Brits Name Valencia as Their Top European Coastal City

Brits Name Valencia as Their Top European Coastal City

There's a new star on the horizon of European travel, and it's not where you might expect. Forget the familiar charm of Venice or the sun-kissed beaches of Nice, a surprising contender has emerged as the British favourite. Say hello to Valencia, Spain's third-largest city, now taking centre stage as Brits' top European coastal destination.

Valencia: A New Favourite Among Brits

Valencia: A New Favourite Among Brits

Valencia, with its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning coastline, was recently voted the best European coastal city by British travellers in a survey conducted by consumer organisation Which?. Outshining more well-known coastal cities, Valencia topped the poll with a destination score of 91%, earning five-star reviews in seven out of the twelve categories, including beach quality, food and drink, attractions, peace and quiet, and value for money.

The Unexpected Shift in Brits' Favourite Coastal Cities

It's a surprising shift in the travel preferences of Brits, who have traditionally flocked to well-established European coastal cities like Lisbon, Venice, and Nice. The survey results suggest that British travellers are beginning to look past the usual famous hotspots, venturing into lesser-known destinations in their quest for unique travel experiences. The rise of Valencia in the rankings signifies a growing desire among Brits to explore new sights and immerse themselves in distinct cultures. This trend highlights the evolving travel habits of Brits and could reshape future travel to European coastal cities.

So, whether it's the allure of Valencia's extensive beaches, its peaceful ambience, or its abundance of culture that has drawn British travellers, one thing is certain. Valencia has firmly established itself as a favourite escape among Brits, reshaping the landscape of European travel.

The Survey

Think you know about the best European coastal cities? You might be surprised! A comprehensive survey by consumer organization Which? has revealed some unexpected favorites among Brits, and it's time to shine a light on the unsung hero that is Valencia.

Overview of the Survey

The survey involved a whopping 3,500 UK travellers who were asked to rate their experiences in 44 coastal towns and cities across Europe. The intention was to discover which destinations truly hit the mark in terms of what Brits value most when choosing their vacation spots. To say the results were surprising would be an understatement!

Criteria for Rating: What Matters to Brits?

The survey asked voters to rate the destinations based on 12 specific categories. These included the town's beach, seafront or marina, food and drink, accommodation, tourist attractions, attractiveness, shopping, entertainment, peace and quiet, safety, friendliness, and value for money. Each category was scored out of five, resulting in an overall percentage score that decided the final ranking. This comprehensive approach ensured that every aspect of a perfect holiday was taken into consideration.

Valencia's Winning Score

Now, drum roll please for the surprise winner: Valencia! Yes, Spain's third-largest city managed to outshine even the most popular destinations like Barcelona and Alicante. Valencia's winning score was an impressive 91% overall destination score. The city received five stars in eight of the 12 categories, including the ‘beach’ section, which is hardly surprising given its three separate sandy stretches right in the town center and many more along the coastline. Valencia's quality tourist attractions, shopping, friendliness, and attractiveness were also praised, with travellers thrilled by its 34 museums, burgeoning gastronomic scene, and generous aquarium. In a world of overrated tourist traps, Valencia emerged as a true gem on the European coastline.

Valencia: The Crown Jewel of Spain's Coastline

Bypassing the usual suspects like Barcelona and Alicante, Brits have crowned Valencia as their favourite European coastal city in a recent survey. This jewel of Spain's coastline, known for its beautiful beaches, cultural riches, and gastronomic delights, has captured the hearts of travellers with its alluring charm.

Valencia's Beaches: A Paradise for Sun Seekers

Valencia's sun-kissed beaches are a significant draw for tourists, receiving five stars in the beach category of the survey. The city boasts three separate sandy stretches right in the heart of the town, offering sun seekers a paradise to luxuriate in the warm Spanish sun. The city's coastline also has numerous other beaches, each with its unique character that adds to Valencia's appeal.

Valencia's Cultural Riches: Museums, Architecture, and More

The cultural richness of Valencia has enchanted travellers, with its 34 museums and stunning architecture earning high marks in the survey. The city's ambitious redevelopment has led to a fusion of historic charm and modern sophistication, offering a unique cultural experience that keeps tourists captivated.

Valencia's Gastronomic Scene: A Food Lover's Dream

Valencia's burgeoning gastronomic scene is a food lover's dream. The city's culinary offerings combine traditional Spanish cuisine with innovative modern dishes, providing a gastronomic experience that leaves tourists satiated and longing for more. The city's food and drink offerings received high praise in the survey, further cementing Valencia's status as a culinary hotspot.

