Valencia has been billed in the past as the “city of running” and it’s not difficult to see why. Particularly if you’re a fan of trail running, Spain’s third most populous city is a great location to visit now that foreign travel looks more back to normal.
With 22 natural parks in the Region of Valencia, distributed between coastal and inland mountains, islands and wetlands, there is no shortage of trails to run on. The popularity of off-road running in the area is due to the 5000km of trails of all difficulties, distances and ascents.
Among the most spectacular accessible from the city is the trail from Vistabella del Maestrat to Vila-real, from the highest point of Penyagolosa almost to the coast. This starts in Villareal, 15 minutes by car or 10 minutes by train from Castellón de la Plana. The centre of Valencia is one hour by car or commuter train from Villareal.
Or there is the trail from Culla to Benicarló, which gives you the mountainous inland sprinkled with pretty country houses on the one side and the coastline of winding and hidden beaches on the other. This route also belongs to the Province of Castellón, thus is close to Castellón airport. Benicarló has a direct train link from Valencia so public transport accessibility is good.
Valencia's prime location on the eastern edge of Spain next to the Mediterranean Sea means it offers beautiful coastal scenery, while also being close to charming villages inland. Meanwhile, being within one of the most mountainous areas of Europe adds another adventurous option for your runs. Although no peak is higher than 2000m, there is enough spectacular scenery to present great reward for your efforts.
The Sierra Calderona Natural Park is only 30km north of the city. Due to its proximity, it is one of the most popular training places for mountain racers. From the summit, El Garbí, there are magnificent views of the whole coast and is thus a great area to visit.
The Mediterranean climate, as well as providing excellent weather for running with an average 320 days of sunshine per year, has created numerous habitats with great biodiversity. The ideal weather has led to a plethora of established mountain races taking place throughout the year, such as the Penyagolosa Trails, which will be held this year in April.
Valencia is easy to get to for UK visitors. As well as the city’s own airport, connections are available to Castellón, which is 70 minutes away, and Alicante, which is within two hours.
For a mix of great running trails and interesting historical culture, come to Valencia for your next adventure!
For more, see www.comunitatvalenciana.com and www.turismodeportivo.comunitatvalenciana.com