Valencia has been named the healthiest city in the world*, and it’s easy to see why. With a privileged location by the Mediterranean Sea, Spain’s third largest city offers a mild, sunny climate and plenty of green spaces to exercise or simply enjoy life al fresco. Its renowned cuisine – this is the birthplace of paella – combines the abundant fresh produce from the surrounding Huerta and the sea with the creativity of the local chefs.
This is also a sustainable destination, the first in the world to measure and certify both the carbon and water footprint of tourism. Furthermore, the city’s efforts to preserve both its natural ecosystems and its rich cultural heritage, together with its accessibility and its use of technology to improve visitors’ experience have earned Valencia the title of European Capital of Smart Tourism 2022.
Historic buildings and monuments, legacy of the city’s multicultural past, stand next to the most avant-garde architecture. The historic centre has an increased number of pedestrianised areas that make sightseeing a delight, as well as many squares and gardens to take a respite, such as Viveros or the Botanical Garden. The true green lung of the city is the Jardin del Turia: nine kilometres of gardens, tourist attractions such as the City of Arts and Sciences and sports facilities along the former Turia riverbed.
Just 10 kilometres to the south of the city centre, the Albufera Natural Park is a haven for birdlife, and the best place to relax amongst nature. Its freshwater lagoon is surrounded by rice fields, Mediterranean forest, and wild beaches with natural sand dunes. Valencia has 20 kilometres of coastline, with several Blue Flag beaches and a modern Marina packed with bars and restaurants.
The city’s compact size and flat terrain make it easy to explore the sights on foot or on two wheels. There are more than 160 kilometres of cycle lanes throughout the city and its surrounding areas, as well as 40 bike-friendly streets with a speed limit of 30 km/h. Many companies provide bike hire services and there is also a comprehensive public transport network.
* ranking published by the comparison website money.co.uk