Located about 60 kilometres south of Valencia and on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, we invite you our home. Discover the things to do in Gandía and Playa de Gandía, whether you visit in the middle of summer or the rest of the year.
Many Argentinian compatriots don’t know Playa de Gandía when we mention it to them, but they soon get familiar with it when we mention that it is located 60 km south of the city of Valencia. Nevertheless, here in Spain it is a very popular beach destination.
We have been living in Playa de Gandía since the beginning of 2017 (with a few travel interruptions) but the truth is that we love this town and we are very fond of it. No wonder, this is where Benji was born, and it is the place where he took his first crawls and steps.
Few people live in Playa de Gandía almost all year round, so the atmosphere is generally relaxed. Obviously, summer is when most people come to enjoy the large stretches of sand.
Gandía has an important historical heritage. On the one hand, on the top of a hill are the remains of the Castle of Bayrén, which dates back to the time of the Muslim occupation. But Gandía is also the birthplace of popes (there were two of them from the same family) and so it is part of what is known as the Borgia Territory or Borgia Route.
It is worth visiting the city to walk around its old town and the main buildings.
Where to stay in Gandía
There are many options to sleep in Gandía, especially in the beach area. Our recommendations are as follows:
- RH Bayren: on the beachfront is an elegant hotel with sea view rooms, a terrace bar, an outdoor pool and a lot of comfort. Ideal for couples.
- RH Gijón: 100 metres from the beach, it also has an outdoor swimming pool. Very good value for money. Ideal for families.
Need more options? Check these hotels in Playa de Gandía.
Map – Things to do in Gandía and Playa de Gandía
To locate on the map and to make it easier to differentiate, it could be said that there are 3 main areas (marked in blue):
- City of Gandía;
- Playa de Gandía, towards the north of the port and up to the mouth of the river Vaca; and
- Grao de Gandía, which basically covers the port area, the mouth of the river Serpis and Venecia beach to the south.
As it shares a postcode, the whole area along the Mediterranean Sea coast is called Grao y Playa (Grau and Platja in valencian).
Within the map, we have included some amusement parks and playgrounds that we love to take Benji to. They are marked in purple.
Things to do in Playa de Gandía
Playa de Gandía is one of the main beach destinations in Spain and attracts, especially, national tourists. July and August are the busiest months for visitors, but several months before and after that it also attracts many who know the benefits of its Mediterranean Sea climate.
Its beauty lies in its wonderful beaches, more than five kilometres of coastline to enjoy the sand and warm water. In addition, the beach area is very extensive, from the coastal promenade to the seashore, and has facilities for sports on the sand such as volleyball and football, areas for exercising, games for children and a good number of beach bars to enjoy a drink with views of the Mediterranean Sea.
1) The Mediterranean Beaches
Yes, the main activity to do in Gandía is to enjoy the beach. Its wide coastline is the main attraction and allows you to relax without being crowded together. The sea is usually calm and the crystal-clear water guarantees a pleasant swim, even for the little ones, who can also play and have fun on the sand.
The busiest beaches in Gandía are those near the port and along the promenade, but if you want to enjoy the sea with fewer people, you have two options:
- L’Ahuir beach, towards the north on the way to Xeraco, where there are practically no buildings; and
- Playa de las Marismas de Rafalcaid and Playa de Venecia, to the south and on the other side of the mouth of the river Serpis, which are wilder and quieter.
In Playa de Gandía, you can also enjoy a pleasant walk along the coastal promenade, which is more than two kilometres long and has plenty of space for exercise, cycling and even renting go-karts, family bikes, electric scooters and much more. The benches along the promenade are ideal for sitting and watching the sea.
2) Gandía sign
At the entrance of the hotel in Bairén and on the promenade, you can find the Gandía sign. It started out as white and since June 2021.
Take the opportunity to take a souvenir photo!
