Valencia is one of the largest cities in Spain with a population of around 809,000 people in the centre. The city was originally named Valentia which in Latin translates as “strength” or “valour”. Although not as big as the popular tourist destinations of Barcelona or Madrid the city is still well known for its bustling nightlife and particularly for Las Fallas, the cities springtime festival which sees hundreds of holiday makers descend on the area for a raucous and colourful 5 day party which fills the streets with revellers, music, food and dancing.
However a good party is not the only thing Valencia is famed for. It is also host to some of the world’s most beautiful architecture such as its ”Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias”, the City of Arts and Sciences which is situated on the edge of the river Turia and was designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela. This incredible futuristic looking building has a whole world of entertainment inside.
It hosts a huge IMAX cinema, Europe’s largest aquarium and regularly hosts arts and musical events . But let us not forget Valencia’s sporting triumphs as well. The striking Agora is the main venue of the Valencia Open 500 tennis tournament, and the city also played host to the “2007 & 2010 America’s Cup” –a world famous race between two sailing yachts. It is also rumoured that Valencia was the birthplace of one of Spain’s most famous and celebrated dishes –paella.
There are plenty of places to stay and things to do on your trip which will accommodate all levels of time and budget. In the Northern areas along the wonderfully named Orange Blossom Coast you will find many relaxed seafront resorts which are dotted along the coastline. Further South along the Costa Blanca you can discover some of Spain’s most breath-taking beaches.
Spring and Summer are of course the most popular tourist seasons where of the resorts spring into action, and you can enjoy a meal of rice dishes or tapas or refreshing a drink in the wonderful open air terraces with the sunshine and the balmy sea breeze washing over you. If you tire of sea and sand then why not head inland where the landscape changes dramatically and you will find imposing mountains and ancient castle to explore.
Valencia City also boasts many green areas that bring a little bit of nature to its metropolitan landscape. These include the flourishing Turia Gardens which lie in the city centre, Cabecera Park with its huge quay, not forgetting the Botanical Gardens, the Monforte Gardens, the Viveros or Royal Gardens, the Glorieta and the pretty Alameda Gardens.
Getting around in Valencia is easy. For train and bus transport you can use the Bonobus and the Bonometro which link you to all areas of the city. You can purchase tickets (bonos) in kiosks and tobacco shops. The price of a ticket is relatively cheap being under ten euros for ten rides.
If you fancy something a little more active however why not try cycling around the city? Renting a bike is a hugely popular way for people to explore the city. Valencia generally has few hills which makes biking a perfect way to travel without being too strenuous, especially in the summer heat. Since 2010 the city offers public bicycle rentals at over 250 different locations where you can simply pick up and drop off your bike at any of the terminals.
Finding a good place to eat in Valencia is easy. There are a huge amount of wonderful cafes and restaurant which accommodate your every need. Of course if you wish to sample traditional Spanish cuisine Valencia is the right place to be! You could easily eat its flavoursome signature dish of paella at a different restaurant every day and because each follows its own unique recipe, it would feel like you were eating a completely different (yet equally delicious) dish each time.
As well as rice dishes you can find an excellent and extensive range of vegetables which are grown in the local countryside on the outskirts of the city. Being right beside the Mediterranean, the seafood options of fish and shellfish are always caught locally and taste delicious.
Valencia is an increasingly popular tourist destination being Spain’s third largest city. The city itself and the surrounding areas host many wonderful sights to see and things to do. There are miles of beautiful coastline to explore, or if you prefer getting to know more about the history of the area then head inland to visit extraordinary castled nestled on the tops of breath-taking hills and mountains.
There are plenty of excellent restaurants offering local cuisine and you’ll find quality places to eat, drink and sleep whatever your budget. The wonderful climate and the friendly atmosphere make Valencia a must see holiday destination.