Is Valencia in Catalonia? + More interesting Facts

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Since I have lived in Catalonia for years, I keep running across this question: “Does Valencia belong to Catalonia?”. And many visitors are surprised that this is, in fact, not the case.

It seems to be a widespread misconception that Valencia is a part of Catalonia or that Valencia-Catalonia is a region of its own. And the reasons for this are apparent. After all, the two have a lot in common and are also geographically close. But there are also plenty of differences between the two places.

In this article, I would like to explain the differences and reasons. This will help you avoid confusion and pitfalls when talking to locals from Catalonia or Valencia.

Is Valencia in Catalonia?

The city of Valencia does not belong to Catalonia – neither politically nor geopolitically. Valencia is the capital of the Spanish autonomous region Valencian Community (Comunidad Valenciana), which borders the south of Catalonia.

Palace of Arts in Valencia, not in catalonia
The City of Arts and Science in Valencia

Does the Valencian Community belong to Catalonia?

The Valencian Community is not part of Catalonia. On the contrary, it is one of 17 autonomous regions of Spain, just like Catalonia.

What is the difference between Valencia and Valencian Community?

Valencia is the city of Valencia. The Valencian Community, on the other hand, is the autonomous region south of Catalonia. The city of Valencia is located in the Valencian Community and is the capital and namesake of this region.

What are autonomous regions in Spain?

autonomous regions spain map
The autonomous Regions of Spain

Spain’s 17 autonomous regions are different areas of the country into which Spain is divided. The regions have different levels of autonomy and cannot influence the country’s national policies.

Do they speak Catalan in Valencia?

Yes and no. Valencian is spoken in Valencia, as well as in the rest of the Valencian Community. Valencian is officially a dialect of Catalan but has various differences in word usage, pronunciation, and grammar.

Where is Catalonia?

the autonomous Region of Catalonia on a Spain Map
Catalonia on a Spain map

Catalonia is located in the northwestern part of Spain. Starting at the border with France, it stretches along the Pyrenees (bordering Andorra) and along the Spanish Mediterranean coast until it borders the Valencian Community at Alcanar and Aragon at Tossa del Rei.

Where is Valencia?

Valencia on a map, spain map
Source: Google Maps

Valencia is located in the more southern central part of the Valencian Community between Castellón de la Plana and Alicante. The capital of the Valencian Community is located on the Spanish Mediterranean coast.

Where is the Valencian Community?

valencian community on a spain map
The Valencian Community on the Map of Spain

The Valencian Community is located in the central part of the Spanish Mediterranean coast, bordering Catalonia to the north, Murcia to the south, and Castilla-La Mancha to the east.

Was Valencia historically once part of Catalonia?

No. This is another widespread misconception. However, it is true that both Catalonia and Valencia were once part of the same kingdom. However, this was the Kingdom of Aragon (Aragon) and not Catalonia.

Differences between Catalonia and Valencia

View of Plaza de la Virgin, Cathedral and Basilica in Valencia
Plaza de la Virgen in Valencia

So, as already discussed, Valencia is not in Catalonia. But what exactly are the differences between Valencia and Catalonia?


Although both Catalonia and Valencia are located on the Spanish Mediterranean coast in the west of the country, this does not mean that they are one place. In the little town of San Rafael del Rio, the Valencian Community borders the south of Catalonia.


Hola, sign, illuminated writing on wall, learn spanish

Considering only the linguistic theory, Catalan is spoken in both Catalonia and Valencia. However, some Valencians insist that their language, Valencian, be considered its own language.

Strictly speaking, Valencian is a dialect of Catalan, but there are some clearly recognizable differences between the two.

In addition, it is believed that Catalans use their second official language, Catalan, significantly more than Valencians use their Valencian.

Both places also use Spanish as an official language in addition to their own languages.


Cagatio, Tio de Nadel, Catalan Christmas tradition
A typical Catalan tradition: the Tió de Nadal

Despite their proximity to each other, there are also various differences in the culture of Valencia and Catalonia. This starts with holidays such as the Día de la Comunidad Valenciana in Valencia in October and the Diada Nacional de Catalunya in Catalonia in September and also includes other festivals such as Las Fallas in Valencia or the Mercé Festival and Sant Jordi Day in Catalonia.

