Curious about what Valencia has to offer? If you’re considering joining our retreat this autumn, here’s our tips on the best spots to dine, drink and shop in this beautiful city.
EAT YOUR HEART OUT
You have to delve into the heart of the largest covered food market in Europe to find Central Bar, passing stalls packed with fresh fruit, hanging hams and seafood on ice along the way. Although it looks like a simple albeit well-appointed eatery, the work done by head chef Ricard Camarena and his team has given each dish a gourmet twist. Pull up a seat amid the gentle din of market life and try the specialties such as grilled squid and buñuelos de bacalao.
Casa Montaña is among the more unusual restaurants in Spain, where dining feels almost as though you’re inside a winery. Having opened in 1836, it’s also one of the oldest restaurants in Valencia – where huge wooden barrels overlook diners tucking into plates of classic tapas, such as boquerones en vinagre (anchovies in vinegar), patatas bravas and thin Iberian ham. When it comes to drinks, there is a huge selection of vermouths and wines by the glass, including locally produced cava.
La Barraca de Toni Montoliu (that’s Toni in the pic!) is a rustic “hut” that serves authentic Valencian cuisine out in the Valencian countryside. The place is warm and welcoming, with a touch of countryside charm. You can cycle there in 45 minutes to enjoy the farm-to-table concept firsthand!
GET YOUR CAFFEINE KICK
Horchateria Santa Catalina
Not quite coffee, but Santa Catalina is a must for ‘horchata’ – a milky drink made with crushed tiger nuts. The classy interior includes marble pillars and beautiful tile murals depicting antiquated pastoral scenes. The horchata, pairs well with a farton, a long thin brioche covered in sugar – with an admittedly hilarious name – that’s perfect for dipping into the horchata. You might ask? What’s a tiger nut, and how do you milk one? Well, you’ll just have to come to Valencia to try it out!
Probably Valencia’s hippiest, coolest, and tastiest coffee and brunch hangout, and coworking space. Their pancakes are to die for!
Most locals will tell you Mayan Coffees serves the best coffee in Valencia. The interior design underscores the beans with its traditional Mayan and Guatemalan elements. The baristas are knowledgeable and they’re happy to give you full profiles of each coffee’s history and flavor breakdown. If you love the coffee here as much as the locals do, you can also buy some beans to take home.
SHOP ‘TIL YOU DROP
There are several special treasure troves to explore, here’s the best of vintage shops and flea markets.
It’s well worth seeking out La Señora Henderson, a vintage thrift store much-loved by locals. The tiny boutique has beautifully-themed window displays featuring antique furniture and vintage baskets. They have an interesting selection of jewelry, from delicately-beaded necklaces, to flamboyant flamenco hoop earnings, and giant satin flowers. The prices are super, too: winter jumpers start at €6 and the bargain €3 box is always well-stocked.
By far the biggest and best second-hand flea market in town. Every Sunday morning from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m., come rain or shine, this immense outdoor market takes at a car park near the beach. Regular vendors stock Valencian ceramics, antique hand-painted tiles, glass light fittings, and lace. Plus there are plenty of antique toys, second hand clothes, electronics, and retro Spanish magazines of a decidedly adult nature.
Tucked away on one of our favorite streets in the El Carmen neighborhood you’ll find La Vespa Roja (The Red Vespa), a cool second-hand emporium where the 1970s are still very much alive and kicking. The slide music grooves you back to the days of rainbow glitter and flares, however the stock is pleasingly varied and includes some good military jackets and cute khaki berets alongside the ’70s gear.
Want the best of a city break AND a yoga retreat? Join us in Valencia this autumn with the queen of fun and relaxation, Andy Kobelinsky. Voted the best city in the world by expats for quality of life, and awarded the title of European Green Capital for its commitment to sustainability, this sun drenched city has it all (including the beach!)