Getting Around in Valencia
It is easy to get around Valencia – the traffic is busy but still manageable, roads and bike paths are in good condition and there are reliable and affordable public transport options such as the bus and the underground.
Additionally, thanks to its optimal size, sunny and warm weather, the flat landscape and its infrastructure, riding a bike or walking is one of the best choices for getting around the city!
Public transport in Valencia
The metro (underground) connects the city pretty well except in the south of the city (where the famous City of Arts of Science is located). Valencia’s underground network is nowhere near as large as most metropolitan underground schemes, but it's still one of the fastest, handiest and most reliable ways to get around.
If suddenly the underground goes above the ground, don't be surprised – the underground and the tram are the same thing in Valencia. The applicable fares depend on the distance of one's journey – Zone A is within the city centre whereas Zones B, C, D are for longer distances, some up to 30km from the city centre. For regular use the best deal is to get a 10 journey bono (travel card). Also, the underground is the fastest, cheapest and easiest way to the airport (it takes approximately 30 minutes from the city centre).
The downside of the underground is the timetable – it runs until 11pm approximately (with some exceptions for festivities), which is against the city pulse of Valencia because at that time people are still out having dinner.
The bus is another way of moving around the city, but it´s a bit of a challenge to understand the route maps as they are not very user-friendly. Buses are less reliable than the underground – don´t be surprised if a bus route is diverted due to a demonstration, a race or a procession, without realising where the everyday bus stop has moved. There are some buses operating at night too, but it´s better to check the timetable beforehand as they only run once every one or two hours.
Regarding the price, it's slightly more expensive than the underground Zone A and one should check which journey card suits one's needs on their website. If planning on using both – the bus and the underground, there is also a convenient option for a combined card.
A great option for short trips out of the city is the Metrobus – these yellow buses connect the city with nearby villages and the fairs are comparatively cheap.
Taxis are very affordable and extremely useful especially after 11pm when public transport options are limited. The night fares are applicable from 9pm to 7am, and there is a minimum charge of 6 euros (which means that even if the distance is less, one will be still charged the minimum amount).
Taking a taxi to/from the airport will cost between 20 to 30 euros.
Driving in Valencia
One can easily live in Valencia without a car but if deciding to buy or rent one, there are some things to be prepared for.
When talking about the parking in Valencia, usually it´s still possible to find a free parking in the streets of Valencia. In the centre and other busy areas the paid parking is marked with blue and orange lines and it costs around 1-2 euros per hour. However one cannot pay for more than two hours in advance, so this is better for short periods. This applies from Monday to Saturday between 9am to 2pm and from 4pm to 8pm. The rest of the time it's free. Of course, there is always the option of the public car parks throughout the city.
Regarding parking itself, it's acceptable to bump into other cars when parking and to leave almost no distance between the cars. Just accept this fact – one's car will be scratched as soon as one starts driving in Valencia. Another thing to keep in mind is that ‘double parking’ is very common. One will see cars parked in two rows along the side of the road and the cars from the outer lane are supposed to be pushed if one needs them to move. In this case it's not advised to follow the example of locals –the parking fine and the costs for a tow truck will be more than 300 euros. Also, always check the parking signs around and if there is no yellow line – even if there is only one spot left among a bunch of cars, it still doesn't mean it's legal to park there.
Regarding driving in the city, the traffic is quite fast, but lately it has been slowing down due to the increasing number of speed control cameras. Nevertheless, the average speed on some roads reaches 70km per hour where the speed limit is 50km. Unfortunately, drink driving is a very common practice and there are not many controls on alcohol in the city.
When evaluating the best means of transport, remember that Valencia is ideal for riding a scooter – they are fast, cheap and one can park them anywhere!
Biking and walking in Valencia
The weather is sunny and warm all year long, so why not to enjoy a stroll? Walking is a good and healthy option – and even at night time, it’s pretty safe to walk everywhere in the city.
Another great option is to ride a bicycle – the city is well connected by bicycle paths. The weather, the size and the flat landscape makes Valencia a perfect city for riding a bike. Just remember that the street is not the safest place to leave one's bike – it's better to invest in good bike-locks than discover that one's bike is gone for good!
The city also has a public bike scheme – ValenBisi. The annual subscription fee is a just under 30 euros. The only disadvantage is the public bikes are heavy and sometimes it´s difficult to park them as the parking spots at the bike stations are limited and the availability depends on people moving around.