A city is a vast and complex entity, full of sights, sounds and secrets. So how best do we explore one, especially one as diverse and vibrant as Valencia? While walking does give you time to appreciate your surroundings, such as the beautiful façade of the Valencia Cathedral on Plaza de la Virgen, or the futuristic architecture of the City of Arts and Sciences, I have always found walking to be too slow. It takes too long to get from A to B, never mind the myriad of other places in between. This invariably leads you to take public transport to make up the time, which, in my humble opinion, is the worst way to explore a city. While Valencia’s public transport system is excellent, it is too easy while on a bus or a tram for one’s eyes to slide down to a phone screen, to send a picture or read a text or something similarly banal, all while Valencia’s unique cityscape slips by outside your window.
So, what is the answer? Faster than walking, but without the disengagement possibilities of public transport.
Bikes, of course. Bikes give the discerning Valencian visitor the chance to take in the full scope of the city sights, for even when you’re cycling between two famous landmarks that have been at the top of your list of things to see, you’re sure to find some hidden gems along the way. Valencia has a well-protected network of cycle lanes, blocked off from traffic by bollards and will accommodate even the most cautious of cyclists.
Now personally I would recommend getting a guided tour of Valencia by bike, then hiring out one of the company’s bikes for the remainder of your stay. This is what I did when I first arrived. If you’re looking for recommendations, which if you’re en route to Valencia you probably are, then try Tour Point VLC. This is the company I used when I first got here and it was a comfortable and informative experience. Located in the heart of the city at 1 Carrer dels Aluders, just off the Plaza del Ayuntament, Tour Point provides a variety of tours and caters to visitors of all ages, with a wide array of high quality bikes, e-bikes and e-scooters. I opted for a three hour bike tour, led by the cheerful and informative tour guide, Gabi.
Following his straw hat around the city, we learnt about Valencia’s medieval economic power embodied in La Lonja de la Seda (the silk exchange), which had some humorous architectural details, the long and changing history of Valencia’s Cathedral, from Pagan Temple to Islamic Mosque to Christian Cathedral, and the Tribunal de les Aigues (The Water Tribunal), Europe’s oldest continuing legal body that meets on its steps. Coming out of Valencia’s historic centre we cycled down the River Turia Gardens, or as Gabi called it, “the highway to the future”, finishing at the City of Arts and Sciences, where Gabi revealed all the secrets of these futuristic buildings.
No, I’m not going to tell you what they are. Yes, you’re going to have to take the tour yourself to find out.
Tour Point also offers trips out to Albufera, the birthplace of paella and a beautiful national park and lake, along with walking tours of Valencia’s best tapas restaurants and a wine tasting tour with a sommelier. Be careful not to taste too much or you might not be in a fit state to bring your bike back to the shop.
With reasonable prices, reliable and comfortable bikes (the latter being essential if you’re doing a longer tour) and knowledgeable and entertaining guides, Tour Point is an ideal way to get to know Valencia. After one of their tours, you can stretch your wings and hire one of their bikes for your own exploration, get out into the city and experience all it has to offer. Believe me, there’s a lot to see.
For more info: https://brisavalencia.es/
Tel: +34 617 01 36 30
Report by Danny Weller
Article copyright 24/7 Valencia
Photos copyright Danny Weller/ ’24/7 Valencia’