in March. So this vibrant, forward-thinking Spanish city can be high up on your next holiday list.
What’s not to like about a design-focused Spanish city on the beach? Whisper it quietly – Valencia, not Barcelona, is Spain’s trendiest destination right now.
We know you’re going to love Valencia. Here are just ten reasons why.
World Design Capital 2022
Valencia’s legacy of design is everywhere and there’s a huge program of events and festivities to celebrate the city’s status as World Design Capital.
Design highlights include a Science Museum shaped like a whale skeleton, Europe’s largest aquarium and the purple Agora.
Fallas are a brilliant tradition. Each city quarter spends an entire year constructing their “falla,” essentially a massive ornamental sculpture to symbolise their neighbourhood . Then on the evening of St Joseph, 19th of March, all the fallas are burnt to ash.
A local guide will first lead you through this history. Then you’ll visit a workshop and meet crews working on next year’s falla.
Walking (or Biking) Valencia’s History
Wander past the old bull ring and city square. Wonder at the old silk exchange, a World Heritage Site. Explore cathedrals with odes to ancient Rome and artistic evidence of a Moorish past. Dine inside the central market, a surreal structure of iron, colourful glass and ornamental ceramics.
Valencia is an easily walkable city and you can explore many highlights on foot. Or by bike.
We love how easy it is to explore Valencia. Just like Barcelona, different neighbourhoods have their own atmosphere, architecture and style. But unlike Barcelona, all this diversity is packed into a city of only 1 million people.
Carmen, Russafa and Cabanyal are all great examples of the quirky and artisanal Valencian character.
One is a labyrinth of cobblestone lanes, once divided into Muslim and Christian quarters. Another is Valencia’s gentrified, hipster neighbourhood, full of vintage stores and gastronomic avant-garde. And Cabanyal is part hippy, part fishing village, partly the trendiest place to be in Spain.
Paella is not from Spain. It’s from Valencia. In Valencia the people speak Valenciano, not Spanish. And it can only be paella if it’s made with Valencian rice and Valencian water.
They’re fiercely protective over their paella here. It’s a dish internationally known yet crudely interpreted. Now you’ve finally arrived at the place where paella was invented, so you should learn how to cook it.
So jump right in with a local chef and prepare a paella for lunch. It has to be for lunch. No Valencian would ever eat paella for dinner.
Valencia is surrounded by nature. Head west into the mountains, or just 30 minutes south to Albufera, a nature reserve of marshlands, lake, beach and dunes.
It’s the best place in Spain for birdwatching. Also, the best place for paella, as you’ll explore the big flooded rice fields, where the sky reflects in the water.
Cruise the lake in a traditional fisherman’s boat and visit a typical local restaurant, where paella is served with a view onto the Mediterranean.
City of the Borgia Popes
Admire vestiges of Roman and Islamic rule in Xativa, the city of the three Borgia Popes. These were the religious men who divided the new world between Spain and Portugal.
Xativa has a remarkable artistic heritage, reflecting its wealth and power back in the 15th century. It was a city that shaped the world, then was forgotten. Now it is seemingly frozen in time and perfect for a day trip excursion.
Wine Tasting in Requena
Requena’s history is even more impressive, from Roman to Islamic rule, then as a customs collection point between the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon.
Which is all very interesting to explore, but the main reason to visit Requena is the wine. A guide will show you cellar caves from the 12th to 19th centuries, in a small city with a great wine-growing tradition.
Unlike Rioja, there is no archetypal Valencian wine. Reds are meaty, from Monastrell, Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon varietals. White are crisp and fresh, perfect to accompany your paella. You’ll visit a top-named cellar or two for private tasting.
Europe’s Most Sustainable Destination
Valencia was the first ever world city to measure the carbon footprint of its visitors.
This is one of Spain’s greenest cities, with over 2 million sqm of gardens, 150 kilometres of cycle lanes and 17 pedestrianised plazas.
Valencia’s 2 million visitors create 1.3 million tons of carbon. And by 2025, Valencia aims to have carbon neutral tourism. Such a fast forward-thinking approach inspires us.
Want to Explore Valencia?
Okay, so Valencia’s beach doesn’t compare to the Maldives or Seychelles. But where else can you explore so much city, and then spend the afternoon at the beach?
This is a city of surprises and a city with fabulous weather. So expect to be sunning it on an April afternoon, or swimming in October.
Your Holiday in Valencia
There are more than ten reasons why we love Valencia. We can also tell you about tapas tours. Or shopping, cooking and eating with a Michelin-starred local chef, a master class in buying, creating and eating local.
With new direct flight connections, Valencia is a perfect long-weekend destination. Plus you can take the high-speed train to Barcelona or Madrid in just two hours to extend your trip.
Ask our travel designers for more information. And make sure you visit Valencia soon. It never takes too long for a beautiful and authentic city to become too popular and touristic.