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
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.
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!
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!