Things to do locally

La playa – the beach
A 20 – 30 minute walk from the apartment or a short bus ride (catch any of the port buses on A/ Puerto or bus number 32 on c/ Just y Pastor. In summer season, there are shacks where you can hire sunbeds and parasols (€4.50 each). The hire lasts all day, 10am til 8pm so you can wander off and return as you wish. There’s a cool box in the apartment and ice-packs in the freezer, to take with you to the beach.

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‘Hemisferic’ and ‘Palau de las Artes Reina Sofia’ in the CAC

CAC – The Arts and Sciences area
Spectacular architecture by Valencia’s own Calatrava, in the Turia park.
Just a 15 minute walk from the apartment.

Turia park
This 11km long park runs through the whole city. It was created when the governors decided to re-route the river after the city flooded in the 1950s. There’s much to enjoy in the gardens: paths to cycle and run, lawns to sunbathe on, children’s play parks etc.

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Jardin de Ayora

Jardin de Ayora
Very nice park above the Ayora metro station. Stunning trees and a very nice playground for children.

Historic city centre
Famous buildings, plazas, towers and even the Holy Grail (allegedly)! Plus plenty of shops, bars and restaurants.

Torres Serranos
This tower formed part of the old city walls. It’s free to climb up – ideal for photo opportunities.

Cabañal street market
Every Thursday from 9am til 2pm. Lively colourful stalls in the streets around the Mercado Cabañal. Mostly clothing, accessories, fabrics, household and plants. Bargains and people-watching.

Mercado Cabañal
The covered Cabañal indoor market is worth a visit any day. It’s open roughly 8am til 3pm Monday to Saturday. The café bar is lively entertainment and the tapas is delicious – if you can grab a seat.

Rastro
Valencia’s famous big flea-market is held every Sunday morning from 9am on the plaza outside the Mestella football stadium. Similar to an English car-boot sale.

As with any city, guard your valuables and take extra care in crowded places like street markets.

Other recommended places to eat and drink

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Portobello

Portobello Horno Caferia
A/ Puerto 119
Friendly bakery café with a range of interesting breads and pastries including gluten-free. Excellent breakfast (one of the only places that does yoghurt, fruit and granola).

Trident Terraza
Paseo Neptuno 2
The beachfront terrace restaurant of Hotel Neptuno. Superb quality menu del dia and a good choice for a special meal to remember. A good place to try paella valenciana.

L’Ancora
c/ Jose Benlliure 111, Cabañal
Small café-restaurant on a lively street. Lots of different seafood tapas.

Bar Naval
c/ Just y Vilar 18, Cabañal
Traditional family-run bar-restaurant with a basic but hearty menu del dia for just €8.

Taj Mahal
c/Manuel Candela 18-20
Very good Indian restaurant. It’s near impossible to get good Indian food in Valencia – this is the best place. Next door, they also run a very good Indian/Thai/Asian/British supermarket with the full range of spices etc.

Horchateria Santa Catalina
Plaza Santa Catalina 6, city centre
A traditional horchateria café in the centre of town. Beautiful tiled interior. Try horchata (sweetened tiger nut milk) with the traditional accompaniment: fartons! These are long thin iced buns which you dip in the milk.

For helado (ice-cream), there are lots of cafes (which do take-away) on c/ Santa Ana.

Local places to eat and drink

Pretty much everywhere in Spain is family-friendly. It’s becoming easier to find vegetarian options and gluten-free breads etc. Here are some of my favourite places near the apartment:

Bar Nueva Vida
c/ Maestro Valls (next door to Rozalen bakery)
My daily breakfast place. The whole street seems to drop in here for a coffee and gossip.
Cafe y tostada for €1.80.

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Local beer in Cafe Fiorelli

Café Fiorelli
Corner of c/ Victor Moya and c/ Maestro Valls
A small, more modern and feminine café with the best ensaimadas in town. Friendly service.

LiaoPastel
A/ Puerto 218 (opposite Burger King)
A larger bakery café with a wide choice sandwiches and salads, made freshly for you. Great value set meals. Fierce air-conditioning!

Colonia
Corner of c/ Maestro Valls and c/Montesor Geronimo
Chinese-run bar which seems to be open all hours.

