Planning to visit Valencia and want to explore a few lesser-known places in Spain? – Look no further, you´re on the right page. Check this ultimate list of the best Valencia day trips by train.
Day trips from Valencia
Exploring the region
My loyal readers might get a small deja vu feeling, as this summer another similar post of mine called The Best Day Trips from Valencia just went live. Even though I´ve literally scratched the surface while trying to showcase everything the Valencia region has to offer, that post turned out very long. I couldn´t keep it brief, because I´ve been living in the Valencia region for 10 years and my travel obsession goes far beyond TripAdvisor-like travel tips. Plus I´m married to a very patriotic Valencian who adores exploring his homeland, so we hit the road in search of Spanish hidden gems quite often.
Nevertheless, I kept getting a lot of questions from my blog´s readers. Mostly, people wanted to know how to make a few of those Valencia day trips happen without renting a car. So, I thought I should really put this easier for you and make a shorter list of Valencia day trips, completely doable by train.
Let´s face it – there are many people who prefer public transport to driving around new places (or driving on a vacation at all). For me, it really depends: renting a car in Iceland or New Zealand was an obvious choice, while for a city break in Europe I´d rather go for public transport myself.
Driving and parking in Valencia
Let me share with you a few things about driving in Valencia from a local perspective. We live outside of the city and often head to Valencia for shopping, dining, performances or festivals. Whenever I can avoid going by car – I absolutely do so. A train leaves you in the heart of the city and you don´t need to worry about anything else.
However, when we are in a rush – we often go to Valencia by car. I honestly hate it. The parkings around the Valencia city center are insanely expensive ( last time it was almost 15 euros for 3 hours). But that´s not even the worst thing – they are all so tiny and we have a huge car. It´s always such stress to sandwich our vehicle somewhere in between and not to scratch any pillar.
Therefore, I get it why many people don´t want to deal with all this, especially if choosing a hotel in the city center and renting a spacious car. By the way, the area near the City of Arts and Sciences is more modern and easier to park. But that´s quite a walk towards the city center.
Moreover, if you are planning to visit Valencia and combine it with occasional day trips, but don´t want to deal with car rental, parking, and driving – I got you covered here. Let´s focus on all the interesting Valencia day trips a local train could easily take you.
Train tickets guide
Depending on the distance of each of your Valencia day trips you might need to get a different ticket at the Valencia Nord Train Station. Let me share with you some details so that you won´t get confused once there.
You have three main types of train tickets to choose from:
- Cercanias train tickets (for the actual surroundings of Valencia)
- Media Distancia train tickets (for traveling throughout the Province of Valencia)
- Larga Distancia train tickets (for traveling across Spain and Europe, including the Spanish highspeed train AVE)
You can get Cercanias and Media Distancia tickets from ticket machines only. Although you might check the schedules online (and even print them out). If you get Cercanias “ida y vuelta” (return ticket), you can take any of the trains running through the day and seat anywhere you like.
With Larga Distancia tickets, you should really book in advance (especially around the holidays or the peak seasons). Here you´ll have a specific time and seat. Your train ticket can be bought online, by phone or at the station. Depending on the tariff (note that flexible tickets cost more) you might be able to change or return it.
For more details, you can check this Valencia Train Guide.
Best day trips from Valencia by train
Jativa is one of my favorite Valencia day trips, all thanks to its historical significance and an important connection to the famous Borja family. I won´t believe you haven´t heard of them or seen The Borgias historical-fiction drama with Jeremy Irons.
Well, two of the future Popes of the Vatican were born in the small town of Jativa. Plus the castle of Jativa is one of the most dreamy castles I visited in Spain. Check more details about visiting Jativa Castle here.
Also read: The Most Beautiful Cathedrals in Spain
As you might have already imagined there are more places in the region connected to the famous Borgia family. I´ve put together a whole Borgia Route for you – but you´d need a car to see it all. So the good thing about Jativa is that this Borgia historical site could be easily accessed by train.
How to get to Jativa: get a Cercanias ticket from Valencia Nord to Xativa from one of the ticket machines at the Valencia Nord Train Station. The journey will take 50 min one way.
Sagunto will be one of the most interesting Valencia day trips for history lovers. The city is famous for its gorgeous Roman Castle lying on the top of the hill, right in between the cities of Valencia and Castellon. Make sure you walk your way through the city towards the castle walls for some epic views.
