Spain is an ideal place for solo female travelers. When I traveled solo through the country known for tapas, and siestas, many people were surprised that I traveled alone.
But in a country with overall safety and improved quality of life, Spain is an absolute gem of a country to explore.
While I’ve been to many cities and regions, one place stood out and held a place in my heart.
Valencia is the one place I felt particularly drawn to as a solo female traveler. Here’s why it’s one of my favorite destinations:
The region offers both beaches and mountains
I rarely travel anywhere without visiting the beach. With that being said, of course, I fell in love with the 77 miles of beach along the Valencia coastline.
The main beach Malvarrosa attracts both locals and tourists. The waters are warm in the summer, and beachside bars and restaurants cater to beachgoers.
And when this beach within the central city gets too crowded, I can take a bus up the coast to less populated areas.
The beaches along the Valencia coast have a particularly relaxing vibe. Perhaps it’s because the beaches are lively places with people tanning, playing volleyball in the sand, or swimming in the ocean.
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A unique aspect of the beaches in Spain is there is a topless option. As someone traveling from a country where nudity of any kind is not allowed in public spaces, I felt surprisingly comfortable and safe on Valencia’s topless and nudist beaches.
And while I could spend every day at the beach, the Valencia region gives me ample opportunities to explore nature in different scenarios. The region is also filled with mountains and 65 feet tall waterfalls.
The area offers a bustling big city with charming small towns
Even though Valencia is Spain’s third largest city, the metropolitan area isn’t overwhelming.
The city offers a diverse gastronomy of Spanish, Latin, Asian and Vegan cuisine. And these tasty restaurants are accessible by walking, bus, or metro.
At almost any time of day or night, I felt safe navigating through the city. The town always offered some adventure, from exploring the arts district in the El Carmen neighborhood to bar hopping in the area of Ruzafa.
Yet, outside the central city are many opportunities to be charmed by surrounding small towns. One of my favorite spots was Cabanyal, an old fisherman’s village filled with colorful homes. There’s also Sagunto, an attractive beach a 40-minute train ride from the city.
And at the end of the day, I could grab a blanket and head to one of Valencia’s beautifully kept parks. For example, Turia Park is a lively area where people give dance and yoga classes, read, have picnics, and enjoy their time outside.
It’s easy to get around
Although most places are walkable, Valencia’s metro and bus systems are helpful and straightforward. The buses run all day, and the last service is around 3:30 am on the weekends.
Using Google Maps helped me get around, and there are an array of convenience stores, pharmacies, and grocery stores on almost every corner.
Valencia is a safe city
Statistics have shown that crime rates are slightly higher in Valencia than in other parts of Spain. But, most of the crime is related to petty theft and vandalism.
Because of their low rate of non-violent crimes, I had to be alert but not fearful when exploring independently.
In addition, I was mindful of my belongings and avoidant of scammers. Nonetheless, the people in Valencia are accommodating and welcoming.
The diversity of culture
Valencia does a fantastic job of balancing new and modern with ancient and classic.
Moving within the different neighborhoods of Valencia took me on a journey through the past and future.
I visited the past when observing century-old monuments such as La Lonja (The Silk Exchange) and a Unesco World Heritage.
Then I time traveled to the future when walking around the City of Arts and Science with one-of-a-kind futuristic buildings—a place of knowledge where I explored the Science Museum and the Hemisfèric, where they show IMAX films.
All in all, Valencia offered me so much as a solo traveler. It was a place where I could be safe while exploring the many beautiful things Spain offers.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com