València celebrates its title of European Green Capital 2024 in style

Valencia: European Green Capital 2024
Valencia: European Green Capital 2024

In this article, we pay attention to greenery in the city. And our correspondent for Spain and Portugal, Chris Vos looked at Valencia before that. The European Green Capital award, presented by the European Commission, recognises a city's efforts to improve the environment and quality of life for its citizens and visitors. It takes into account factors such as the many green spaces and sustainable mobility initiatives a city's residents can enjoy.

As soon as you arrive, you feel that Valencia is a green city. There are almost five million square metres of green spaces. The Turia River Garden is one of the largest urban natural areas in Spain, with more than nine kilometres of walkable paths criss-crossing the city with recreational and sports areas and romantic nooks where you can lose yourself. It is an ideal route for runners, cyclists, families and nature lovers. The old riverbed is crowned by 18 bridges that bear witness to centuries of history and is bordered on both banks by some of the city's most important museums and monuments. 

After the great flood of 14 October 1957, which destroyed the city, the Turia's bed was diverted to the south of Valencia, freeing up an important strip of land that crosses the city from west to east and surrounds the historic centre. Several urban planners and landscape designers designed the different parts of the riverbed in 1986. They mimicked the old river landscape and created a unique route with palm and orange trees, fountains and pine trees, aromatic plants and ponds, sports fields and rose gardens.

Inmense garden

The immense garden is also bordered by the Parque de Cabecera and the Bioparc to the west and the avant-garde City of Art and Science on the other side, almost at the mouth of the river. We could say that the Turia Garden connects the African savannah, faithfully recreated in the Bioparc, with the underwater world and ecosystems that can be visited in l'Oceanogràfic, or with the spectacular opera house, the Palau de les Arts, both in the City of Arts and Sciences. The Parque de Cabecera is the most leafy area of the Turia riverbed. There are other interesting stops along the way, such as Gulliver, a huge slide park where children climb like Lilliputians and slide down the fingers, hair or legs of this giant 70-metre figure.

In the Parque de Cabecera, you can rent boats in the shape of a swan and in the ponds around the City of Arts and Sciences, there are balls to walk on the water and canoes in the summer months. Because València is a flat city, the Turia Gardens are an ideal place for runners or for bike, segway or tandem rides. These small vehicles can be hired on the riverbed itself. Along the route, there are also bars and cafés with large terraces. 

Green lungs

València has not only many green spaces in the city centre, but also natural parks on the outskirts of the city that are easily accessible by public transport or bicycle. One of these green lungs is the Parque Natural de l'Albufera, a true oasis barely half an hour from the city, also for the thousands of birds that visit the important wetlands every year. You can explore the various ecosystems on foot or by bike, or relax on a boat trip and end up tasting a traditional Valencian paella among the rice fields where this dish originated.

Green transport

Transport is also green in Valencia. You can easily get around the city by public transport and, even better, by bike. With more than 200 kilometres of bike lanes and virtually flat terrain, exploring the city on two wheels is a pleasure and the most sustainable way to get to all the sights. The city also has 94 km2 of pedestrian space.


As part of being awarded European Green Capital 2024, the city has put together a calendar of events. 

In early March, the exhibition "This will save us" by Egyptian artist Ghada Amer took place. Large steel flower pots cut in the shape of capital letters formed the phrase "This will save us". Routes through the lagoon by bike, boat or a combination of both are planned around the year

Gastronomy: Boat trip and paella in the Albufera

l'Albufera: 100% Valencian: What's included: 45 minutes (approximately) boat trip on l'Albufera in a traditional boat called albuferenc, shared by up to 30 customers. Boatmen do not speak English. Lunch menu to share per table, including: 4 starters, one rice dish per table, to choose from: Valencian paella (chicken and vegetables), arroz a banda (paella with fish), mixed paella, black rice, fideuà or seafood paella, or vegetable paella and also water, wine, soft drinks, dessert of your choice. 


- Cycling tour and boat trip in l'Albufera

-European Carbon Farming Summit in Valencia - 5-7/03/2024 At this 'European Carbon Farming Summit', participants had the opportunity to discuss, share, align and agree on mechanisms and initiatives to improve soil health, mitigate climate change and increase agricultural productivity through more sustainable practices across the European Union. 

One of the actions is the European Commission's Cities Mission Conference 2024. This is a top-level international climate conference that brings together senior representatives at local, national and EU level every year to advance cities' path to climate neutrality. Participants in this year's event will include 112 Mission Cities, "and we will extend this invitation and engagement to other common networks, such as the European Green Cities network. During the event, which will take place in June, a decalogue of commitments, the Valencia Green Charter 2024, will be drafted in the form of a manifesto. "The Cities Mission Conference 2024 will take place in Valencia, Spain, on 25 and 26 June 2024.

The conference will give local governments, mayors, practitioners, regional and national authorities, representatives of the European Commission and other actors the opportunity to discuss the current state of play and progress of the EU Climate Neutral and Smart Cities Mission.