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Comunidad Valenciana Travel Guide

Paella - a typical regional dish
Paella - a typical regional dish
Glass tunnel in the Valencia Oceanographic Museum
Glass tunnel in the Valencia Oceanographic Museum
Villena castle - one of many in the Comunidad Valenciana
Villena castle - one of many in the Comunidad Valenciana

The Comunidad Valenciana is an area of highly diverse landscapes, from its inland mountain ranges to its sandy beaches and pebbled coves. Delightful coastal towns are described in detail in our Comunidad Valenciana Travel Guide, it is the perfect place to enjoy a break in the sun and to experience the Spanish culture first-hand. Excellent transport links mean that you can travel to local attractions, as well as other areas in a relatively short space of time. The area boasts two fully operating airports, Alicante and Valencia, and a third airport is currently under construction in Castellón. Ferry routes travel daily between Valencia or Denia and the Balearic Isles and there are also longer distance ferries that travel from Alicante to Algeria.

Valencia-the capital

With over 800,000 inhabitants, the region’s capital, Valencia, is a lively city with plenty to see and do. Particularly worth a visit is the ‘Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias’, a huge complex with an IMAX cinema, science museum, arts centre and the largest aquarium in Europe, where you can walk through glass tunnels as sharks and rays swim overhead. A more recent attraction not to be missed is Bioparc, where natural habitats have been recreated for rhinos, lions, gorillas, elephants and countless other species. ‘Invisible’ barriers make this seem like a true safari experience! Another relatively new addition to the city is the Valencia Street Circuit, a Formula 1 circuit which winds around the port and is to host the 2012 Formula 1 Grand Prix of Europe in June.

Traditions Comunidad Valenciana
If it’s noise and excitement you’re looking for, then the Comunidad Valenciana and our online Travel Guide is the perfect place for you. Throughout the year you can find all kinds of festivities in the towns and cities of the region, such as ‘Las Hogueras’ in Alicante in June or ‘Las Fallas’ in Valencia in March, similar festivals in which impressive monuments are created, which are generally a critique of events over the past year, set up around the city and then burnt on the last day of the festival. Only those voted the best are saved from the flames. During these celebrations, many other traditions can be seen, such as the ‘Bellezas’ or ‘Damas del Foc’(literally the ‘Beauties’ and ‘Ladies of the fire’), local girls chosen to represent the city in traditional dress during this festive period. If you have sensitive ears, it’s best to stay away from these city centres around midday, as this is when the ‘mascletà’ takes place – around fifteen minutes or more of almost deafening firecrackers being set off. The smell of gunpowder is highly characteristic of these festivals. Another festival with a difference is ‘La Tomatina’, held on the last Wednesday in August in Buñol, a small town inland from Valencia, involving a massive tomato war; goggles and bathing suits are advisable!

A quieter option, and a good way to get to know the region, is to follow the A-31 motorway from Alicante to Villena. Along the way you will see many castles on hilltops watching over the surrounding area. Many of these are well-preserved and open to visitors. Other places of interest in the region are: Guadalest, inland from Benidorm, where you can visit the castle and enjoy spectacular views over the surrounding valleys and reservoir; Agres, a small town in the north of the Alicante province with a well-preserved historical centre that is curious due to its numerous fountains where you can stop and refresh yourself with a drink of the cool, clear water under the Mediterranean sun; Font Roja nature reserve, near Alcoy, 2,450 hectares of natural landscape where you can take a stroll whilst getting to know the local flora and fauna.  Those in search of total relaxation can spend a few days at the numerous spas located around the area, such as the one in Oropesa del Mar, near Castellón, or at the Denia Mariott Hotel, and if you really want to splash out, a night or two at the Asia Gardens near Benidorm is the perfect way to get away from it all.

Comunidad Valenciana Traditional Dishes
As well as offering you a wide range of leisure activities and places to visit, the Comunidad Valenciana is also famous for its gastronomy. Here you can find paellas made with locally grown rice that differ from one town to the next. Visit Elche to try ‘arroz con costra’, rice with a variety of meats baked in the oven with a delicious egg topping, or Santa Pola, a charming coastal town to the south of Alicante, for ‘arroz a banda’, a tasty rice dish with locally caught fish and red peppers. If you have a sweet tooth, the Comunidad Valenciana as well as our Travel Guide has plenty to offer. Some of Spain’s most important ice-cream manufacturers are based here, such as La Jijonenca, and ‘turrón’, a sweet confection, sometimes similar to nougat, is also a local speciality. In the coastal town of Villajoyosa, halfway between Alicante and Benidorm, you can visit the Valor chocolate museum, which commemorates the history of chocolate and of this local company, established in 1881.

Whatever your tastes, the Comunidad Valenciana is sure to have something for you, so why not let us help you find the perfect place to stay? Check out our travel guide Costa Blanca for more information on popular tourist destinations such as Benidorm, Alicante, Denia and Calpe and take a look at the wide range of holiday accommodation we have to offer.