3) Playa de Gandía port
Although the port is small, you can take a stroll along the long breakwater to the exit of the boats out into the open sea, where you will find the small lighthouse. There is a restaurant at the beginning of the breakwater to have a drink and enjoy the views.
On the opposite side of the breakwater are the fishermen’s boats and the port sheds, built in the form of vaulted halls. In this area, one of the places to see in Gandía is the Lonja del Pescado (Fish Market), where you can watch the auctioning of the fresh fish and seafood that is brought down from the boats. The best thing is that you can enjoy a good meal afterwards in the restaurant located at the top, whose large windows allow you to see the port in all its splendour.
Check here two of the excursions available to embark and see Gandía Beach from the sea on a catamaran:
- Catamaran Trip from Gandía.
- Gandía Sunset Cruise (with a glass of cava for adults and soft drink for children.).
4) Alqueria del Duc
Between Playa de Gandía and Gandía city, surrounded by orange plantations, is this old building from the 16th century, with two floors and a central courtyard.
The Alqueria has features of Muslim origin and there are even remains from the Visigothic period. At the end of the 16th century, the place was transformed into a farmhouse for hunting and recreational purposes.
Nowadays, the building has been restored and you can visit the interior with guided tours from Tuesdays to Saturdays from 5 to 9 pm in July and August.
Things to do in Gandía city
Not all there is to see in Gandía is the beach. The city has a beautiful historic centre to explore, a shopping area, the Serpis river, parks and much more.
Being small, the historic centre of Gandía can be easily covered in no more than three hours.
5) Carrer Major
We start our tour of the Carrer Major from the Royal School Pías School, in whose square there is a group of 5 statues. These are the work of Manuel Boix, made in bronze, representing five of the members of the Borgia family: Popes Calixtus III and Alexander VI, their children César and Lucrecia de Borja and the 4th Duke of Gandía and patron saint of the city, Francisco de Borja.
The main street is pedestrianised and is lined with fashionable shops, cafés and bars for a drink. It is about 350 metres long, so it can be covered in a few minutes.
6) Main Square of Gandía
In the Plaza Mayor, one of the main squares in the centre of Gandía, one comes across the Collegiate Church of Santa María, a building constructed at the beginning of the 14th century in Gothic style. Its interior suffered the consequences of the civil war and was badly damaged, although paintings and a beautiful altarpiece are still preserved.
In front of this historic building is the Town Hall of Gandía, with its three semicircular arches, and behind the Town Hall, the Mirador del Serpis, a kind of balcony overlooking the river to relax the view.
7) Borja Ducal Palace
Another of the great things to do in Gandía is to visit the Ducal Palace of the Borja family. Built in the 14th century, it was the house of Cardinal Rodrigo de Borja. Now in the hands of the family, this is where Francisco de Borja, one of the city’s greatest exponents, was born.
The palace is one of the emblematic buildings in terms of Valencian architectural design, mixing styles such as Gothic, Mudejar, Baroque and Neoclassical. A must-see!
🚩 For more information, you can visit the Palau Ducal official website, where workshops, exhibitions and conferences are also held. The entrance fee includes an audio guide.
8) Paseo de las Germanies
From the Ducal Palace, walk a few metres along the banks of the river Serpis until you reach the Paseo de las Germanies. This is a boulevard with a central pedestrian area, where you will find numerous terraces where you can sit down for a snack or a bite to eat. It is very busy both during the day and at night.
9) Air-raid Shelters
There is also the option of visiting two air-raid shelters, the Peixateria and the Prado, the latter located underground in the square of the same name.
As soon as you enter both, there are panels explaining the construction of the tunnels during the civil war to protect the inhabitants from bombing. Each of the tunnels is about 60 metres long.
🚩 Guided tours take place every Saturday at 11am, but registration is required. Visit the following link for more information (in Spanish).
10) Museums in Gandía
There are three museums to visit in Gandía city: the Fallas Museum, the Archaeology Museum and the Santa Clara Museum.
