The birthplace of paella, arguably Spain’s most famous culinary creation, Valencia is well known for its warm Mediterranean climate, historic center, and the futuristic Santiago Calatrava-designed City of Arts and Sciences complex. Spain’s third-most populous city is less well known, though, for its abundance of shimmering shores, with some 12 miles of wide, sandy beaches within the city limits and a further 10 miles within easy reach.
Many of the best beaches in Valencia lie along the shore of the Albufera Natural Park, a vast expanse of lagoon, pine-forested dunes, and paddy fields where the famous paella rice is grown. The birdlife and the sense of space here are extraordinary and the park is crisscrossed with walking and cycling trails.
From lively stretches busy with sun worshippers basking by the warm water to unspoiled shores fringed by rippling dunes, Valencia’s sun-drenched coastline offers a sandy strip to suit every preference. If you’re traveling with children, or if you just want to soak up the atmosphere of Spanish beach life, a day on the beach can be just the answer.
El Saler Beach
Most beaches in Valencia have darker colored sand but one of the best beaches for white sand is the Blue Flag-designated El Saler, a 10-minute drive south of the city’s port area. The Blue Flag is an award from the European Union, given to beaches for their cleanliness and quality of their water.
El Saler feels blissfully wild and untouched, framed by curvaceous dunes tufted with seagrass, and a scattering of pine trees. If you stroll down to the southernmost end of the Spanish beach, bear in mind that clothing is optional here.
A trip to El Saler Beach ties in perfectly with an exploration of the coastal wetlands of Albufera Natural Park, where there are plenty of guided walking trails on which to discover more of the local birdlife. If you plan on sampling a hearty plate of paella while you’re in Valencia, the rice at the heart of the dish most likely originated right here, with the park surrounded by paddy fields.
Book an outdoor table at Arrocería Duna, named after El Saler’s dunes, where the focus is, unsurprisingly, rice and seafood. Arrocería Duna offers more than 50 types of rice and the Valencian paella, made using sweet red rice, is arguably the most authentic you’ll ever taste.
Canet d’en Berenguer Beach
East of the cork-forested Serra Calderona mountain range, Canet d’en Berenguer (also known as Racó de Mar) is one of the best beaches near Valencia. Roughly a 30-minute drive north of the city center, the gorgeous three quarter-mile Canet d’en Berenguer is the perfect place for stretching out on the vast expanse of sand, cooling off in the clear, shallow water.
Take a walk on the pretty promenade and explore the marina, crammed with gleaming white boats, to the south of Canet d’en Berenguer. There is no shortage of restaurants around, too; the local delicacy here is a rich and fragrant lobster paella.
Las Arenas Beach
Once you’ve explored The City of Arts and Sciences—one of the most famous landmarks in Spain—head for the closest beach, the laid-back Las Arenas, also known as El Cabanyal Beach. Wander around the bustling marina to the south of Las Arenas Beach, and perhaps book onto a catamaran tour for a couple of hours’ sailing on the glittering Mediterranean.
Located in the old fisherman’s quarter of the city, Las Arenas is surrounded by top seafood restaurants, including La Paz and, just a few blocks back from the beach, the long-standing Casa Montaña, which opened its doors in 1836.
This historic neighborhood boasts a wonderful melange of fast food joints, takeaway tapas, cafés, and restaurants serving everything from charred octopus to poké bowls and vegan burgers.
Or take a seat at the upmarket Marina Restaurant, overlooking the beach. The food here is exceptional. Take your pick from dishes such as the zingy sea bass ceviche and flavorsome artichoke roses drizzled in a truffle and honey vinaigrette.
One of the best beaches in Valencia for its central location, this sliver of golden sand at Malvarrosa is flanked by lofty palm trees that create an idyllic backdrop.
In addition to excellent facilities, including paella restaurants, refreshment kiosks and rows of thatched parasols, Malvarrosa is home to an artificial reef that is a must-visit for enthusiastic aquatic explorers.
Built in 2014, the reef is designed to support the area’s natural marine biodiversity and has been colonized by creatures including octopus, starfish, seahorses, and schools of fish. This is a safe area for snorkeling, free of boats, just 11 feet deep and 600 feet from the shore.
Diving, swimming, windsurfing, kayaking and paddle-boarding are also available at Playa de la Malvarrosa, while there are beach volleyball courts if you fancy challenging the locals to a game.
Another option is to hire an electric bike from the nearby Beach Bikes Valencia and cycle a section of the promenade, breaking for a morning coffee or a refreshing ice cream at one of the beachside vendors.
Port Saplaya Beach
A fine example of a typical Valencian beach, Port Saplaya is a delightful spot of yellow-gold sand bordered by an attractive promenade on the northern fringes of Valencia. This is a quieter beach than some of Valencia’s busier shores, with gentle surf. Explore the pretty port area, lined with candy-colored buildings, rows of boats, and quaint restaurants.
