Finally we were headed out to the coast! Its been nearly two weeks since we saw the beach and instead were sweltering in close to 40 degree heat everyday. It was a nice welcome change, we could already feel the sea breeze as we arrived late afternoon to the home of Paella!
As we arrive there was something distinctive about the city, the long canal that wrapped around the north end which had seemingly been turned into a beautiful park. It has quite the interesting story; it was previously a river called the Turia, which after a devastating flood the city decided to divert. After having been drained the riverbed was transformed into a green recreational space, bringing together locals and tourists alike. A very unique ‘central park’ which encompasses event spaces, bike paths, soccer fields and tennis fields, even a futuristic sciences & arts museum.
I went for a nice run in the morning through the park and it was so fresh and great to see so many other active people out and about. If this seems a little strenuous you can also rent a bike to explore at a more leisurely pace.
But the main thing we were here for is the seafood and the paella! You can find plenty of the former at the markets, I opted for some absolutely huuuuge oysters! Check out the rest of mercado central as they not only have fresh produce but quite a few stalls that serve all kinds of freshly cooked food.
We stayed quite close to the market as well so we went here in the morning for breakfast a few times to grab some random things and most importantly coffee.
We had paella a few times at a few different places but by far the best one we tried is at La Riua. It was hands down one of the the best paellas I’ve ever had and is how it is supposed to be. The traditional paella valenciana, which uses rabbit and chicken and of course real saffron which imparts that distinctive flavour. All the fats and oils sink to the bottom of the large pan which crisp up just a little bit, which is the best part called ‘soccarat’ – they did this part to perfection.
While a little pricy it is well worth it as it is world class and obviously time consuming to cook it right. If there is one paella you eat in Valencia this has to be it. If I had more time I would have come back multiple times and then some.
The rest of our time here we spent walking around various parts of the city as it is quite the photogenic place with pretty pastel facades and plenty of greenery. The best example of this is the Ruzafa district to the south. It’s got quite a few trendy bars and cafes, good for a boozy brunch or afternoon chills.
If you have some spare time and you just want a nice a relaxing day, it’s worth taking the bus out to the beach (Malvarrossa), not the most picturesque but it’s nice enough and the water is pleasant and mostly warm to swim as it’s the Mediterranean sea. Bring a book and/or some bevvies and enjoy!