The Communidad of Valencia is a region in south eastern Spain which is divided into three separate provinces. From north to south they are Castellón, Valencia and Alicante.
If you’re looking for Valencia city rather than regional information then go to the Valencia city section.
Geography of Valencia Region
Valencia is a long and fairly narrow region with a thin coastal strip which is very fertile indeed. There is a coastline of some 518 km, mainly comprising of white, sandy beaches forming the Costa del Azahar in the north and the Costa Blanca in the south. To the west of the coastal strip – the boundary of which is, more or less, the coastal motorway, the A7 – the peaks form the beginnings of the Iberian and Baetic mountains; the highest peak in the region being the Calderón at 1,839 m, to be found in the Rincón de Ademuz. The region’s biggest river is the Segura, to the south of Elche. The other geographically interesting features are the wetlands and marshlands such as those near Santa Pola, Torrevieja and L’Albufera, which attract many migratory birds.
Map of Valencia Region
History of the Valencia Region
Valentia, under the Romans, was quite a wealthy area until it was conquered by the Visigoths during the 5th century. Captured by the Moors at the beginning of the 8th century, it stayed in Muslim hands until the recapture by the Kingdom of Aragón in 1238. It was at this time that Valencia was given the status of an independent country within Aragón. Between 1238 and Philip V’s victory in the War of the Spanish Succession in 1707, Valencia was greatly influenced by Catalunya but Philip integrated it into the Kingdom of Castile and abolished the use of the Valencian language.
It wasn’t until the Second Spanish republic that the next attempts to gain self-government for Valencia became apparent, which were partially realized in 1982 by the creation of the autonomous communities within Spain. Catalan militancy, however, whilst important to some people of the region, has never been as fervent in Valencia as in Catalonia to the north.
The official languages of Valencia are Castilian Spanish and Valenciano, which is a dialect of Catalan. You will see some bilingual street signs but generally can expect to have no problems communicating with people in ‘normal’ Spanish.
Economy of the Valencia Region
Traditionally, agriculture has played a large part in the Valencian economy and still today the region accounts for over 18% of the total food production of Spain – mainly with citrus fruits, especially oranges, and rice. In addition, Valencia itself is Spain’s largest Mediterranean port. The ceramic industry of the area is world renowned, the famous Lladró figures are hand made in the city of Valencia; and, in addition, textiles, furniture, shoes and, somewhat bizarrely, toys are all important parts of the manufacturing industry. Of course, with more than 7 milliion tourists every year, the tourist industry is now a huge part of the region’s economy.
The majority of the region enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate with long, hot and dry summers and mild winters. Most of the rain which does fall will occur during autumn and spring. However, in the more mountainous areas inland, winters are significantly colder –often with snowy days – and there is a good deal more rainfall. In the very south of the region, around Torrevieja, the climate is nearer to being classified as semi-arid, as the amount of precipitation is no more than 300 mm annually, about half that of the northern part.
Beyond the city of Valencia is a whole region known as ‘La Comunidad Valenciana‘ which is one of Spain’s 17 autonomous communities. It stretches from Catalonia in the north to Murcia in the south and is made up of the provinces of Castellón, Valencia and Alicante. The region as a whole attracts millions of visitors every year, mainly to its holiday resorts along the Costa Blanca.