Why Valencia is Spain’s hottest new sports destination
For as long as I can remember Barcelona has been the most popular destination for UK sports groups visiting Spain. In fact, it was the first destination I started to send groups to around 20 years ago. However, things could be about to change as more and more tours look to Valencia as a great value school sports destination in a city with a passion for sport, and the facilities to match.
Just a 2 hour flight away from the UK, Valencia is Spain’s third largest city. Situated on the banks of the Turia River, on the Eastern coast, the city enjoys a typically Mediterranean climate with short, mild winters and long, hot summers. Flight and accommodation are on average 15% lower than that of its northern neighbour, Barcelona.
I was lucky enough to spend a few days with the Valencia tourist board, visiting sporting sites and meeting some of the local sports tourism specialists for this beautiful region.
The city certainly has a unique sporting vibe. Valencia’s ancient river was redirected in the middle of the last century leaving behind a legacy of public spaces that meander through the city, crossed by numerous medieval stone bridges. Today this houses recreation, arts and cultural facilities and, most excitingly, first class sports facilities.
With two La Liga football teams, football is at the heart of the city. Valencia FC, winners of the La Liga title no less than seven times and three times winners of the European Cup, call the city home, as well as the newly promoted Leventa FC. However, Valencia is not all about football….Basketball, Rugby and Hockey are all passionately played and supported here, with investment in their sporting facilities testament to this.
Valencia Basketball Club legend and Spanish international, Victor Luengo, showed us around the site of the new Valencia Basketball training centre. Opening in September 2017, it will be Europe’s largest and most up to date centre of basketball excellence. Located next to the La Fonteta Arena it will boast an impressive eight indoor and four outdoor courts, each having its own changing facilities and team tactics room, and will be the hub of the regions vast number of Basketball clubs, hosting events year round. The state of the art facilities are the perfect base to train and compete for any team.
Rugby is also well supported in the region and it was a pleasure to meet Mr Ignacio Davila, a man who’s passion for rugby is unstoppable, first as a distinguished player and now as president of Villajoyosa Rugby Club. Ignacio is well connected in the Rugby world and the driving force behind a series of Rugby tournaments and event for clubs, colts and sevens throughout the Costa Blanca. With links to over 20 clubs in the region he is able to arrange fixtures for all levels and ages. During our visit I enjoyed a terrific game of youth sevens in the heart of the city.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the region for me was the excellent hockey facilities and number of hockey clubs. There is no shortage of clubs willing to provide a warm welcome, competitive matches and hospitality.
Other sites visits included: David Villa Football Academy / Tennis Camps / Swimming Camps.
For further information or to talk to one of our sports tour specialists please call 01903 832 861 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Valencia in a nutshell
Flight time from the UK: 2 hours
From UK airports: London and regional
Closest airport: V alencia Airport (VLC)
What it’s good for: Value for money, the beach
Sporting facilities: Football, Hockey, Rugby, Basketball, Swimming, Tennis
Top three things to do: Hit the beach, get your adrenalin pumping at the theme parks and visit the City of Science.
Visa requirements: None from the UK
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