When you are surrounded by history in the Ciutat Vella (old city), it’s easy to forget that Valencia is a city on the sea. Valencia has a spectacular marina and 19 km of beaches that are reachable by public transportation. The urban beaches of Las Arenas, El Cabanyal and Malvarossa are only about five kilometers from the city center.
It would be a shame to visit Valencia without making to the waterfront. The beach is wide and the sand is soft on your feet. The mild water temperatures mean that you can easily swim from April to November. Don’t forget the sunshine. Lots and lots of sunshine.
How would we spend a day by the sea?
We would be there bright and early, because there really is nothing like a walk along the beach as the sun rises (the sunrise was at 8:15 AM on this day in mid-October). The Maritime Promenade is a walkway and bike path that stretches for about 1.5 miles along the three urban beaches from Las Arenas all the way up Malvarossa beach.
Las Arenas beach is the closest from the metro/tram stops. Here, the restaurant at El Coso Restaurante – Hotel is open all day from 8:00 AM until 11:45 PM. That’s about as early as anything opens around here. You can order individual (a la carte) cafe, juice, pastry, tostada, etc. for a small breakfast, or go all the way up to a full English breakfast with eggs, bacon, and sausage. There is also a self-service breakfast buffet for €10, so they pretty much have all the options covered. You can’t beat the view looking over the beach at that beautiful sunrise.
The morning is a great time to walk the Promenade or spend time on the beach before it gets too hot or crowded. Either way, the BeachBol bar on Malvarossa beach is a great place to grab a snack. It’s a cute little cafe right in the sand with healthy options like smoothies and salads, along with other options like rices, sandwiches, and beer on tap. (Note that this location is seasonal. In October, the BeachBol bar was packed up and put away for the winter.)
Options for a serious lunch include numerous restaurants on the Promenade along Malvarossa beach and the strip of classic paella restaurants in Las Arenas (See my post on The Best Paella in Valencia .) However, we recommend taking some time to check out the restaurants of Marina Real Juan Carlos I.
It is usually quiet and peaceful at the marina, which I don’t really understand because it is so incredibly beautiful. Where are all of the people? The marina underwent a major transformation to host the 32nd and 33rd Americas Cup sailing competitions in 2007 and 2010. The commercial section of the port was physically separated from the leisure area, now known as Marina Real Juan Carlos I. This set off a flurry of improvements to bring new life to the marina with the development of restaurants, shops, hotels and a club for mega yachts.
Recent additions include a strip of restaurants along the Explanada Veles e Vents overlooking the harbor. We like Dos Lunas Beach for Italian food and for its light hearted, colorful decor. They offer traditional Spanish tapas and rice dishes, as well as Italian pastas and appetizers. We found the Carpaccio de buey (beef) to be a nice light starter. There was nothing unique or flashy about the presentation, but the flavors were fresh.
They have seven pizzas on the menu, some traditional and some very unexpected. We go back again and again for the Piamonte pizza with wild boletus mushrooms and truffled egg yolk. The pizza crust is thin and crunchy, just the way we like it. The big, meaty boletus mushrooms are great in combination with the truffled egg yolk that was strewn in silky little puddles across the top of the pizza.
I know…we’re having Italian food in Spain, but sometimes you just want pizza! Sitting in the dappled sunlight of the serrated awning, Dos Lunas is the perfect spot to linger over a bottle of Rioja while watching the boats glide through the harbor.
AFTERNOON/EVENING AT MARINA BEACH CLUB
When it comes to lingering, maybe you would prefer to sit by the beach…or the pool? You can do both at the same time without getting sandy or wet. Just head back over to the Marina Beach Club at the edge of the Las Arenas beach. The Marina Beach Club opened in early 2016, playing an important role in the redevelopment of the area by connecting the marina to the beach.
This place takes lounging seriously. There are three different spaces to enjoy, depending on how you want to spend your time. Each space has it’s own menu, although some of the same dishes are served in different locations.
The Restaurante Marina has a formal indoor dining room and a large terrace from where you can overlook the beach and the pool. If you sit within the confines of the restaurant terrace, you can order from the full menu that focuses on seafood and rice dishes. There is also a menu of Tatami Japanese food and sushi that is available everywhere in the club. It can be difficult to get a table on the restaurant terrace without a reservation.
The Lounge around the pool is the focal point of the complex. There are daybeds set up along the edges for the ultimate lounging experience. You can rent hammocks and towels for the day to hang out in the pool (see the Marina Beach Club website for details). Here they serve a menu with snacks, sandwiches, hamburgers and salads.
If you want to get even more relaxed, then the Chiringuito Beach Club Bar is just down the stairs on the beach. The Chiringuito menu is a slightly different version of the Restaurante Marina menu. Here you can also rent a hammock and towel on the beach for the day, or just have a bite to eat at the restaurant.
We usually end up at one of the cocktail bars just at the edge of the restaurant terrace. Here we can enjoy the atmosphere of both the restaurant and the pool. The “Terrace Menu” served here is a limited version of the appetizers from the restaurant menu. Fortunately, our favorite dish is available here: the Sepionet a la plancha.
Their preparation of grilled cuttlefish is the best that we’ve found so far in Valencia. Three medium sized sepia are lightly grilled and drizzled with an intensely flavored garlic and parsley-infused oil. Occasional bits of black salt flakes surprise and make the flavors pop. The sepia goes nicely with a cold glass of white wine, and the light, citrusy Buenos Dias by Cune Verdejo does the trick at just 14 euro for the bottle.
No matter where you decide to hang out, the gin tonic’s are flowing. We’ve become so used to €3 glasses of wine that €11 cocktails now come as a shock, but here on the beach we feel that it’s worth the splurge. The gin, which you select from a list of about two dozen bottles, is brought to the table and mixed in front of you. My husband likes the Gin Mare, a Spanish gin with flavors of rosemary, basil, thyme and olive. I prefer the pink Puerto de Indias Strawberry Gin made in Sevilla, but then I am a girl.
The Marina Beach Club keeps partying well into the night and the next morning. The pool closes at 7:00 PM, but the Club is open daily from 11:00 AM until 4:00 AM. The Restaurante Marina is open year round, but I haven’t found good information on how long the pool and beach bars will stay open. We were told by a server that they would be closing at the end of September, but we were there in mid-October and the pool was still full of people.
I hear that there are clubs all along Arenal and Malvarossa beach were you can dance until dawn, but this is way beyond my limits. If you do happen to dance all night, then I suppose there is more than one way to see the sunrise over the Mediterranean Sea.
Getting there: A cab ride will cost about 10 euros, depending of course on where you start. You can also get there easily on the Metro for less than one euro each way. LInes 5 and 7 end at the Marítim – Serrería stop, which is the closest to the marina and beach. It is then a 20 minute (1.5 km) walk to the Las Arenas beach, or you can jump on Tram 8 at no extra cost for a ride all the way to the marina and beach areas.
If you like this article, take it with you to Valencia by downloading the GPSmyCity app for your iPhone or iPad