Valencia, Spain’s third-largest city, offers a balanced blend of culture and liveability. As the city becomes more accessible and greener without losing touch with its 2,000 years of history, here are 7 reasons why you should visit Valencia in 2023.
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2023 was declared the year of Sorolla
Valencia is famous for many things and being the birthplace of Joaquín Sorolla is one of them. While still not widely known outside Spain, this prolific Valencian painter from the turn of the 20th century, created some of the most stunning impressionist paintings ever.
In 2023, Valencia is commemorating the centenary of Sorolla’s death. To mark this significant milestone, the Museum of Fine Arts in Valencia will host two special exhibitions dedicated to the painter.
From June 16th to November 15th, the “Sorolla, A New Dimension” exhibition will be organized in La Base, next to the marina. This tribute to the artist through digital installations and immersive 360º projections will be the most spectacular exhibition in Valencia in 2023. Tickets can be purchased here.
Palacio de Correos, Palacio del Marqués de la Scala, and Fundación Bancaja will also organize Sorolla exhibitions throughout the year.
Once you are familiar with Sorolla’s whimsical works, you’ll be surprised how often he will come to mind while strolling along Valencia’s beaches.
Valencia is a paradise for culture vultures
Valencia is a city filled with museums. While none of them has really achieved international fame, they provide an excellent opportunity to learn something new on the cheap or even for free.
Valencia’s museums are pretty niche, going deep rather than wide. As a result, Valencia has museums such as the Silk Museum, the Fallero Museum, the Corpus Cristi Museum, the Museum of Rice, and the Benlliure House Museum.
Modern art lovers should check out the recently opened CaixaForum and Bombas Gens Centre d’Art.
Also, in 2023 a new modern art museum will be inaugurated inside Palacio Valeriola in the Old Town, bringing together works by artists such as Andreas Gursky and Anish Kapoor.
Valencia was voted “best city to live in”
In recent years, Valencia has become a magnet for expats and digital nomads seeking a cosmopolitan city with a favorable work-life balance, good weather, and an affordable cost of living.
In 2020, and more recently at the end of 2022, Valencia was named “best city to live in” after coming in first in a poll organized by InterNations.
Additionally, Valencia was named “the healthiest city in the world” by Money.co.uk in both 2021 and 2022 and was declared the European Capital of Smart Tourism in 2022. All the more reasons to visit Valencia!
Valencia is now easier to reach than ever
Valencia is quite well connected with cities around Spain, Europe, and even some countries in Africa, making it super accessible for millions of people.
In 2022, the Valencia-Manises Airport has been named the “best Airport in Europe” in its category. The airport is equipped with e-passport gates and mobile boarding pass scanners and handles 8+ million passengers each year and nearly 75,000 flights.
Valencia’s public transportation system has recently been expanded to include a tram that connects the city center to the City of Arts and Sciences. While the metro’s schedule to and from the airport has been extended into the early hours of the weekend.
Also, in 2022, several new low-cost high-speed trains were introduced that link Valencia and Madrid.
Valencia’s culinary scene is thriving
Food in Valencia follows long culinary traditions with recipes passed down through generations, but local chefs don’t shy away from innovation. As a result, Valencia’s culinary scene is super dynamic, with new and cool restaurants opening every month.
Valencia is the birthplace of paella, the most beloved Spanish rice dish, and has a fantastic wine region not far inland.
Besides paella, you can also try other traditional foods, such as fideuà (a noodle dish similar to paella) and horchata (a sweet plant-based drink). And if you’re visiting Valencia during Las Fallas Festival, you cannot miss all the delicious Las Fallas food.
Valencia has five restaurants awarded with 1-star Michelin and two with 2-stars Michelin, making it one of the top foodie destinations in Spain. However, prices are still 10-20% lower than in Madrid and Barcelona, so if you’re wondering why you should visit Valencia now, this might be a good incentive.
Also read: 25 Interesting Facts About Paella
Valencia is super bike-friendly
Valencia is a city that is dedicated to sustainability (it was named European Green Capital 2024), and it is working hard to create a healthier environment for its residents.
The 160 km network of bike lanes linking every neighborhood offers a safe and fun way for people to move around the city, which is already blissfully flat.
Valencia has many bike rental shops as well as its own inexpensive bike-sharing system called Valenbisi, making it easier for residents and visitors to rent a bike on a whim.
Valencia is a fantastic base for day trips
From historical villages and fun festivals to culinary experiences and adventure tours, you are bound to find some interesting day trips from Valencia, regardless of your interests.
While Valencia is working hard to provide people with reasons to visit, the surrounding towns and villages are also making an effort. As such, in 2023, the largest hedge maze in Europe will be inaugurated in Peñiscola and the longest zip line in Europe will open in Cuenca.
On top of that, the world’s largest food fight, La Tomatina, is held in the town of Buñol, 44 km inland. While Alcoy hosts the oldest Moors and Christians parade in Spain.
Nature lovers and thrill seekers, on the other hand, can have fun exploring the longest navigable underground river in Europe, crossing the hanging bridges of Chulilla, or going on a catamaran cruise.