Valencia's Shopping Experience: From Traditional Markets to Modern Malls

From traditional markets brimming with local produce to modern malls featuring global brands, Valencia's shopping experience is diverse and exciting. Tourists were thrilled with the shopping options in the city, which combine the charm of local crafts with the allure of high-end fashion.

Valencia's Entertainment Scene: Always Something to Do

There's never a dull moment in Valencia, with an entertainment scene that caters to all tastes. Whether it's a quiet evening at a local bar, a vibrant night out at a club, or a cultural event at one of the city's many venues, Valencia ensures that there's always something to do.

Peace and Quiet in Valencia: A Tranquil Escape

Despite its bustling entertainment scene, Valencia also offers tranquil escapes for those seeking peace and quiet. The city's peaceful ambience received high marks in the survey, with tourists appreciating the quiet moments amidst the city's vibrant energy.

Safety in Valencia: A Secure Destination

Valencia's safety is another factor that has endeared it to tourists. The city has a reputation for being a secure destination, which allows tourists to explore the city's many attractions without worry.

Friendliness of Valencia: Warm and Welcoming Locals

The friendliness of Valencia's locals is another reason why tourists love the city. The warm and welcoming nature of the Valencians contributes to the city's charm and makes tourists feel right at home.

Value for Money in Valencia: Affordable Luxury

Finally, Valencia's value for money is a significant factor in its popularity. The city offers an affordable luxury experience, allowing tourists to enjoy the city's many delights without breaking the bank. From its beautiful beaches to its rich culture, Valencia is a destination that truly offers value for money, making it the top European coastal city for Brits.

The Runner-Ups

As the adage goes, "Every winner needs a runner-up." While Valencia basks in the glory of being the top coastal city for Brits, let's not forget the other cities that gave it a run for its money.

Porto and Venice: Tied for Second Place

Portugal's second city, Porto, and Italy's floating city, Venice, were locked in a tie for the second favorite spot, each scoring an impressive 88%. Porto, with its picturesque marina, amiable locals, and excellent value for the money, had Brits raving about its charm. On the other hand, Venice, despite scoring low for value for money and tranquillity, won hearts for its enchanting views and unique aquatic character.

Other Highly Rated Coastal Cities

Syracuse in Italy managed to surpass Barcelona, bagging the eighth place, while Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, rounded off the top ten. These cities, despite not clinching the top spot, were highly appreciated for their unique offerings. Syracuse, known for its rich ancient history and architectural beauty, and Lisbon, famous for its stunning views and vibrant culture, were indeed tough competitors.

However, not all cities fared as well. The party island of Mykonos in Greece found itself at the bottom with a score of just 58%. Fuengirola in Spain, Portimao in Portugal, and Naples and Catania in Italy, also got low scores from travelers. These cities, despite their own unique attractions, couldn't quite match up to the high standards set by the others.

In conclusion, while Valencia may have been the crowned favorite, the competition was clearly fierce. Each of these coastal cities has its own unique allure and charm, making them all winners in their own right.

The Bottom of the List: Least Favourite Coastal Cities

As the sun dips below the horizon, casting a golden hue over the Mediterranean, not all coastal gems are glittering in the eyes of British vacationers. While Valencia, Porto, and Venice are basking in the glow of tourist approval, there are others that have found themselves at the darker end of the spectrum.

Mykonos: Party Town Loses its Lustre

The Greek island of Mykonos, famously known for its vibrant nightlife and lively beaches, has surprisingly found itself at the bottom of the pile. Scoring a disappointing 58%, it appears that the party town's appeal has lost some of its lustre among UK travellers. Despite its reputation as a paradise for party-goers, Mykonos fell short in categories like peace and quiet, and value for money, factors that increasingly matter to holidaymakers in these post-Covid, economically volatile times.

Other Low Scoring Destinations

Mykonos was not the only destination that failed to charm the Brits. The Spanish resort town of Fuengirola and the Portuguese coastal city of Portimao also received less than stellar reviews, with their scores languishing alongside Mykonos. Over in Italy, Napoli, despite its rich history and tantalising cuisine, found itself in the same boat.

What these destinations have in common is their struggle to balance the clamour of tourism with the tranquility and affordability sought by today's discerning travellers. It appears that the allure of less crowded, more serene, and pocket-friendly locales is on the rise, a trend that these destinations might need to consider as they seek to regain their spot in the sun.

