A Clickie Family Report from Valencia
Stephen, our Product Executive, recently visited Valencia in Spain with his family. Stephen and his son both wrote blogs about, what sounds like, a fantastic city for a weekend break.
Myself, wife and 10-year-old child took a 4-night break to Valencia this Easter 2018, from 28 March to 01 April. Flights were with Ryanair and I have to say not an issue whatsoever on outbound and inbound, everything from check-in, to seat leg room to baggage, all ran smoothly.
On arrival late on Wednesday night into Valencia, we got a taxi from Valencia airport to our accommodation. We investigated the approx. cost online and €20 seemed to be the average. This was spot on, taxi on the meter cost us €21 and it took 25 minutes. We had booked an apartment right in the centre, on Plaza de la Virgen. We booked this as we felt with a 10-year-old it would be handier to have some self-catering facilities, separate bedroom and in fact a balcony area to overlooking the city centre.
Day One in Valencia
Waking up on our first morning, we wandered out onto our balcony to clear blue skies and a temperature already of 17 degrees, not bad for 8am in March! We’d decided that we would walk to as many places as possible to get a good feel for the city, so after popping down to the local supermarket 2 minutes walk away to stock up the apartment with essentials like water, croissants, cereal, biscuits etc we set off on our first trip to the Bioparc Zoo, approx. 30 minutes walk away.
We decided to walk through the Turia River Bed, which is a dried river bed that is now the heart of the city of Valencia. It has been transformed into a green space that snakes right through the middle of Valencia with football pitches, running stadiums, lush gardens, nature parks, kids playgrounds, lakes, cycle tracks and many many more. This is the hub of family life in Valencia!
After our 30 minutes stroll (ten minutes by bus), we reached the Bioparc. This a zoo but with a zoo-immersion philosophy where you feel and in some cases, are, right amongst the animals. My 10-year-old Jamie was wide-eyed with excitement at this stage.
We strolled from the Savannah area where there were rhinos, zebras, giraffes and spectacularly lions all roaming around in front of you. The areas are all very cleverly separated where you wouldn’t know they were separated, so it looks like all these animals are roaming freely together. Just on the other side were the elephants, a family of 6 or 7 from babies up to the big bull.
Then on to my son’s favourite area, Madagascar. This is an area where you walk amongst the animals who are roaming, safely and securely around you. The lemurs literally come and sit and walk beside you!
Then onto Equatorial Africa where there were chimpanzees and hippos that can be viewed underwater from a clever tunnel area. There was also a gorilla enclosure with a 3-week old baby gorilla excitedly interacting with all the kids on the other side of the screen. Overall, a great couple of hours spent wandering around and wasn’t too expensive at approx. €50 for the 3 of us.
Day Two in Valencia
Our second day again saw us wandering through the city, taking in all the squares (plazas), into some of the markets and shops and we also did a tour of the football stadium of Valencia CF, called the Mestalla. This was great value, only €10pp, and we all loved the historic stories being told by the guide and getting to see the behind the scenes areas of the stadium and of course the centre stadium and pitch itself. Spectacular!
Day Three in Valencia
On our third day, we visited the world-renowned City of Arts and Science. It’s a huge cultural, scientific and architectural complex in the Turia (dry riverbed) about 10 minutes drive from the city centre towards the marina area of Valencia. This whole place is huge and really impressive. Also part of it is Oceanographic, an underwater aquarium where you can see all sorts of animals like Beluga whales, sharks, dolphins, penguins etc. Jamie, again, loved this and was in awe of the Beluga whale! This whole area takes hours to wander around and I would even say you could break this into 2 days and still not see everything.
After this, we walked (20 minutes) down to the marina and beach area of Valencia. This, for me, is the biggest advantage that Valencia has over most city breaks. There are miles of sandy beach, lined with busy promenades full of bars and restaurants and is only about 15 minutes drive from the bustling city centre. Best of both worlds!
Day Four in Valencia
Our last day, still feeling we hadn’t seen all the city, we decided to have a wander to the central market which is only 5 minutes walk from the busy Plaza de la Reina. WOW! What a busy, bustling, atmospheric market where there were hundreds of stalls selling meats, fish, pastries, fruit, flowers, spices, wine, everything to get the senses flowing. The aromas in this indoor market were amazing and it was full of locals all stocking up. Really was a great experience!
After that mayhem, Jamie demanded some “kid” time so we took him to Gullivers Park, about 20 minutes walk away, again in the Turia. This is a free park for families where there are slides and climbing to be enjoyed on a giant Gulliver, has to be seen (with pictures from above) to be believed. After an hour there Jamie was sufficiently hungry and tired for us to head back to the city centre to chill out.
So overall, Valencia is an amazing city! It has so many family-friendly things to do and all within a 20 minutes radius of the city centre. It’s also great for couples who are looking for culture, religion, history, good food, cheap beer/wine and weather. It averaged 22 degrees each day we were there and it was the end of March so ideal for a city/beach combined break. It really has everything for everybody!
Have Stephen and Jamie convinced you to visit Valencia?