Valencia has its own beach*, but it isn't really walking distance from the city. If you have to take a bus anyway, what's the difference between a ten-minute ride to the mediocre beach in Valencia and a 25-minute one to a really good one?
Beaches Less Than One Hour from Valencia
- El Saler
The nearest good beach to Valencia.
- El Puig
The grand monastery in El Puig makes a great break from all that exhausting sunbathing!
More nice beaches, this time with a 2,000 year old Roman amphitheatre.
Beaches More Than One Hour from Valencia
- Javea (Xabia)
Javea (or Xabia in Catalan) is a beautiful beach that also has a nice old town to go with it.
A bit bigger than most of the towns listed here, Denia has a good beach and some good hiking trails to work off the ice creams.
A nice beach town where, as a foreigner, you might actually be in a minority.
Beaches to Avoid
Benidorm is the budget-priced package holiday of choice for lager-louts from throughout Europe. Despite reputedly having more hotel beds than anywhere in Europe after Paris and London, most of them are being slept in by hungover Brits and Germans on package deals so the options are limited for independent travelers.
Having said that, I remember really enjoying the Aqualandia waterpark in Benidorm when I was about ten years old!
*You still want to go to Valencia's city beach, despite all the suggestions above? OK. Take a bus (no. 19)from Plaza de la Reina to Playa de la Malvarrosa. Playa de las Arenas is a short walk from Malvarrosa and is a little nicer.