Why isn't Valencia included within Rick Steves' SPAIN book (18th edition)? It's a major city - why the omission?
I'm keeping a tally of how many of these exact questions I've seen about Valencia. I'm currently at 9
Horrible place to visit, terrible service, nothing to do. Stay away, stay away! Pretty please?! ;)
Partly on the basis of its omission from the RS guidebook we will be spending 4 nights in Valencia in February. We are expecting it to be one of the few places where we will be free of Americans. Thankfully, Fodors and Lonely Planet guidebooks exist or we would just be arriving into Valencia blind.
I will admit it’s not my favorite city in Spain. To me it’s a port city worth a full day/two nights. Why it’s not in the RS book is something RS would need to answer.
A post by the webmaster on another thread explains why certain places are not included in the RS guidebooks:
our books are not meant to be comprehensive. I think this is meant to
be a positive thing in that you should consider getting off Rick's
beaten path. Our books are opinionated about what Rick thinks are your
best options for multi-week trips. There can be many reasons why a
site isn't listed in his books.
The first -- as you've already divined as an option -- is Rick doesn't
like it. Second is it may not be well suited to a certain volume of
visitors that a guidebook's recommendation can send to any given
place. Third, it may be out of the way. Fourth, there may be another
suitable/comparable option already in the guidebook and we are
avoiding making as if you should see both on one trip.
However, this doesn't mean it isn't a good site and worth the time for
As a Basque that has visited this city many times...definitely a place to really enjoy, with great food and nearby Albufera, as well as many interesting sites in the city itself (Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias would be a must-see).
There are still quite a few places off the radar, Spain is (if compared to others in Europe) a big country and there´s still plenty to explore, apart from the obvious places.
RS guidebooks complement his tours and are marketed to his target audience. Valencia, unfortunately, is not included in any of them.
When I was planning our trip to Spain, I figured if we had 7 -10 days, we would only go to Barcelona and Madrid. My preference is to have a more relaxed itinerary and not change hotels too much. These are the big two. Logically, they are the best places to start or finish because most international flights conveniently fly here . If I increased our stay to 14 days, I figured I could add one of Andulica, Basque or Valencia. I figured I could not fit in more than one unless I had a lot more time or be willing to be rushed with very short stays, more hotel changes and much more travel time. We decided to add Valencia, mostly because I viewed a nice YouTube video of the city. When I came on the forum to discuss our proposed trip, a few posters suggested that I should visit Seville etc instead because it was a "must do". For most people, including RS and his fans, Andulicia and the Basque Country are given a much higher priority. In November, both Madrid and Barcelona were still full of tourists (of course, not as much as in Spring or Summer). On the other hand, Valencia was empty in comparison. We stayed four nights and really enjoyed our visit.
We've been to several places in Spain, on the RS tour and independently. I love the RS guidebook for our planning. That said we are planning another trip to Spain this fall, a deeper dive along the coast from Barcelona down to Valencia. I found a great resource on Facebook, a group called "Earth Vagabonds." One guy there posted a recent 3-week trip along the coast, so I'm following his route for my planning.
I hope this is helpful.
That said we are planning another trip to Spain this fall, a deeper dive along the coast from Barcelona down to Valencia.
Sound's like a great trip! That's my favorite stretch of coastline in Spain, along the Costa Dorada and Costa del Azahar (Orange Blossom Coast). Unfortunately the link doesn't go anywhere, mind sharing your itinerary? Thanks
I'm sorry that link doesn't work, it's probably b/c it's from within my FB account, which is not public. Anyway, the group is called Earth Vagabonds so if you have a FB account, you can search for the group and then search for Valencia and I'm sure it will come up.
I can happily share my itinerary but I've not completed it yet, since it's for mid-Sept through mid-Nov. Essentially we plan to train down the coast from Barcelona to Valencia (about 10 days) for that portion of our trip, then train back to Madrid for the next leg which is Portugal.
