Recent Day Trips

  • by mpowell

    With our impending 3-month trip to Asturias coming ever closer, we thought it’d be a good time to look back on our years here, and compile some “Best Of” lists. We’ll start with Day Trips. As is always the case when creating lists, we’ve had to leave a lot of great things out… but these are our favorites. In the next few days, we’ll be publishing more Top Fives!

    The city of Valencia offers enough diversion for any length of trip, but it’s worthwhile to get out and see some of the other incredible spots which are nearby. We took a lot of day trips during our time here, but these are the five which we enjoyed the most, in no particular order.

    El Palmar and the Albufera

    Found just a few kilometers south of Valencia, the natural park of the Albufera is home to an enormous freshwater lagoon. From the city, you can bike there in less than an hour, and be rewarded with some incredible nature… dunes, wetlands, birds and fauna, the beaches of El Saler, and beautiful nature trails. The village of El Palmar is found deep within the Albufera and is world-renowned for its paella restaurants.

    El Palmar – The Perfect Day Trip
    Bike Trip to Saler and the Albufera
    El Palmar and the Albufera – Another visit

    Sagunto

    Sagunto is famous for its Roman theater, and its hilltop castle which stretches over a kilometer. A must-see for history fans, “Saguntum” was a powerful Roman city, and the first to be attacked by Hannibal. It’s just a short train trip away from Valencia.

    Sagunto: City of Ruins
    Sagunto, Part II

    Dénia & Xàbia

    There are a lot of great opportunities for biking in the Valencian Community, but the trip we most enjoyed was around the Montgó Mountain, between the touristy seaside villages of Dénia and Xàbia. Even without the bike trip, both towns are worth visiting; particular Xàbia with its crystal blue water and beautiful coastline.

    Bike Tour around the Montgó: Dénia-Xàbia

    Alcoy

    Alcoy, with its magnificent old town and castle, is worth a visit any time of year. But it’s especially impressive in late April, when the Alcoyanos put on Spain’s biggest Christians & Moors Festival. For three days, marchers, dancers, musicians and animals fill the streets. I’ve never seen anything like it.

    Alcoy – Christians & Moors Festival 2009
    Mentira – Alcoy’s Awesome Party Drink
    Valencia Scenic Drive: Alcoy to Altea

    Xàtiva

    With trains leaving the Estación del Norte about every half-hour for Xàtiva, there’s very little excuse to miss out on this fascinating town south of Valencia. The Castle of the infamous Borgia family is the highlight, but there is a lot to see and do in this city of the Setabenses.

    Day Trip to Xàtiva
    Xàtiva – Introduction & History
    Random Xàtiva Photos
    Xativa Castle in HD

    - Rent a car for your day trip from Valencia

  • by mpowell

    For my birthday, Jürgen and I went biking around the mountain of Montgó. Separating the vacation cities of Dénia and Xàbia, the Montgó raises to over 2400 feet and has an impressive, plateau-like profile visible from miles in every direction.

    The Volta al Montgó takes from 2-3 hours, though you should plan on 4 hours if (like us) you constantly pause for pictures. Besides a short but brutal climb into the hillside town of Jesús Pobre, the tour is easy — either flat or downhill. And the nature and beauty of the area is breathtaking.

    We rode through grape fields, groves of olives and orange trees, and into some areas that felt untouched by the passage of time. I loved contemplating the Montgó’s various faces as we circled it, and the mountain’s constant, imposing presence was a comforting sign that we hadn’t gotten lost.

    The land around the Montgó is a natural park which contains some of the most diverse flora and fauna in Spain. Over 50 endemic plant species join animals like eagles, owls, badgers and wild boar. The only wild creature I saw was a crazy photo-snapping German (Fotographus Alemanus), but that didn’t make the trip any less exciting.

    Midway through the trip, we stopped for lunch in the quiet town of Jesús Pobre (I can’t get over that name). Situated on the foothills of the inland side of Montgó, the village boasts an excellent view over the landscape. Replenished by paella, we enjoyed an easy, downhill trip into the southern end of the mountain, La Vall de Sala. We stopped by a cemetery and arrived in Xàbia at around 5.

    That left us enough time to lay on the beach and swim in its crystal blue water. Gorgeous, and the perfect reward for a day of exercise. But our trip wasn’t done yet! In order to return to Dénia, we hopped on a 40-minute ferry around the cape. Cliffs shot vertically from the water, with a blinking lighthouse atop them. The sun was beginning to wane a little, and it was an incredible ending to an incredible day.

    We can really recommend this tour to bikers of any fitness level or experience. It’s easy, though not particularly well-marked — especially coming into Xàbia and in Jesús Pobre, a few important signs are missing. But bring a map, and you’ll be fine. The tourist offices in both Dénia and Xàbia have itineraries of the path.

    Tips:

    - Book the Mini Cruise here
    - Best way to get to Dénia from Valencia with Bikes
    - Low Bugdet Dénia / Low Budget Javea aka Xàbia
    - Hotels in Dénia / Hotels in Xàbia

    Cruz Denia
    XXX
    Flores España
    Rapunzel Tower
    Book Market
    Stierkampf Bar
    Denia
    Minarette Spain
    Kaktus Blüte
    Korn Blume
    Monkey Bubble Tree
    Montgo Montaña
    Berg Montgo
    Spanische Trauben
    Green Spain
    Sneaky Photographer
    Paella Jesus Pobre
    Dog in Spain
    Graveyard
    Spanischer Friedhof
    Dead
    Three Towers in Spain
    Beach Javea
    Hunk Fishing
    Sailing Boat Javea
    Waiting for the Ferry
    Denia Javea Crise
    Lighthouse Javea
    Lighthouse Javea
    Berg Javea

    - Bite Away


  • by mpowell

    madrid-bear

    Another quick post unrelated to Valencia… we got some great pictures and took a video during our recent trip to Madrid, and need to share!

