Located only an hour south of downtown Valencia, Gandia Beach is such a fantastic place to explore. There are a lot of fun things to do in Gandia, Spain that will keep you and the whole family busy.
Whether you simply want to visit it as a day trip from Valencia or you want to book a hotel and stay a few days, there are plenty of Gandia attractions to enjoy.
Gandia has a downtown area packed with history and culture and just a short bus ride or drive from the city center is one of the most beautiful beaches in Valencia region.
Where is Gandia, Spain?
Gandia Spain is located 73km or 45 miles from Valencia, which makes it a nice day trip if you are based in Valencia.
It is 111km or 68 miles north of Alicante, which is a little bit far for a day trip, so if you do want to explore this coastline, I highly recommend renting a car in Alicante and doing a fun road trip through Benidorm, around the beautiful Punta Plana and Cap Negre, and eventually making your way to Gandia.
The closest airport to Gandia is the Valencia Airport. It’s 83km or 51 miles from the airport and takes about 50 minutes by car.
There is currently no direct bus from Valencia to Gandia, so you can either rent a car and drive yourself (check out our tips for driving in Spain if it’s your first time!) or you can take the metro into Valencia (maybe spend 3 days in Valencia exploring!) and then take the train from the Valencia Nord Station to Gandia.
Where to Stay in Gandia
During the year there are just under 80,000 inhabitants in Gandia. During the summer, that number triples.
So if you are planning to visit Gandia during the summer months, which is a wonderful time to visit this lesser-visited Valencia beach town, then just be sure to book far enough in advance.
There are always a few hotels available at the last minute, but they will either be prohibitively expensive or of a very low quality (and probably still prohibitively expensive).
These are my top picks for location, value for money, and stylish stays.
- Hotel RH Riviera: This is the best option for couples who want a romantic getaway. This is an adults-only hotel with an outdoor pool, direct beach access, and a beach club with a bar and beach chairs for guests. Rooms are comfortable and if you book in advance it’s quite reasonably priced. Rooms start at €100 per night. Book a stay at Hotel RH Riviera here.
- Hotel Los Robles: This is a big family-friendly hotel with a pool, right across from the beach, and a fantastic breakfast buffet. Rooms start at €65 per night. Book a stay at Hotel Los Robles here.
- Hotel Cibeles Playa: Slightly set back from the beach, this is a good budget option if you want to be able to walk to all of the restaurants around the beach and marina while also being away from the beachfront where parties can go on late during the summer months. The hotel has a pool, an onsite restaurant, and on-site parking. Rooms start at €50 per night. Book a stay at Hotel Cibeles Playa here.
- Hotel Safari: This is perhaps the most design-conscious hotel option in Gandia (if you’re looking for stylish stays this probably isn’t the beach town for you, get yourself to Malaga or Marbella instead). The rooms are comfortable, the bar and restaurant are nice, the pool is fantastic, and it has family rooms available. Rooms start at €67 per night. Book a stay at Hotel Safari here.
Things to Do in Gandia
While most of your time will likely be spent on the long, sandy beaches of Gandia, there are quite a few fun things to do in Gandia in case the clouds roll in or you want to experience a little bit of culture while you’re here.
1. Ducal Palace
Ducal Palace is one of my absolute favorite things to do in Gandia and is one of the most beautiful palaces in this region of Spain.
The palace dates back to the 14th century and was once the home of the Duke of Gandia. It is also the birthplace of Saint Francis Borja was born.
Entrance tickets include a free audio guide which you can put into English or Spanish. The audio guide is a fantastic way to learn more about the history of the extravagant Borja family and about the art and artifacts that still adorn the walls of the palace today.
If it’s particularly hot when you are visiting, this is a nice place to cool off. The building offers tons of shade and the stone and tiles make the interior of the building feel very cool compared to the midday heat outside. Book your tickets to the Ducal Palace here.
2. Santa Clara Convent
Whether you are a religious person or not, this is a wonderfully ornate church to explore while you are visiting Gandia. The monastery dates back to the 16th century. It is here in this monastery that the Franciscan order was first created.
The Monastery of Santa Clara is still a fully functioning cloistered convent, which means you are not allowed to see the nuns. The only part of the convent that you can visit is the church of Santa Clara which is open throughout the day to visit and pray.
If you time it right, you can experience something unique. During the Blessed Sacrament, a monthly devotion for prayer, visitors can hear, but not see, the nuns praying in a room inside the church.
3. Santa Clara Museum
If you want to learn more about the formation of the Franciscan religion and how it was formed or you want to learn about the nuns who helped form it, you can visit the Santa Clara Museum which is only a block away from the convent church.
