From the Sunny Southeast of Ireland to the much sunnier Southeast of Spain, ITTN’s Shane Cullen met with Miguel Angel Perez Albe, Brand & Markets Director at Visit València during Fitur 2023 in Madrid. Chatting over Turia, a local Valencian beer, Miguel shared that while we probably have better beer than them, they have better weather. I think he was being generous – I’d visit Spain for their sun alone but also for their food & drink.
Miguel is no stranger to our Irish shores having spent summers here so he understands our need for sunshine. He shares “Ireland is a very interesting market… and now we have direct flights to Dublin, Cork and Belfast.”
The Industry of Happiness
Miguel put it succinctly, ours is “the industry of happiness”. We travel to escape the humdrum of daily life. It offers a chance to relax, escape, and experience something new.
With direct flights from Dublin, Cork and Belfast, Valencia offers a taste of something different. There has never been better connectivity between our two countries and Valencia offers excellent value for money compared with its neighbouring Spanish cities such as Madrid or Barcelona. A mere 90-minute or 2-hour train journey from Valencia to Madrid and Barcelona, respectively, these can be easily visited as part of a multi-destination Spanish holiday. Equally, it remains an ideal location for a sun holiday or year-round mini-break with a short transfer time from the airport.
Las Fallas Festival in Valencia
The Las Fallas Festival in Valencia is held in Spring with Fallera Week from 15th – 19th March. Visit Valencia describe it as a “festivity that combines tradition, satire and art which shouldn’t be missed for anything in the world”. The festival will have pyrotechnic shows, live music bands, Spanish food, sculptures along the streets, fireworks and a parade plus plenty more to keep you entertained. UNESCO has declared it an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity though it would appeal to all ages with the fabulous monuments made of wood and paper mâché delighting young and old alike – VisitValencia.com/en. For more on Las Fallas Festival, check out last year’s feature on – https://ittn.ie/news/valencias-las-fallas-festival-returns-in-2022/.
2,000 Years of Valencia
2,000 years of history are captured in the city streets and buildings of this Spanish city. There are more than 60 cultural spaces in Valencia consisting of museums, monuments and cathedrals.
The Central Market is stunning in itself but is also home to fresh produce from the orchards and farms of the region and the Mediterranean – seafood, meat, cheese, spices, nuts, fruit and more. For how to get there, opening times and public transport links to any of the places of interest, the Visit Valencia website is a great way to plan an epic itinerary – Must-see Valencia.
European Green Capital 2024
Valencia has earned its stripes in terms of sustainability, securing European Green Capital 2024. It is a reflection of their commitment to reducing the environmental impact and improving the quality of life both in terms of the local population and the tourists that visit annually. In fact, there are 30,000 m2 of new pedestrian areas for the public. Miguel explained, that while locals initially resisted the transformation – the resulting changes have been positive in many ways for everyone. The new areas mean walking but also cycling makes a healthy and easy way to explore the area.
City of Arts & Sciences
The City of Arts and Sciences (La Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias) is a futuristic architectural masterpiece by architect, Santiago Calatrava. It looks like something out of a utopian sci-fi movie and is a centre for culture and leisure. There is an Imax cinema, planetarium and laser show as well as a Science Museum. In addition, it hosts operas, concerts and performances. Fascinatingly, it is constructed on a former riverbed, once home to the river Tuia. The city of Valencia has constructed an immense park stretching 9km and offering a versatile outdoor space for its inhabitants and tourists to enjoy.
Miguel passionately explains how Valencia is value for money. How the Irish should come for the culture, the gastronomy, the football and how the connectivity between Ireland and Valencia has never been better. For those looking for value for money or are wary of the heat of the Spanish sun in July and August, Valencia offers an attractive destination all year round. I’ll add, the hospitality for which the Spanish are famed is equally incentive enough to visit.