As one of the best-connected cities in Spain with a wealth of historical, gastronomic, natural sights and activities nearby, Valencia is the ideal base from which to take a day trip and explore the wider Valencia region

While there are plenty of things to do in the city, you can have an epic day visiting verdant vineyards, Moorish cities, relaxing coastlines and picturesque villages that are just under two hours away. You can even get the train to Madrid with plenty of time to spare for sightseeing in the capital.

Taking a day trip from Valencia is also a good way to get to know this diverse Spanish autonomous region. It’s one of the best places in Spain for food and drink, and some of the country’s best restaurants are along the coastline. With both mountainous natural parks and flatter coastal wetlands and nature reserves, the region is well suited to active travelers, nature enthusiasts as well as families.

Here are seven day trip ideas from Valencia for all kinds of travelers.


Why go?

Famed for its tomato-throwing festival La Tomatina, the small town of Buñol is an easy and pleasant day trip from Valencia. Although the town’s population nearly triples during the one-day tomato event in August, there is a range of less messy but no less fun cultural events the rest of the year, from concerts throughout May and June, to the Buñol Fair in August, which culminates in a battle between the two resident music societies. 

If you’re here out of season, head for the 13th-century castle or ornate gardens before wandering the cobbled streets to dine at Las Bairetas ­– known for its classic Valencian rice dishes cooked in the wood-fired oven.

How to get to Buñol

Less than 40km (25 miles) from Valencia, Buñol can be reached in under 90 minutes. Catch the C3 (Utiel) train from the beautiful art nouveau Estació del Nord or make the 40-minute trip on the A-3 motorway if traveling by car.

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People in viewing works in the corridors of El Prado in Madrid
El Prado is part of a prominent trio of museums in Madrid that will keep you busy all day © trabantos / Shutterstock


Why go?

Thanks to the brilliant AVE high-speed train network, you can whiz to the Spanish capital Madrid from Valencia in less than two hours. Go for the galleries and museums, and stay for the exuberant nightlife. The famous golden art triangle of El Prado, Reina Sofía and Thyssen-Bornemisza museums will keep you busy all day with their permanent collections of works by Velásquez, Picasso and more. Watch for the visiting exhibitions and book museums and galleries in advance to secure entry.

Looking for a touch of old-world Madrid? Snag a table for afternoon tea at the fully restored Palm Court in the extensively renovated Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid. The hotel has hosted everyone from Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner to Princess Grace of Monaco and visiting dignitaries. 

How to get to Madrid

The AVE train is by far the quickest and easiest way to travel between Valencia and Madrid taking one hour 40 minutes. It departs from Valencia Joaquín Sorolla station almost every hour and arrives at Madrid Puerta de Atocha. If you’d prefer to drive, take the A-3 motorway and you’ll arrive in Madrid in about three and a half hours.


Why go?

It offers swaths of sand, mountain views and a pretty old town, but Dénia on Spain’s eastern coast is the place to visit for food. The city has been on must-visit lists for gourmets since 2015, the year the city was named Unesco Creative City of Gastronomy. Chef Quique Dacosta is one of the contributing factors, thanks to his three-Michelin-star restaurant on Carrer Rascassa. Book well in advance for the stand-out seasonal menus with wine pairings. 

If you fancy something slightly more casual, try El Baret de Miquel Ruiz, a quirky restaurant serving up local produce – think red prawns and fresh vegetables – helmed by Miquel Ruiz, who gave up his Michelin-star restaurant in favor of this more relaxed venue. Try Calle Loreto for traditional tapas bar-hopping and look out for the biannual “ruta de tapas,” where restaurants, cafes and bars offer a tapa and drink for a few euros.

How to get to Dénia

Buses leave Estación de Autobuses de Valencia for Almeria via Dénia regularly and take about 90 minutes. You can easily drive between the two cities in about 75 minutes.


Why go?

