I remember arriving in Valencia last year and thinking “this is the best Spanish city that I have ever visited”.
I’m a city boy at heart (if the notion strikes, I like to be able to eat in, say, a Lebanese restaurant – or see a world-class show, there and then). However, I also love being surrounded by nature.
But cities don’t normally allow for both.
Now though, I’m even more convinced that Valencia is the best Spanish (world?) city that I have visited. I can have both.
Last year, during my marathon walk down the Mediterranean coast of Spain, Valencia was the first big city that I arrived in following Barcelona.
And as much as I love Gaudi’s work, I absolutely hate appreciating it with a million other sweaty tourists. So I left Barcelona with a feeling of relief – relief that I was leaving it all behind. Like Venice, Barcelona is just too busy, too swamped with visitors, so it becomes a not-very-nice place to be (but if you do insist on visiting Barcelona, Ilunion Hotels have hotels there too – I just can’t recommend them enough).
So why is Valencia such a great city to visit?
Well, it is all the result of a natural disaster.
In 1957, Valencia was severely flooded. To prevent this from happening again, the Valencian authorities diverted the river, which ran through the centre of Valencia, so that it ran around the outside of the city instead.
But this left a huge swathe of real estate in the city centre unused (the dry riverbed).
Some city councils would have sent the developers in – and built on this prime city centre land. But not the Valencian city council.
Instead, they planted trees!
And landscaped the dry riverbed – creating an enormous swathe of beautiful parkland that runs through the city.
Take a look on Google Maps.
That green that you see running through the city? It would be blue under normal circumstances. Or, if built on, grey/orange.
But it is green. Making Valencia a very good place to be indeed.
And it gets better.
As I was strolling around the city today, I saw a couple of guys, hand-in-hand (and clearly infatuated with each other) walking towards me. My immediate reaction was to look at the other people around me. How would they react?
No reaction at all.
So not only is Valencia a beautiful environment to find yourself in, it is also a beautiful society to be part of.
Go now! Before the masses get bored of Barcelona, and arrive in Valencia.
This article was only possible thanks to the very kind support of Ilunion Hotels in Valencia.
I can’t recommend these guys highly enough (over 40% of staff have some form of disability – tourism for all): https://www.ilunionhotels.co.uk/
I particularly recommend their Aqua 4 and Aqua 3 hotels near the City of Arts and Sciences complex (any closer, and they would be inside the complex!).
Other Valencia Hotels:
Have you visited Valencia? Please use the “Leave a Reply” feature below, to share any practical information that you have (it doesn’t need to be accessibility-related). Thank you. Iain.