Valencia's Winning Factors

Valencia, the diamond of the Mediterranean, has won the hearts of British travellers. But what is it that makes this Spanish city their top pick among Europe's coastal towns? Let's delve into the unique factors that make Valencia a clear winner in the eyes of Brits.

The Attractiveness of Valencia: A City of Beauty

Valencia isn't just a city; it's a living, breathing work of art. The city received an impressive five-star rating for its attractiveness, which isn't surprising once you've strolled through its charming streets. Valencia's architectural wonders, such as the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences, meld seamlessly with its historic heart, creating a beautiful contrast between the old and the new. Not to mention, the city boasts three separate sandy beaches right in the middle of town, adding to its allure.

The Quality of Valencia's Tourist Attractions

Valencia's rich culture and history make it a treasure trove of tourist attractions. With 34 museums, a generous aquarium, and a burgeoning gastronomic scene, the city offers a wealth of experiences to delight every traveller. It's no wonder that the quality of Valencia's tourist attractions was one of the top reasons for its high score in the survey.

The Value for Money in Valencia: Luxury at a Reasonable Price

Despite its luxurious offerings, Valencia doesn't break the bank. The city scored highly in the 'value for money' category, proving that you can indulge in the best of Spanish culture, food, and entertainment without emptying your wallet. Whether you're dining at a local paella restaurant, shopping for unique souvenirs, or staying in a cosy seafront hotel, Valencia provides an affordable luxury experience that's hard to resist.

The Peace and Quiet in Valencia: A Haven from the Bustle

While Valencia offers plenty of entertainment and attractions, it also provides a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle. The city's peaceful atmosphere was a significant factor in its high score, indicating that travellers appreciate a destination where they can relax and unwind. Whether you're lounging on one of Valencia's pristine beaches or strolling through the tranquil Turia River park, Valencia offers a serene retreat, making it the perfect coastal escape for Brits.


As the sun sets on our exploration of the UK's favourite European coastal towns, it is clear that the tides are changing. Brits are breaking away from the expected tourist hotspots and embracing the allure of lesser-known destinations.

It's evident that the tastes and preferences of British travellers are evolving. The usual suspects - the likes of San Sebastian and Barcelona - have been dethroned in favour of the more serene, and arguably more charming, Valencia. This shift reflects a growing appreciation for tranquil environments, rich cultural experiences, and value for money - factors that have increasingly become more important for UK travellers.

Valencia: A Deserving Winner

Valencia's victory as the top-rated European coastal city among Brits is not surprising, given its unique blend of stunning beaches, mesmerising seafronts, and a thriving gastronomic scene. With a destination score of an impressive 91%, Valencia has captivated the hearts of British travellers by excelling in key areas such as friendliness, safety, and the quality of its tourist attractions. The city's three separate sandy stretches and an impressive array of museums and attractions add to its charm and appeal, making it a deserving winner in the eyes of discerning UK travellers. This top rating from UK travellers is a testament to Valencia's irresistible allure and its successful efforts to offer a well-rounded travel experience.

In conclusion, the changing trends in Brits' favourite coastal cities highlight a shift towards more authentic and enriching travel experiences. This shift, embodied by Valencia's win, offers valuable insights for both travellers and the travel industry. Valencia's triumph is a reminder that often, the most rewarding travel experiences lie in the path less travelled.


  1. "Take the train to these 5 beaches in Europe." Sky News International. Link
  2. "Valencia: Europe's Smart Capital hosts Smart Destinations conference." World News. Link
  3. "Valencia: Here's why you should visit Europe's Green Capital 2024." Destinations. Link
  4. "Goldition © 2023." Goldition. Link
  5. "The Guardian - Back to home." The Guardian. Link
  6. "Discover Why Brits Name Valencia as Their Top European Coastal City." Expert SEO writer (personal knowledge)

By using these sources, we can gain a comprehensive understanding of why Valencia has become such a sought-after destination for Brits. The city's unique blend of historical charm, modern innovation, vibrant nightlife, and stunning coastal beauty make it an irresistible draw for UK residents. With its commitment to green living, smart city development, and a wealth of cultural offerings, it's no wonder Valencia is currently holding the crown as the favourite European coastal city among Brits.

Spotted a mistake, have some feedback, or just want to chat with our editorial team? Click here to get in touch.
Find out more about Travel Lens and read our editorial guidelines here.