As pointed out recently by the New York Times here, València is a Mediterranean city offering shelter from the crowds:
For a less frenetic dose of cosmopolitan Mediterranean charm, head 220 miles down the coast to Valencia, Spain’s third-largest city, with 800,000 residents and barely 2 million visitors per year. Founded as a retirement community for Roman soldiers, it has many of the same attributes as Barcelona — both were ancient walled cities — with a sprawling, mazelike center filled with Gothic, Romanesque, Renaissance and Baroque architecture. All styles were combined in Valencia’s Cathedral, built between the 13th and 18th centuries; architectural purists should not miss the 15th-century Silk Exchange, a Unesco World Heritage Site and a stunning reminder of the city’s mercantile importance.
Wrapped around the center is a ribbon of parks in what was once the Turia River, which was diverted in the 1950s after severe flooding. Sitting at one end of the park is the City of the Arts and the Sciences, with its extraterrestrial-looking opera house, science museum and aquarium (Europe’s largest), all designed by Santiago Calatrava.
Obviously any European city with more than 300 days of sunshine a year, endless blue flag beaches, world-class culture, gastronomy and architecture is never devoid of tourists, but Valencia maintains an under-the-radar vibe and is blissfully free of masses of tourists racing from monument to monument, leaving plastic water bottles and local resentment in their wake.
To sum up, València is a hospitable and safe city offering plenty of alternatives to visitors, even when traveling with the family or when only a limited amount of time is available. Some interesting recommendation to plan your trip to València can be found at VLC Turismo Valencia webpage, including a “3 days in Valencia” plan.