The museum is also home to an exceptional art collection. It is without a doubt, the best art museum in Gandia that I visited. Much of the art was gifted to the convent by the Borja family (yes, the ones who lived in the decadent Ducal Palace).
The hours change depending on the time of year with longer summer opening hours and shorter winter opening hours. Check their website to find out the latest prices and hours of operation for your trip.
4. Archeological Museum of Gandia
For such a small city, there is a long history here in Gandia and the Archeological Museum tells that history. A small entry fee will allow you to explore two floors of the Paleolithic and Neolithic times as well as some artifacts that cover the Roman, Iberian, and Islamic history of Gandia.
The museum is housed in the old Hospital de Sant Marc which was built in the 14th century by the first Duke of Gandia.
There are signs in both Spanish and English to explain the different artifacts that have been collected. It is located right next door to the Santa Clara Museum, so they are easily visited on the same day.
5. The Collegiate Basilica of Santa Maria of Gandia
Known locally simply as La Seu, the Basilica of Santa Maria of Gandia is a stunning church in the city’s historic center. It is a Valencian Gothic church that dates back to the 14th century, although it took nearly two centuries to be completed.
Both the exterior and interior of the church were once much more ornate than what you see now. However, during the Spanish Civil War, a lot of the riches disappeared.
It’s still worth going inside and exploring this large central church. There are several works of art and sculptures of note that have been protected.
The opening hours aren’t the most convenient, so try to visit earlier in the day. It is open daily from 8:30 am to noon. It then closes and reopens again from 6-8 pm.
6. City Hall Plaza
Right in the same plaza as La Seu is the City Hall building. Like many cities in Spain, this is the center of life here in Gandia.
This is where the town puts on celebrations and holiday festivities. At Christmas time, this is where you’ll find the city’s tree. You’ll find an extension of Valencia’s enormous Fallas festival here in this plaza during March in Spain.
You can go inside the City Hall Building which is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 2 pm.
7. Mercat del Prado
For a local market experience, head to Mercat del Prado.
Since 1933, this market has offered locals a place to gather, shop, and more recently, dine. If you are self-catering during your stay in Gandia, you can come here to find raw and cured meats, cheeses, fruits and vegetables, and seafood.
However, the better reason to come here as a visitor to Gandia is for the different food stalls serving prepared meals like burgers, bocadillos (Spanish sandwiches), tortillas (Spanish omelets), and lots of tapas options as well.
8. Playa de Gandia (Gandia Beach)
Once you have explored all of the fun things to do in Gandia city center, it’s time to head to the beach!
If you have a car, you can simply drive to the coast. Use Waze or Google Maps to find the quickest route and the best parking options available.
If you do not have a car, you can head to the train station. At the front of the train station, there is a bus stop with a big sign that says “Playa.” That is the bus that will take you to the beach.
Gandia Beach is clean and has beautiful fine golden sand, calm waves, and tons of space to relax. Whether you want to play some ball games, go for a swim, or lounge on a beach chair facing the sunshine, you can have it all at Gandia Beach.
There is also a train station here at the beach (about a 10-minute walk from the sand). If you are heading back to Valencia after a day trip to Gandia, then you can hop right on the train from the beach and get back to Valencia Nord in just over an hour.
9. Faro del Grao de Gandía
While you are down at the beach in Gandia, head out for a walk on the long boardwalk towards the Faro del Grao de Gandia. This is a lighthouse which is not much to speak of. However, the boardwalk that leads you out to it is spectacular.
It is long and sticks right out into the marina, which means you get great views back over the beach as well as of all of the boats coming and going from the docks, including a boat that can take you all the way to Ibiza.
Where to Eat in Gandia
If you get hungry while you’re in Gandia and you want to enjoy some traditional food at a great restaurant, don’t miss out on these great spots.
- Paella Va! – If you want some paella (it is from Valencia after all!), then this is the place to have it. Located right near the marina, it’s an easy place to head to away from the touristy spots near the beach. They have all different types of seafood paella as well as the more traditional Paella Valenciana which is made with chicken and rabbit. There are also vegetarian options available. Be sure to make a booking ahead of time in the summer.
- La Delicà Restaurant – Located in the historic center, this is one of the best restaurants in Gandia and if you are here for an evening meal, should not be missed (although they’re open for lunch, too!). Perfectly grilled octopus, grilled meats, paella, and a few casual bites as well. This is a great option for a group of people who like different types of food. They have a bit of something for everyone.
- El Rincon de Cervantes – A few blocks from the beach, this is a seafood lover’s dream. Grilled and stuffed squid, steamed mussels, fried sardines, and plenty of paella options. This is a great spot for cold beers and great local cuisine.