Valencia, Pucol and Sagunto

We decided on a final visit to the coast before heading for home, choosing a site near Valencia (Camping Valencia) in a small town called Pucol.

Van on site in Pucol

Even though first impressions of our chosen site were, shall we say, less than favourable, we managed to move to the nicer part of the site on the 2nd day and ended up extending our stay to a whole week 🙂

We did spend a fair bit of time simply relaxing here, but we also visited the nearby town of Pucol on our bikes – there are many opportunities for cycling, with a really good cycle/running path into town.  We also cycled the other way along many green lanes/farm tracks – of which there are many 🙂

Days out were 1 day driving to Valencia, failing miserably to find a parking space so parking on the outskirts and riding back in!  More on that later 🙂

We also drove in the opposite direction to visit the ancient town of Sagunto, which is well worth a visit.

So let’s start with our visit to Valencia.  Having parked on the outskirts (I’m sorry I can’t tell you where exactly (it might have been Benimaclet), but it was adjacent to the cycle path and we parked for nothing).  I do know that we headed past the university and into the city before finding our destination of The Turia Gardens.  We had heard that this was a wonderful way to cycle the city situated as it is through it’s heart where the Turia River flowed until it was diverted to prevent further flooding.

With numerous exits and entrances to this 8km long area we joined a little way before the futuristic Museum of Arts and Sciences, an amazing building bordered by numerous wasterways and fountains.  A beautiful, tranquil area to relax.


We simply cycled along the paths of the gardens, eventually stopping for some lunch near the old city – I think it was the Bar Baja la Puente Calatrava (no. 7 on this list of Turia Garden eateries from JuliaEats).  I do know that we enjoyed our lunch and that there was plenty of parking available for our bikes 🙂  I also know that whilst we were sat there there was a long series of VERY loud bangs, which startled us but seemingly nobody else!  We later discovered that this is a daily occurrence in the weeks leading up to The Fallas Festival – The Mascleta; read all about it here.

We left the gardens at the Puente de Flores, bordered as it is on both sides with beautiful floral displays 🙂

We came out by the old gateway to the city (that we saw on our last visit), had a little cycle around the fountains before returning to the gardens and heading towards the car.  Which we eventually found – even though we took a completely different route!!

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Our other day out was to Sagunto, a small town with a big history.  There was a market on the day we visited so we couldn’t drive directly into the old town; after a detour of about 2 miles (well it felt like it anyway) we found ourselves about 100m up the road and on the other side of the old town – these were very narrow streets!  Even in the little car it felt tiny.  We had to be really careful as many of the streets turned out to be dead-ends and it was pretty awkward reversing back down the steep hills whilst navigating the amazing Spanish parking!!  We finally spotted a space by the side of the road.  Leaving the car we headed up one of the steep roads towards the hill holding the massive castle.

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I say massive – this castle is visible from miles away (including from the campsite), and during our visit we discovered it actually ranges across the top of the hill for about 1/2 mile.

We followed stone steps and pathways up, up and then down, down the hill.  Which was a little disconcerting!  We passed a small white chapel on the way before coming across the Roman Ampitheatre, free to visit and definitely worth a visit.

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Around the hilloutside the ampitheatre was the old cemetry (Judio Cemeterio) consisting of graves dug into the hill itself.  We walked passed many more as we made our way up the steep hill towards the castle itself.  Also free to visit we maybe managed to see half of what there was to see!  There are extensive ruins to be seen, although it is a work in process of renovation.  I would suggest taking a picnic and spending the day exploring 🙂

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I need to point out that the beach at Pucol was lovely, but unfortunately we didn’t really have the weather to take advantage of it 😦

All in all we had a lovely time here and there were a couple more excursions that we could have taken, but we just wanted to relax by then!

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Here’s hoping I manage to finish off posting about our last trip before we head off on our next one (in a couple of month’s time!!)


We stayed:  Camping Valencia, Pucol 

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Sunday 29th / Monday 30th January – Condensed version

This is specifically for my boys (and Angela) who complain that I write too much (I’m sorry L )

So here goes.

On Sunday we went for a bike ride along the promenade (10 miles to be exact), saw all the wild campers and some of their wild vans, and had pizza and ice cream for lunch (well Calv had sorbet and we swapped halfway through, but let’s not be picky).

We then had a drink with some of our camping neighbours, all of whom have been doing this a lot longer than us.

I think I drank a little bit too much and too quickly and it took me ages to get to sleep.

On Monday we went to Valencia on the train (managed to get our own tickets and get on the train (with just seconds to spare though!) all by ourselves J )

Orange trees everywhere – so many just on the ground around the trees. First off I thought that’s bad business but I guess they use them for orange juice and stuff like that.  We think they’ve gone past their best though, as when you’re in a cheaper shop the quality isn’t brilliant, so maybe they’re just letting them go to seed…?


Valencia is lovely (well the old town where we went is). Although it’s a mixture of beautiful old buildings, modern buildings, buildings falling down and graffiti!

We ate tapas and I drank Sangria for lunch J

We went up the Cathedral tower (208 steps for 2 euros) and were nearly deafened by the bell going off at 3pm! Together with a gaggle of British schoolkids.

I walked over 17000 steps! Mind you we had to walk to the train station, as we didn’t actually know if the bus was running, and it was nearly 3 miles! When we got back though there was a bus waiting so we jumped on it.

