One of the most important cities of Spain presents a happy mix between old and new, in a Mediterranean atmosphere.
Maybe he does not have the fame of Barcelona, nor the glory of Madrid, but basically it is nothing lower. On the contrary, Valencia, Spain’s third largest city, comes with something new. It is the only Iberian city where modern and old, or technology and history, blend harmoniously among palm trees, broad beaches, fine sand, sangria, paella and tapas. Situated in the middle of Spain’s eastern coast, with the Mediterranean Sea, Valencia can be inspired until late autumn, late October, and even early November, when sunshine can provide the comfort of a beach day with temperatures which are not suffocating, but not stingy. The summer is warm, very hot and extremely crowded because the city’s tourist potential has been exploited to the full in the past two decades when officials have decided to invest massively in this area.
The City of Art and Science, a futuristic project This is how the City of Arts and Sciences emerged, one of Valencia‘s strengths, a complex of buildings and museums, located at one of the ends of Turia Park, the one who cuts the city ten kilometers apart, and a girdle of greenery all year round. Ciutat de les Arts and les Ciències, as it is called the Spaniards, was inaugurated in 1998 and is the work of two courageous architects, Santiago Calatrava Valls and Félix Candela, who dared to believe that they can do this futuristic and fabulous project, and have convinced the authorities to spend nice money for him. Thus, the Princes Felipe Museum of Science, Imax cinema, L’Hemisfèric Planetarium, L’Oceanografic Park, L’Umbracle Garden and Opera Reina Sofia are grouped into a perimeter where any SF film can easily be made. 18 bridges are above Turia Park, providing road transport between its two parts.
Each of these has many things to offer, the Oceanographer, for example, is the third largest in the world, and the only one to host a beluga. To visit the City of Arts and Sciences, there are different entrance bundles, and to enjoy all the existing attractions it takes at least a day. Part of it is the Assul bridge of L’Or, the highest point in Valencia, 126 meters high, which is supported by 28 gigantic cables. Thanks to this miniature city, symbolizing the progress of technology in a country full of history, Valencia has won a lot of visitors, asian hordes looking for impossible angles every day to catch the frame of a collection photo. The city looks impressive both day and night, but it is ideal to catch a sunny day, and then it will all seem to be shining from another world.
From Valencia‘s SF to the historic area, the road is simple and smooth through the Turia Park and it is an urban jewel with an interesting history. It was set up on the Turia riverbed, the city that snakes through the city, like the Danube to Vienna or other rivers that cross the major European cities. It’s just that Turia got its head in 1957, causing devastating flooding in Valencia, with many casualties. For this reason, and for the fear of a relapse, it was decided that the river be diverted from the city, and that the park was raised on its bed. Surprised by palm trees and other exotic trees, with flowery gardens, lakes, playgrounds, jogging alleys, and even football fields, Turia is the favorite spot of the Valencian people. This is how those who come from the province of Valencia, the fourth most populous of Spain, under the umbrella of which are around 5 million inhabitants. Young people running in the morning or in the evening with headphones in their ears, grandparents riding grandchildren or corporations who dine their lunch on the benches give life to this top-quality park, clean and extremely neat. The City of Arts and Sciences and Turia Park are the modern elements of the metropolis, but not the only ones that define it. Like any Spanish city that respects, Valencia has dozens of squares and squares, loaded with statues and historic buildings built of stone. Historic Valencia is coming from Turia to the El Miguelete tour where, for two euros, you can climb up a dozen stairs and finally get a fascinating view of the city. After the City of Arts and Sciences, the Miguelele tower is the favorite spot for the occasional photographers coming from all over the world.
The art of preparing the jam Then easy, at its base, you only have to lose yourself on the cobblestone streets, where cars do not have access to enjoy the typical Spanish landscape. Small shops on the ground floor of the buildings, where souvenirs, terraces and restaurants are sold, the groceries in the shop where the jamon hamburger smiles you enough to let your mouth water. Jamon, or the hamster imported by Romanian, means hospitality in Spanish, and it’s inconceivable to get into the Iberian Penisula, and you do not eat at least a sandwich with this delicacy, which the Spaniards gain gracefully and skillfully. Even his preparation is a real art. Jamon Serrano, the bacon that covers about 90 percent of Spain’s production, is considered to be superior to hams in other countries because it comes from selected pig breeds, fed exclusively with cereals. It is said to differ from the rest, with its red-hot color, strong texture and special taste.
