Valencia in January, bring a coat!

This was the first trip I booked using the skyscanner ‘anywhere option’. This is when you go into skyscanner, then flights, then your city and select ‘everywhere’ with the dates you have in mind and it will list where you can go, cheapest to dearest. You can also do this without dates if you’re flexible and it’ll show you even cheaper options. Anyways, I did this in December and got the end of January flights to Valencia for €30 return. This was literally the most basic flight option, no small wheelie case for me! I had been noticing in recent months people queuing up to board the plane with the most massive backpacks and no wheelie case and thought to myself, are these shneaky feckers getting away with that as hand luggage? And if they are, could I get away with it?!

This led to a 2 week long internet shopping spiral where I continually looked up backpacks that aren’t ‘backpacker’ backpacks but are bigger than schoolbags and I could do a weekend in. I fly over and back to my Nan quite a bit so I wanted something I could easily do weekends with and a way I could bring down the cost of the flights to Cornwall. After some research discovered the bag I was in love with was way outside the accepted hand baggage allowance on airlines (Ryanair and Aer Lingus) so I caved and bought an uglier but more practical bag on amazon. The particular one I got is also made of recycled products so it has that going for it. I also love it because it has so many pockets and space for a laptop and I find I particularly feel like writing when alone in a beautiful cafe somewhere new. It’s very handy when you’ve a few hours to kill in the airport and I’m a two hours early minimum kinda girl.

So the flights are booked and I begin my holiday research, which for me is one of my favourite bits! The best spots to visit, places to eat, and I booked my free walking tour (always do this) and was back and forth about a visit to some local sea caves. I ultimately decided against the sea caves as I only had two and a half days really and I’d have lost too much time on that trip. Valencia also has Europe’s largest aquarium. As much as aquariums are cool, this one had both whales and dolphins, and frankly these animals are far too smart and emotional to be locked up so I spent my money on local cocktails instead. 

A travel tip I had picked up from Stephmylife was saving locations on a google map I can create myself which sort of changed how I did this trip. I have in the past booked things and pretty much known what my days look like hour by hour but this time I just wandered into what felt like the city centre and went to visit whatever was closest to me on my little ‘Valencia’ map in my phone. This worked out quite well and I still managed to hit most of what I wanted to whilst there. Here is a link to my saves for Valencia. I stayed in a hostel called Up Hostel Valencia which is kind of at the back of/inside a train station. Nice hostel and the first one I’ve come across that had curtains above the beds so you could close the over for privacy. The room was quite narrow but the beds were cosy. This hostel didn’t do keys or even codes for the doors, you’d to download an app on your phone that opened the corridor and then your door via bluetooth. This was cool except the showers in the shared bathroom were quite small and didn’t have a dry space for putting my clothes, towels or my phone which meant I’d to hang them outside and have the quickest shower of my life. I said it to a staff member after about even providing a hook inside the door could have offered some more security, but other than this, nice hostel, quiet and handy location. 

Getting to the hostel was fine, paid I think €5.50 from the airport via the metro. Do bring your actual physical card though as I nearly didn’t (it’s all tapataptapa these days) but so glad I did coz the machines to buy the tickets are old and need chip and pin. So yeah, bring your bank/Revolut card. There’s escalators and lifts throughout by the way so if you’ve any mobility issues you’ll be grand getting from the airport to the city. 

Now Miss optimistic here was like “it’s Spain, it’ll be hot, it’s to be 14 degrees, sure that’s loads, I don’t need a coat’. It was not loads and I did need a coat. The sun was bright but it was cold in the shade. Ended up buying a massive scarf in Ale Hop (I miss you) on day 1. Met a lovely Belgian girl as I was trying to buy a ticket to climb this beautiful Tower El Michalet. Holy Mary mother of God 240 steps. Do you remember the beep test? Yeah, beep test vibes. Worth the view from the top though. Tickets were 2 euro and there’s a little sign saying cash only, they do take cards but it’s very slow and you’ll slow down a queue of people impatiently waiting behind you so just have cash yeah? Also, the bells active and functioning and mega fucking loud. I had taken my first step heading back down the spiral stairs when it DONGED and I nearly shat out my insides with the shock. 

Me and my new day friend were like OK where next and ended up at La Lonje de la Seda. I had visited earlier in the day and loved it but was happy to go back as it was close. It’s very Game of Thrones-like, and silent except for the people coming in and out to admire it and take photos. I sat in one of the corners near the windows and just soaked it up for a while. 

Went for some Mojitos with the Belgian girl before saying goodbye and heading off to find myself for dinner. Drunkenly found a Taco Bell, which I’d never had before and forgot to do in New York so went in and got a burrito. Very meh, nothing to write home about (yes, I see it!). Tolteca on Suffolk Street, Dublin still cannot be beat for a good burrito. 

