Looking to go on a day trip from Valencia? There are some fantastic beaches along the coast, but that's not all! Cuenca is one of the most underrated smaller cities in Spain and is well worth visiting.
Valencia's Local Beach
But if it's a simple beach you want, you don't have to go far. Take a bus (no. 19) from Plaza de la Reina in central Valencia to get to Playa de la Malvarrosa, the city's local beach. Playa de las Arenas is a short walk from Malvarrosa and is a little nicer. Valencia's Bus Turistic will take you to the city beach. It's a hop-on-hop-off service, so it will allow you to explore all of Valencia as much as you like for a whole day, at your own pace.
For exploring further afield, check out the suggestions below for beaches and other sights within easy reach of Valencia.
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Cuenca is a small city on the high-speed train line from Madrid to Valencia. Built on top of a huge cliff face, the 'hanging houses' built next to a scary drop are the most famous sight in Cuenca. But there is more than just that! Some excellent modern art galleries and a great interactive science museum makes for the best day trip from Valencia.
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You might be surprised to hear that Madrid is visitable as a day trip from Valencia, considering it is 350km away. But with the high-speed AVE train that connects the two cities, it is actually quite doable.
But even better, especially as Madrid really warrants more than a day, is to visit Cuenca (above) for half a day and finish in Madrid, where you can stay for a few days. Check prices for hotels in Madrid on Tripadvisor.
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Cullera is on the Valencia Cercanias, the city's local train network. This means that you won't find the route on the main train websites such as Renfe.com or Rail Europe. Instead, visit the Cercanias site.
There are trains throughout the day from Valencia to Cullera. There are trains from 6.30am to 10.30pm. The journey takes just over half an hour. Tickets cost under 4 euros. Buy your ticket from the ticket machine at Valencia Train Station.
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El Palmar and El Saler in the Albufera
El Palmar is the main town in the Albufera and where you'll find the traditional paella restaurants in the area. It is easy to get to by bus from central Valencia.
El Palmar is the home of Paella. The paella made in El Palmar is made with locally grown rice and is as good as you're going to get, though it will be a little on the expensive side.
Autocares Herca runs the bus service that goes from Valencia to El Palmar (the bus leaves from the road between the bullring and the train station - price approx 1.50€). You want the bus marked 'Valencia - Perelló'. Click on the Autocares Herca link above, select 'Lineas Regulares' and then the Perelló route to see the current timetable.
The Valencia Bus Turistíc has a sightseeing bus that goes to El Palmar. The cost is 8€ and includes a boat ride on Lake Albufera. Click on 'Albufera Bus Turistíc' on the Valencia Bus Turistic website for more details. As Lake Albufera is not the most attractive of lakes, I'd not recommend this option; the standard bus is much cheaper and gives you a lot more freedom.
El Saler is home to the Campo de Golf El Saler, former host to the Spanish Open. The beach, Playa de El Saler, is the nearest pleasant beach to Valencia.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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If you're looking to visit a beach close to Valencia that also boasts a something a little cultural to pass a few hours, then Sagunto could be the place for you.
Sagunto is an ancient settlement; people have been living in the town since at least 5BC. The fall of Sagunto to Hannibal sparked the Second Punic War.
The Roman theater is nearly 2,000 years old and still boasts magnificent acoustics.
Sagunto Beach is popular, attractive and very accessible.
Trains run throughout the day from Valencia and take around 30 minutes. Tickets cost five euros. Check Spanish Train Times & Prices.
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Javea and Denia
Javea is popular with foreigners and has a very high expat population. Unlike the Costa del Sol which is almost entirely British, the population here is made of people from all over Europe.
Javea also has a pretty old town, making it one of the more pleasant beach towns.
The beach is the biggest attraction in Denia too. This resort town is popular with the Spanish as well as foreign tourists. The nicer beaches are a little north of the town.
There are some nice hiking trails in Denia. Climb up the Montgó peak for lovely views. Enquire at the Denia tourist office.
In the first two weeks of July, Denia has their 'Toros a la Mar' festival, a bull run up to the water's edge. There are two runs a day, in the morning and in the afternoon. See more on festivals in Spain in July to plan ahead of time.
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Requena has a pleasant old town, but it's the wine you'll be coming for. Utiel Requena is the region's speciality—a red wine made from Bobal.
The Fiesta de Vendimia in late August is Requena's big festival, where locals celebrate the end of the harvest. The most bizarre moment of the festival is the Noche de Zurra, where people march through the town asking God for good rain for the next harvest and get doused in water by people standing in the balconies above.
The train takes an hour and a half.
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A fine cathedral, the old executioner tower and the remains of an old aqueduct.
For the kids (no matter how old!) the Segobriga Water Park September 6th to 12th sees the Entrada de Toros y Caballos, which sees bulls being taunted down the main street by men on horses, which may or may not appeal to you.
See more on September Festivals in Spain so you can plan ahead of time.
The train to Segorbe takes an hour.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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Castellón de la Plana and Benicassim
Castellon is a town on the way towards Barcelona. It's not usually that high on tourists' list of places to see on the east coast. Ten paintings by Zurbaran hang in the Convento de Capuchinas, while the Lonja, the old hemp exchange, is worth a look.
The Festival Internacional de Benicassim in the town of the same name is a music festival that is so popular that it is sometimes hard to remember that there is actually a nice beach town too, especially popular with Spaniards. The Carmelite monastery is in the Desierto de las Palmas, a few miles outside of Benicassim. For the kids, there's the Aquarama water park.
The train from Valencia to Castellon and Benicassim takes 1 hour. The ALSA bus company goes to Castellón and is much cheaper.
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Another beach town. There's also the Palacio Ducal de los Borja, a 15th-century palace that was the birthplace of Saint Francis Borgia, complete with beautiful carvings and ceramics.
There are trains every hour to Gandia.