Visiting the Valencia area: 8 villages to discover

Visiting the Valencia area: Discover my selection of the 8 most beautiful villages in the Valencian Community.
Visiting the Valencia area

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What can you visit near Valencia? The Valencian Community is made up of 3 provinces: Castellón (in the North), Valencia (in the centre) and Alicante (in the South). Each province is full of wonders, whether natural or historical monuments, there’s something for everyone. In this article, I take you on a tour of 8 of the most beautiful villages in the Community (in my opinion)!

What can you visit near Valencia?

The Valencian Community is very large and boasts many different types of landscapes. From beaches to mountains, via natural parks, the Community will delight all its travellers.

But the Valencian Community also has a rich cultural and historical heritage, both in the big cities and in the smaller villages.

Although it was difficult to choose, here is our selection of the 8 most beautiful villages in the Community!

The 8 most beautiful villages and places to visit

Altea: the little white village, jewel of the Costa Blanca

Altea is located in the province of Alicante, along the Costa Blanca. It has several beaches, as well as an assembly line, the Sierra Bernia, which overlooks it to the North.

The city has a rich cultural centre. The old town is characterised by its typical Hispanic décor, narrow cobbled streets and white houses. As you stroll around, you’ll come across the church square (Plaza de la Iglesia). I recommend climbing up to its mirador for a magnificent view of the sea. Not to be missed: a visit of the two major churches in the area, the Church of Nuestra Señora del Consuelo and the Russian Orthodox Church of San Miguel Arcangel.

Take a stroll around Altea’s various markets, and you’re sure to find the item you’ve been missing 😉. Finally, don’t miss the Garden of the Senses, a botanical garden where all your senses will be on alert.

But Altea isn’t just a cultural centre, it’s also home to a number of natural spots with breathtaking scenery. As well as its beaches, you can go to the Sierra Bernia to contemplate the city, and just a 25-minute drive away you’ll find the Sources de l’Algar, with its waterfalls and natural pools, a great alternative to the beach.

Village, montagnes
Cascade, lac, nature

Peñiscola: the city of the Popes by the sea

Peñíscola is part of the province of Castellon and lies along the Costa del Azahar. It has around fifteen beaches and coves, ideal for diving, jet-skiing and beach volleyball.

Peñíscola has been part of the Association of the Most Beautiful Villages in Spain since 2013. Peñíscola boasts a rich cultural heritage, including a 14th-century castle. It boasts magnificent views of the sea and the town. The Mare de Déu de L’Ermitana Hermitage is not to be missed either.

If you prefer to enjoy nature and relax, the Sierra Irta nature park, located between the mountains and the sea and the Peñíscola marshes, is perfect.

For families (or other travellers), I recommend a visit of the Museo de la Mar (Sea Museum) and el Jardín del Papagayo (Papagayo Garden).

Book your excursion to Peniscola and Morella from Valencia

From Valencia, treat yourself to an unforgettable excursion to Peñíscola and Morella. Discover Peñíscola, nicknamed the “Gibraltar of Valencia”, with its imposing castle overlooking the sea. Then immerse yourself in the medieval charm of Morella, surrounded by centuries-old walls.

Includes: Pick-up and drop-off from departure point; Guide; Transport in air-conditioned bus; Access to Morella and Peniscola.

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Guadalest: the Mirador de la Costa Blanca

Guadalest, or El Castell de Guadalest, is located on top of a rock and is surrounded by mountains. Its position is strategic, as it is an ancient medieval village. Since 2015, it has been part of the Association of the Most Beautiful Villages in Spain, and in 2016 it joined the Federation of the Most Beautiful Villages in the World. It is divided into two districts: the Castle district and the Arrabal district, located at the foot of the mountain.

The Château district takes us back in time. It is home to a number of historic monuments, including :

    • San José Castle, with its panoramic views of the region;
    • Guadalest Castle, of which only a few remains remain, including the tower ;
    • Nuestra Señora de la Asunción parish church;
    • La casa Orduña, now a museum ;
    • Or the former 12th-century prison/dungeon beneath the town hall.

The most striking feature of this village is its artificial lake. The Guadalest reservoir is turquoise blue in colour, and there are a few places where you can take a dip.

