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Valencia AS A HOLIDAY DESTINATION


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Totally Spain has organized several 7 day tours within Spain and Portugal for groups of 24-30 people that I’ve put together for friends and myself. All three were executed perfectly and Ken and his team were a pleasure to work with. They are ve...

Sue Denison, New York, USA
2023-04-12

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Valencia, Spain's third city, is really enjoying its moment in the sun. Conde Nast Traveller writes about Valencia that it “has experienced a fresh sense of glamour and modernity in recent years”. The obvious place to explore that glamour is at the wild and wonderful City of Arts and Sciences designed by home-grown starchitect Santiago Calatrava which is every photographer’s and sci-fi fans dream.

If you’re a fan of markets, like we are, you have two treats in store for you in Valencia. The Telegraph recommends the extravagant Art Nouveau building that is the Central Market suggesting that we “gaze up at the tiled dome, adorned with painted oranges, then look down at the pyramids of the real thing at ground level and have a freshly squeezed juice at the bar outside the market. Full of flavour and zing, it's like Valencia in a glass.” We also like the Modernista-styled Colon Market (Colon refers to the navigator Colombus).It’s a pleasant place to have a drink and on Sunday mornings at midday to catch a piano recital.

Foodies will want to try horchata which is an almond-like drink made from a root called the tiger nut. And of course Valencia’s star dish paella.  For a Michelin-style meal in Valencia city Quique Dacosta is the big name in this part of the world. He has three eateries in downtown Valencia: El Poblet, Mercatbar & Vuelve Carolina

Culture vultures will want to visit IVAM – the museum that takes a look at the 20th century art movements including Popart and Abstract.  Valencia city centre itself is a wonderful combination of Gothic, Romanesque and Renaissance influences and nowhere is that more evident than at the city’s cathedral. The staggeringly beautiful 15th century Gothic Silk Exchange which is still used for trading today is another must-see.

We also recommend a walk to the Turin Gardens. The 12-sectioned space was created when the river was diverted away from the city centre following the catastrophic flooding in 1957.  Make your way to the Bioparc which is a savannah-like reserve featuring lions, giraffes, gorillas and elephants. Here you’ll also find the Botanic Gardens, the House Museum of local painter José Benlliure and one of our favourite sections  – Gulliver Park – an excellent free attraction and great place to see Valencian families at play.

Finally Valencia wouldn’t be Valencia without Las Fallas where giant figures made from paper, wax, wood and Styrofoam are burned ceremoniously. A year’s work of labour goes up in smoke every year from 15-19 March. Only in Spain!

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Valencia - THINGS TO DO

The City of Arts and Sciences (Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias):

A futuristic complex with stunning architecture, housing the Opera House, Science Museum, Hemisferic (planetarium), Agora, and Oceanografic.

Oceanografic (L´Oceanografic):

Europe´s largest marine complex, featuring a variety of marine life and habitats from around the world.

La Lonja de la Seda (Silk Exchange):

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its Gothic architecture and historical significance as a silk trading center.

Valencia Cathedral (Catedral de Valencia):

A beautiful cathedral, known for its mixture of architectural styles and the Holy Grail exhibit.

Turia Gardens (Jardines del Turia):

A lush green park created in the old riverbed of the Turia River, offering walking, cycling, and relaxation opportunities.

Mercado Central (Central Market):

A vibrant and bustling market offering a wide range of fresh produce, seafood, meats, and local delicacies.

Plaza de la Virgen:

A charming square with historical buildings, a fountain, and the Basilica of the Virgin Mary.

Torres de Serranos (Serranos Towers):

Well-preserved medieval gateways that once formed part of the city´s defensive walls, offering great views of Valencia.

Mercado de Colon (Colon Market):

A modernist-style market with shops, restaurants, and cultural events, known for its stunning architecture.

Bioparc Valencia:

A zoo with a focus on creating natural habitats for the animals and promoting conservation efforts.

Malvarrosa Beach (Playa de la Malvarrosa):

A popular urban beach known for its golden sands, restaurants, and vibrant nightlife.

Museo de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Museum):

A museum showcasing an impressive collection of Valencian and Spanish art from the 14th to the 20th century.

Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia (Queen Sofia Palace of the Arts):

An architectural masterpiece within the City of Arts and Sciences, hosting opera, music, and performing arts events.

Albufera Natural Park (Parque Natural de la Albufera):

A picturesque freshwater lagoon and wetland area with scenic boat tours and traditional paella restaurants.

Quart Towers (Torres de Quart):

Medieval defensive towers that provide a glimpse into Valencia´s history and architectural heritage.

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