Fancy a weekend away with the lads? We are not talking wild parties and non-stop clubbing, but a calmer, yet equally fun, escapade with a group of friends. A few beers in the sun, nice food, interesting sites and maybe the odd sporting event thrown in for good measure… Valencia offers all that and more for the perfect lads weekend.
If you are arriving on an early flight to Valencia, you may need a little pick-me-up to prepare yourself for an action-packed weekend. It is time to have an almuerzo or esmorzaret, the typical mid-morning snack, so popular amongst Valencians. More than a snack, this can be a mini-meal in itself, including a whole baguette with a variety of delicious filings, olives, nuts and a drink, all for just a few euros.
Once you’re nourished, it is time to explore the city. The historic centre of Valencia is a compact area which can easily be explored on foot. But if you want a fun alternative, you could hire a bike or join a Segway tour of either the old city or the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences. Try racing each other along the Turia Gardens on the former riverbed!
For many, a lads’ weekend is not complete without a bit of football. With both Valencian teams, Valencia CF and Levante UD, in the Primera Division this season, the chances are that one of them at least may be playing at home when you visit. Most games don’t sell out and you can easily buy tickets either at the clubs’ shops in advance or even at the stadium on the day. And if there is not a game on, you could always go on a tour of the Mestalla stadium instead.
Golf anyone? You can tee off at several great golf courses within close proximity of Valencia: Club de Golf El Saler, near the Albufera Natural Park; El Bosque Golf & Country Club in nearby Chiva; Foressos Golf in Picassent or the Club de Golf Escorpion, just a few minutes north of the city.
And if you are a motorsports fan, you could time your visit to coincide with the Moto GP Valencia Grand Prix (10-12 November 2017) and head to the Ricardo Tormo circuit, about half an hour inland from the city.
For those who prefer to watch sport from the comfort of a bar and with a beer in hand, Valencia has plenty of options. Many bars will show important games and sport tournaments, and you can always catch up on the action from the Spanish Liga and also the Premier League at Irish bars like Mulligans (Yecla 24) or St Patricks (Gran Via Marques del Turia 69), or try the Sportime Café (Avenida Blasco Ibanez 138, near the University), where you will find TV screens even in the toilets!
When the night comes, you could hit the more touristy bars and restaurants along Calle Caballeros in the Barrio del Carmen or join the locals in trendy Ruzafa. If you are a craft beer fan, try some of the local and national brews at bars like Ubik (Literato Azorin 13), Olhops (Sueca 21) or Tyris on Tap (Taula de Canvis, opposite the Central Market). Nightlife in Valencia is legendary so don’t expect to go to bed early!
Sunday is paella day, when friends and family gather to share the most Valencian (and international) dish. Just like with barbeques, cooking the best paella is a matter of male pride. If you want to compete with Valencian men, or at least brag about your culinary skills back home, you can join a Valencian paella course at the School of Paellas and Rice Dishes.
Once you’ve finished (and eaten) your own paella, there may be time for a brief siesta on the beach, a stroll along Valencia’s seafront, or a last drink or coffee at one of the bars in the Marina before heading back to the airport. Isn’t that just the perfect lads weekend?