Valencia, Spain: Food, Architecture, and Fun

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By Veronica Shine

Not wanting to be known as the little sister of Barcelona, Valencia is a hidden jewel that has climbed the ranks on its own. In a land of Las Fallas, celebrated oranges, renowned paella and a mild Mediterranean climate, it doesn’t take long to appreciate its place in Spain. Actually, one can not take a step in this accessible city without being surprised. You soon realized that this old city centre is immersed with beautiful buildings, fountains, and plazas separated from the newer city by an ancient riverbed of gardens called “Antiguo Cauce del Rio Turia.” On a beautiful sunny day, it is delightful to wander through the old town and then flowered gardens of the riverbed or if that isn’t to your liking, just hire a bike or segway and tour around.

Big happenings are in Valencia and the city is evolving rapidly. The city has transformed in the past few years! In fact, they are getting four million visitors a year and many new residents who decided to hang their hat permanently. A newly renovated airport has two underground lines, which link the airport, the city centre and the harbour.

And speaking of seaports, a state of the art one was built, which became the battlefield for international sport’s oldest trophy in 2007, sailing’s 32nd America’s Cup. Proving a huge success, Valencia was awarded to host the 33rd. The port resides along the Mediterranean with lovely new walkways, shops and restaurants. So mark you calendar’s for this and other upcoming events.

Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias

The Oceanography of the City of the Arts and Sciences (Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias). The “Ciudad de las Artes y de las Ciencias” is reason enough to visit this innovated city of contrasts. The Oceanográfico is an underwater city with many of the colourful creatures belonging to the aquatic. Explore through tunnels surrounded by aquariums of tropical or arctic life. During this festival, The Red Sea Auditorium will become a great projection hall that will open its doors for the underwater world of documentaries and photography. The objective for is spreading the message of the conservation of the marine world and its inhabitants.

Oceanográfico Ciudad de las Artes y Ciencias

The European Grand Prix moves to Valencia this year! What’s really trendy is that the Valencia race will happen through the streets of the city, around the port area, just like the Monaco Grand Prix. It is scheduled to run 23-25th August 2008.

Paella -  Dish of Valencia

With all these upcoming events, sit down along the waterfront and have an Agua de Valencia and chill out. It literally means water of Valencia, made with a base of orange juice and a mixture of cava (sparking wine) with other liquors. It is not hard to see why Valencia is becoming so popular. Of course, any trip to Valencia can’t end without Paella


Best Bets While You Visit Valencia

1) Albufera – This freshwater lagoon is just south of Valencia and is an important wetland and nature reserve. Birds of migration love to feed in its surrounding rice fields. It is separated from the Mediterranean by a sand bar. Best bet is to arrive late in the day, take a boat and see the sunset within the lake far from the madding crowd. http://www.turisvalencia.es

2) Ciudad de las Artes y las CienciaDesigned by the Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava containing 3 futuristic buildings; the Hemisferic (IMAX theatre), the Parque Oceanografico (largest aquarium in Europe) and the Museo de las Ciencias (hands on Science Museum) with many special exhibits throughout the year are surrounded by network of steel, glass, concrete and gardens. www.cac.es

3) The Cathedral – Styled in a mixture of Gothic, Baroque and Romanesque but what makes this cathedral unique is its most celebrated object; a gold and agate chalice. It is said to be the cup used by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper – the Holy Grail, so go judge and decide for yourself. Located at Plaza de la Reina, nearest Metro: Colon

4) Museum of Fine Arts (Museo de Bellas Artes) – one of the best in Spain and recently expanded. If you love art, this extensive collection of paintings and sculptures will include the masters. Have Van Dyck, El Greco, Sorolla, Velazquez, and Goya fill your day up. http://www.cult.gva.es/mbav

The Palace of Music

5) Museo de las Fallas (Fallas History Museum) – To appreciate Valencia you must understand Las Fallas, a festival of fireworks, multi-coloured parades and ninots–huge cardboard, wood and plaster statues–that are placed at over 350 key intersections and parks around the city prior to Easter each year. As a festival, the ninots takes a year to construct, presented during that one week and finally consumed by flames on the last night. However, some figures are not burned and are presented at the museum along with costumes and photographs. http://www.fallas.com/museo.htm

Hotels in Valencia range from ultra modern along the new beach promenade to boutique style in 19th Century buildings. Since the premier of the Americas Cup in 2007, many new hotels have opened to accommodate the visitors with Mediterranean style.

9 comments on “Valencia, Spain: Food, Architecture, and Fun

  1. Tealady on said:

    Hi
    Great article. I have never been to Spain but will be going there this November for my honey moon. Valencia is definitely on the schedule, I may need a week just to visit the history and art museums.

  2. Chaosn2stars on said:

    Tealady…….Enjoy! My husband and I went to Spain on our honeymoon 22 years ago…and I’ve been back several times since. Valencia was one of my favorite spots….be certain to get to the museum of Fine Arts. Enjoy paella and sangria ALL you can!

  3. Valencia Car on said:

    Hi,

    if you go to Valencia don’t forget to test the “Agua de Valencia”, it’s better than sangria!!

    ;)

  4. Simon Creed on said:

    We’ve lived and worked in Valencia for a few years now and have to agree that it is one of the best places we can think of to live… love it to bits

  5. Holiday Rentals Spain on said:

    I have to agree that Valencia is a beautiful city, I just love visiting…

    But don’t forget your more southern neighbours just a couple of hours down the coast from you.

    The Cordoba region where I live is simply stunning, visit us, see the lakes around Iznajar, take a trip to the Alhambra Palace.

    You will see that all of Spain is a wondeful place, we are so privileged to be allowed to live here

    Amanda
    Casa La Celada
    Iznajar

  6. Outstanding read, I just passed this onto a friend whom was doing a little research on that. And this individual in fact ordered me lunch for the reason that I uncovered it for him laugh So allow me to rephrase that: Thank you for lunch!

  7. Veronica Shine on said:

    My pleasure:)))))Glad you enjoyed lunch.

  8. Veronica Shine on said:

    Hi John,

    Thank you for your feedback. I am the writer and would be happy to give you more info in a private message. This website was designed by the owner of this site. Click on my name and you can contact me through my site.

    Thanks,

    V

  9. Veronica Shine on said:

    Thank you for your feedback. I appreciate your comments.

    Veronica Shine

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