Spain // Valencia and Murcia //

The port and the playas

Barcelona famously transformed its waterfront from drab to dazzling, and Valencia has done something similar to its city coastline, having significantly spruced up its beaches and boardwalk over the last decade. In 2007, Valencia became the first European port since 1851 to host the America’s Cup (which was staged here again in 2010), and to celebrate the event, parts of the forgotten waterfront were redeveloped, with a gleaming new marina and the eye-catching Veles e Vents (“Sails and Winds”) structure designed by British architect David Chipperfield helping to transform the area. The Valencia Street Circuit was also constructed in the port area as the race site of the 2008 Formula One European Grand Prix, which will continue to be held here until 2014.

As for beaches, you can catch some rays on the soft sand of the broad and breezy playas Malvarrosa and Las Arenas, which are backed by the Paseo Marítimo and extend along the waterfront. The outdoor cafés, bars and clubs here are particularly popular in the summer months. There are a number of ways to get to Malvarrosa and Las Arenas, but one easy route is to take the #5 metro at the central Colón station to Marítim Serrería, and switch to the #6 line to Neptú, from where you can walk north along the boardwalk to the sands. You can also catch buses from Plaza del Ayuntamiento, often supplemented during the summer by buses from various points in the centre; ask at the tourist office.