What to see in the Valencian Community: must-see villages, nature and cities

What to see in the Valencian Community is a question with many answers. It´s hardly possible to choose one destination among so many. The Valencian Community’s infinite diversity includes golden sunsets in La Albufera and starry night skies above the Costa Brava. One will also find Valencia’s diversity in the Fallas in March, the summertime horchatas and the endless horizons of Jávea or Guadalest and the towns of Castellón and Calpe, or in the views of the cathedral while having a coffee or taking a walk around the Silk Exchange.

Elaborating on what the Valencian Community has to offer is a journey in itself. Valencia is a dream of beautiful coastal beaches, mountains, castles, waterfalls and medieval towns, and here we will list a series of places you should definitely visit if you are nearby.

A tour of the most beautiful towns and villages in the Valencian Commuity


Peñíscola. | Shutterstock

Both the Valencian Community’s coast and inland regions are sown with charming villages and towns. All of them are unique in their own way, wrapped in rich, ever-changing landscapes full of contrasts. Nevertheless, all of them should be at the top of anyone’s list regarding what to visit in the Valencian Community.

Our tour could begin anywhere, really. Following the Mediterranean breeze along the coast, we will come across bright hidden gems under the watch of the seagulls. In the south of the province of Castellón, in the Bajo Maestrazgo region, rising from the foamy waves, sand and rock, stands Peñíscola. Its streets remain etched in the eye, like scenes from a well-known film. From the heights of its promontory, the Papa Luna castle overlooks all arriving outsiders. The views there are just stunning. One can even imagine conquering that iron throne from Game of Thrones when sitting at the table of the town’s restaurants.


Morella. | Shutterstock

Also along the coast, in the province of Alicante, Altea and Calpe dazzle with their glimmering white façades and distinctive Moorish architecture. In Altea, the blue sky itself seems to reflect upon the roof of the church of Nuestra Señora del Consuelo. At Calpe, the rock of Ifach greets travellers. There, we will find long kilometres of fine sand, a great locally-sourced cuisine and a few other surprises, such as Baños de la Reina, a Bronze Age archeaological site. But the list of what to see in the Valencian Community should not omit places inland. There lies Xátiva, with its collegiate church, its castle and a history marked by the name Borgia.

Another fabulous town in the Valencian Community is Morella, about a hundred kilometres from the popular Peñíscola.  Surrounded by town walls that seem to contain the passing of time itself, the town is crowned by an imposing castle rising from the rock. Morella hosts stunning chapels, ravines and convents, all of which are accompanied by a delicious local cuisine. In Castalla, Alicante province, the visitor will find one of the best-preserved fortresses in the whole Valencian Community. This eleventh-century Moorish fortress is a precursor to the town’s historic cobbled streets, which are flanked by beautiful noble homes.

A view from Ares del Maestrat

A view from Ares del Maestrat. | Shutterstock

Another must-visit destination in the Valencian Commuity is Ares del Maestrat. A unique place etched in a semicircle around the mountain and surrounding the ruins of its ancient castle. The views are remarkable.  Equally remarkable is what lies ahead: places like Castell de Guadalest, Alboraia, Chulilla, Bocanent and Gandía.

Nature in the Valencian Community

Nature in the Valencian Community is not only something to see, but something to feel. In fact, Valencia hosts spectacular landscapes deserving an in-depth, lived experience. Only by breathing in the airs and aromas of these places is it possible to truly know them. In this way, the journey is transformed into an authentic experience. Beginning a few kilometres from Valencia, the natural park of La Albufera is the first natural wonder to visit in the Valencian Community. An ecological reserve surrounded by rice fields and serving as a migratory stop for a multitude of birds. Also found here in La Albufera is the Dehesa del Saler, a Mediterranean forest separating La Albufera from the Mediterranean Sea.

Sunset in La Albufera of Valencia

Sunset in La Albufera of Valencia. | Shutterstock

Lakes, observation points and caves are the next stops on the tour. Turche and Palomas caves, fewer than fifty kilometres from the capital, can both be visited in the same day. These are paired caves linked by a small circular route. In winter or springtime, the twenty-metre waterfall clearly takes centre stage. Around it spreads a lush carpet of vegetation with seasonal colour changes. Picnic tables, natural pools and pure air complete the picture.