I’ve been learning my Spanish and have a few new words today:-

Sello – stamp                                                                                                                                                   Ficha – coin                                                                                                                                                     Mantequilla – butter

I’ve even remembered them!  Also, did you know that the ‘v’ in Spanish is pronounced as a ‘b’?  I learnt Spanish years and years ago, but never learnt that!

Sam I’m reading that book that I bought you ‘Code Name Verity’ – really enjoying it.  I can’t bear the thought of leaving it behind on a bookshelf so will bring it home to share round!

Ben I hope you dried out your feet!

I’ll do condensed versions especially for you so you’d better read them!

Love you and see you soon xx

Sunday on Cullera seafront and Monday in Valencia

Sunday 29th January

A very special day this – my brother-in-law, Paul’s, 50th birthday!!


Happy birthday Paul – hope you enjoy cricket in the Caribbean (don’t forget to wear your new sunhat 🙂 )

We had a lovely relaxing day yesterday. Calv did go out on his bike and found a few things that he was keen to share with me today. So we set off on our bikes for the seafront promenade (empty for Calv the other day, much busier today!)


We headed off the other way first and found our way to the Lighthouse (faro), to find it was actually a lighthouse (converted into a private residence). We eventually turned back and headed down the way he’d already been. He wanted to go all the way to the end of the beach where he’d found an Aire. So what? thought I! However we then continued down the road to find dozens and dozens of vans simply parked up on wasteground. This is where we found this little beauty (and it wasn’t the only one either; there was a pretty new looking van with a mural of an alligator wrapped around it…)


We worry about parking on Aires and sometimes you do actually have to pay for them – we prefer to pay a little extra and have the extra security.

We stopped on the way back for a pizza and ended up giving in to an ice cream (why are they always so much bigger than you expect?!) We didn’t need much at teatime, put it that way! We only actually dared order an ice-cream after we saw a Spanish couple doing the same…


In the evening we sat out with a couple of other British couples (I say evening, it was about 5pm and by 6.30pm it was too cold to sit out any longer!)

Monday 30th January

The day we went to Valencia! The bigger adventure though was getting to the train station and getting our tickets – we literally just made it onto the train. I mean we jumped on the train as it was there because we didn’t have time to check it was the right one – luckily it was J

Although it was nearly 3 miles to the station, and we needed GoogleMaps to get us there, we’re glad that we did walk as we saw much of the old town that we would never otherwise have seen. We couldn’t stop though because we were a few minutes late leaving (as Bob was trying to find a text to show us a campsite in Portugal). Anyway we made the train J

We arrived into Valencia North, a small (by city standards) but beautifully formed station at the gateway to the Old City. Also right next to the bullring (rather more impressive than that in Pamplona…)

The old city itself is a mass of small streets, squares, ancient buildings and monuments, graffiti, modern buildings and ramshackle (as in falling down) buildings. The latter are usually denoted by the netting hung in front of them (to stop the rubble falling onto the road I guess..) There are plenty more that will need the netting very soon.


We ate at a place called ‘Birra & Blues’ which, with 3 courses of tapas, cost us 10.50 euros each (plus a drink of course – I’m getting into the Sangria). I was very proud of myself ordering something that I didn’t know what to expect, and then eating it even though it was something I wouldn’t normally eat!

We then set off to see some more sights. There was an indoor market, we think, a cemetery in a building (but don’t quote me on that – there was a lack of information on most of these buildings. Well, I guess they’re two a penny in the old city!) and a Silk Merchants Hall. This last one we were able to go into for just 2 euros each. Calv refused to pay for the audioguide though because it cost more than the entrance fee (3 euros)! He’s so tight J


Next I wanted to head for the cathedral as I knew we could go up the tower from where we’d be able to see the whole city. On the way there we saw many more ancient buildings and also, one of my favourite Spanish traditions – signs made out of tiles. I love them!


Also some graffiti that was clearly somebody trying to imitate Banksy.


Not bad, but not as good as the one we saw in Arramonche last year.

(See my post on Normandy from last year) – Day 38 – The Last Post

It also cost 2 euros to go up the tower (208 steps up a spiral staircase – I’m getting better and prefer going up to down..) Once at the top we found ourselves with a party of English schoolkids. Now that’s a nice schooltrip isn’t it? Valencia! I can’t really complain as I went to Germany and had trips to Munich, Salzburg and various castle around Bavaria, including Neushwanstein (the castle that inspired that in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang).

The views were pretty amazing. You just see towers and domes everywhere. We also spotted a rooftop restaurant and guessed you’d probably need to be in the know to find that one.

This bell struck 3pm while we were up there. Wish we’d realised the time as we would have recorded it! Suffice to say it was loud!


By now we were getting tired (and I’d done something to my left heel. I have no idea what but I was limping and by bedtime I was having trouble walking. I’m still aware of it, but it’s a lot better now and I was able to ‘walk through’ it today!)

Our last adventure was still to come though. We managed to get the bus when we got off the train (having managed to get on the right train again – we were concerned for a little while though)! The driver seemed to drop us off in the middle of the road when we rang the bell – he’d clearly guessed we were from the campsite though and we were pretty much as close as he could get us.

Another lovely day in Spain! See you all soon