You can actually start your Sagunto visit by visiting the local Tourist office (Plaza del Cronista Chabret) and asking for a map. Make sure not to miss: The Roman Castle, Casco Antiguo (Historical city center), The Roman Theatre, La Juderia (Medieval Jewish Neighbourhood), Historical Museum, Ermita de La Sangre chapel, Santa Maria Church.
Also read: The Most Colorful Villages in Spain
In the full version of my Valencia day trips post, I´ve already mentioned a few other interesting places to visit near Sagunto – Vall D´Uxo Caves, Segorbe, The Holy Cave of Altura. But for this, you´d need a car. Well, technically you can get from Sagunto to Segorbe by train, but there are only a few trains per day. It is not practical.
How to get to Sagunto: get a Cercanias ticket from Valencia Nord to Sagunt from one of the ticket machines at the Valencia Nord Train Station. The journey will take 30-40 min one way.
Art lovers might set their eyes on Gandia, because of The Ducal Palace of Gandia. Built in the 14th century, it is is an important part of the Valencian architectural heritage. The palace takes us back in time to the years of prosperity for the famous Borja family. The luxury decorations, full of significant artistic and architectural elements, make The Ducal Palace of Gandia a must-stop in the region.
The modern range of artistic styles includes Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Neo-gothic elements. It could be explained by the fact that the palace was built, enlarged and restored during the last seven centuries.
More places to visit in Gandia: Historical City Center, Museu Faller de Gandia, Collegiate Basilica of Gandia, Archaeological Museum of Gandia.
Gandia is also famous for its beaches and nightlife – you can also hit Playa de Gandia for some sun rays. By the way, it´s typical in between local Valencians to celebrate bachelor parties in Gandia. One of the most popular foods to try in Gandia is fideua (it´s like paella but with pasta instead of the rice). Actually, you can eat fideua anywhere in Valencia, but it´s just a really popular dish in Gandia.
How to get to Gandia: get a Cercanias ticket from Valencia Nord to Gandia from one of the ticket machines at the Valencia Nord Train Station. The journey will take 1h one way.
Despite its location in between the touristy Valencia and Barcelona, Castellon is still relatively in the shadow for international tourists. It is one of the top regions in Spain for Ceramic lovers. The local economy is mainly fueled by the Ceramic industry, while there are some cool artisanal places as well (I´ll tell you more about Spanish Ceramic regions and secret places to visit in one of the upcoming posts).
Castellon´s train station is located close to the city center, so you can just walk around. Make sure not to miss: Park Ribalta, Castellon Cathedral, the building of Correos (Post office), central square Plaza Mayor and Central Market, Museu de Belles Artes of Castellon. Museu de Belles Artes of Castellon has a free entrance and a whole floor dedicated to Ceramics of the region.
Also read: Gastronomic Weeks in Spain – Hazelnut
You can also take a bus to Grau de Castellon and Benicassim from Plaça del Jutge Borrull in Castellon (check the schedules here, they may vary depending on the season). The driver will ask you for a number of your potential stop to issue a ticket (Grau is around 5 and Playa Serradal – 7-9). Serradal Beach in Benicassim is one of my favorite beaches in Spain off the beaten track. While Port of Grau de Castellon is an amazing area to taste fresh local seafood and paella. In summer you can take a boat trip to Islas Columbretes Natural Reserve from the Port of Grau.
How to get to Castellon: get a Cercanias ticket from Valencia Nord to Castello de la Plana from one of the ticket machines at the Valencia Nord Train Station. The journey will take 1h or 1h20min one way, depending on the type of train.
One of the coolest Valencia day trips to combine history with the beach vibes is definitely Peñiscola. Recently, it was one of the Game of Thrones filming locations in Spain, which brought a lot of international fans to this small Spanish town.
Peñiscola Castle is one of the most dreamy Spanish castles. Rising 67m above the Mediterranean, it was a residence of pope Benedict XIII (Papa Luna) from 1417 till 1423. Built-in 13 century on the remains of the Arabic fortress, El Castillo de Papa Luna is one of the most dreamy castles to visit in Spain. You can check more details here.
Also read: Must-See Magical Forests in Spain
The only drawback here is that while you can get to Peñiscola by train, it´s not as easy as with Jativa, Sagunto, or Gandia. Peñiscola shares a train station with the nearest town of Benicarlo, it´s a 14 min drive by car/taxi to Peñiscola center from the station. There are also two bus companies operating between Peñiscola and Benicarlo – Autos Mediterraneo and HIFE.
On the plus side, Benicarlo is the Artichoke capital of Spain. In February local authorities organize Artichokes Gastronomic weeks. So, you can really enjoy a nice artichokes meal with a creative twist in Benicarlo before/after your Peñiscola sightseeing route. Besides, there´s another amazing place for nature loves (and kids) nearby – Jardin del Papagayo.
