This Mediterranean darling couldn't be further from the likes of Marbella and Magaluf, but offers easy beach access and a vibrant nightlife to boot. One for architecture buffs, spend days wandering from the 15th-century National Museum of Ceramics to the futuristic Hemisphere theatre with no real plan. Valencia is the birthplace of paella, but when you've had your fill, check out the central market. The 1920s building is a modernist dream and is our favourite food-centric stop on a whirlwind tour of the city.
The City of Arts and Sciences is a set of ultra-modern buildings on the water that create a unique contrast to the history permeating a large majority of the villas and cathedrals spread throughout the rest of the city. The Arts and Sciences complex houses a mix of exhibit spaces, concert hall and an oceanarium. Our favourite part has to be the wide expanses of gardens that fan out around the glassy buildings plunging into aquamarine pools.
Who to take with you
Your best friend who won't be able to resist scoping out the oldest paella spots in this 2100-year-old city.
When to go
Most likely to bump into
Spain enthusiasts looking for a change of pace from their annual trip to Barcelona.
Essentials to bring with you
A Polaroid to capture Vicky Cristina Barcelona-style shots.
How to get there
Hop on a cheap flight direct into Valencia airport.