After three amazing days wandering around rainy and beautiful Madrid, my sister, Brynn, and I decided we needed to head out to the coast and catch a couple sun rays. Valencia practically called our name. We loved experiencing the one hour speed train. On the typical trains, it takes approximately six hours to reach the coast. Valencia is known for its beachy atmosphere and delicious Spanish food as it cozies up right next to the Mediterranean coast.
We initially planned to spend our weekend with one day at the beach and one day perusing the city streets. Of course, us California girls spent both days at the beach. The other time we used to get familiar with the city.
First, let’s talk about our favorite part: the beach. We have laid out at Malibu beaches, Florida beaches, city beaches of Chicago, and in the perfect sand in Newport Beach. Experiencing a Spanish beach was such a cool experience with its paella stands and gorgeous coastline views. Before we headed to the sand, we bought oranges, peaches, and pineapple juice from Mercado Central which was the perfect touch for the afternoon.
We spent time at Las Arenas beach and La Malvarrosa beach, two of the most popular beaches in Valencia. We loved reading in the sand and stopping for paella when we got hungry. Brynn had this amazingly huge blanket from Barcelona we sprawled out on. The only thing that deterred our experience was the tide. Out of nowhere the water came all the way up to us soaking all of our things as I threw our bags inland. It was hilarious. (Thank goodness our leather jackets survived.)
After we tired of the hot Spanish sun, we took the bus back into the city and explored Plaza Ayuntamiento. This is a giant town hall area right in the middle of the city. We sat in the middle one night and attempted to get gelato before it closed (we were too late!).
We also enjoyed walking around the smaller streets of the city and seeing the Cathedral and the Silk Exchange. Brynn and I both agreed Valencia was not exactly what we had initially expected. Yes, the beach area was anticipated. However, the rest of the city was very different. Every street was a new adventure. We would walk down an extremely narrow and eerily quiet lane, and turn the corner and see hoards of people eating and drinking. The weirdest part was you could never hear the noise coming from a few streets over, so we would constantly get surprised about what was coming next. The photos below illustrate the difference of only a couple steps.
Besides missing our gelato date, we ate at several wildly popular tapas restaurants. Tapas are basically different Spanish finger foods served at restaurants. The table usually orders a bunch of tapas, and everybody shares their food. We inevitably ordered too many tapas more than once. They are small, but so filling! Patatas bravas are my favorite. Check out my future posts in a couple days on all of the fabulous foods we ate in Spain!