Earth : Europe : Iberia : Spain : Eastern Spain : Valencia (region)
The Valencian Community (Spanish: Comunidad Valenciana, Valencian: Comunitat Valenciana) is a region on the South-Eastern coast of Spain, popular for its 518 km of Mediterranean coastline with sand beaches and a vibrant nightlife.
The Valencian Community is divided into three provinces:
The Valencian Community largely occupies the territory of the historical Kingdom of Valencia, created during the Reconquista, when the christians won the region back from the muslims, between 1232 and 1245. The Kingdom of Valencia was one of the component realms of the Crown of Aragon, and therefore, of the Kingdom of Spain after the dinastic union between Aragon and Castile.
With the death of the spanish king Carlos II in 1700, leaving no descendants, the War of the Spanish Succession broke out, with the Kingdom of Valencia, like most of the Crown of Aragon, supporting the austrian Archduke Charles, and being eventually defeated by the supporters of the french Philip V. As a result Philip V abolished the privileges and own institutions of the rebeld regions who fought against him.
In 1833 the territory was divided in the three provinces of Alicante, Valencia and Castellon, and after several reorganizations of territory and government in 1982 the Valencian Community obtained its current status as an autonomous community of Spain.
The Statute of Autonomy recognizes both Spanish and Valencian as co-official languages. Valencian is not fully widespread in the whole region, with Spanish being the dominant business language in the urban areas. In rural regions, however, it's not uncommon to interact with people who feel more comfortable speaking Valencian.
Valencian is mutually intelligible with Catalan, so some Catalan knowledge can help. Despite this, virtually all Valencian residents are bilingual, and will have no scruples about using Spanish in conversation.
English is spoken by staff at major hotels and the main tourist attractions, but otherwise, its proficiency is lower than more tourist-heavy communities like Catalonia, Andalusia, or Madrid.
The Valencian Community has two busy international airports, serving also a decent number of national destinations.
- Alicante is still the most active, with flights to almost everywhere in Europe and a few from outside the continent, with a number of low-cost and flag-carrier airlines promoting it. It's the natural gateway to Costa Blanca.
- Valencia has increased in the last year it number of passenger, as the city itself made its name as a tourist point.
Additionally San Javier Airport, located in the Region of Murcia, is sometimes offered as "Alicante South" by some airlines, especially scandinavian ones. From Murcia is a short trip to Costa Blanca.
If coming from another point in Spain train will probably be a good option to consider.
The Euromed and Talgo trains go from Alicante north to Catalonia, stopping at every province's capital. Alicante also shares a short-distance train network with Murcia that continues south to Cartagena.
RENFE operates the national trains . There are often interesting promotions if booked with enought time, as Alicante - Barcelona for 45 € roundtrip in the web-site.
Buses are widely used, being often the private company ALSA  the only carrier for medium and long distances for the route you are looking for. That means that prices won't always be the cheapest, and compared to the new bus companies in Central Europe it may seem a bad quality/price deal. On the other way ALSA has a widespread network, allowing you to reach Valencia from almost anywhere in Spain.
ALSA also works with Eurolines , bringing a big ammount of connections from Europe and Marocco to the region.
The Autopista AP-7 (also known as Autopista del Mediterraneo) runs along the Mediterranean coast of Spain, passing all the way throught the Valencian Community. It starts in Catalonia, next to the french border, and finishes in Almeria. Several sections have expensive tolls, so some people prefer to avoid it and use the slightly slower (but highly recommended) Autovia del Mediterraneo or A-7.
If coming from the center of Spain, the traditional A-3 links Madrid with Valencia. It used to be infamous for the traffic jams, so the toll motorway AP-36 may be considerated as an alternative.
Same as getting from outside the region can be applied, with trains and buses making most of the journeys when a private car is not available.
Common sense must be taken in account as in any other region.
Being an area popular for its nightlife pubs and clubs tend to be quite full, especially at weekends. Sadly not everyone knows how to behave, and it may possible to encounter a young group intoxicated with alcohol and other substances willing to provoke a fight. Don't fall into it and don't hesitate to call the police if you are feeling unsafe. Also don't let yourself be a victim of a crime because of being drunk.
Most hospitals and police stations have translators for the most common languages (English, German, French and Russian). Translators for other languages can take some time (per example a Norwegian translator took more than 1 h in a hospital in Torrevieja).
If renting a house, ask several times where it's exactly located. Some people felt scammed when a house "next to the beach" was actually 10 Km away.
For long-staying foreigners it is advised to make some contacts with the locals to help with the bureaucracy. It's been reported of people being charged up to 100 € for a process that could be made online for free. Some telephone and electric companies are already offering advising services for their clients in those matters.
Take in account the danger of exposure to the sun. Being red as a crab is nothing to be proud. Also when temperatures are around 40ºC remember to stay under the shadows and to hydrate often.
Don't underestimate the danger of the sea. Avoid swimming when a red flag is fluttering and don't risk so much when it's yellow. Every year there are fatal accidents, people who thought that they knew the sea quite well, or people who got so much bravery at night after drinking.
Avoid referring the Valencian language as Catalan unless the other person address it with that name first, as it may bring some political friction. Referring to it as Valencian will always be the safest way to avoid an unwelcome argument.
Remember to clean your stuff when you go to the beach, so others, including wild animals, can enjoy it. Sometimes its a pity to see the amount of garbage left on the beach after a busy day.
Some tourists tend to do in vacations what they wouldn't do in their home countries. Remember that other people live and work there, or they just want to relax there without being disturbed. Keep vandalism away, clean your own stuff and respect others.