Getting to Valencia on a budget
by Monika Spasova
Thursday, February 1, 2018
My Exciting Trip To Valencia
Or All The Troubles Of Getting There
How it all started or the beginning of my Spanish journey
In the past year, travel has become a huge part of my life. And surely when summer came to an end I started looking for a way to make it last a little longer. So with October coming, I thought what better way to enjoy a few more days of sunshine than a trip to Spain?
Browsing through various destinations that countless people praised I was trying to avoid the megapolises like Madrid and Barcelona and was thinking more of a small and not as crowded city and definitely near the coast! And this is exactly how I came across Valencia. Valencia is a beautiful little city in the southeast part of Spain filled with historic buildings and charming little streets.
Now in another article, I’ll probably tell you all about the beautiful sights we saw and the lovely experiences but now I want to share with you some travel tips I really wish I knew before I went and I believe will make your trip smoother.
First of all, I should make it clear that probably like most Europeans nowadays I travel low-cost air companies. I’ve mostly had great experiences so far and this was the first time I had an unexpected surprise.
What to watch out for when buying plane tickets
While buying the tickets on the website I believed I was flying directly to Valencia. But there was a small detail to which I sadly didn’t pay attention at the time. The website showed me the destination as Castellon(Valencia). I didn’t think it was something important then. I thought maybe Castellon was simply the name of the airport. So only when my reservation was done and I got the confirmation email I noticed it. Sofia – Castellon it said. But what did that mean?
I started looking it up and it turned out Castellón (or also known as Castello or Castellón de la Plana, Castelló de la Plana, or simply Castelló) was a city that was about 80 kilometers away from the city of Valencia. When this became clear I started getting worried. How were we to get to Valencia?
It was not enough that we had to somehow overcome these 80 kilometers in a foreign country and we didn’t speak the language on top of everything but also we were supposed to land in Castellon around 8 pm so that gave us a very limited time to find some kind of transportation. So first I started browsing the internet hoping that some people already had given answers to my questions. Of course, there were some that encountered the same problem but sadly some of the suggested means of transportation was taking a TAXI which would cost more than 100 euro and that was definitely not our understanding of low-cost travel. Some people said that there were some buses or trains you can get but once again our late arrival was making me doubt whether or not we would catch them.
Something I didn’t think of checking then (now realizing it was fairly simple) and only discovered later is that on the Castellon Airport website there is a “Parking and Transport” page containing not only a couple of taxi service phone numbers but also two rental car companies and the name of a bus company that makes trips to Valencia.
And there is the next trick. Bus tickets are “ONLINE PURCHASE ONLY” which means you cannot just go there and buy a ticket. Not only that but also if nobody bought a ticket online the bus is not even going to bother to stop there which made my plan to just politely and charmingly ask the driver for a ticket totally impossible. So if you’re landing in Castellon and trying to get to Valencia the bus company you need to find is AUTOS MEDITERRANEO. Hopefully, your flight time agrees with their schedule.
Well to be honest on our way there we were lucky enough not to have to go through all this because we met some friends on the plane that were going to the same place and it wasn’t their first time. Also, they had their wonderful Airbnb host meeting them at the airport with a huge van and lucky enough they had room for me and my friend and took us right to the place where we were staying. Luck that we sadly didn’t have on our way back to the airport because they were leaving a few days after we did.
The way to the airport
A few beautiful days later that we spent strolling around this great city it was time to go back home. This time I was more prepared and tracked a company online and bought tickets that would get us straight to the airport. Or at least I thought so. I had purchased tickets from Valencia to Castellon but once again making the mistake of not checking to see where exactly the Castellon airport is. It turns out it’s 30 kilometers outside of the city of Castellon. Who would have thought? In my mind, an airport was always in the city or the outskirts of it at the most. So realizing this halfway along the road we started asking people and trying and find a way to get to the airport. Once again the language barrier made things difficult but I somehow managed to get some information from one of the bus drivers with my poor Spanish vocabulary. Sadly he didn’t tell us anything that really helped. “Boletos solo en Internet”. But how were we supposed to get tickets on the internet? We were only tourists and didn’t really have any mobile data to work with. After running around bus stations and looking at Spanish language schedules we sadly found no way out of it and had to get a cab for these last 30 kilometers. After all, it was better to pay for a cab ride than miss our flight back home. It cost us about 40 euro which was actually not that bad keeping in mind there was two of us.
Finally getting to the airport was such a relief. After all the running and worrying we even got there about 20 minutes earlier which was plenty of time for us to even buy some amazing local sweets from the only shop at the only terminal on that airport.
The story of Castellon Airport
While staying in Valencia i learned a very interesting fact about this airport. It turns out Castellon Airport struggled in the first few years after it was built and it became a symbol of reckless government money spending and debt. For about four years not a single flight arrived there. They say this airport was almost bankrupt and was about to close for there were not enough flights. It was not until this particular low-cost company decided to use the airport that they were able to keep it running. In matter of fact i was so surprised when the cab driver that took us there knew our final destination. “Are you going to Bulgaria?”- he asked us. I was shocked. How did he know? The reason was so simple. It was the only flight that day and even until the end of the week.
Now please don’t get me wrong. These circumstances were definitely not something that ruined our holiday. We had a great time in Valencia and I will surely tell you more exciting and fun stories about our time there. I only wanted to share with you fellow travelers the experience we had so you could be more prepared and not let surprises like that ruin your vacation.