Speaking of drunk, lads. €3.80 for a glass of wine. €15 in a restaurant for an amazing bottle of wine. So basically I think I drank everyday bar going home day. If you’ve ever had to navigate an airport hungover or heaven forbid drunk you’ll only do it once. On the Sunday I stupidly drank a bottle of wine with my late lunch/dinner and then decided to rent a scooter to get to a part of the city that was a 50 min walk away. Oh boy was this fun, until I turned a corner too fast and went flailing out onto the road at speed. This was even more embarrassing as it happened in front of a group of tourists, maybe 20, some of whom ran over to me asking if I was OK in a different language and found my sunglasses and my phone for me. I hadn’t even realised they were gone and after a few minutes of pulling myself together I realised my right airpod was gone. OK now I was upset. Whatever about the fall, I wasn’t bleeding and hadn’t been run over by a car. I was lucky but now my cheap holiday would turn into a much more expensive trip if I’d to replace my airpod’s. I spend 20 minutes walking up and down the stretch of road I’ve fallen down on with my torch on my phone, in the middle of the fucking day only finding smoke butts before accepting the reality and getting back on my scooter. I headed out to Umbracle.

I get my snaps here and then head back to the city centre and very happily hand back the scooter, I’ve never been so happy to just be walking again. The walking tour guide, Andres was fantastic and had recommended a couple of spots to try Valencia’s signature cocktail, in particular Cafe de las Horas. Agua de la Valencia is the most famous cocktail. Essentially orange juice, vodka and gin. I’m sold and find a recommended bar to get some in. I get in, order my drink and sit down and as I’m removing my scarf find my beloved right (now lucky) airpod in my cleavage. Thank you Mama for said cleavage! I had forgotten how cheap the drink was and I think I got a jug of Agua de la Valencia for maybe €10 before walking my merry arse home. I strongly recommend the free walking tour in Valencia, if nothing else for Andre’s list of recommendations. Andres had made up a sheet for everyone in the audience of his favourite spots all around Valencia, best spots for paella, seafood, drinks, dinner, views over the city. You name it, he had it and if he didn’t have it on the sheet I guarantee he had it in his head. 

My only sort of negative experience on this trip was a run in with two American girls who tried to skip me at a restaurant. I had walked past this place and spotted their Napoli style pizzas and made a mental note of the name and location to return to at a later point.  I had been queuing, along with the rest of the people for about 20 mins to get in and they rocked up and stood by the door. The host/manager either knew them or just wanted a bigger table, more spend as when the next table came free he came out and asked who’s next, despite the fact I was standing there at the top of the queue and they were to the side. He went to let them in and I had to speak up and remind him I had been here 5/10 minutes at least before these girls arrived. He reluctantly let me in, by which point I was starving but also pissed off. The look those two girls gave me, like the absolute audacity of me to say that. I genuinely don’t know if I was invisible to them or they thought there’s no way this girl would say something. Either way they were wrong and my pizza was fucking delicious. It did bring home to me that sometimes a table for one is not favoured, and you can be treated differently. It pisses me off because I’m just as much entitled to a meal out as a couple or two friends, even if my table spend is less. Like be unhappy I’m spending less, but don’t let your face know. Don’t make it obvious to the customer. Rant over. 

Wow, I got mad again just writing that. In general its good to try and book ahead and a if you’re travelling alone book a table for two. I know you’re probably like why? I’ve found booking a table for one they’ll try and sit you at the bar or theres sometimes theres no option to book a table for one. You can always say your friend or whatever is on the way and running late or is ill if you get questioned. If you don’t want a shitty table or no table at all I recommend doing this. 

Some bits I didn’t get to see but would have liked to include the city hall. You can climb to the top which has beautiful views over the city. It was unfortunately closed when I was there but the lady inside advised me it was open Monday to Friday in the mornings only. Overall Valencia was really beautiful and I found three days was enough. Theres some lovely day trips I could have done such as the local National Park and the Caves but for the city itself I felt I got a nice feel for the city. Have you been to Valencia? Is there anything you’d add to the ‘must see’ list?

Top tips:

  • Check the weather and bring approptiate layers
  • Comfy shoes, the cities beautiful but you will spent the whole time walking
  • Book into restaraunts you really wanna get into (make up an imaginary friend and book a table for two if on on your own!)
  • Check before walking into a beautiful church is a mass in on. I did not do this and was very embarrassing.
  • Try Agua de la Velencia and for the love of god, try Paella!
  • Carry cash and water and check out the beautiful market, especially if you’re staying somewhere with cooking facilities
  • Do the free walking tour and hope you get Andres!


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