Two weeks ago I provided a look at the capital city of Valencia. However, Valencia is more than a city. It’s a province and a Comunidad Autonoma (with three provinces, Castellò, València and Alacant/Castellón, Valencia and Alicante). Valencia province is home to many of Spain’s most popular beaches (you will notice the lack of Gandía on here, as it is too touristy and a certain MTV reality show gives it a bad name), and it is home to mountains. And lots of orange trees.
Valencia has some of the most famous festivals (La Tomatina anyone? For the small fee of 10€, in late August you can throw tomatoes at people) and some of Spain’s best food (paella.) Paella valenciana is with the rice and chicken and/or rabbit. Paella mixta has those infamous prawns. Valencia province has a lot of spectacular nature, and Valencia also is home to some of the most spectacular firework displays in the world.
Outside the capital city, which has more than set meravelles in itself, the province of Valencia has a lot to offer. Unfortunately, I am lacking photos of some of the places due to various computer crashes and camera losses. I will link to the official sites of the places and will make it a goal to spend some time in Valencia soon to get new pictures of these places!
1. Paella Paella is the typical Sunday lunch, but even if you’re not in Valencia on a Sunday, you can’t leave without trying it. The Valencianos will most likely say “este paella está bueno pero he probado mejor.” (The paella is good, but I’ve had better.)
2. Xàtiva One of Valencia’s most beautiful villages is located not on the sea but in the interior part of the province. Xàtiva offers a castle and awesome views of the mountains, and it also offers a great chance to practice your valenciano. Visca Xàtiva!
3. Cullera So much nicer than Gandia and a lot less touristy. Cullera is valenciano for “spoon”. It’s also closer to Valencia capital.
4. Sagunto. Now famous as the highway/motorway from Teruel and places north ends here, Sagunt(o) has an old Roman theatre and a nice old town to meander through. It was also the halfway point between Valencia and my work place. It’s on the sea, of course, and offers a beach and a port.
5. L’albufera. The Albufera is an incredible freshwater lagoon next to the Mediterranean just south of Valencia city. You can still see the houses typical of Valencian farmers from days of yore and where they grow rice for the paella. I got to go for a nice boat ride on the lagoon my first month living here. It has a surface area of 52,200 acres.
6. Bocairent (to be seen) This beautiful village has long been on my Bucket List, and I really want to go for the hike between this village and neighbour Ontinyent one day.
7. Embalse de Contreras. Every time I have taken the four-hour bus ride between Valencia and Madrid, I am amazed at the reservoir between the provinces of Cuenca and Valencia. Amazingly beautiful, and the best way to be welcomed to or say adéu to Valencia.