The beautiful region of Valencia is known for its varying landscapes. The turquoise coastline, impressive mountains, quaint countryside and urban areas encompass the nearly 24,000 km2 that make up this gorgeous part of Spain. While many escape to the metropolitan cities of Valencia or Alicante, there is a multitude of charming towns and villages located throughout the region that should not be missed.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing weekend at the beach, a hike in the mountains or a carefree vacation with the family, Valencia has you covered. Make sure not to miss these five towns when planning your visit to the beautiful region of Valencia.
Located roughly 85 km (53 miles) southwest of Valencia City, the city of Ontinyent has been an industrial hub since the 18th century. With a population just over 100,000, Ontinyent is a happy medium between bustling city and quiet village. Due to the plentiful natural springs and waterfalls in the area, Ontinyent is popular with outdoor enthusiasts. El Pozo Claro, in particular, is among one of the most popular things to do in Ontinyent. This cold water spring is the perfect place to have a picnic with the family or to cool off at during a hot summer day.
Ontinyent also offers many different hiking trails ranging in length and difficulty.
Another area of Ontinyent to see is the old town area, which has been declared a Property of Cultural Interest in Spain. The rich history of this agricultural civilisation and industrial power shines through the architecture throughout the city. Make sure to check out the Iglesia de Santa Maria, the Palace of the Duchess of Almondovar and the Natural Science Museum. Ontinyent also hosts the annual Fiesta of Moors and Christians each August, which attracts tourists and locals alike.
Voted one of the prettiest villages in Spain, Morella is nothing short of spectacular. Located just two hours north of Valencia, this medieval town is brimming with Gothic, Baroque and Neoclassical architecture. The highlight of this enthralling village is the castle that sits atop the city on a large rock. Once a military fortress, the Castillo de Morella now serves as a perfect place to wander, take in the history and overlook the city.
Morella is also home to many distinguishable, local specialties. Among these specialties are flaó (pastry filled with cheese curd and almonds), virgin honey, goat and sheep cheese, black truffles and cecina (salted and dried meat).
Sexenni is the major festival in Morella that has occurs every six years since 1678 in honour of the town patron, Virgen de Vallivana. The last festival was in August of 2018.
Home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tirig is located roughly 130 km (81 miles) from Valencia. Cova dels Cavalls, which includes over 900 painted images in 17 caves, is the most popular attraction in this small, tranquil village. This World Heritage Site is open year round with free admission, making it an ideal trip for families. The Museu de la Valltorta, located right in the town of Tirig, offers a comprehensive history of the cave art for those who aren’t up for the guided cave tour.
Accommodations are very limited in Tirig, but the neighbouring town of Sant Mateu has multiple options.
Known for its many wineries, this picturesque town is located just one hour west of Valencia. Originally the epicenter for silk production, this beautiful city is now best known for producing wine. With roughly 20 wineries scattered between Requena and Utiel, there are multiple options for tours and excursions.
Requena offers a unique opportunity to learn about the city’s history underground. The Cuevas de la Villa, or the City Caves, located underneath the town centre, consist of 22 caves that were used for transportation dating back to the 9th century.
Requena is also home to the Fiesta de la Vendima (Grape Harvest Festival), which is Spain’s most ancient festival.
This coastal town, located 112 km (70 miles) from Valencia, boasts not only pristine beaches but also rocky mountains, outdoor adventures, and a fun entertainment scene. Javea is the best known of our five choices, in fact, we even have an article about why it makes a great relocation destination.
The prime attraction to Jávea is understandably the beautiful, turquoise ocean that stretches alongside the beach. There are multiple places to relax on the sand, but if you’re looking for an adventure, kayak and snorkel excursions are available. Another action-packed option is to hike to the top of Montgó mountain, which is located in Montgó Natural Park.
This fishing town also hosts multiple festivals throughout the year.
Jávea Fun Facts
We know that people lived in Javea an amazing 30,000 years ago! These first humans were nomadic people, which means they travelled around. They would have liked Javea because they hunted and gathered their food (hunter-gatherers) and the area because of its lovely weather, had plenty to offer to them.
Today when you visit Javea, if your family has the energy, you can do a four hour climb to visit the Montgo caves, where there are old cave paintings done around 5000 years ago.
The Romans also liked Javea. They occupied the town in the 2nd century BC – before Christ. The Romans used the port of Javea, which means it is the oldest place in this area of Spain, to have been a port used for business as well as fishing.
Of course, Javea was also popular with pirates. For centuries they tried to attack Javea, so the people had to build a big wall to protect themselves and the town. Even Javea's fishermen made their homes within these strong city gates.
Later during the 18th and 19th centuries, some people from Javea made lots of money. You'll never guess how? By selling and exporting raisins to other countries.
The region of Valencia is so diverse. While the bigger cities are beautiful in their own way, the smaller towns have a charming sense of hospitality that is hard to find in bigger cities.
One thing to take note of while planning the logistics of a trip (i.e. where to stay, where to eat, what to do) to some of these smaller villages is to remember that many shops, restaurants, and cafes will most likely follow Spanish tradition by closing during siesta, serving a large lunch and having dinner late in the evening.
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About Hannah Fitzpatrick
Hannah is a freelance writer and blogger who has a deep passion for travel, mindful living and people.
Originally from Upstate New York, she’s had the opportunity to live in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia and most currently, Maryland.
She recently crossed country number 16 off her bucket list and is always devising a plan to fulfill her perpetual wanderlust. When she’s not busy writing or travelling, you can find her enjoying the great outdoors with her husband and puppy, exploring her local community or honing in on her photography skills.