Valencia Tourist Information – The City Of All Possibilities!
The splendid city of Valencia, capital of the Valencian community and situated on the east coast of Spain has a recorded history dating back to 137BC. With a population approaching 810,000 people, the city is Spain’s third largest and popular tourist spot thanks to its cosmopolitan reputation and international prestige. The city is also home to the traditional Spanish dish paella and is renowned as a fashionable place to be seen in Spain. The city also plays a prominent role in international trade and investment.
The city is ideal for tourists on a short break as it is generally compact and easily walk able. Further to reach destinations are also easily accessible as the network of public transport in the city is well developed with an extensive bus and tram network system, as well as the metro. As in many Spanish cities and towns the old quarter is a real treat with picturesque old buildings, historical monuments and the famous Valencia Cathedral all frequently visited as points of interest by the many tourists. A range of architectural styles can be noted in the city including gothic and modernist and the city boasts medieval churches and beautiful gardens in which to enjoy the beautiful weather.
What To Do
If you are into shopping then you should head to the Colon area of Valencia. Upmarket and fancy, the area offers some of the best shopping facilities in the city in wonderful surroundings. The old Colon Market which is a fine example of modernist architecture offers a luxury shopping arcade in the area where market traders used to sell their wares.
Situated on the Med coast with a pleasant year round climate and mild temperatures throughout the year, the new town of Valencia is home to numerous University faculties as well as the port and the beach. The active port offers a gateway to the Balearic Islands and is a busy commercial hub from which frequent holiday cruises begin their journeys. The city has experienced extensive redevelopment in recent years, making it more appealing to tourists with refurbishment of many points of interest. An important event in nearby Bunol draws thousands of tourists annually – the Tomatina is a famous event whereby locals pelt each other with tomatoes!
Attractions & Sightseeing
Tourists and visitors with an interest in art and history will revel in the many museums and galleries in the city. The following is a sneak preview:
1. Initial construction for the Valencia Cathedral started during the late 13th century until 15th century. Subsequent construction continued on for centuries which resulted in other artistic styles like Romanesque, Renaissance, French Gothic, Baroque, and Neoclassical further influencing the mainly Mediterranean Gothic styling of the Cathedral. The Cathedral is said to house the legendary Holy Grail, the cup supposedly used by Jesus Christ during the Last Supper. The Valencia Cathedral is also home to some of the best Quattrocento paintings in the Iberian Peninsula thanks to the efforts of Valencian Pope Alexander VI.
2. The futuristic City of Arts and Sciences, on the other hand, is famous for being one of Valencia’s modern jewels in the realm of architecture. The City of Arts and Sciences complex boasts of an IMAX cinema, planetarium, botanical garden-slash-art gallery, and many more. Most of the buildings were helmed by world-renowned architect Santiago Calatrava who is also a Valencia native. Architectural highlights of the complex are the Prince Felipe Science Museum, an interactive science museum shaped in the skeleton of a whale; the Queen Sofia Palace of Arts, an opera house and performing arts center; and the Oceanographic, the largest open-air oceanographic park in Europe designed in the shape of a lily pad and spearheaded by another world-famous architect, Felix Candela.
3. Valencia has recently played host to some of the most prestigious international sporting events like the America’s Cup and the Formula One European Grand Prix. The America’s Cup Port, the modern complex built to accommodate the America’s Cup competition, is one example of the infrastructures built during the revamping of Valencia City. Apart from serving as base for the America’s Cup teams, the complex also features the America’s Cup Park, a leisure park filled with shops, fun activities, exhibitions, and restaurants for its visitors.
4. Of course, a trip to Valencia is incomplete if you don’t get to taste their most famous contribution in the culinary realm: paella. Not many people know that paella is a regional dish originating from the Valencia area, specifically the area near Lake Albufera. The Valencian paella is made up of white rice, meat from rabbit, chicken or duck, land snails, green vegetables, and seasoning. The modern Valencian paella continues to utilize the original ingredients used by their ancestors. There are a lot of restaurants in the Valencia area that serve delicious paella, but the best place to get the most delicious paella is the village of El Palmar. This sleepy little town lies between El Saler and El Perello, just outside of Valencia, and is near Lake Albufera. It makes sense that that the area which grows the paella rice used by Valencians is the place where you can get the best paella in the city.
5. Finally, another must-not miss Valencia attraction is the Fallas festival. Although tourists troop to Valencia during the 15th of March, Fallas officially starts during the last Sunday of February. The main festivities take place during the 15th and last until the 19th. A true Fallas experience requires you to stay in the area for the entire five-day duration. During these five days, tourists are treated with a daily barrage of fireworks, parades, street parties, paella, music, and more! Colorful Fallas monuments and puppets called ninots fill the streets of Valencia all throughout. On the final night, these Fallas are burnt in large bonfires all over the city.
6. Plaza del Mercado – It is home to 3 interesting buildings among which the fabulous Silk Market, a wonderful example of European gothic civil architecture and declared as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO.
7. La Catedral – Famous for the three great gates in three different styles: baroque for the Irony Gate, gothic for the Apostles gate and Romanesque for the Palace Gate.
8. Torres de Serranos – the Torres de Serranos was constructed at the end of the 14th century by the architect Pere Balaguer. It is considered to be the largest Gothic city gateway in Europe.
9. Museo des Belles Artes San Pio V – one of the most incredible painting archives in the country. The museum is located in a Baroque building recently renewed and it contains collections of Velencian painters and works by Goya, Velázquez, Murillo and El Greco.