Although true oenophiles know that the Utiel-Requena region has been producing wines for more than 2000 years, it’s only within the last few decades that these fantastic wines and interesting grape varieties have been making headlines on the international stage. 

The area has some 40,000 hectares (98,842 acres) of vineyards growing a variety of grapes – most notably the native Bobal grape. Although the wine-growing area gets its name from the two main towns, the wine route here takes in more than 10 other villages. Plan your visit using the Ruta del Vino website and stop by places like Bodega Sierra Norte or Viña Memorias to taste the best the region has to offer.

How to to Utiel-Requena

The C3 train can take you from Valencia Nord station to Siete Aguas, El Rebollar, Requena, San Antonio de Requena and Utiel in under two hours. Alternatively, a dedicated driver can weave through the vineyards in around an hour via the A-3 motorway.

Parkgoers feet hanging from a circular ride in the air at Terra Mitica amusement park in Benidorm, Spain
Terra Mitica amusement park in Benidorm, Spain, is ideal for families © Shutterstock / Andrey Shmelkov


Why go?

It might have gained a bit of a bad rep for its high-rise hotels and tacky tourist strip, but there’s much more to Benidorm than the gaudy tourist trail. Explore the old town, perched between the more lively Levante beach and the quieter residential Poniente side. 

Idle down the whitewashed steps from the hilltop site of the city’s former castle to the Balcón del Mediterráneo for views over the adjacent coastline and across the water to the L'illa de Benidorm nature reserve. Then stroll back through the narrow streets and grab a tapa and vino at one of the many traditional tascas. 

The Parc de L´Aigüera is also worth a wander; the neoclassical park stretches up through the town and is home to two amphitheatres that often house concerts. Families should head to Terra Mítica, a theme park on the resort’s outskirts, for a day of thrilling rollercoasters and vertiginous water rides.

How to get to Benidorm

Buses depart regularly for Benidorm from the Estación de Autobuses de Valencia. Look for those heading to Cartagena, which take about 1 hour 45 minutes. If you rent a car, head down the AP-7 – you can even stop in Dénia en route – where the journey will take around 90 minutes.

The exterior of Catedral de Santa Maria in Teruel, Spain
The Catedral de Santa Maria de Mediavilla in Teruel, Spain, dates back to the 12th century © Shutterstock / Rodrigo Garrido


Why go?

Teruel is the day trip for architecture aficionados and history lovers – and all other lovers. The city is the preeminent place to experience Mudéjar architecture, a style of Moorish building and decoration that appears throughout the city, from the 14th-century Mudéjar tower to the 12th-century Catedral de Santa María de Mediavilla

Fans of the works of Tirso de Molina, the Spanish Baroque dramatist, will enjoy learning more about the lovers of Teruel who inspired one of his greatest works. Don’t miss the imposing Los Arcos Aqueduct, a viaduct and aqueduct in one. 

How to get to Teruel

Getting from Valencia to Teruel in Aragón takes about 90 minutes by car via the A-23. Trains and buses are also available, but journey times can stretch to a little over two and a half hours.

The Mediterranean Sea

Why go?

It would be remiss not to make the most of the Mediterranean when you’re this close, and thankfully there are plenty of options for boat trips from Valencia. The portside has several catamaran companies that offer options like morning cruises with a swim in the sea, sunset cruises with dinner and full-day adventures on the water. 

Private yacht hire is another option if you want a more personalized tour of the coastline. If you prefer freshwater to seawater, take a short drive to El Palmar and try an Albufera boat trip. You’ll sail out onto the famous Albufera lake, visiting rice paddies and traditional fishers’ houses, and tasting local cuisine on the way.

How to get to the Mediterranean Sea

Catamaran cruises and boat hire trips start from Valencia’s main marina in the Poblats Marítims district. From Valencia to El Palmar takes about 25 minutes by car or about 35 minutes on the number 24 bus from Porta de la Mar to El Palmar. Check with boat tour operators in advance, as some will also provide transfers from Valencia.

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