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Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Sea Saffron Provides an Incredible Tour Experience Ending with an Unforgettable View, Wine and Tapas in Valencia Spain


Luxury Travel Docs gives 5 stars to Sea Saffron who offers guided tours by local hosts in Valencia, Spain with Food and wine tastings and Breathtaking views. 


LTD took a shore excursion sightseeing tour paired with first-class treatment, tapas, wine tasting and incredible views. It was an experience we won’t forget. 



1. Booking


We recommend going directly to the Sea Saffron website to see what experiences are offered. Other alternatives are to book on TripAdvisor or Viator. Plans change and Sea Saffron offers the same cancellation policy as TripAdvisor at their website but since there are multiple options of how to book, do what is most comfortable for you.  Find a direct link to Sea Saffron at the end of this post!


2. Communication 


Our cruise ship changed times of docking before we embarked and Nick, our guide from Sea Saffron notified us of the new time to meet via text even before we were aware of the change! The fact that they were very informed of our circumstances was extremely reassuring to us! We preferred to change our communication to WhatsApp and Nick was prompt and thorough when answering our questions and providing instructions for meeting.

RxTIP:  Use T-Mobile for international travel because it provides unlimited data and text in many countries.


3. Meeting





Nick informed us that our dock had changed and that we would need to take a shuttle to our meeting place. He told us the color of the bus and that it would be free. Non-cruise personnel were not allowed in the new docking area. The instructions were perfect and he met us right on time.

RxTIP: WhatsApp is helpful since it provides a photo of your guide helping you locate them. Since we new what Nick looked like we located him without looking for a sign.

Also we easily found the other 6 persons on the tour since the terminal was not very crowded.


4. Transportation 


Sea Saffron arranged three private cars for us to get around Valencia. The drivers were punctual, pleasant and safe. The cars were clean and comfortable.



Our guide Nick Denton is from the London area and has a Masters degree in Academic Theology which provided an interesting perspective on Spanish history. He presented wonderful information about the complicated religious history of Spain, and how it is reflected in the architecture and art of Valencia. We didn’t enter any of the many churches in Valencia but it would be an interesting to tour a church with Nick. Our tour started with setting off to the Valencia’s Old Town to explore the historic Central Market.



In the market we learned much about Spanish and more specifically, the regional cuisine. Nick was wonderful in providing historical and cultural context to every food item and architectural tidbit.



Rx Tip:


Pickpockets are very common when going to a crowded market in Europe.  The market in Valencia was not crowded when we were there, but we experienced VERY crowded markets in other cities like Barcelona where attempts were made on our secured belongings.  One person in our tour group pictured here had their cell phone stolen in Barcelona.  LTD can't stress enough the importance of antitheft bags and vigilance!  We recommend the Sherpani AT sling bag for men or women.  It is lightweight, comfortable and looks great!  This is especially good for persons with back pain to minimize pressure on the spine.  The anti-theft features include zipper locks, anti slash bottom and strap, chair loop lock system and RFID protection.  Click the photo to learn more at Amazon and support our blog!  Thank you so much!!!





We continued our walk with viewing all of old town, including the old “red light district” all the while learning about manufacturing and trade such as silk, the local history and modern festivals in Valencia.


Our Old town tour culminated seeing the famous Virgin Square where the annual festival of to the Virgen de los Desamparados (Our Lady of the Forsaken) occurs, pointing out unique aspects of architecture such as the bishops bridge, the viewing gallery and sails to cover the Virgin since she cannot get wet during the festival. We had to skip the interior of the Church of San Nicolas because our time in port was shortened by the cruise line.



At the city gate our private drivers took us to the City of Arts and Sciences where we learned about the beautiful and controversial construction project. The one-billion euro project went at least three times over budget and is yet to be finished. It was designed by the famous but controversial architect Santiago Calatrava, who designed the Oculus at Ground Zero as well. Reflecting nature much like Gaudi did over 100 years ago, the complex consists of amazing buildings each representing a living things such as a human eye, human hands or a whale.


Nick was very good at orienting us with maps about where we were and historically how the city of Valencia has evolved. This is important at the City of Arts and Sciences since it abuts the former location of the Turia river that was diverted to limit flooding years before. Our walk over the Pont de Montolivet Bridge to view the opera house that looks like a Spartan Helmet culminated in being escorted to the 33rd floor apartment with a wrap-around terrace!



WOW! What a view of the Sea, the City of Arts and Sciences, the mountains and all of Valencia! The table was set four our 10 course tapas menu and wine tasting of of four varietals.




Here are the details of what we enjoyed:

The Wines:

The order below is the winery, the name, the wine and the grape.

  1. Torre Oria, Señorío de Requena, Cava Brut: 100% Macabeo
  2. Bodegas Xalo, Bahía de Dénia, Vino Blanco, 100% Moscatel
  3. Torre Oria, Monastrell, Vino Tinto, 100% Monastrell
  4. Murviedro, Mig Segle Mistella de Moscatel, Vino de Postre, 100% Moscatel




The 10 course Tapas included:


  • Tortillas: Spanish Omlette. Egg, potato and onion with cherry tomato and guindillas.
  • Esgarraet: Sweet red peppers, soaked in olive oil and garlic with bacalao (salted and dried cod fish).



  • Sobrasada con queso mescal, caliente: Raw cured sausage from ground pork, paprika, salt and spices. The meat is dehydrated.
  • Paella y Arroz Negro: Two of the most famous rices from the area. The rice grains are grown in Albufera, the largest fresh water lagoon in Spain (21,120 hectares) which is 6km to the south of the city. The Valencian paella is traditionally made with chicken and rabbit, and saffron, (hence the name of the company) and arroz negro is made with squid ink and is our primary seafood dish.




I asked our guide at the end of the day what the mission of Sea Saffron is and here is what he said:

“We want to give the traveller the best experience possible, and we strive to do that through unique spaces and intimacy. We wanted to offer something different and special, and hopefully that’s what our clients feel”.

-Nick Denton, Sea Saffron


Bottom line:


We found this through TripAdvisor and read a lot of reviews before booking. We booked directly through SeaSaffron.com, who provided clear instructions on the meeting point and location. The tour started with a small tour of old town and the market. We arrived by private drivers, and thank goodness we didn’t have to take a bus around town! At the end of the walking tour we had amazing tapas and wine on a rooftop terrace and the wine tasting was paired with tapas that exceeded our expectations. We did expect entry into the church of St Nicolas which would have been interesting with our guide considering his degree in theology, but since Princess reduced our time in port, we were unable do everything in a timely fashion.

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