A Day Trip to Gandia
There are lots of day trips that you can take without a car from Valencia. The public transport in Spain is efficient and convenient. We are a short walk from the main train station in Valencia and decided to take a quick ride down the coast to check out the town of Gandia. It's the last stop on the Cercanias train line C1 from Valencia Nord. The Cercanias are local, commuter trains so don't zip along at high speed like the wonderful AVE but they are clean comfortable and good value at 5.80 Euro for a one way, one hour journey.
Gandia is a town of two halves, the beach and the city proper, with over 200,000 residents it feels surprisingly cosy, maybe because the beach and therefore most of the tourism is isolated from the city. We arrived late morning so decided to head the playa first for a stroll along the beach followed by lunch. There is a bus that runs regularly from the Gandia train station to the beach. It leaves from right outside the tourist office. It's just 1.50 Euro and runs pretty regularly. The bus goes along the whole length of the beach. but we decided to get off at the harbor so we could walk along the embarcadero.
The beach was quite lovely, broad, sandy and seemingly endless. It wasn't too crowded when we were there at the end of September. Most of the beach dwellers were elderly sun-kissed Spaniards. Here we saw none of the dominance by Germans or Brits that you get on other parts of the coast further south. We did bring the average age down by about 20, maybe 30 years though, and we are no spring chickens! This definitely seems like a place Spanish people come to retire.
We stopped for a cool beer and enjoyed the sea breezes, watching the world go by. There are definitely worse places that I could imagine finding myself in my later years. We walked several miles up the beach promenade before turning around and heading back to the port area where we had spotted a restaurant that was right on the water for lunch. The restaurant was just ok, the food was the usual seaside fare here of rice or fried mini fish. Tasty enough but not as impressive as the setting. Hanging over the Mediterranean was a treat and allowed for more people watching.
After a belly full of arroz and a few glasses of wine, we headed back into the old town of Gandia. The historic center is compact so very walkable and full of historic buildings including the impressive 14th century Ducal Palace which has been impeccably restored. The city was preparing for a fiesta the next day, so everywhere was buzzing.
We wandered around the lively streets enjoying the ambience of a real Spanish city that has seemed to keep the worst aspects of tourism at bay, before jumping back on the train to head north back to Valencia.
Here are some photos from our day trip to Gandia.