18 Reasons To Drop Everything And Come To Catalonia And The Valencian Community

We know you’ve heard of Barcelona, and most likely Benidorm, but there’s so much more on offer for tourists here in the communities of Catalonia and Valencia. The scope is immense; the regions are filled with beauty, fun, great food, culture, history, and of course fabulous beaches. What worries me is that you’re sitting somewhere and you’re not here yet (with the exception of local readers of course) …you really need to organise yourself to come here.

Here are 18 reasons for you to drop everything and visit Catalonia and the Valencian Community

1. Laze Around On The Sparkling Mediterranean Coast…

Catalonia and Valencia are situated on the sparkling blue Mediterranean coast, packed with lots of beautiful golden, sandy beaches and secluded coves. Many beaches don’t get overcrowded, so they are perfect for lazing around and soaking up the sun.

2. Is There Such A Thing As Too Many Fiestas?

You can turn up and go to fiestas during so many different times of the year. There are carnivals, medieval festivals, religious festivals and of course gastronomic festivals. You can plan a travel itinerary around these fiestas, and they come in all shapes and sizes, and for all sorts and tastes. Is there such a thing as too many fiestas? I think not!!!

3. You Can Have The Best Of Both Worlds

The regions have plenty of unspoilt towns and villages, and although there is tourism, it’s not gone into overkill, like in some areas of the Costa del Sol. However there are still plenty of lively resorts to be found, especially around the Costa Blanca, and a few on the Costa Brava and Dorada.

4. Moors, Christians, Human Castles & Running Into Bonfires

Some of the traditions are so fantastic, you really have to try to get over during at least one of them. Here are just a few ideas:

The Moros & Cristianos (Moors & Christians) in Alcoy and also Elche – commemorates the battles the reconquest of the city by the Christians. It’s spectacular and attracts huge crowds.

The Carnival in Vinaros – one of the best of the Valencian Community

The impressive “Los Castells” of Catalonia – the amazing human castles are a must-see

The Fiesta of San Juan in Alicante (and actually all over Spain) – time to jump into bonfires and then cleanse yourself in the sea.

The above is just a drop in the ocean of the festivities that happen here during the year.

  5. Bulls On Fire Running The Streets

The “toros embolados” happens across a lot of the towns and villages in both regions, although as an animal lover this is not my thing personally, but lots of people want to go, at least once.

6. These Regions Are A Nature Lover’s Paradise

For nature lovers, there is so much beauty and variety. Visit the natural parks of Els Ports, the Delta de l’Ebre, the Lagoons of Torrevieja or head to the Pyrenees, just to mention a few …

7. Lots Of Splendid Cities

Barcelona is love at first sight for many people, me included. It topped TripAdvisor’s poll of early 2014 of being the most popular place in all of Spain. But don’t forget the other cities, there are lots more splendid cities here, such as Valencia, Girona, Tarragona, Lleida and Alicante.

8. Stunning Ski Resorts

You may not be aware but on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees there are 16 ski resorts, with great facilities and plenty of aprés-ski on offer. A few of them are La Molina, Masella, Boí Taull, but the jewel in the crown is Baqueira-Beret.

9. Highest Number Of Michelin Stars Per Mile

Catalonia has the most Michelin stars of all the autonomic communities in Spain. Need I say more? If you like the best food, this is where you need to come.

10. Don’t Have Time To Go To All Michelin Star Restaurants? Try 2 Of The World’s Best Restaurants

So you don’t have time to go to all the Michelin starred restaurants in these regions, don’t worry we’ve picked two of the world’s best for you. In the Valencian Community, in Denia, you can sample one of Quique Dacosta’s star dishes, of modern Spanish cuisine – scarlet shrimp salad with thyme crystal and roasted tomatoes, or whatever else takes your fancy from his superb menus. In 2012 his restaurant was no. 40 but in 2013 it had moved up into the no. 26 spot.

Quique Dacosta

Or why not head up to the beautiful city of Girona and eat at the world’s no. 1 restaurant 2013 – El Celler de Can Roca. Enjoy the avant-garde, free style cooking of the Roca brothers. It is simply stunning, the trick is to secure a booking!

El Celler de Can Roca

11. Shop Til You Drop

From artisan shops to haute-couture, these regions have it all. Barcelona is home to all of the top level fashion labels, and with so much of the shopping area being pedestrianised it makes it even better. Valencia is a great city for shopping also, being especially good for ceramics, bags, shoes and embroidered silk shawls. The less well kown Reus also has some lovely shops, and Sitges has plenty of shopping temptations. Girona has loads to offer also. Pick up clothes and accessories in designer stores, buy antiques, crafts, avant-garde decorations and delicious deli products.

12. There’s Destinations For The Traveller Who Wants A Lively, Jam-Packed Holiday…

If you are looking for the livelier side of life, in resorts that are jam-packed with activities, then go to Benidorm, Lloret de Mar or Salou.

13. What About A Pretty, Pastel Coloured Fishing Village? Go To Calella de Palafrugell

For a pretty and more peaceful option, you can go to Calella de Palafrugell in the province of Girona, where there’s fishing boats parked up on the sand against a backdrop of cute, pastel coloured buildings.

