The sun is out and the air is warm, but not too hot, and the air carries the scent of flowers. Spring is the perfect time to step outside and enjoy sightseeing around Valencia. Why not add a bit of exercise at the same time to tone for the summer? A gentle bike tour around the city is a great way to get to see more in a short time and soak up the Valencian atmosphere. And it is great fun too!
Cycling in Valencia is a delight. There are no hills, but plenty of green areas, and many streets have cycle lanes or traffic restrictions. There is a public bike hire service, Valenbisi, with 300 docking stations dotted all over the city, and you can get a weekly pass for just €13.30. Alternatively, rent a bike for the day from 9 euros from a number of companies in the city.You will also find plenty of bike racks to leave your wheels while you visit the main attractions.
Remember you should never ride on the pavements, and that the use of cycle helmets is compulsory only on roads out of the city, except for children under 16, who should wear them everywhere.
So… saddle up and join us on our suggested tour around Valencia:
- Start at the top end of the Turia Gardens, on Parque de Cabecera. Here, you could spend some time with the wild animals of Bioparc before you start the tour. The Turia Gardens stretch for around 9 km on what used to be the Turia river until it was diverted to avoid disastrous flooding in the 1950s. The long riverbed is a fantastic place for a peaceful ride through gardens.
- Leave the riverbed just before the Serranos bridge to enter the old city through one of the imposing medieval gates: the Serranos Towers. You could climb up to the top for a view of the city (and of the route ahead). Ride along calle Serranos into the Barrio del Carmen, and admire the beautiful Gothic palaces around you, like the Baylia and Marques de Escala palaces around plaza Manses or the 15th century Palacio de la Generalitat on calle Caballeros, home to the regional government.
- Ahead of you lies the Plaza de la Virgen and Valencia’s Cathedral. Maybe it’s time for a coffee on one of the terraces and a visit to the Holy Grail (kept in the Cathedral) or to Our Lady of the Forsaken, patron saint of the city (in her Basilica). Behind the Cathedral, you can step back in time at the Almoina Archaeological Centre. Even if you don’t enter the fascinating museum, you can see some of the remains of the old Roman city through the glass floor.
- Cross Plaza de la Reina and carry along calle San Vicente Martir and turn left after St Martin Church. Past the Marques House hotel (opening October 2017), new home to the historic Café Madrid (where the Agua de Valencia cocktail was reputedly invented), you will reach the Palacio del Marques de Dos Aguas, home to the Ceramics Museum, another obligatory stop to admire its awe-inspiring alabaster façade.
- From here, it is a short ride along Poeta Querol and Salva to the Plaza del Patriarca, where you will find the old University of Valencia building and the Church of El Patriarca. Step inside to admire its beautifully restored Flemish tapestries before heading back to the Turia Gardens via calle de la Nave and Puerta del Mar.
- You will reach the iconic Puente de la Exposicion (known as La Peineta for its similarity to a typical Spanish hair comb), designed by Santiago Calatrava. Football fans may want to cross to the other side and visit the Mestalla Stadium. Alternatively, return to the riverbed and head towards the sea.
- Riding along the Turia Gardens, you will pass under the colourful Flower Bridge, hear the delighted screams of children playing at the Giant Gulliver and feel the water spray from the fountains outside the Palacio de la Musica concert hall, Valencia’s own crystal palace.
- Further along, the icing on the cake is the stunning City of Arts and Sciences, recently featured in Dr Who. Like the Doctor, you will want to take a few selfies there and admire the futuristic architecture, or maybe visit the Science Museum or l’Oceanografic, Europe’s largest aquarium, and try its new 4D theatre. You could spend hours here, and may want to return another day.
- Back on your bike, it is just another short ride to reach the sea and the modern Marina. Maybe it’s time to stop for a bite to eat at the Veles e Vents building, home to La Marítima rice restaurant, the Malabar brewpub and, soon, the Michelin starred La Sucursal, or chill out with a drink at the Valencia Beach Club.
- Alternatively, carry on riding along the seafront, enjoying the sea breeze in your face. You could pick one of the restaurants along the promenade too, or just drop your bike and walk onto the golden sand of the Malvarrosa beach. After all that exercise, a swim in the Mediterranean sea will appear most tempting so go ahead, you’ve earned it!
Isn’t that just the perfect end to a perfect day exploring Valencia on two wheels?