There is absolutely no need to escape Valencia. It’s one of my most favourite cities, a beautiful mix of old and new set on a clean, sweeping sandy beach. It doesn’t get too hot, you can bike everywhere and it is dissected by a beautiful garden planted in the old river bed which snakes its way from the beach to the old town.
If you fancy exploring though and you do want a day trip from Valencia, here are some of my recommendations. These trips came through endlessly flicking through my Discover Spain book in search of some culture (during the rainy Easter period) or the best “off the beaten tracks” back to nature trips.
Car hire, by the way, is ridiculously cheap in Spain and open to under 25’s. You can hire a car from around 15€ a day, the small catch being that you usually need a credit card to book it. Renting a car around Valencia opens up so many opportunities and is definitely worth doing at least once.
Rent a car for the day and head north for this beautiful collection of natural pools, situated under a waterfall in the secluded rural outskirts of Valencia. It’s around a 45 minute drive and there’s absolutely nothing else around, so come prepared with a boot full of snacks.
The rocks form natural slides and there’s plenty of room for sunbathing, picnicking and posing under the waterfall. Careful though, we discovered the hard way just how slippy these rocks can be…
It’s the perfect place for a romantic trip or to just mess around with all your lovely Erasmus friends.
Though Valencia has a beautiful, accessible beach it does get pretty busy from June onwards. If you’re looking for something a little quieter, look no further than the sleepy town of Oliva, a short bus ride away. There’s honestly not much to see in the town, but the beach is deserted but for the occasional kite surfer. The waves also pick up here so bring your body boards!
This seems to be the “must do” for Erasmus students in Valencia, the place where you take your parents when they come to visit and you want to show them how cultured your year abroad has made you.
It is certainly an impressive little place.
The castle is set on a hill, so make sure you don’t wear flip flops (like we did), it’s rather foolish. To get there, you can take the train from Valencia then walk up the hill from the train station for around half an hour. You don’t notice the walk too much as the view is so beautiful it’s a healthy distraction! Once you reach the top, the castle is stunning and in great condition after recent restoration.
Xativa was also the first place where I ever tried Chipirones and absolutely fell in love with them. They’re similar to calimari but are just the ends of the tentacles chopped up very small and deep fried. I’ve never had such a delicious plate full since then despite ordering them many times again. All in the name of research of course.
I have already devoted a full blog post to Montanejos as it’s so beautiful it deserves more than a passing mention.
Gorgeous clear, clean spring water warmed by the sun and almost completely deserted. We had Pocahontas’ playground to ourselves and it was one of the most blissful afternoons you can ever imagine.
If you’re willing to travel a little further afield, the beautiful beaches of Denia and Javea are also a must see.
Eleanor spent her Erasmus year in Valencia and Paris before moving to Madrid to teach English. She now writes a travel blog focussing on budget travel in Spain and further afield: untranslatedadventures.blogspot.co.uk
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