14. For History And Charm??

In reality the list of charming historical villages and towns is almost endless, but two of our top picks would be Morella and Peniscola. Morella is an impressive, picturesque, ancient walled city, which is in inland Castellon, with magnificent views. Peniscola is a lovely, historic walled town by the sea.

15. And A Few More Of The Numerous Picturesque Towns….

Guadalest (you need to be okay with heights, but it’s amazing), Javea, Cadaqués..

16. Theme Parks & Roller Coasters…

For the theme park lovers, Port Aventura or Terra Mitica will give you a full day of fun. Want to go on the roller coasters..try the Port Aventura ones!

17. Food, Glorious Food

Of course the choice of food is fantastic. You can still easily eat a three course meal, that normally includes wine or beer, for in and around €10. For daily food, there’s a huge amount of typical bars and restaurants that have a lot to offer, apart from the famous Paellas.

Just have fun, going out and finding the best deals – we often eat a really good meal, so good that we keep going back, for €20 or so for 2 people. We’ve also had the best meal to date for €150 for 3 people. Yes, they are at different ends of the scale price-wise, but they were both amazing experiences because of the incredible food and value for money that we had!

Oooops.. I almost forgot to say, that in normal places, the average price for beer with tapa is €1.50 euro and sometimes even less. Not bad!

18. Amazing Medieval Markets

There are amazing medieval markets that are organised across the 2 regions. The first one I ever went to was stunning, in the historical, Catalan city of Tortosa.

These 18 reasons only scratch the surface. The 2 regions are packed full of so many treasures that you would need an awfully long time to see them all. A week will not be enough, but it will open you up to the magic of the Catalan country and the community of Valencia – then once you’re converted, you can keep on coming back!

11 Responses to 18 Reasons To Drop Everything And Come To Catalonia And The Valencian Community

  1. Paul (@luxury__travel) February 12, 2014 at 10:26 am #

    I have been to the Pyrenees (admittedly in the Summer and some years ago now) and had no idea about the skiing! 16 resorts as well?! Who would have thought it.

    Thanks, Jackie… I love the lifestyle in Catalonia and am sure it won’t be long before I am – for the food, if nothing else. 🙂

  2. Jackie De Burca February 12, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

    Hi Paul,

    The lifestyle is wonderful, I am so glad I moved here – I do feel very lucky 🙂

    Thanks
    Jackie

  3. Anna Parker February 12, 2014 at 7:30 pm #

    We visited Almeria in October a few years ago for a sailing event – my first visit to Spain. The climate is incredible there – it was smoking hot at the end of October – I completely mis-packed! I like the mix of architecture – the Moroccan influence makes for very interesting places to visit.

    • Jackie De Burca February 15, 2014 at 8:32 am #

      Hi Anna,

      I am a total sucker for Moroccan influenced architecture also, well actually I love a lot of ethnic design. The Moors influenced quite a few parts of Spain. As for the heat, I love it, going back to Ireland to visit family and friends is great but I can normally only last a week because of the weather.

      Have a great weekend
      Jackie

  4. Lee Briggs February 14, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

    Spain is the second largest country in western Europe, just slightly smaller than France. As such, you would expect that there would be several regions with distinct differences. Thank you for this great information about the highlights of one of these regions. Using what is here, when we go to Spain we can find things to do and places to go based on when we are there.

    • Jackie De Burca February 15, 2014 at 8:34 am #

      Cheers Lee. Coming from Ireland when I first arrived here over 11 years ago, I was totally amazed at the vastness and the variety.

      Have a lovely weekend,

      Jackie

  5. Chris Boothman February 14, 2014 at 7:57 pm #

    Ok, you have me sold!! And that was just after reading the first few reasons. A really great post that highlights so many wonderful things to do in the region. I have visited Spain once before, to the wonderfully acclaimed Benidorm area (yes, I was younger and it was primarily related to drinking and having a good time) but now that I have become a little wiser and more appreciative of areas around the world, this looks like a particularly inviting spot to go and explore a vast array of domains.

    Is there anything that this region doesn’t have is the only question I can think of?

    • Jackie De Burca February 15, 2014 at 8:37 am #

      Happy to hear you’re sold Chris 🙂 Hey we’ve all been there, not necessarily Benidorm but isn’t it part of the initiation of youth to go to somewhere like that and sample the beverages…to the excess? As to whether there’s anything that these 2 communities don’t have – right now (being a Brit you’ll understand) luckily they don’t have many places offering an English or Irish breakfast ..if you get my drift, except for some of the “livelier” locations.

      Have a fun weekend
      Jackie

  6. Andy April 30, 2014 at 12:33 pm #

    Mmm, skiing and beaches in close proximity, not to mention the food. So many good reasons to go Jackie! Going to live in the Andalusian part next year, but I’ll undoubtedly be spending some time in wonderful Catalonia again too.

  7. Nina May 17, 2014 at 9:32 am #

    Spain is one of my favorite countries in the world, there are so many regions to discover and there’s something for everyone. Catalonia and Valencia are so beautiful and divers, just thinking about it makes me want to go there again!

    • Jackie De Burca May 18, 2014 at 8:39 am #

      Thanks Nina, you’re so right, they are so diverse and beautiful. If you haven’t been already you should consider including the Delta de l’Ebre Natural Park in your next trip!

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