Lac, rocher, nature
Château, ruines, montagnes, lac

Xàtiva: The Thousand Fountains of History

Xàtiva (or Játiva in Spanish) is located in the province of Valencia, 1 hour from the city. Set back inland, the village lies in the mountains. Xàtiva castle dominates the village. It is divided into two parts: el castillo menor (the older part) and el castillo mayor (the newer, medieval part).

Xàtiva is steeped in history, and there are a number of monuments not to be missed. These include

    • Colegiata Basílica de Santa María, a church combining different architectural styles;
    • The Hospital Reial, with its typical 16th-century Valencian architecture

 

In the 17th century, the village was also known as the “town of a thousand fountains”, with over 900 water outlets. Even today, you can discover the village by following the route of the 10 most important royal fountains. An original way to discover Xàtiva.

Fontaine, eau

Montanejos: a small oasis of freshness

The village of Montanejos is located in the province of Castellón, North of Valencia (about 1 hour by car). If you’re looking to get away from it all and relax, this is the ideal village.

For hiking enthusiasts, there are almost 10 routes for novices and experienced hikers alike, and for groups with or without children. For families, I recommend the Sendero Familiar, suitable for younger children. It passes through the Cueva Negra (Black Cave), one of the largest caves in the Valencian Community, with completely black ceilings.

But the must-see at Montanejos are the natural pools and springs. Also known as the Fuente de los Baños, the waters here are (almost) year-round at 25° and are a pleasure to bathe in.

Excursion and hike to Montanejos from Valencia

A great idea for an outing from Valencia, a day in Montanejos.

Includes: Pick-up and drop-off from Valencia, Guide; entrance to natural pools, hike and free time.

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The Albufera of Valencia

Just a few kilometres from Valencia, the Albufera is much more than just a lake. It’s a unique ecosystem, a birdwatcher’s paradise with a variety of birds taking refuge here. The rice fields that surround the lake give the region its distinctive character and are the source of the famous Valencian paella. The village of El Palmar is particularly recommended for a good paella!

What’s more, a trip in a traditional boat along the Albufera is an unmissable experience, allowing you to appreciate the serenity of the place and watch the fishermen at work. The sunsets over the Albufera, with the sun reflecting off the calm waters, are a sight not to be missed.

Excursion to the Albufera nature park from Valencia

For those who want to get away from it all without the hassle of organisation, opt for a guided excursion to the Albufera from Valencia. Let yourself be guided and enjoy the beauty of the Mediterranean to the full!

Included : Pick-up and drop-off from Valencia, Guide; Boat tour on the lake

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The island of Tabarca

The largest island in the Valencian Community and the only inhabited one, Tabarca is a jewel in the Mediterranean. A former refuge for Barbary pirates, it is now a popular destination for its crystal-clear waters and seabed, ideal for diving. The village, with its narrow streets, white houses and peaceful atmosphere, is well worth a visit.

There’s only one way to get to Tabarca: by boat from Alicante or Santa Pola (which I recommend).

façades colorées

Gandia: a family seaside destination

Much more than a seaside destination, Gandia is a city rich in history and culture. It is best known for its Palazzo Ducale, the former residence of the Borgia family and a testament to the greatness of that dynasty. The old quarter, with its cobbled streets and historic buildings, is a journey back in time. Gandia is also renowned for its golden beaches, some of the most beautiful on the Valencian coast. The local cuisine, especially the fideuà, is unmissable.

Each village in the Valencian Community has its own history, its own colour and its own charm!

Q&A : The most beautiful villages near Valencia

The Valencian Community is made up of the provinces of Castellón (in the North), Valencia (in the centre) and Alicante (in the South).

The Valencian Community offers a variety of landscapes, from beaches to mountains and natural parks.

The recommended villages are : Altea, Peñíscola, Guadalest, Xàtiva, Montanejos, L’Albufera de Valencia, Tabarca Island and Gandia.

Peñíscola is renowned for its cultural heritage, its 14th-century castle, its beaches and the Sierra Irta nature park. It is also one of the filming locations of the series Games Of Thrones.

The Albufera is a unique ecosystem, famous for its rice fields, boat trips and magnificent sunsets.

Tabarca can be reached by boat from Alicante or Santa Pola.

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