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Valencia and surrounding area

Valencia is a city steeped in history and filled with countless monuments where even everyday life in its streets is hugely appealing, so its Mediterranean location is an added bonus that makes it close to perfect. When you visit Valencia your first glimpse of nature is the over 10 km of gardens in the Jardí del Turia and the nature only becomes even more spectacular when you visit l’Albufera. This area, which has been declared a Natural Park, is a gift to visitors who in just minutes are transported from the city to a world of unspoilt nature. It’s a compulsory visit for bird lovers, foodies (rice is grown in l’Albufera and it’s said that paella was invented here), and fans of the beach, long walks and boat rides.

Valencia is a fantastic departure point for visiting inland cities such as Requena and Xàtiva, and coastal towns including Gandia, Sagunto and Peníscola. Requena is 75 km (46 miles) away and has several places of interest that should be included on any excursion to the town. The main industry in Requena was once silk production and stopping at the Col·legi de l’Art Major de la Seda [Silk Museum] is a must. Today, wine-making is the town’s main activity, so don’t forget to visit its wineries as well as the monuments in its historic centre.

Xàtiva is a similar distance away from Valencia and visitors will love admiring the large number of monuments in its centre, which has been declared a Conservation Area. One of the most impressive buildings is the Col·legiata Basílica de Santa Maria (also known as La Seu), a Renaissance church that boasts some important works of art and gold and silver work. Make sure to buy some traditional baked goods; two of the most highly-prized products are arnadí and almoixàvena.

Sagunto is on the way to the coast, although its town centre is inland. It’s about 30 km (18 miles) from Valencia and is a great spot for sampling some delicious paella and experiencing three thousand years of history. Visits to the castle, Roman theatre, Museu Històric [History Museum] and temples can be combined with trips to the Malva-rosa de Corinto and Almardà beaches.

Continue your journey across Valencia province by heading to Gandia, approximately 69 km (43 miles) from the capital, a town famous for its beaches and lively nightlife. The Palau Ducal, Col·legiata de Santa Maria church and Hospital de Sant Marc are a good place to start your trip, but make sure you leave time to visit the market where fresh fish is auctioned daily. Our final recommendation is a trip to Peníscola in Castellón, 150 km (93 miles) from Valencia. Its most iconic building is the castle-palace of Pope Luna which was built by the Knights Templar on the remains of a Moorish citadel. A picturesque garden is next to it and it’s a fantastic spot for watching the sun go down at the end of the day. The town also has numerous beaches and wonderful restaurants that are waiting to be enjoyed, making it the perfect destination for a short break.

Valencia offers visitors the chance to set off on countless trips that are just as fascinating as the big city itself, so make sure you read up on all the recommended short breaks in this tourist guide.

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