    Madrid is completely unlike Valencia; huge and cosmopolitan, where waitresses are likely to answer your bumbling Spanish in perfect, world-weary English, and the number of sights and events is overwhelming. If we ever write a blog called Hola Madrid, we’ll have to take on additional staff. I love the city; boisterous and exciting, but easily navigable and with plenty of quiet corners. We had a couple days there, recently, and saw…

    The Atachoa Train Station – with a huge palm garden in the middle of the station, Atachoa greets newcomers in a splendid fashion. The garden is breathtaking, and we spent probably 15 minutes at its pond watching hundreds of turtles climb over each other in a slow-motion (but frenzied) game of King of the Hill.

    The Reina Sofia – One of the best modern art museums in the world houses innumerable works by Picasso and Dalí, including Picasso’s heartbreaking meisterwerk La Guernica. Just don’t try and take a picture of it, unless you want its hawkish guards to yell at you! It’s my favorite painting ever.

    Easter Procession – On Sunday night, our dinner was interrupted by a solemn street procession, with men in black hoods carrying a huge statue of the crucifixion. My parents hadn’t yet experienced the pointy-hooded and quietly creepy Catholic brotherhoods of Spain. While the crowd stood still, respectfully, the bars were out of control; the Real – Atlético Madrid derby was in full swing, and when Atlético scored, everyone pretending to be religious ran back inside. The poor guys in the procession were visibly jealous.

    street-lights-madrid
    madrid-moon
    police-in-Madrid
    la-flamenca-madrid
    Don-Qixote
    cute-turtle
    train-station-madrid
    reina-Sofia-museum
    reina-sofia-arts
    reina-sofia-cafe
    madrid-elephants
    danger-angel
    pigeon-yes
    madrid-kicks
    botellon
    madrid-dog
    dos-sangrias
    cool-dude-spain
    elphant-madrid

    Planning a trip to Madrid by Car? Check out this cheap car rental place

  • by mpowell

    Through pine forests, almond trees and fields of grape vines, and alongside an old railway track, we recently took a long bike trip from Utiel to Venta del Moro, and back again. Gorgeous scenery greeted us along every step of this route.

    During the tiring 5 hour trip, we often felt like we were completely alone in the world. The area south of Utiel is cultivated, but sparsely populated. With a landscape dotted by out-of-use, decrepit structures pertaining to the old railway, and not a human to be found, the sensation was unsettling — like visiting from the distant future.

    Check out these pictures… Valencia has a whole lot more to offer than just beaches and architecture.

    cercanas-valencia
    valencia-bici
    fahrrad-tour-valencia
    wein-tour-valencia
    requena
    biking-in-spain
    wine-pump
    utiel-biking
    vase-valencia

    If you’ve got a bike, you should be collecting Levante’s series: “Cycling Routes of the Valencian Community”. They come free with the newspaper every Saturday & Sunday, and are incredibly detailed, accurate guides to some of the most stunning scenery in the region.

    - Our Albufera Bike Tour

    Save 95% on International Calls
  • by mpowell

    Juergen and I are stupid, drooling idiots; a sad fact confirmed by the length of time it’s taken us to finally purchase bicycles. 2 years! We’re so dumb… there’s no excuse. Valencia is an excellent city for biking. No hills to be found, and the big Turia park serving as a “bike highway”, complete with “exits” into various parts of the city. The weather here is great and the motorists aren’t too frightening (at least within the city, where they’re forced to go reasonably slow).

    church-bike

    One of the best reasons to have a bike in Valencia is the massively improved accessibility to the beaches. Not just Malvarossa, but to the less crowded and more serene southern beaches — Pinedo, Dehesa, Saler. There’s an awesome bike route which leads to them, starting near the new Agora building (precisely here).

    The long, popular path avoids traffic the entire way, reaching the Pinedo beach in about 20 minutes. The further south you travel, the more deserted (and nekkid!) the beaches.

    Not only can you enjoy the sand and the sound of the waves, unencumbered by the massive crowds of Malvarossa, but you’re right on top of the Albufera national park. We took a little tour after sunning on the beach. Beautiful dune and swamp landscapes define the park, along with unfortunately ugly high-rise apartment complexes built before the Albufera was put under environmental protection.

    But it’s best to ignore those buildings and focus on the natural beauty. I have a feeling that we’ll be back quite often this summer. If you’re in Valencia for an extended time, we strongly recommend getting a bike. You’ll be amazed how quickly you can get around.

    agora-calatrava-V
    oldtimer-valencia-street
    valencia-round-about
    valencia-future
    waves-surfing-spain
    triathlon-valencia
    We happened upon a Triathlon during our trip.
    outdoor-sport-valencia
    wild-beach-valencia
    surfing-spain
    chimney-valencia
    dragon-flowers
    flores-valencia
    albufera-fauna
    little-blue-flowres
    twig-tree
    burned-tree
    fahrrad-valencia

    - Vacation Rental Valencia



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