In 2005 more than five million overseas visitors chose the Comunidad Valenciana (Valencia region) as their holiday destination. Most descend upon the resorts of the thin coastal strip, where they stay put – except, perhaps, for a day trip to Valencia City. The more enterprising rent a bike or car, leave behind the coastal hedonism and explore the region’s rich interior.
Valencia is both of Spain, and distinct from Spain. In Muslim hands for five centuries, its Christian European history has been shaped as much by Catalonia, its neighbour to the north, as by Castilla. The region’s flag bears the red and yellow stripes of Catalonia and the mother tongue of many is Valenciano, a dialect of Catalan.
Valencia City, the region’s capital, is famed for its nightlife, the wild Las Fallas spring festival and the stunning architecture of its Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias.
To the north, along the Costa del Azahar (Orange Blossom Coast), is a string of low-key resorts, plus the historic site of Sagunto. Southwards along the Costa Blanca (White Coast) stretch some of Spain’s finest beaches. You can bar-hop and party in international resorts such as Benidorm, Torrevieja and the lively provincial capital of Alicante. Others, such as Denia and Gandia, still retain a much more Spanish flavour. Inland lies another world where mountains buckle and castles crown the hilltops: there’s Morella, girt by its intact medieval walls; Xàtiva, with its own splendid castle; and Elche, with Europe’s most extensive palm groves.
Ready to go?
These tours & activities make it easy:
- Discover Valencia by bike
- Get on the Valencia hop-on hop-off tour
- Take a boat trip to Albufera natural park
Last updated: Jan 25, 2013
Tips & articles
24 February 2013
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