How to get to Peñiscola: get a ticket online (or at the Valencia train station) from Valencia to Benicarlo/Peñiscola. The journey will take 1h 20min or 2h one way, depending on the type of the train.
The other popular destination in between Valencia day trips is definitely Alicante. I´ve questioned it in my previous post about Valencia day trips because for me the whole essence of a city getaway means visiting less touristy places. Well, Alicante is definitely not the case. But things change if you travel by train and don´t have an unlimited car-focused list of ideas.
Besides, there are so many interesting places and beautiful villages in the province of Alicante that you might want to have this first glimpse of the area by visiting the city of Alicante. If you like it enough you can always base your next trip to Spain in the Alicante region, who knows?
On the plus side, the city of Alicante has several great places to visit: Santa Barbara Castle, Archaeological Museum, Basilica of Santa Maria, MACA Contemporary Art museum, Explanada de España Promenade, Casco Antiguo (Alicante´s old part), boat trip to Tabarca Island.
So, Alicante absolutely deserves a visit. Besides, you have quite a few trains from Valencia per day to choose from.
How to get to Alicante: get a ticket online (or at the Valencia train station) from Valencia to Alicante. The journey will take 1h 40min or 2h one way, depending on the type of the train.
We´ve finally got to my favorite part – the Spanish big unknowns. Let´s start with Teruel. This city has so many unique things to see. Have you ever heard the romantic story of Diego and Isabel (Spanish Romeo and Juliette)? Do you like vibrant Mudéjar architecture? Or are you into the archaeological finds and the dinosaurs? – No matter which one here is your case, Teruel is your ultimate choice to cover it all. Not to mention all the secret medieval villages in the province of Teruel, including one of the top beautiful little towns in Spain – Albarracin.
If I am completely honest with you – Teruel is a better match to go by car (it will only take 1h30min, while by train it´s 2.30 min). Besides, you´d need a car to visit the nearby village of Albarracin anyway.
However, I can´t ignore Teruel while talking about the best Valencia Day trips, because firstly – it is one of my personal favorites, secondly – it is still reachable by train from Valencia. You´ll have only 3-4 trains per day. So, ideally, you take the first one around 9 a.m and return with the last one around 8 p.m (10.30 p.m arrival to Valencia).
How to get to Teruel: get a ticket online (or at the Valencia train station) from Valencia to Teruel. The journey will take 2h 30 min one way.
Although Cuenca borders with a few well-known Spanish regions, like Madrid, Toledo, and Valencia, it is still Spain off the beaten path. You can check my full Cuenca Travel Guide here.
A huge advantage of Cuenca compared to other Valencia day trips on this list is the fact that Cuenca lies on the way of Valencia and Madrid AVE highspeed train line. This means that despite a higher ticket price, you can get to Cuenca really fast. With AVE, it only takes 1 h to get to Cuenca´s Fernando Zobel train station from both Valencia and Madrid. While with a regional train it´s 2.40 min and 2.30 min by car.
Therefore, you can´t miss a chance to see with your own eyes The Hanging Houses of Cuenca ( Casas Colgadas in Spanish), walk the impressive San Pablo bridge, visit Santa María la Mayor Cathedral. Besides, the Palacio Episcopal near Cuenca´s Cathedral houses an impressive art collection, including a few paintings by El Greco.
How to get to Cuenca: get a ticket online (or at the Valencia train station) from Valencia Joaquin Sorolla to Cuenca Fernando Zobel station. The journey will take 1h min one way.
You should really take advantage of your Valencian vacation and to explore more of Spain´s hidden gems. Especially as there are quite a few Valencia Day trips completely doable by train. Jativa, Gadia, Sagunto, and Castellon are definitely the easiest in terms of logistics. Plus, as all these belong to the Valencia region you get a local train Cercanias and it´s quite budget-friendly (10-15 euros for the round trip).
On the other hand, with Cuenca and Teruel, you get a unique opportunity to explore Spain off the beaten path and experience an authentic Spanish vibe beyond its touristy areas. Of course, tickets are more expensive (as both are located outside of Valencia region) – 30 euros for Teruel (round trip) and 50 euros for Cuenca (round trip). But it´s such a unique opportunity to visit places you might have never been able to see otherwise (unless you plan a big Spanish road trip across the whole country).
Therefore, it´s really up to you where to go. But to see at least one place from this Valencia day trips list absolutely belongs on your Spain Bucket List.