Traveling is expensive. Saving is hard. It’s the eternal problem of every generation, and it’s not going away any time soon when eating £6 avocado and lightly toasted bloomer bread is the only better alternative than sitting alone in a five-bed box sadly disguised as a flatshare.
But don’t give up on the wanderlust dream. This guide for the fiscally irresponsible will take you through where to stay, what to eat, and what to see in Valencia for a weekend, all for just €100. Because only having moths in your bank account shouldn’t stop you from living your best life.
Where to stay in Valencia? Budget left: €100 (£89.18/$117.07)
Spain’s third largest city has plenty LGBTI friendly places to stay, but you need to put the dreams of staying in a gay ritz into the bin. This means one thing: hostels!
As a general rule, the friendlier a hostel’s atmosphere, the safer it will be for LGBTI people. The River Hostel has extremely friendly staff alongside a communal atmosphere. Rooms and areas are clean too, and with it just moments from Valencia’s Old Town and the city’s gorgeous Jardines del Turia, you couldn’t be in a better location. Price: €21.13 (£18.84/$24.74) per night in a 10 bed dorm.
Though if partying is in your soul, the Purple Nest Hotel Valencia might be for you. Attracting a young crowd of very lively people, the place is as vibrant as it’s attitude. Expect a bustling bar, gigantic bar crawls, and a location in the city’s center. Just don’t expect a relaxing time. Price: €19.85 (£17.70/$23.24) per night for a 10 bed dorm.
Meanwhile, the Center Valencia Youth Hostel gives the most central location of them all. If you want a home-base offering clean rooms in one of the best locations in the city, you’ll struggle to find better. Price: €20.65 (£18.42/$24.17) per night for a 12 bed dorm.
Average price: €20.54 (£18.32/$24.05). So for two nights, accommodation is €41.08 (£36.64/$48.09).
(Prices valid at time of writing, found on www.hostelworld.com)
Where to eat in Valencia? Budget left: €58.92 (£52.55/$68.98)
Don’t panic, where to sleep will always make the biggest dent in your light, light wallet. But once you’ve dumped your bags in a padlocked locker, it’s time to explore Valencia’s food. Because food in this city is so good you’ll finally believe in life after love.
It’d be a crime to come to Spain and not eat tapas. Luckily, one of the city’s best tapas joints – Casa Montaña – doesn’t break the bank. Try and sit in the less-stuffy bar area rather than the restaurant, and you’ll feast in a quaint, old-fashioned venue, surrounded by barrels and old posters.
Being so close to the sea, you must eat some seafood – it couldn’t be fresher even if you harpooned the dinner yourself – and the sardines are a particular highlight. Artisan dishes made with real Valencian ingredients, with dishes costing around €5-7 (£4-6/$6-8)? Sounds like a plan. Get three!
If you’re with another person, or managed to blag a Grindr date, then you need to head to La Pepica. This was the restaurant of choice for literary legend and angry heterosexual Ernest Hemmingway – and for good reason. Their Valencian paella (made with chicken and rabbit) is to die for, and will set you back just €14.40 (£12.84/$16.86) per person.
Since you’re splashing out on dinner, for breakfast and lunch pop to their supermarkets, as you’ll pick up a variety of pastries and snacks for less than €5 (£4.46/$5.85). Not quite as glamorous but you need your priorities in order.
Total cost of eating out: €37.40 (£33.35/$43.78)
Where to go out in Valencia? Budget left: €21.52 (£19.19/$25.19)
Now that you’re fed, you’re ready for a night out. Unlike the Germans who party hard, and the Brits who party like they’re teenagers who just discovered their parents’ alcohol cupboard, Spanish people party late, so prepare for a long one.
Before you hit the dancefloor, you might need a few drinks. It’s possible to cope with a €2 bottle of cava from the shops… or you could drink properly. This is where the city’s signature drink comes in: Agua de Valencia. This cocktail is a wonderful mixture of vodka and gin (these are Spanish measures too…), topped up with cava and fresh orange juice. If this doesn’t make you drunk then your liver needs to be tested for medical purposes.
The best place to enjoy this has to be Café de las Horas. Not only is this venue very LGBTI friendly – often hosting themed LGBTI nights and cabaret – but it’s old-timey Parisian aesthetic is glam-or-ous. Think candelabras, gold and red woven tapestries, and kitsch water fountains. They serve up the best Agua de Valencia in the city for just €10 (£8.92/$11.71), which is supposed to be split between two people…
Afterwards, make your way down to The Muse. This large gay bar is where most people start their night before heading to the heavier places, so a good way to test out pick up lines in Español. Good music and a varied crowd keep nights here interesting, and if you come early enough, it’s free entry.
But when it’s time to go heavy, Deseo 54 is the place for a big night for all LGBTI people. Not only does it have an excellent sound-system, it attracts international DJs, meaning you won’t struggle to storm the dance floor with their ridiculously attractive clientele. Entrance can range from around €6-10 (£5.35-$8.92/£7.02-$11.71).
Total price for night out: €20. (£17.84/$23.41)
What to see in Valencia? Budget left: €1.52 (£1.36/$1.78)
Big nights out mean big blows to the wallet. Luckily, actual sight-seeing is cheap and easy, especially in a city so effortlessly sexy as this.
You need to walk down the Jardines del Turia. These immaculately kept gardens were opened in 1986 and are an absolute treat, packed full of postmodernist architecture, water features, and even a gigantic statue of Gulliver with his insides out (I don’t know either).
It will take around an hour to walk the whole way without stopping (you will stop, though, when you’re passing things like a bridge in bloom with flowers). At the very end of this is the Cuidad de Artes y Ciencias. Considered one of the 12 treasures of Spain, the buildings are beautiful, with a walk in garden that’ll make your Instagram the envy of the social media ball. Tickets for the Science Museum and Aquarium – which are very impressive – rack up to €15 (£13.38/$17.56), so only go if you saved some dinero elsewhere.
Another essential is a walk through the Old Town. Hit the classics like the wonderful gothic cathedral (said to house the Holy Grail), as well as the beautiful town hall. However, make sure you head inside the Mercado Central if you want a real attack of the senses. Meats, cheeses, fish and fruit for as far as the eye can see.
If your feet hurt from all the dancing and walking, you’ll need something more relaxing. Steer clear of the main beach and get yourself down to Playa de l’Arbre del Gos. This clothing-optional gay beach helps you catch the killer rays all over, while enjoying some decent company.
Valencia is hot, so make sure you bring a water bottle with you everywhere. You can refill it, so no need to buy more than one (which, if you did, would make David Attenborough very sad).
Total cost of tourism: €1 (89p/$1.17)
And with that last €0.52 (46p/$0.61), you can treat yourself to some sweets on your way to the airport. Because you just lived your best life in Valencia.