Bar Bodega Domingo
Plaza Organista Cabo 3 (at the side of Jardin de Ayora)
Traditional local bar-restaurant with excellent wines and tapas. Pavement terrace to sit outside in the sunshine.

Caféteria Temptacions
c/ Trafalgar 38
A more English-style café with very good pastries and elaborate hot chocolates. You can sit outside in the park area and there’s a children’s play area next to it.

Panpâo
c/ Serradora 51
Good modern café with a few outdoor tables. Does plenty of gluten-free options, plus soya, oat and nut milks.

Getting around Valencia

Valencia’s public transport system is excellent. The metro, buses, Valenbisi and taxis cover everything you might want to do. Cycling is very safe in the city because there are so many bike lanes.

Metro
www.metrovalencia.es/page.php?idioma=_en
You can pay for individual trips at the machines. If you want to take several trips, buy a 10-trip bono ticket. You can also buy a plastic card in a tobacconist shop, which you can top up at any tobacconist or newsagent/kiosk.

Buses
www.emtvalencia.es/ciudadano/index.php?lang=en
You can pay cash on buses. If you want to take several trips, buy a plastic card as above for metro. The plastic card can only be for metro or buses, not both.

Valenbisi
www.valenbisi.com/
This scheme is similar to the London ‘Boris bikes’ and superb value. A week’s use of the scheme is ~€15 and a whole year is ~€28.

How to get to Valencia from the UK

From the Midlands
Monarch used to fly direct from BHX to VLC from May to September – there are rumours another airline will take over the route but so far, nothing’s been announced. Instead, you can fly from BHX with KLM via Skipol or with Air France via Paris. RyanAir operate cheap flights to VLC from East Midlands airport from May to October.

From the South East
There are direct (and cheap) flights to VLC from Stansted, Gatwick and Luton with RyanAir and EasyJet. From Heathrow, there are flights to VLC but many go via Madrid.

From other places in the UK
Check Google Flights

Other ways to get there
A cheap but longer alternative is to fly direct to Alicante or Barcelona and take the Renfe (EuroMed) train. Or to Madrid and take the high-speed train.

How to translate Spanish addresses

Here’s a quick guide to how to understand and translate Spanish addresses.

  • Unlike in English, the number of the property comes after the street name.
  • ‘c/’ in an address means calle, street.
    ‘Av’ means avenida, avenue.
    ‘bajo’ means low, so it means the unit at street level
  • Another number after the main number means the door number in that building.
  • ‘Esc’ means escalier, staircase. And you might get the floor number too.

So you might see:
c/ Harry Weston 3, esc A, 3°, 4
which would mean
Harry Weston Street, building number 3, stairwell A, 3rd floor, door number 4

  • After that you just get the postcode, which covers a much bigger area in Spain, and the city name. And then the province, if relevant.
  • In Valencia, many street signs show the street name in the local language, Valenciano. Just as in Barcelona, the street names are in Catalan. It’s easy enough to work out you’re in right place though. Carrer in Valenciano means street.

Valencia meal-times and some vocab

You’ve got to love a place that has so many defined mealtimes. Here’s some info to help explain the words you’ll see when you’re eating out in Valencia.

Desayuno [‘deh-say-ooh-no’]
06:00 – 12:00
Breakfast. On menu boards, look for desayuno popular – this will be a very good value option, usually a coffee and pastry or tostada. Add a fresh orange juice for a few extra cents.

Almuerzo [‘al-moo-air-zoh’]
11:00 – 13:00
A sort of early lunch but more than elevenses. Could be a bocadillo (sandwich) or tortilla (potato omelette). Some people even have a slice of tortilla in a sandwich!

Comida [‘ko-mee-dah’]
13:00 – 15:00
Proper lunch. On menu boards, look for menu del dia, always a good value option for eating out.

Merienda [‘meh-ree-en-dah’]
16:00 – 19:00
Afternoon tea. A hot or cold drink and something sweet.

Cena [‘say-nah’]
21:00 – 00:00
Proper dinner. Often not eaten until 10pm by locals. And often you won’t need cena if you’ve had a big almuerzo or comida.

Para picar [‘para pi-kar’]
Nibbles – this means ‘to pick’.

Para llevar [‘para yay-var”]
Take away – literally ‘to carry’

A compartir [‘a kom-par-teer’]
To share. This appears on a menu where you order one dish to share, for example paella or a starter.