A Spanish Coastal Rail Odyssey

Taking the train to Valencia from Barcelona is one of the most time-saving ways to travel. Direct high-speed Euromed and Talgo trains run multiple times daily between the Sants station in Barcelona and the Joaquin Sorolla station in Valencia.

From historic fortresses to placid beaches, experience the best of Spain on this distinctive small group journey.

Valencia’s Old Town

Valencia’s old town is full of enchanting surprises that will delight even the most well-travelled travellers. Located in the El Carmen neighborhood, it’s home to UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the Valencia Cathedral and Lonja de la Seda as well as Valencia’s Central Market. It’s also known for its wealth of street art and graffiti.

Start your tour with a visit to the Silk Exchange, a masterpiece of gothic architecture built in the XI century and used as a centre for commercial transactions. It now houses a gorgeous garden outside, the Taula de Canvis and an old prison for merchant defaulters on the top floors.

Next, head to the Cathedral of Valencia, a stunning monument with an intriguing mix of architectural styles dating back through the Roman, Moorish, and Baroque periods. If you feel adventurous, climb the 207 steps to the cathedral’s bell tower called El Miguelet (or Micalet) for spectacular city views.

Plaza de la Virgen is another one of the grand squares to be found in Valencia’s old town. Surrounded by neo-classical and baroque buildings that house government offices and premium residential apartments on the upper levels, the plaza’s center is dominated by a beautiful fountain featuring Neptune surrounded by female nymphs pouring jugs of water. Restaurants and cafes line the square.

After exploring this charming neighbourhood, make your way to the Valencia Cathedral and admire its dazzling interior with 15th-century renaissance paintings. If you’re feeling extra energetic, scale the 207 steps to the Cathedral’s bell tower called El Miguelet or Micalet for fantastic city views of the entire city.

The final stop of the day is the grand Palau de la Generalitat or Palace of the Government, another impressive building that’s worth a visit to admire its striking exterior and its interior court where you can admire some of Valencia’s most valuable artworks including works by masters like Velazquez and Goya.

After a memorable day of discovering Valencia’s many highlights, it’s time to head back to Barcelona. Your rail odyssey has come to an end but perhaps you want to extend your trip with an extra few days in the beachy city? Let us help you plan an itinerary that’s perfectly tailored to your interests.

City of Arts and Sciences

The quickest and most comfortable way to get from Barcelona to Valencia is by train. Spain’s main national train company, Renfe, offers a number of different options to choose from, including their high-speed AVE trains that can get you to Valencia in less than three hours. These trains offer plenty of amenities, including spacious seats and large panoramic windows that give you a stunning view of the Mediterranean coast as you travel.

The best time to book your train tickets from Barcelona to Valencia is well in advance of your trip. This will help you avoid any last-minute price increases, and it will also ensure that you have a reserved seat. Train prices are usually cheaper the earlier you book, but they will increase as the departure date gets closer. You can find the latest train fares by using a booking website.

Once you arrive in Valencia, spend some time exploring the city’s Old Town. Its winding streets are home to an array of Gothic and Baroque architecture, including the Cathedral and Plaza del Virgen. Be sure to grab your camera and climb up the 207 steps of the cathedral bell tower for a breathtaking view of the city, countryside and sea.

When you are ready to venture outside of the Old Town, head over to the City of Arts and Sciences. This futuristic complex of buildings by Santiago Calatrava is sure to impress, and its Oceanografic Aquarium is a must-see for animal lovers. Once you have had a chance to explore the city’s most prominent attractions, stroll down to one of Europe’s longest-running food markets, Central Market. Here, you can sample the region’s produce, including pears and artichokes, and browse stalls that sell handmade fans, embroidered silk shawls and Lladro porcelain.

If you are looking for a trip that takes you to the heart of Spain, consider booking a Barcelona to Valencia rail adventure with Odyssey Traveller. We will pair you with a knowledgeable guide who can help you experience the best of both cities and learn about the rich culture of Spain.

Malvarrosa Beach

The city’s most popular urban beach is a beautiful stretch of golden sand that offers the chance to swim in warm waters, play beach sports and stroll along a wide waterfront promenade. It’s also home to a handful of historic villas and some excellent restaurants.

The best way to get to La Malvarrosa is via the Metro, which will drop you a short walk away from the beach. You can take Line 5 (Marina Reial – Torrent Avinguda) from Valencia Nord to Eugenia Vines station, then it’s just a short walk to the beach. Alternatively, you can also take the bus, which runs along the same route as the Metro. Buses leave from Valencia’s main train station, the Estacio del Nord, or the newer Joaquin Sorolla.

If you want to travel by train, we highly recommend booking in advance through Spain’s national rail service, Renfe. You can use their website or book through a company like RailEurope, although it will add an extra cost. The trains are fast and comfortable, with stunning views of the coastline from your window.

One of the best times to visit Valencia is during the spring and autumn, when temperatures are comfortably warm but crowds are smaller than they are in the peak summer months. Odyssey’s escorted tours of Spain typically run during these seasons.

For those who prefer to travel by bus, there are several daily direct options that will take you between Barcelona and Valencia. These buses depart from the centrally located bus stations in Sants and Valencia, or the airport.

To ensure you’re on the right bus, look for a sign that says “Centro Internacional de Autobuses” or “Centro Autobuses Valencia”. There are also a number of private companies that offer shuttle services between these two cities. Regardless of which option you choose, make sure to arrive early so that you can secure your seat and relax while you’re on the journey. The journey is a perfect opportunity to recharge your batteries and prepare for the upcoming sights of Spain.

Central Market

The Central Market is a feast for the senses. Located on the main street of Avenida Baron de Carcer, this marketplace is one of the largest markets in Europe that features fresh produce, with many food stalls. As you walk through the space, you’ll see a rainbow of bold colors, and smell the rich aromas that entice your taste buds. The Central Market also has a variety of restaurants and bars, including the popular Bar Central, where you can get an almuerzo, which is a traditional mid-morning snack.

The architecture of the market building is worth admiring as well. Designed by Barcelona-trained architects Alejandro Soler March and Francisco Guardia Vial, the Central Market was built between 1914 and 1928. The building has iron and glass domes, and its curved design is a nod to Valencia’s history as a port city. Look for a green parrot perched on one of the building’s domes; it symbolizes the buzz of conversation and activity that takes place inside.

You’ll find the Central Market within walking distance of most major Valencia attractions. The Talgo and Euromed train both arrive at the city’s primary station, called Estacio del Nord, and the newer Joaquin Sorolla station. From the station, it’s a short bus ride to the center of Valencia.

Depending on the day of your visit, you may want to purchase a combined train and bus ticket, which is typically cheaper than purchasing tickets separately. You can buy your tickets online through Spain’s national train service, Renfe, or through RailEurope. However, the latter charges a convenience fee.

The best way to get from Barcelona to Valencia is by high-speed train. Not only is it fast and comfortable, but the train ride itself is stunning, with spectacular views out of your left-side window for a large part of the trip. The train is a great option during most of the year, although it can be more expensive on same-day or peak-season travel dates or during festivals like las fallas. Check train schedules and prices before booking. You can also take a bus from Barcelona to Valencia, but this option isn’t as convenient as the train and tends to be more expensive during busy travel times.

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