Valencia is a Spanish destination on the up, attracting a growing number of tourists each year. The city by the sea, with a wonderful mix of ancient and modern, offers plenty to see and do. For football fans, of course, the pull is Valencia CF, one of Europe’s best teams of the last generation.
However there a number of other clubs to visit on a trip to the Spanish coastal city, so dig out the fixture list for 2017 and see where you fancy going to make it a double header weekend.
Here are some suggestions for local clubs in the top four leagues, together with approximate times by public transport. If you choose to hire a car that could take some time off the journey, and also bring destinations such as Hercules CF in Alicante, and Elche in La Liga, within reach for possible day trips.
Valencia CF, Estadi de Mestalla (capacity 55,000)
Valencia briefly threatened to break Real and Barcelona’s stranglehold on Spanish football. Champions League finals and UEFA Cup success saw them ranked as the top club in Europe. Sadly, it didn’t last although they remain one of the big hitters in La Liga.
Their Mestalla home is legendary, an old style stadium in the city centre with one magnificent roof on one side. Their hopes of moving to a new stadium have stalled – for the time being.
From Estació del Nord, walk over to Xàtiva and take Metro Line 3 or 9 to Facultats stop, then a short walk. Alternatively, it’s a 25-minute walk from Valencia Cathedral in the centre of the old town.
Valencia’s second team play at the club’s training complex. Bus 131a makes the 25-minute journey from Àngel Guimerà in the city centre to Posadas de España, a short walk from the grounds. Àngel Guimerà is one stop on the metro from the main station.
For two nights in 3-star hotel in the centre of Valencia in a double room (including breakfast) and match ticket, the price per person (excluding flight) is from 1 695 SEK/151 GBP.
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Levante UD, Estadi Ciutat de València (25,354)
Levante’s stay in La Liga ended recently, so their derbies with Valencia have taken a break too. Very much the smaller club in the city, their 25,000 capacity stadium in the northern suburb of Rascanya is rarely full.
From Estació del Nord, walk over to Xàtiva and taken Metro Line 3 or 9 five stops to Machado. It’s then a 10-minute walk. Alternatively Tram 6 takes you to Estadi del Llevant right next to the stadium and can be caught from Eugenia Viñes and Marina Reial Joan Carles I close to the beach and harbour.
Torre Levante Orriols CF, Campo Municipal Orriols (2,000)
CF Torre Levante Orriols are a small club, doing well to play in the fourth tier (Tercera División). Their tiny ground is hemmed in between apartment blocks giving it a real inner city feel.
It’s fairly close to Levante’s stadium. From Estació del Nord, walk over to Xàtiva and taken Metro Line 3 or 9 five stops to Machado. With Levante’s stadium ahead, turn left along the tree-lined Carrer d’Alfauir.
Paterna CF, Estadio Municipal Gerardo Salvador (8,000)
Paterna may not be hugely successful, their recent spell in the Tercera División as good as it’s got. But it’s worth bearing this club in mind as it’s close to Valencia Airport – a couple of miles, or just 10 minutes in a taxi. It’s easy to reach from the centre too. From Plaza Espanya near Estació del Nord catch metro 1 to Paterna.
Villarreal CF, Camp El Madrigal (25,000)
Few cities are dominated by a club as much as Vila-real – literally. The El Madrigal stadium is one of the biggest buildings in town, and the club have batted above their weight for years, including some great runs in the Champions League.
Take train C6 from Estació del Nord to Vila-real, the journey taking around 1 hour 10 minutes. The stadium is a 20-minute walk from Vila-Real station.
For two nights in 3-star hotel in Vila-Real in a double room (including breakfast) and match ticket, the price per person (excluding flight) is from 1 795 SEK/ 160 GBP.
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Atlético Saguntino, Nou Camp de Morvedre (4,000)
These are heady times for the team based in Sagunto. It’s been lowly football in the city for many years, but in 2016 they were crowned champions of the Tercera División Group VI and made it to the Segunda. Home is the compact Nou Camp de Morvedre.
From Valencia take a regional train or the C2 service for the 30-minute ride north from Estació del Nord to Sagunto, a city with Roman history. From there you can catch bus 102 to Sants de la Pedra stop, the ground is then a 10-minute walk ahead along Carrer Gilet.
CD Olímpic de Xàtiva, Estadio La Murta (9,000)
Three years ago Olímpic de Xàtiva were paired with Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey’s round of 32, and managed an impressive 0-0 draw at home. That’s been a highlight, as was a long awaited promotion to the Segunda División B two years earlier. However, they were relegated last year to a level they’ve spent much of their history in.
Take a regional train or the C2 service from Estació del Nord station to Xàtiva, taking 40-50 minutes. From the station it’s a 10-minute walk.
Albacete Balompié, Estadio Carlos Belmonte (17,300)
Albacete Balompié have spent seven seasons in La Liga, the most recent just over a decade ago. However most of their history has been played out lower down the Spanish pyramid. A decent spell in the second tier ended with relegation to Segunda División B last season.
Their stadium has been quietly developed over the years and hosted four Spain international qualifiers, the most recent being for the 2014 World Cup against Georgia.
Catch the regional train to Albacete-Los Llanos, the journey taking around 1hr 45 minutes. Once there, take bus C to Campus Universitario next to the stadium.
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This article first appeared in Football Weekends magazine, a fan’s guide to watching football around Europe. For more details, visit www.footballweekends.co.uk