Valencia Vibes: 48 Hours in the European Green Capital 2024

Valencia Vibes

We all love a city break, and with Birmingham Airport recently adding Valencia – a vibrant city on Spain’s eastern coast – to their roster of flights, we jumped at the chance to pack our weekend bag and explore.

The Travel

A short flight time of just over two hours saw us arriving at Valencia Airport early on Saturday evening. From there, it was a half hour journey by taxi to our hotel (there are excellent links via Metro as well), allowing us plenty of time to settle in to our accommodation – the centrally located, stylish and spotlessly clean, Hotel SH Colon – meet the rest of our travel companions, and enjoy a delicious three-course meal with wine in the hotel restaurant.

Ensanche Neighbourhood (image credit, Visit Valencia)

The Culture

Valencia’s historic city centre has a rich, artistic heritage and we were lucky enough to have our very own tour guide on our first full day. Catalina (CBM Visitas Culturas) was incredibly knowledgeable and really enhanced our experience. We learned so much about the history and culture of the city, from the stunning La Lonja (The Silk Exchange) Unesco World Heritage Site, to The Centro de Arte Hortensia Herrero – a newly opened modern art centre that boasts the finest collection of contemporary art in the old Valeriola Palace, an iconic 17th-century building.

Views at La Lonja

The juxtaposition between the old and the new continued as we headed to the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences. We hired bikes and our journey took us through the Jardin del Turia, an impressive nine-kilometre route of gardens and sports and leisure spaces that crosses the city where the Turia River once flowed. After a wobbly start, I soon found my balance and this part of our trip turned out to be one of my favourite activities of the weekend and a perfect way to explore in the surprisingly warm February sunshine.

City of Arts & Sciences

Did you know that the Cathedral of Valencia not only holds one of the most important pieces of art from the first Spanish Renaissance, but that the Holy Chalice (otherwise known as the Holy Grail) is also kept there? One of the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever been in, I plugged in to the virtual guide and got lost in its history, art and architecture – the perfect way to while away a couple of hours before our flight home.

The beautiful altar at Valencia Cathedral

The Food

Paella is Valencian cuisine’s most international dish – their claim to global gastronomy fame – and a delicious one at that! We were able to sample some with a view of the beach and sea at El Tridente de Neptuno, accompanied by a chilled glass of white wine. It was heavenly!

There was plenty of opportunities to tuck in to some tapas as well, and we were spoilt with even more amazing views for our second lunch date of the trip at Atenea Sky, a beautiful rooftop restaurant where we dined whilst being serenaded by live jazz music. Alongside a mouthwatering burrata and tomato salad, we were also served ham and cheese croquettes, succulent meatballs and a traditional fish dish called Sebia – and that was just for starters!

Another must-visit for foodies is the Central Market – Europe’s largest fresh produce market. Situated in yet another beautiful building formed of iron columns, tiles and stained glass, your senses immediately go into overdrive as soon as you step inside. With more than 1,200 stalls selling everything from fruit, vegetables, spices, meat, fish, cheese and alcohol, it’s full of Mediterranean life.

Central Market (image credit, Visit Valencia)

The Great Outdoors

Although we were only in Valencia for a short amount of time, the proximity of the city to the Marina, beach and Albufera Natural Park meant that we were able to enjoy a variety of different landscapes whilst we were there.

Situated just half an hour away from the city, Parque Natural de l’Albfera is a veritable oasis, both for us humans and the thousands of birds that frequent its wetlands every year. We enjoyed a tranquil boat trip around the lake, learning more about area, including the rice fields that provide one of the key ingredients to paella.

Albufera National Park (image credit, Visit Valencia)

As someone who grew up by the sea, an opportunity to walk alongside the beach wasn’t to be missed. The beautiful promenade lined with bars, restaurants and hotels all looking out across the beach was a perfect place to spend an afternoon in the sunshine.

Whether you’re looking for a holiday with friends, a break with your partner, or a solo trip, Valencia ticks all the right boxes for your next adventure.

For more information about Valencia, it’s history and where to go on your trip, visit:

We were kindly invited on this press trip by the Visit Valencia team. All opinions and views are our own.

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