- How did we get there?
From Barcelona (Sants Estació) to Valencia, there is a train call Euromed which is quite fast (reaches up to 200km/hr) and it takes around 3 hours to arrive. There are also buses that take around 4 hours but there is not much difference in the price of bus or train so we decided to go by train as it is more comfortable and faster.
- Where did we stay?:
We stayed in a hostel called “Hostel Alicante” that I wouldn’t recommend a lot. It has a good location as it is 15 minutes walking distance away from the train station and 10 minutes walking to the city center but the shower in the room wasn’t working properly and bathroom was too small. However, I won’t complain about it as we stayed only 2 nights and it was really cheap.
- How did we get around the city:
We mostly walked but it is not tiring :) We bought a card called “bonobus” that can be bought in kiosks and has 10 rides for the bus. Important thing to know is you cannot take metro with this card, you need to buy another card for metro which I found a bit weird.
- Where did we eat?
- La alegria de la huerta
In our first day, the weather was really really nice – 25 degrees on 1st November :) We wanted to enjoy the sun so we went down to the beach (Playa de Malvarosa) after leaving our bags to the hostel. The beach is very nice and wide and full of restaurants with terraces. We were lucky enough to find a table in the terrace and sun shining on us in “La alegria de la huerta”. Valencia is famous for its paella so eating paella is a must here so we obviously ordered a “Valencian paella” which has chicken and rabbit in it. It usually takes around 20 – 30 minutes to cook a paella (so if you get your paella 5 minutes after ordering it, it means that you are a eating a frozen paella and probably won’t be the best.) so we also ordered a starter with potatoes, ham and eggs and enjoyed the sun with our beers :) I like the paella a lot, as it was very well cooked and it had the crunchy part around.
- La Riua:
On our second night, we wanted to try paella again in a different restaurant. I had read about this restaurant on a web page and also saw in the afternoon when we are walking around and wanted to try it as it has the look of traditional Spanish restaurant. I don’t know why but I like the azulejos in the restaurants :)
I ordered a normal salad and Markus ordered a vegetable pastry as a starter and we again ordered the Valencian paella. To be honest, I like the other one more but Markus like this one but we didn’t go to a third restaurant to decide :)
- Maria Mandiles
We found this place by accident in our last day. It looks very cosy with the blankets on the chairs in case you are cold. We sat there to have a drink when see the menu, we decided to order some pinchos. It took a while to have them on our table, but it was not a problem for us as we weren’t very hungry. At the end, pinchos looked so delicious that I started to eat before taking the picture :)
- Horchateria Daniel
Apart from paella, Valencia is famous with horchata as well. Horchata is a drink that is made of ground tigernuts (chufa), water and sugar. You can see many horchaterias around Valencia while you are walking around. I haven’t tasted any of them in Valencia center so I don’t know if they are good or not. We went to Horchateria Daniel in Alboraya. It’s 30 minutes away from Valencia by bus 70 ( there is also metro that goes around there, Line 3 – Stop: Machado) We heard that it is the best horchateria around Valencia so we visited it and we didn’t regret :) It is a very big place with a big terrace. I read that in summer, especially in August, it gets really crowded. When we were there, there were only few tables full.
In Valencia, it is typical to eat Fartons with horchata. It is a spongy sweet that is made to dip in horchata. I think they are a bit dry to eat alone so dipping in horchata is a really good idea. In Horchateria Daniel, they obviously had fartons as well, so we also tried it. I think it was good but I won’t miss eating fartons :)
- What did we visit?
- Mercado Central (Central Market)
It is one of the tourist attractions in Valencia. It is a big market where they usually sell fresh fruits, vegetables and fish, but there are also some souvenir shops and restaurants. I think it is similar to La Boqueria in Barcelona but this one has a nicer architecture.
Note that it is closed on Sundays but if you are around there on Sunday, there is a market on the street outside (mostly for clothes, bags and flowers) which is also fun to have a look at.
- Lonja de la Seda (Silk Exchange)
It is a Valencia Gothic style building built between 1482 and 1548 which is in front of the Mercado Central. Reading the comments about this building, I was expecting a lot more, so I was a bit disappointed when I entered. The entrance fee is 2€, free on Sundays.
- La Plaza Redonda (Round Square)
Yes, you read it right, it is a square but round :) In old town, I think this part was one of the most interesting square we have visited in Valencia. It is a round square full of small stall that sell lace. It is very touristic but I think it’s worth to see. If you stand by the fountain in the centre, you can have a view of bell tower of Santa Catalina.
- Plaza del Ayuntamiento
If you are in Valencia, you will pass from this square even if you don’t want to :) It is full of bus stops and very close to the train station.
- La casa de los gatos (House of cats)
If you walk through Calle Museo in the Carmen district, you can see this nice small house for cats. Interestingly, this is not mentioned in many guides but I find it worth to see. It’s very cute :)