Higher up, nearly six hundred metres above sea level, stands the Garbí Observation Point. It can be reached by a walking route in the  Sierra Calderona Natural Park. The journey and the views are well-worth the effort.

Sierra Calderona Natural Park

Sierra Calderona Natural Park. | Shutterstock

An exceptional setting holds the secret of the source of the Clariano river, about eighty-eight kilometres from the city. Set in the Ombria-Pou Clar mountains, in Ontiyent, it is surrounded by caves excavated between the 10th and 12th centuries. A moment taking in this haven in the middle of the Valencian Community is akin to taking a calming bath.

Equally peaceful are the baths found at Quesa lakes, with its four natural pools, some with waterfalls adding music to the spectacle. Water is pervasive wherever one travels in the Valencian Community. A visible and sonorous presence throughout its geography, taking on distinct names and forms.

At times, it may be a river such as the Turia in Chulilla and the suspension bridges over its canyons. Or it may be the walking routes like those found at the Peña Cortada in Chelva, crossing neighbourhoods, caves and aqueducts.

The mountains have their place of recognition within the Valencian Community too. In Alicante, we have the Puig Campana and Ponotx, or the Sierra de Mariola Natural Park. In Castellón, the Gigante de Piedra (“Rock Giant”) gazes at the horizon, awaiting the next sunrise.

What to see in the Valencian Community: cities

Visiting some of the cities in the Valencian Community can be quite a surprise. Either way, getting to know them from the inside definitely enriches the journey. Cities open up a wealth of possibilities that include history, art and culture. The choices are numerous and diverse and Valencia’s cities offer plenty of options, from visiting a museum, to shopping, having a coffee, relaxing on a beach or walking its historic city centres.

We will start with the endless shores of Cullera and its surrounding bay, watched over by aquatic birds perched on the Peñeta del Moro. Further on, we will take the time to roam in the shade of the Elche palm grove, a World Heritage Site. Here, in the provincial capital of Bajo Vinalopó, sediments of distinct cultures that once populated the area are found. Ancient mosques, convents, Arabic baths, Roman and medieval remains… enclaves whose streets weave past and present together and invite one to explore more.

The castle of Elche next to a palm grove

The castle of Elche next to a palm grove. | Shutterstock

We should not miss the opportunity to visit the old quarter of Castellón de la Plana, in the northeast of the Valencian Community. The Plaza Mayor is a good starting point, flanked by the Central Market, the Campanario tower and Santa María La Mayor cathedral. From there, an unmissable descent goes down to the Grao de Castelló district by the sea.

The sea is a constant companion on the walking routes throughout the city of Alicante. The Mediterranean aroma will lead us to the castle of Santa Bárbara, the wonders at the Archeaological Museum or the basilica of Santa María. Eventually, this aroma will take us to the harbour and the dreamlike vision of the Tabarca Island, framed by the blue horizon. The depths of this marine reserve mean another adventure.

Of course, among those cities to visit in the Valencian Community is the ecclectic capital: Valencia. A crossroads where traditional and modern flavours manifest themselves in now iconic places. The Quart towers guard one of the gates of the ancient city wall.  Its battlements, offering beautiful panoramic scenes, can be visited.

There is much to discover by walking through the historic old quarter of the capital. Gothic-style is particularly prevalent in the emblematic Silk Exchange building, which has been a World Heritage Site since 1996. The cathedral of Valencia also stands out. From there, the ringing bells of the tower called Miguelete inform the traveller of the passing time.

Still on route, we will make a little pause to enjoy the modernist-style Central Market and its delightful pleasures while taking in the hustle and bustle in Plaza del Ayuntamiento. The modernist part leads directly to the Turia riverbed and to the Arts and Science City, a marvellous cultural sanctuary. Europe’s largest aquarium, the Oceanogràfic, is housed there too. Beluga whales and sea lions doze there near the Planetarium.

Visiting the Valencian Community can be as intense an experience as the visitor wishes. There is always something more to discover, another village, another little corner of brilliant nature, a city that rewrites itself in a unique way for each visitor.

It is safe to say that any trip to the Valencian Commuity, even one blindly chosen at random on a map, will be unforgettable. While planning the next chapter, enjoy some black rice or paella, or perhaps senyoret or fideua. If time permits, perhaps a Valencian stew, sweetened with some fartons or toña.  But the cuisine of the Valencian Community deserves another chapter in itself. The magical destinations here amaze any traveller time and again.

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