Cathedral of the Holy Grail Returning to historic Valencia, the Cathedral is considered a must-see, although it looks rather like a genuine cathedral. It is more of a castle, and it was built to honor the banishment of the Arabs from Spain in the 13th century. For 7 euros, you can go in and see the Holy Grail, the cake that Jesus is supposed to have drunk at the Last Supper. Obviously, outside of the Cathedral, the place is embellished by various local artists, who put more or less innocent hand in their pockets for some small pieces. Some even do something to deserve their money, but unfortunately there are individuals who only beg for financial pity and create a strong mental discomfort when you distinguish the Spanish accent behind Spanish sparks.
The old Valencia area has many old places, Plaza de la Virgen, Plaza Redonda, Torres de Serranos and the list can continue. A special experience would be to visit Mercado Central, Central Market, where hundreds of traders sell vegetables, fruits, fish, meat and jam every day in significant quantities. Tariffs look like a magazine and it’s hard to resist the temptation of not scattering some euros there. Being a large city with a population of 800,000, which doubles or even triplets if you join and come from the area, Valencia is also a powerful shopping center. As a result, there is no shortage of banal or firm stores, plus the famous El Corte Ingles, well represented in the city. Shopping lovers can not miss the pedestrian street Don Juan de Austria, the perfect retreat for shopping enthusiasts. Corridor show three times a year What would you like to see in Valencia, a city suitable for city breaks of 3-4 days, as well as for longer vacations? An unusual experience is a show of coridum. It is located in the Plaza de Toros, in the center, near the main train station of the city. The corrides are not events at anyone’s convenience, primarily because they take place only three times a year: March, July and October. So whoever wants to watch the bull-to-bull war must plan their vacation early and have some money available, because a coridum show is not cheap. It costs up to 150 euros and takes two hours, during which 6-7 bulls are stabbed successively on the ring in public applause.
If the so-called bullfighting is kept for only two weeks in the aforementioned periods, the arena museum is open non-stop. It is well arranged and the entrance costs 10 euros. It is worth seeing by those who can beware that the poor cattle are terribly tormented until they get their last breath. For true animal lovers, the Valencia Zoo is a truly exciting experience where “tenants” live somehow in their natural environment, that is, not in cages, but in landscaped grounds to feel “home”, indifferent that they come from Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe or the Americas. They eat well at decent prices Valencia is an effervescent city that breathes Mediterranean air and eats and drinks well at prices that are not exaggerated. A food consignment costs somewhere between 7 and 12 euros, and a beer is about 3 euros. Often, there is a need to book restaurants or pubs, because the premises are full of tourists and locals alike. Valencia also has a strong football team, whose fief lies on the Mestalla stadium, very close to Turia Park. The bats won six times the title in Spain and played twice the Champions League final in 2000 and 2001 when one of the pillars of the team was Adrian Ilie. The Romanian has spent four years in Valencia, 1998-2002, and the fans now remember the Cobra’s whirling dribbling and his deceptive executions. Other Romanians, Belodedici, Gabi Popescu, Denis Şerban or Sabin Ilie, also played in Valencia, but none of them had the consistency of the former stelist, whose picture is on a banner on one side of the stadium. The stadium can be visited for 10.6 euro – ticket price for an adult.
Wide and neat beaches Located on the Mediterranean coast, Valencia offers some beaches far beyond what you see in Barcelona, for example. With fine sand, well-groomed and well-arranged, beaches in Valencia are wide, at least twice as large as those in Mamaia, as a comparison. They are accessible by both metro and bus or tram, and when weather allows, about six to seven months a year are full until late at night. There are many famous restaurants for seafood, an important part of Mediterranean cuisine. EUR 1 billion costing the City of Arts and Sciences, three times more than initially estimated.
Valencia is served by the Manisas airfield, and from there it is easy to reach the city by bus or metro. Vouchers are cheap, 1.5 Euros bus and 2.8 Euros subway. Bus travel lasts 45 minutes, and the metro is 20 minutes. The subway station in Valencia is well structured and with stations quite close to each other. It is not necessary to take a subway from one tourist destination to another, because it is easy enough to walk on foot. For those who want to visit as many or even all of the city’s attractions, Valencia provides a tourist card. You can buy at the airport or at any tourist office, yet its online purchase comes with a 10% discount.
City accommodation can be both expensive and cheap. There are many hotels in the central area, but a variant that gets more ground, being cheaper, is accommodation through the airbnb network. Rufaza and Carmen are famous for their nightlife. And there are plenty of pubs on the beach, but the city’s road up there will eat at least half an hour with public transportation. Las Falcia is a unique festival in the world, held annually in March. Each neighborhood produces huge statues of crepe paper, which must be ready on the first day of the festival. Statues are usually ironies to the negative parties of society or politicians. At the end of the festival, after three days, a winner is chosen and all the statues are burned and the whole city is covered by smoke, the show culminating with a great firework. From Valencia, it is easy to reach Benidorm, the famous Spanish resort, or Alicante, another tourist town, about two hours’ drive.
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