Also, various traditions are not shared between the two Spanish places. Examples are the Catalan Christmas tradition of Tió de Nadal or the typical Valencian Traje de Fallera dresses.


Paella Valenciana, typical yellow paella in paella pan
Probably the most typical dish of Valencia: Paella Valenciana

There are also some differences between Catalonia and Valencia regarding typical dishes. While the two share some signature dishes, such as the delicious fideuà (pasta paella), Valencian cuisine differs from Catalonia’s.

The most significant difference is probably the way paella is prepared. This popular Spanish dish originated in the Valencian community, where it is often eaten with saffron and rabbit meat. In Catalonia, on the other hand, paella is best prepared with seafood.

Typical dishes from Catalonia are Escalivada, botifarra, or Pa amb Tomàquet. From Valencia, we know Arroz a Banda, Olla Valenciana, or Buñuelos de Calabaza, among others.

Size and population

Catalonia is an autonomous region. Accordingly, with about 7.5 million inhabitants, Catalonia is far more extensive than Valencia (with about 800,000 inhabitants).

The Valencian Community, with around 5 million inhabitants, is also significantly smaller than Catalonia.


The climate also differs between Catalonia and Valencia. With its location south of Catalonia, Valencia is usually somewhat warmer than Catalonia. This is especially evident in summer when temperatures here can easily reach around 40°C.

What is the relationship between Catalonia and Valencia?

View from Castillo de Peniscola, beach, comunidad valenciana
Peníscola – very close to the border between Catalonia and the Valencian Community

The relationship between Catalonia and Valencia is generally quite good, as they are relatively similar culturally.

However, sometimes prejudices can occur, especially regarding the common language (Valencian is not considered a language of its own, but only a dialect of Catalan).

Likewise, Valencians can react upset if they are mistaken for Catalans. Seems like both regions got a dose of extra-national pride.

Conclusion: Do Valencia and Catalonia belong together?

Even though Catalonia and Valencia have much in common compared to other Spanish regions, they are two completely different places. Catalonia is its own autonomous community in Spain, while Valencia is the capital of the Valencian Community, another autonomous community in Spain.

FAQs about Valencia & Catalonia

What Spanish is spoken in Valencia?

Valencia speaks both Spanish and its own official language, Valencian, a dialect of Catalan. The spoken Spanish here is sometimes mixed with Valencian expressions, but it does not have a very strong dialect.

Do they speak Spanish or Catalan in Valencia?

In Valencia, both Spanish and a dialect of Catalan (Valencian) are spoken. Many of the inhabitants speak both languages as native speakers.

Visiting Valencia or Catalonia?

Both Valencia and Catalonia are perfect for a vacation or visit. Both regions offer many beautiful places to visit, places to go, lots of sunshine, exciting culture, and great food.

Does Mallorca belong to Catalonia?

Mallorca is not part of Catalonia. Although the language, Mallorcan, is based on Catalan, Mallorca belongs to the autonomous region of the Balearic Islands.

Does Madrid belong to Catalonia?

Madrid is not part of Catalonia. The Spanish capital is located in the autonomous region of the same name, Madrid. The regions of Aragon and Castile-La Mancha separate the two regions.

Does Ibiza belong to Catalonia?

Ibiza is not part of Catalonia. Although the language, Ibicenco, is based on Catalan, Ibiza is part of the autonomous region of the Balearic Islands.

Is there also an independence movement in Valencia?

Although there is also a movement in Valencia to strengthen its culture and language, the independence movement from Spain is far less present in Valencia than in Catalonia or the Basque Country.

Is Valencia or Barcelona more beautiful?

Valencia and Barcelona are both beautiful cities. While Valencia is a bit less touristy, Barcelona offers more sights.


About the AuthorVicki

Hi, we are Vicki & Eduardo, an international travel couple on a mission to help you save money for priceless travel experience. Follow us through the miracles of this world and you will be rewarded with a bunch of practical travel tips.

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