VALENCIA - A Travel Guide

Posted on Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Spain’s third largest city, Valencia is an ever-modernizing hub with a growing city skyline and traditions like no other city in Spain. Valencia is the birthplace of paella—that incredible seafood delicacy we have all grown to love, and home to outstanding fine-arts museums, a wonderful old quarter, and Europe’s newest cultural and scientific complex can all be enjoyed on your next tour of Spain.

With its active nightlife and various cultural offerings, Valencia is one of the most dynamic cities in Spain. One of the most famous buildings in Valencia is the Cathedral and its tower named, "El Miquelet" (Little Michael) which was built between 1381 and 1424. Valencia is the city where "El Cid", Spain's national hero, fought against the Moors, and popular festivals in the city and many villages around still remind of this epoch.
 

MUST SEE AND DO

Festivals—

If you are lucky enough to plan your vacation around the time of either of Valencia’s most famous street festivals, you will experience a once in a lifetime vacation. Las Fallas is a weeklong fiesta in March in commemoration of Saint Joseph that climaxes with the burning of hundreds of giant paper-mache figures. The world famous Tomatina festival takes place in August in the nearby town of Bunol, and is a giant party where revelers throw tomatoes at one another!

Sights—

La Lonja de la Seda: A Gothic masterpiece and a World Heritage

Catedral: A beautiful blend of Gothic and Neoclassical architectural design

Torres de Quart: The magnificent 15th century city gate

La Lonja: A World Heritage site, this 15th century building was once the silk exchange

Muesums—

La Ciudad de los Artes y las Ciencias: Europe’s largest arts and science museum

Museo de Bellas Artes: Home of works by El Greco and the Roman Mosaic of the Nine Muses

Dining—

While in Valencia, you must partake in the delicacy of paella that originated here. For some of the best paella in Valencia, Bodega de la Sarieta is the place to go. Riff is a Michelin Star awarded restaurant, and some of the best Mediterranean food in town. Enjoy tapas on the terrace at Delicat, and stop by Turrones Ramos for fudge-like desserts.

Night Life—

Malvarrosa is an extraordinary port district lined with bars and nightclubs. All along the seafront is great nightlife that lasts until sunrise. Barrio del Carmen is located in the Old Town, and totes an excellent nightlife. Visit Café Tocado for the potent local specialty cocktail called Agua de Valencia.

Family Friendly—

La Ciudad de los Artes y Las Ciencas is a place the family can go all day and be thoroughly entertained. Because of the size of this giant complex, most people don’t even get the chance to see all of the great exhibits in one day. Take a stroll through the garden of astronomy, play at the electric theatre, and see sharks at the Oceanografic aquarium. Or take the Bioparc Zoo. It is designed following the “zooinmersion” concept—with barriers invisible to the eye of the visitor.

HISTORY

Founded by the Romans in 138 BC, Valencia was a town of soldiers who were awarded land after fighting for the Roman Emperor. During the war between Pompeii and Sertorius, the city was destroyed. During the third century, however, it became a major city after the destruction of the then capital Sagunto. In 718, the Moors took over Valencia and established it as an Islamic culture.  The Arabs ruled until the 11th century when Spanish soldier El Cid defeated them and took over. Upon his death, the Moors regained rule of the Valencia. Over the next centuries, population grew and notable buildings were erected. In 1685 a port was built for the city, which continued to help the city’s growth. In the early 19th century, troops serving Napoleon occupied the city and destroyed the Royal Palace. They were soon defeated, and the city tore down surrounding walls and continued building closer to the sea. Today Valencia remains an important agricultural and industrial city, and has one of the biggest ports in Europe.

GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE

Valencia provides a widely diverse landscape, with coastline and beaches along the Mediterranean, bordered by Cataluña to the north and Murcia to the south. The area has everything from high mountains and plains to wetlands and beaches. In the north, the mountainous El Maestrazgo region is quite cold in winter, and has a very mild summer climate. In contrast, the rolling hills of Xátiva in central Valencia province have some of the hottest summer temperatures of the region.

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