Valencia is fast becoming a hot destination for international travellers. Spain’s third largest city has recently played host to a number of high profile sporting events including the European Formula One Grand Prix, sailing’s America’s Cup, Moto GP, the European Indoor Athletics Finals and show jumping’s Global Champions Tour. As well as providing a spectacular backdrop to such occasions, visitors are immediately struck by the wide-ranging outdoor pursuits Valencia has to offer. And it is no coincidence that the Valencia Tourist Board has decided to heavily promote rural tourism in the region.
Flanked to the east by the beautiful sandy beaches of the Mediterranean, Valencia is home to some of Spain’s most breathtaking and diverse mountain ranges, earning the region the title of “Spain’s special secret” and making it an increasingly popular destination for walking holidays. Whether it’s the rugged limestone ranges to the south with their far reaching sea views, the dramatic inland gorges and canyons in the west, or the softer sandstone ranges of the north, the region offers walkers a variety of stunning landscapes unmatched in other parts of Spain.
- The rich green pine valleys of the Valle de la Murta and the Valle de la Casella are a real walker’s paradise. Just a short distance from the city of Valencia, visitors can step into a tranquil world of swooping valleys and jagged mountain peaks, with far reaching views of fertile paddy fields that merge in to the sea. A wealth of historic monuments, caves and monasteries dating as far back as the 14th century sprinkle this already picturesque area, which is ideal for walker of all grades.
- A short drive inland takes you to the deep gorges carved out by the rivers Turia, Jucar and Cabriel. Following the winding course of the riverbed, shadowed by the sharp rock formations of the needles of the Cabriel, you arrive at the historical town of Requena dating back to the times of El Cid. Puncturing the rich soils of Valencia’s wine growing territory are mountain peaks reaching 1,250 metres.
- To the north of Valencia, a distinctive Moorish influence creeps into the whitewashed villages hidden deep in the valleys of the Sierra Espadan. Considered by locals to be the most scenic mountain range in the Valencia region, you will never tire of exploring this 60km stretch of paradise. Clothed with cork oaks and pine trees and irrigated by hundreds of natural springs, each peak offers stunning views of the valleys below.
Lying within alluvial planes that merge seamlessly into the sea and surrounded by the Iberian and Baetic mountains, the city of Valencia itself offers a wealth of options for walkers. For those who prefer a gentle ramble, the former river bed of the Turia that runs through the heart of the city has been transformed in to a 9km long park, stretching from the world famous City of Arts and Sciences at one end to the African Bio Park – Europe’s most avant-garde zoo – at the other. The journey takes you past the dancing fountains of the Palau de la Musica, the enormous statue of Gulliver and majestic bridges designed by local architect Santiago Calatrava. Alternatively, you may prefer to immerse yourself in nature by taking a scenic stroll along the salty sand dunes of the Albufera natural park to the fishing village of El Palmar, where you can round off a perfect day with a traditional Valencian paella. The sheer variety on offer in the Valencia region makes it an ideal location for a healthy walking holiday.
For guided and self-guided walking holidays in the Valencia region including Fallas Special Walking weeks, we recommend travelling with www.walksinspain.com. Based from traditional rustic farmhouses in strategic locations, Walks in Spain holidays offer an ideal way to explore the Valencia area.