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Another of the best beaches in Valencia for its soft, honey-hued sand and sweeping shore, Patacona has a laid-back feel with ample space for sunbathing. Hire a sun lounger and umbrella to spend the day lazing on the sand. Along the promenade there are rows of cafes, restaurants, and bars.
The sun-dappled Cocoa Patacona on the Paseo Marítimo, serving tasty vegetarian dishes, fresh seafood, and succulent meats, is a lovely destination in which to enjoy afternoon drinks and a bite to eat. Afterward, stroll along the characterful promenade and admire the rows of traditional buildings.
Stop by the gorgeous La Más Bonita for a superb choice of cakes. La Más Bonita also serves breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner; it’s a sister restaurant to two additional venues in the center of Valencia.
El Perellonet Recatí Beach
If you’re seeking solitude, El Perellonet Recatí Beach is a marvelous option. Considered one of the best beaches near Valencia, El Perellonet Recatí lies just south of El Saler, the sand and water immaculately clean.
There’s not much there but the watersports school, Supskull, rents out surf boards and stand up paddle boards and offers lessons. The calm water here is perfect for beginners, although on windy days you’ll find kite surfers flocking here.
Located at the point where the River Turia meets the blue of the Mediterranean, Pinedo is one of Valencia’s most characterful beaches. At the north end of this Blue Flag expanse is the city’s only dog-friendly patch, while at the south end is clothing-optional. Sandwiched between the two, you’ll find thatched sunshades and loungers, showers, and a scattering of restaurants lining the promenade.
Feeling active? Hire a bike from the center of Valencia and cycle 15 minutes south along the seafront to reach Pinedo. Pack a towel and reward your efforts with a dip in the clear, blue water.
La Garrofera Beach
Make the short journey south of Valencia to this untouched Mediterranean beach, located roughly 10 miles south of the city and backed by sloping dunes and pinewoods. One of the best beaches near Valencia, La Garrofera is the perfect destination for beach lovers who prefer a quieter spot in which to sunbathe.
Rent a car to explore further afield, including the nearby Albufera Natural Park, or, if you’re feeling energetic, cycle all the way from the city along the coast road, through the dunes and wetlands.
La Devesa Beach
One of the best beaches near Valencia for keen golfers, or an alternative activity for non-playing partners of golfers, La Devesa lies next to the El Saler Golf Club, an 18-hole links course with buggy and club rental facilities.
With the Albufera lagoon, Spain’s largest freshwater lake, to one side, scented green pine forests, and sand drifts to the other, it’s one of the most beautiful clubs in the region. Play a round, and then take a refreshing dip.
Besides the golf course, there are few other facilities by this wild beach, but what the three mile Devesa Beach lacks in provisions, it makes up for in breathtaking natural beauty. Follow one of the self-guided walking routes through Albufera Natural Park to work up an appetite.
When you’re feeling peckish, stop by the charming town of El Palmar, on the banks of the Albufera lagoon, where you’ll find a cluster of fabulous restaurants.
Pobla de Farnals Beach
If you’re a fan of gorgeous Spanish beaches with warm Mediterranean water that gently laps on the shore, bookmark Pobla de Farnals. A feast for the eyes that’s a mere 15-minute drive north of the city center, Pobla de Farnals lies neatly next to the town’s sailing club, with rows of gleaming boats bobbing in the marina and local fisherfolk dangling their rods and lines into the water from the wharf.
The sea is calm and perfect for swimming. Watersports equipment can be rented if you’re looking for exercise. Once you’ve dried off, wander the promenade to find a seat at a local café or bar to channel the easy-going Valencian vibe.
Cap Blanc Beach
It’s well worth the 50-minute drive south to Cap Blanc in Cullera, one of the best beaches near Valencia, sweeping around a half-moon bay. Cap Blanc Beach is popular with windsurfers who capitalize on the gentle breeze, with paddleboards, surfboards, windsurfs, and kayaks available for rental.
Immediately behind the beach is a wide choice of attractions, bars, and restaurants. Follow the zigzagging roads and several hairpin bends that lead from the town to the hillside for eye-popping views of the shimmering Mediterranean below you.
Mareny de Barraquetes Beach
If you’re looking to escape the city, halfway between Valencia and Denia, in the sleepy town of Mareny de Barraquetes, lies this wide, sandy beach, perfect for a languid spell on the coast. Mareny de Barraquetes Beach ticks many boxes. It’s rarely busy, but has ultra-soft sand and gentle waves. Sink your toes into pearly-white sand and splash around the teal-green water.
Take a stroll around the picturesque and slow-paced seaside village before it’s time to leave. Mareny de Barraquetes consists of pastel-colored traditional Valencian buildings, with bakeries, tapas bars, and grocery stores for sustenance.
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