My family and I love Valencia, Spain’s third largest city situated between Alicante in the south and Barcelona in the north. Since our friends Michi and Alejandro emigrated to Valencia around one and a half years ago, we have already been there twice – and now feel a bit at home ourselves in the Spanish “home of paella“!
I can especially recommend Valencia as a destination for families. We got to know the city both times from the perspective of travelling with our baby and toddler sons, and can assure you: Valencia is simply made for a trip with little ones at hand!
Direct flights to Valencia, and moving around the city with ease.
The practical thing about Valencia, at least to us, is the direct flight connection from Vienna. The journey takes two and a half hours – and offers our boys plenty of entertainment. From the airport in Valencia itself, it’s easy to get into the city by metro. In general, public transport in Valencia is totally easy to navigate, also with our little globetrotters.
Arriving at our AirBnB flat: Family-friendly accommodation at Platja Malvarossa beach.
As last year, we made sure not to book just any hotel for the duration of our stay (we were there for six days at a time), opting instead for a cosy flat near the city beach in Valencia. With our young children, it’s just easier to be able to quickly prepare a meal, spread out their toys and set up a “home away from home” – only with sand between your toes!
From the flat, it’s just one minute to tram 4 towards the city and another three to the “biggest sandpit of all”: the beautiful, long sandy beach of Valencia!
Exploring Valencia with toddlers: City sightseeing meets playground hunting.
As already mentioned, Valencia is really easy to navigate with kids. The spacious parklands of the dried-up Túria riverbed run right along the centre of the city. With the children, we can swap sightseeing for breaks and playgrounds at any time. But even without kids, being able to relax at the Túria parklands is a real treat.
With its magnificent buildings, spacious plazas and cosy tapas bars, Valencia’s old town offers everything you need as a a happy (foodie) traveller. Here are a few impressions for you.
Cycling with kids in Valencia.
Last year, the flat, bike-friendly city of Valencia had already made us look forward to a trip on bikes. Now that Liam knows how to ride his bike, and Levin is big enough to sit in a bike seat, we were able to realise this plan.
Our friend Michi researched bike hire companies in Valencia and found those that also hire out children’s bikes, helmets and bike seats. Based on our experience of them, we can really recommend Rent Bike Virgen as a family-friendly bike hire company: The service was great, very patient and friendly; Liam could even choose a bike with coaster brakes instead of two hand brakes on request, as he is more used to this from home.
From the hire station right in the city centre, it’s only a short ride down to the Túria parklands in the city’s former riverbed, which we cycled all the way down to the modern Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències. The Túria offers just perfect cycle paths, reserved only for cycling. Ideal and stress-free to also navigate with (young) children.
Liam’s highlight: Oceanogràfic Valencia.
I already told you in detail last year about what the Oceanogràfic, a huge aquarium near the Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències, has to offer. This year, we took the time to attend a dolphin show – albeit with mixed feelings. Nevertheless, the tricks performed by the beautiful marine mammals were impressive to watch. The rest of the Oceanogràfic is also worth a visit, especially with children.
Family highlight: A sunset boat cruise on Albufera lake south of Valencia.
Once again, a big shoutout to our friends Michi and Alejandro, who drew our attention to the possibility of such a boat trip in the first place.
Lake Albufera, separated from the sea by a flat sand dune, is part of a nature reserve that is almost as large as Lake Neusiedl to the east of Vienna. The lake itself has already lost much of its original size due to the intensive irrigation of the surrounding rice fields. We learn all this and more on the boat trip, which costs just €6 per person and gives us a wonderful hour together on the lake.
If, like us, you are travelling with children or as a group, you can also take a taxi to the starting point of the boat tour “Paseos en Barca Albufera Rosa y Tonet” at a reasonable price: Lake Albufera is only some 12 kilometres outside of Valencia. If you are travelling with (small) children, it is best to book the taxi in advance so that one or more child seats are fitted (these are also compulsory in Spain).