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Old Jun 15, 10, 4:22 pm   #1
 
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Valencia, Malaga, Alicante: South Spain for a weekend

Hi,

I am looking to escape London for a weekend or 3 days in late September. I've been to Barcelona and am really looking for a smaller city, on the Spanish coast with good beaches, nice small city, and a few sites.

Any feedback is appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old Jun 15, 10, 5:19 pm   #2
 
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None of the cities you mention has all the things you want. I would not consider even for a minute Alicante. I have been there a few times (job related trips) and I find it plainly ugly and lacking any interest whatsoever.

Probably Valencia is your best bet, although the beaches are nothing to write home about.

If you want to give Malaga a try you may go to Ronda / Granada / Córdoba for the day.
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Old Jun 15, 10, 6:49 pm   #3
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I like Valencia's beach, but the city is not much smaller than Barcelona. It is way more laid back, though, and has always been Spain's party capital. It is also sigificantly cheaper than Barcelona. Alicante itself is not a very attractive city, but Malaga is a nice little town. I've never been to the beach, though.

Edit: An alternative might be Gandia, a small town an hour from Valencia by train. It has a very nice beach, and cleaner water than Valencia. Most visitors are Spanish, with foreigners stopping there.
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Old Jun 17, 10, 8:26 am   #4
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If you're going at the end of September then I'd suggest Valencia, particularly if you have access to a car and can get to Gátova for their main festival of the year (which takes place between September 23-25). Algar de Palencia might be an alternative on the 24th.

If you were going earlier in the month then I'd suggest Sueca, just to the South of Valencia. Their culinary celebration is one of the longest running in the country and this year will be the 50th anniversary for their International Paella Competition, so it should be a biggie.

Alicante is a great place for those who know how to have fun, but, having seen moien's sorry post, perhaps you need to know people in the know there to appreciate it. Alicante is just about to embark on its own major festival (Sant Joan) and this really kicks off on the 21st June, culminates on the 24th and then tails off with an international fireworks competition that takes place nightly from the 25th to the 29th June. Perhaps you can visit at this time another year (the dates are always the same). If you find you don't like Alicante, there's always Murcia, which is just an hour away and a few Euros by bus from Alicante or a little less by car. My favourite beaches in the region are to the South West of Murcia (city) at Aguilas.

Basically, go to Spain and enjoy what England doesn't have. Sure there are beaches and buildings, but Spain has so much more to offer.
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Old Jun 17, 10, 12:05 pm   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LapLap View Post
If you were going earlier in the month then I'd suggest Sueca, just to the South of Valencia. Their culinary celebration is one of the longest running in the country and this year will be the 50th anniversary for their International Paella Competition, so it should be a biggie.
This is actually a good idea, but won't it be difficult to find accomodation in Sueca? I don't know of a single hotel there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LapLap View Post
If you find you don't like Alicante, there's always Murcia, which is just an hour away and a few Euros by bus from Alicante or a little less by car. My favourite beaches in the region are to the South West of Murcia (city) at Aguilas.
True, as long as he doesn't try to go to Murcia city, since it is far inland. (The same name for a province and a city can be a trap for the inexperienced, can't it?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by LapLap View Post
Basically, go to Spain and enjoy what England doesn't have. Sure there are beaches and buildings, but Spain has so much more to offer.
Best advice ever!

Maybe the OP should just go to Valencia, stay there and use the local trains (cercanias) to visit Gandia and Sueca?
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Old Jun 17, 10, 5:30 pm   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AHN View Post
This is actually a good idea, but won't it be difficult to find accomodation in Sueca? I don't know of a single hotel there.
As you said, there's a cercanias local train service to Sueca, which is basically a suburb of Valencia. If there's a festival on, you'd just stay out all night and go back to a comfortable hotel room of which there are no shortage of in Valencia.
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Originally Posted by AHN View Post
True, as long as he doesn't try to go to Murcia city, since it is far inland. (The same name for a province and a city can be a trap for the inexperienced, can't it?)
I did mean Murcia city. If the OP were to visit Alicante city (the 'casco antiguo' is still worth visiting) and San Juan beach (very few locals actually use the city's postiguet beach) and decided it was ugly and of no interest whatsoever then it's easy enough to see a different city. It takes about 50 minutes by car. It's not that far inland.
I'm a big 'enthusiast' of the Bando de la Huerta and Entierro de la Sardina Spring festivals which take place in Murcia just after Easter.

If the OP can postpone the visit for a couple of weeks, then 'Valencia Day' (9th October) takes place on a Saturday this year. This would make an unforgettable visit. The firework display at midnight on the Friday (ends nearly two hours later) alone makes Valencia worth considering.
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Old Jun 18, 10, 9:10 pm   #7
 
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Northern Costa Brava?

You said you'd been to Barcelona; did you go north up the coast from there? The area around Begur is drop-dead gorgeous, with much more interesting scenery and a more relaxing atmosphere (for me, at least) than the Costa Blanca or the Costa del Sol. It's *very* nice in late Sept.

There are some hotels right on the coast that are great. Although I'm not a resort-hotel kind of person at all, I absolutely loved the Hotel Aigua Blava and could have stayed for a month.
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Old Jun 20, 10, 2:36 pm   #8
 
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Late September is a great time to visit Costa del Sol. Malaga offers you easy access with direct flights from London. If you rent a car I'd suggest Marbella which is about 40 miles from the airport. Lots of hotel choices there, restaurants and shopping ( and a casino or two ). You're at the foot of the mountains and countless white villages -- Ronda is @ 30 miles north, a nice destination for a day trip with lunch/sightseeing/ museums. Some of the local towns should also have a festival afoot as they rotate dates between them.

In any case, it would be an easy flight from London, not too long of a drive, and a location on the Mediterranean with access to lots of things. If you're willing to spend a little more on accomodations, consider the Don Carlos Hotel in Elviria just outside of Marbella, or either of the two Marriott timeshare resorts. But the weather will be great, the towns/cities busy ( but not as hectic as peak summer season ) and lots of daylight as the sun won't set until after 7PM.

have a nice get away

Barry
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Old Jun 20, 10, 3:24 pm   #9
 
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Thanks everyone, it looks like I will probably book a trip to Valencia in late September. Will let you know how it goes.
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