Cycling in Valencia - Province of Valencia

Cycling in the province of Valencia, Spain

Valencia is the central province of the Spanish autonomous region known as the Valencian Community, located in the east of country.

It is bordered to the north by the province of Castellón, and to the south by the province of Alicante. The pan-flat coastline, which runs some 100 kilometres along the Gulf of Valencia in the Mediterranean Sea, stretches from the town of Puerto de Sagunto in the north to the town of Oliva in south.

Cyclists in the centre of Valencia, Spain
Cyclists in the centre of Valencia, Spain

The city of Valencia, the province's capital, lies on the coast at the mouth of the River Turia, some 350 km south of Barcelona and more or less the same distance east of the country's capital, Madrid. Home to @1000,000 inhabitants, roughly a third of the province's total, it is the 3rd-largest city in Spain. The site of a very active commercial port, the city of Valencia has undergone a profound change in recent years and, whilst retaining its historic air, has shed much of its previous identity as a somewhat musty, administrative centre and is now a modern, vibrant city, host to the spectacular architecture of Santiago Calatrava's city of Arts and Sciences and a highly-popular tourist destination. 

The city's cycling infrastructure has improved immeasurably in recent years, with an ever-expanding network of cycle paths within Valencia and an extensive, partially-completed network of cycle lanes linking to nearby towns.

The flatlands surrounding the city of Valencia have traditionally been dedicated to agriculture (including oranges, olives and rice) and make up the second largest coastal plain in Spain.

Fishing boats on l'Albufera, Valencia, Spain
l'Albufera, Valencia

To the south of the city of Valencia lies l'Albufera, a freshwater lagoon and estuary. Its name is derived from the Arabic term al-buhayra, meaning "small sea". Once a saltwater lagoon, dilution resulting from irrigation and canals draining into the estuary and the gradual increase in size of the nearby sand bars separating the lake from the Mediterranean Sea converted it into freshwater lake by the seventeenth century. It was here, surrounded by uncountable rice fields, that the world-famous "paella" was born.

Cycling in the mountains of Valencia, Spain
Cycling in the mountains of Valencia

Beyond the plain and hemming in the province on its borders with Castellón, Teruel, Cuenca, Albacete and Alicante are numerous mountain ranges that provide excellent possibilities for cycling: to the north lies Sierra Calderona, to the northwest the Sierra de Javalambre, to the west Sierra de Utiel and Massif del Caroig and to the south Sierra del Benicadell, which separates the provinces of Valencia and Alicante. Many of the ranges are characterised by deep, steep valleys formed by the province's main rivers.

How to get to Valencia

The province of Valencia is served by Valencia Airport, located 5 miles west of the city of Valencia in the town of Manises. 

The extensive RENFE (Spanish National Railway Network) rail system connects the city with the rest of Spain. Valencia also forms part of the country's high-speed AVE rail network.

The city has excellent road communications, with the A3 toll-free motorway (known as Autovía del Este) connecting Valencia with the Spanish capital, Madrid and the A7 toll-free motorway (known as Autovía del Mediterraneo) crossing the Valencian Community, connecting Valencia with the provincial capital of Castellón, Barcelona and France to the north, and with the provincial capital of Alicante and with Andalucía further to the south. 

Valencia is also connected to the Balearic islands of Ibiza, Mallorca and Menorca by ferry, and the city's port is regular host to cruise ships.