- The Santa Clara museum is housed in what used to be the San Marc Hospital. Its richness lies in the great amount of religious art works conserved by the Franciscan nuns, and paintings and sculptures donated mainly by the Borja family.
- The Fallas museum is not as big as the one in Valencia, but it is very well presented. It tells the history of the fallas, there is an exhibition of ninots, typical costumes and much more. It is a good place to learn more about the typical Valencian fiesta, which is also very important in Gandía.
- Book in advance the entrance to the Fallas Museum Gandia. The visit includes an audio guide in English.
- The Archaeology museum exhibits archaeological remains from the Safor area, and is located next to the Santa Clara museum.
11) Street markets and shopping centres
Although there are several street markets held in Gandía and the beach, one of the most popular is the one in Plaza Rosa dels Vents on Sundays. During the summer it is held in the afternoon due to the high temperatures and the rest of the year in the morning until 2 or 3 PM.
And if it’s a rainy day, there is the La Vital Shopping Centre on the outskirts of Gandía. Its shops are usually open every day except Sunday, but both the cinema and the food court are open every day.
Don’t forget the aforementioned Calle Mayor for shopping.
12) Other things to do in Gandía
The city itself is very pretty and has many places to see, such as the Plaza del Prado, which dates back to the 19th century and was once the city’s market place. Here you can enjoy children’s playgrounds and different bars and restaurants.
Monuments that give a glimpse of the history of the city will come to your attention. The Torreón del Pino, churches and convents of different antiquity are other examples of what Gandía has to offer its visitors.
13) Bairén Castle
The castle of Bairén is located on the top of a hill on the outskirts of Gandía. Although today only some remains of the walls are preserved, it is of great historical value as the fortress was built by the Muslims between the 10th and 11th centuries for defensive purposes. From the top you can see the city and the sea in the background.
Bairén Castle can be reached by car (there is a small car park at the base) and the ascent to the ruins must be done on foot. It can also be reached on foot from the centre of town, it is about an hour’s walk, including the ascent to the castle ruins. We did it with a tour organised by the Tourist Office of Gandía and it was interesting to learn about the place from a guide specialised in Mozarabic architecture.
The gastronomy of Gandía
Gandía boasts of being the national capital of fideuá. Fideuá is a dish very similar to paella, but where the main ingredients are short noodles, fish and seafood, unlike the typical Valencian paella which is served with rice and chicken and rabbit meat.
We tried it several times and we can say that it has nothing to envy to the traditional paella. One of the best places where we have tried it is in the restaurant Parsifal and Chef Amadeo, both in Playa de Gandía.
Traditional festivals in Gandía
As everywhere else in Spain, Gandía is not exempt from traditional festivals for the whole family to enjoy. Here are some of them:
- Las Fallas: this is one of the most famous festivals in the Valencian Community and of course Gandía cannot be left behind. It is celebrated from the beginning of March until the 19th of March, which is Father’s Day. For those who haven’t heard of it, this festivity involves many things: creation of giant monuments based on fictitious (and some real) characters that are exhibited for a few days and set on fire at the end, lots of firecrackers (you can hear them in the street all the time), fireworks and parades of falleras. A unique experience!
- Semana Santa (Holy Week): these religious processions are a classic in Spain. In Gandía one of the most important acts of this celebration is the Visitatio Sepulchri, a liturgical drama instituted in 1550 by San Francisco de Borja, where the burial of Christ, the visit of the Marys to the tomb and the appearance of the angel announcing the resurrection are recounted.
- Corpus Christi: It is a celebration that has been held since the Middle Ages and can be seen mainly in the streets of Gandía. It takes place on the 6th of June and is a parade through which characters such as giants and big-heads, els Cavallets, els Arquets, la Magrana and la Moma, dressed in white and representing virtue against the seven deadly sins, dance.
- La Noche de San Juan: This celebration on the night of the 23rd to the 24th of June is one of the most special since hundreds of bonfires can be seen on the sand of Gandía Beach.