I hope this is helpful, Happy Trails!
We are expecting it to be one of the few places where we will be free of Americans
Sorry, but this made me laugh out loud. The omission from RS’ book by no means Valencia is undiscovered. Recent reports list it as the top expat destination for Americans.
Sorry, but this made me laugh out loud.
I meant it tongue in cheek. On our last holiday we kept running into the same Tauck travel group for a few days straight. We'd think we were alone on a hiking trail then around the next bend, there they were again ... Americans.
Just like that fun-loving Australian group we kept running into in rural Armenia. Our group of sweet, unusually quiet, little, old French people couldn't carry on a conversation at dinner with those exhuberante Aussies in the dining room.
Back to the subject: we really like Valencia and plan a trip back soon. And yes, the US expat communities are growing at this time.
We love Valencia. If you want to go, go! I love Rick Steves and really value his advice, but for us, Valencia was worth the time. I find it to have many charms and have fewer tourists than Barcelona. If you need a great restaurant, try La Riua, Carrer del Mar, 27.
Please report back and let us know what you think.
We visited Valencia 15 years ago for 2 weeks
It is second only to Lisbon in terms of my memories.
Friendly people, great food (even better than Lisbon)
And the most fantastic market (Mercado Central) you will ever visit
I am planning my 75 birthday trip and, by habit, plan on Lisbon, but hmmmmmm
Not intended to thread-jack, but this reminds me so much of our efforts to plan for, and then our fabulous time in, Bologna / Emilia Romagna. Anyhow, beginning planning of a first trip to Spain, concentrated in Andalusia. If we can find some extra time to begin in Barcelona, we will definitely stop a few nights in Valencia on the way to Granada....
Rick ignores another large city: Zaragoza. We really enjoyed our 3 days there.
We enjoy Valencia. Much less touristy than Barcelona. Also a bit less polished. But the people are warm and the city is quite beautiful. Great restaurants, too. Don't expect too many people to speak English. In fact, they speak Castellano and Valencian (not Catalan!).
Given the interest in Valencia among RS travelers and our upcoming deeper drive trip into Spain, I will post highlights of our October trip. We're starting in Barcelona then taking local/regional trains down to Valencia (2 wks) then through Madrid to Zaragoza for a few nights; over to Secastilla (tiny, tiny town where family lives). Then on to Lisbon, our 4th visit there.
Mostly staying in Airbnbs, hotels when more convenient or cost-effective. Meanwhile, I appreciate the suggestions for tapas, restaurants, etc. I've gleaned a few and we'll be looking for them on our trip.
Carlos, try this link for the travel group in Facebook. Look for Dennis Collins' posts on Spain travel late last year.
Sorry, AussieNomad. We’re planning on visiting Valencia in February. Maybe we’ll run into each other. We’ll be the ones with the US accent :)
rick caters to a certain demographic and as the webmaster's post indicates he has strong opinions. not everyone agrees. i am in spain now and visited valencia about 2 weeks ago. i have to say for the longest time i had two things i wanted to visit in spain, the prado museum (visiting the day after tomorrow) and the arts and science complex in valencia. to see calatrava's building with my own eyes and take photos was a dream fulfilled that went above and beyond expectations. there's more to valencia i enjoyed; the cathedral whose baroque facade reminded me of some of the churches i saw in vale de noto, sicily. the marcato central is a fascinating art nouveau building. regarding food, paella was invented in valencia, after all. i was in the city for two full days and thoroughly enjoyed it. don't let travel gurus or posters like me sway you either way. read up, consult a variety of sources, look at pictures, and ultimately decide based on what interests you.
I am in Valencia now. Hardly any American tourists. Great foods. Lots of random art and music on the streets. And a cool breeze off the ocean.
But, yeah, no need to visit. (Ha!)
I'm also in Valencia now, and dare I say I think it is a better tourist experience than Barcelona, much more clean, welcoming, and safe feeling.