10. Iglesia de San Juan del Hospital- One of the oldest churches of the city. It dates back to 1261. Visiting it you may contemplate the great chapel of Santa Barbara and other interesting chapels (Gothic period).
11. Museo Nacional de Ceramica – in the National Ceramics Museum “Gonzalez Marti” you can find a great collection of tiles made in the Royal Ceramics Factory. The museum is housed in a wonderful 15th century palace, refurbished in 1740 on rococo style.
12. Monasterio Sant Miguel de los Reyes – its facade is built in Renaissance style and it is framed by two towers with columns in Baroque style.
13. La ciudad de las artes y las ciencias – Maybe it’s the city’s symbol. The complex includes some different buildings: L’Hemisferic (Laserium, Planetarium and IMAX cinema); the Science Museum, an interactive exposition; the huge marine park l’Oceanographic; the Palau des arts (an Opera House).
14. El jardín botánico – This spectacular green space was founded in 1567 for the study of medicinal plants. Since 1802 it is located in l’Hort de Tramoyeres and it has been restored in 2000.
15. El puerto y la playa – In 2007 Valencia hosted the 32nd America’s Cup and its port became famous worldwide. Don’t miss a walk at the promenade facing the seafront and beaches:
- Pinedo – This beach is located at the entrance of the Turia River. Many fishermen with their fish meet in this place. The commercial port of Valencia is very near and you can see it from here. This has white sand and calm waters. The beach length is 800 M and width 20 M. This beach is very crowded at peak hours. However, this will be of interest to nudists.
- El Saler Valencia – This is also in the Natural Reserve Albufera and is good for sports lovers. It has gravel sand and moderate waves. The length is 6200 M and width 35 M.
- L’Arbe del Gos Valencia – This is located near the sand dunes of the natural reserve Albufera and is provided with many facilities in addition to a lane for bicycles. It has golden sand and calm waters. The length is 2600 M and width 40 M.
- La Malvarrosa – This is located in the Valencia city. The infrastructure for sports on this is tremendous. One can play volleyball, rugby and practice cycling. This is extremely clean and is in good condition. This has white sand and moderate waves. The length is 2800 M and width 60 M. It is very crowded at peak hours.
- La Devesa Valencia – This is situated inside the Nature Park Albufera and has dunes that are typical of this region. This is alternatively known as Devesa and many people love this. Its coastline is clean and has dunes, fine white sand and clean blue waters. It is relatively less crowded because the route to reach this place is not developed. You can either go by car or by foot. Walking is highly enjoyable. This has golden sand and moderate waves. The length is 4860 M and width 35 M.
- Col-Legi Valencia – This is situated inside the Nature Park Albufera and tourists rarely visit this. It has white sand and calm waters. The length is 1000 M and width 30M.
- Cabañal-Arenas Valencia – This has urban services and has facilities for children’s amusement and sports. It is crowded for most part of the year because of pleasant temperatures. Nightlife here is very good. This has golden sand and moderate waves. The length is 1200 M and width 60 M.
Top 5 Areas To Stay In Valencia
The juxtaposition of century old buildings with modern day architecture gives the city a uniqueness that has attracted many tourists looking to visit all of its various facets. Though the intrinsic beauty of the region makes it a common vacation destination, it is not always easy to decide where in Valencia to stay.
Comprised of five major neighborhoods, the city has a lot to offer all types of travelers.
The Historic Centre
Lined with cobblestone streets and beautiful medieval aged houses, staying in the Historic Centre of Valencia will make you feel as though you’ve taken a step back in time. One of its most famous attractions is the Valencia Cathedral. It is important to note that there are no metro stops in the Historic Centre but several stations are within walking distance. If you’re looking for an authentic historical experience in Valencia, the Historic Centre may be the most striking option.
If white sand beaches and the cool shimmering waves of the Mediterranean Sea are more your cup of tea, Malvarrosa is one of the best places to unpack your bags and slip on your bathing suit. Best known for its beautiful beaches, the area is a prime vacation destination with numerous hotels lining the Calle de Pavia boulevard. It is easily accessible with metro stops in several locations.
City of Arts and Sciences
For the intellectual mind, Valencia offers an Eden of knowledge intertwined with its natural beauties. The City of Arts and Sciences offers more modern architecture that pays homage to its historic surroundings. These buildings house a science museum, planetarium, aquarium, theater and opera house. City buses are accessible throughout the neighborhood and link with the Valencia transit system.
Barrio del Carmen
Similar to the Historic Centre, the Barrio del Carmen is lined with cobblestone streets and boasts of grand medieval architecture. Two of the most famous attractions in Barrio del Carmen are the Quart Towers and the Plaza Redonda. The Plaza Redonda hosts vendors who sell beautiful handmade textiles. However, Barrio del Carmen also has a striking night life with numerous bars, nightclubs and restaurants open late into the night. City buses are available throughout Barrio del Carmen and link with the Valencia transit system.
Palacio de Congresos
Serving as Valencia’s business centre, Palacio de Congresos is home to some of the most striking, world-class buildings in the region. Its bustling streets are filled with professionals and business travelers in the area for meetings and trade shows. The hotels available in Palacio do Congresos cater toward business men and women; however, numerous parks lined with beautiful trees and colorful flowers provide a softer side to the fast paced neighborhood. Numerous metro stops are located in Palacio de Congresos.
To make the most of a trip to Valencia, find out more about the unique neighborhoods it offers and pick one that best suits your interests. There is certainly something for everyone in the historically rich yet uniquely modern Spanish city. Enjoy your Valencia holidays this year!
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