- Virgen del Carmen: This is held from the 14th to the 16th of July and is a celebration in honour of the patron saint of sailors, for which the procession is carried out in boats.
- Fira i Festes: it is celebrated on October 3rd in honour of the patron saint San Francisco de Borja. In the historic centre of Gandía a medieval market is recreated where you can find traditional games, musical performances, theatres, animations and the awaited character Tío de la Porra.
Places to visit near Gandía
Many of the destinations are in the Valencian Community, but especially those that are closer, such as Cullera, Xátiva and Denia, and a little further afield such as Alicante, Altea, Villajoyosa and other beautiful towns in Costa Blanca.
Useful information to visit Gandía and Playa de Gandía
Buy your travel insurance and travel safe!
🚑 Take a look at these tips for choosing the best travel insurance (updated to 2023 and with juicy discounts) for the type of traveller you are, and they will also help you clear up the most common doubts. Travel safe!
– Getting to Gandía and Playa de Gandía
There is no airport in Gandía, so the easiest way to get there by plane is to fly to Valencia and from there hire a car, take the train or a bus.
If you are travelling by car to Gandía, either your own or a hire car, the best option is to take the AP-7 and then exit 60. There are also secondary routes to travel, such as the A-38 or CV-500 (but they are slower options).
On the other hand, you can get there directly from Valencia with the Cercanías train, which takes about an hour. Take into account that there are two train stations: Gandía city (with hourly-frequency from Valencia) and Playa de Gandía (there are two trains a day).
There is also a direct train from Madrid once a week which arrives on Fridays and returns on Sundays.
🚊 Buy here your train tickets to travel in Europe.
As for the bus, there are many daily connections to Alicante, Valencia and Madrid from the Gandía terminal. Some even drop you off at Gandía beach.
Whether you choose train or bus, when you arrive to Gandía city, there is a bus stop in front of the station where you can take a local bus to “PLAYA”.
It is also possible to travel between Playa de Gandía and Ibiza by ferry from the port, but this service only operates in summer.
🚢 Search here for ferry tickets with OMIO, buy yours and travel!
Discounts and useful resources to save on your trip
- Cheap flights with Skyscanner
- Rent a car with RentalCars
- Train, Bus and Ferry tickets for Europe with OMIO
- Interrail and Eurail Passes with RailEurope 🚆.
- Passages through Asia with 12Go
Activities and Tours
- 10 of the Most Beautiful Villages of Castellón, Spain
- 4 Things to Do in Anna Valencia in One Day
- 5 Things to Do in Bocairent in One Day
- 5 Things to Do in Jávea: Old Town, Coves and More
- 5+1 free Walking Tours in Valencia, must-do!
- 8 Best Things to Do in Xátiva in One Day
- 8 Things to Do in Calpe With Kids Besides Its Rock
- Algar Waterfalls: How to Get There, Price and Advice
- Alicante With Kids, 7 activities to Enjoy
- Best 10 Things to Do in Costa Blanca
- Best Campsites in the Valencian Community, and Enjoy Nature!
- Best Things to Do in Alicante in 2 Days (Or More)
- Best Things to Do in Cullera in 1 Day (Besides the Beach)
- Best Things to Do in Denia in 1 Day to Enjoy in Family
- Best Things to Do in Morella in 1 Day
- Best Things to Do in Peñiscola in 1 Day
- Best Things to Do in Valencia in 3 Days (By a Local)
- Best Things to Do in Villajoyosa in 1 Day
- Day Trips From Valencia: Best 5 Tours in English
- Essential Guide to Visit the Fallas of Valencia
- Route Through the Best Towns Near Alicante
- Things to Do in Altea in 1 Day and With Kids
- Visit Albufera Natural Park Near Valencia
- Visit Tabarca Island: How to Get There and things to do
- Where to Stay In Valencia: Best Areas and Hotels