Valencia – Our Essential Guide

The enchanting city of Valencia really has nothing to envy the better known cities of Madrid or Barcelona, as the tourist and cultural attractions here are varied and numerous. The neighborhoods are enriched with art and culture, and the enchanting and original places, including the nature attractions on offer that you can visit, are truly many.
If you are planning a trip to this exciting and evocative city, you can find a cue in this guide that will direct you to the most well-known and attractive places in Valencia.

The City of Arts and Sciences

The City of Arts and Sciences was designed by architect Santiago Calatrava and is an architectural complex consisting of a delightful promenade amid nature and art. The cultural center, which rests on an area of no less than 350,000 square meters, is built on 6 shell-shaped buildings, which aim to evoke the sea and its environment; its creator set out to redesign a good part of Valencia, and succeeded in doing so. Calatreva also built this complex with precious architecture and totally dedicated to art, science and nature, where the Turia River used to pass.
The six buildings are: the Palace of the Arts, the Hemisferic, the Umbracle, the Agora, the Science Museum, and the Oceanografic.
The Palace of Arts is perhaps the city’s most beautiful building and hosts cultural and artistic events of dance, music and theater. It is a palace on the Turia River, is completely surrounded by gardens, is 75 meters high and 40 thousand square meters wide; inside it houses 4 theaters in which up to 2500 people can take seats.
The Oceanogradic is the largest Aquatic Park in Europe: inside there are various exhibitions on the major ecosystems of the planet and a dolphinarium. Here, if you like and if you want to have an unforgettable experience, you can also enjoy a typical local meal, in an atmospheric underwater restaurant.
Given the enormity of the complex, being able to see all the sights present in one day will be next to impossible; perhaps you can do it in two full days, however, know that each of these six buildings is definitely worth a visit.

Valencia Cathedral

The well-known Cathedral, was built in the 13th century and is definitely the main attraction of the historic center, with the Puerta del Los Hierros in Baroque style, the Puerta de Los Apostoles with Gothic features, and finally the Romanesque Puerta del Palau serving as the access points. The building represents the whole history of typical Valencian architecture.
Inside the shrine is apparently preserved the Holy Grail, or the chalice in which Jesus drank during the Last Supper, and it is obviously the tourist attraction that most intrigues hordes of tourists throughout the year. You can start visiting the beautiful Cathedral by starting from the Miguelete, the tower that towers above it and gives you a view of the old town from above.

Turia Gardens

You will have a chance to visit a wonderful oasis made up of trees such as palms, pines and oleanders, which rises from an artificial detour of the Turia River and was built right after yet another flood of the river of the same name in 1957.
This green lung is one of the city’s major attractions as it is able to offer a sense of peace in the middle of Valencia; you can come here to regenerate or go for a run, as there are very thorough sports facilities. It is a place for adults and children alike, because here you will find the beautiful monumental Gulliver sculpture; it is a 70-meter-long “anthropomorphic slide” inspired by the protagonist of Jonathan Swift’s famous book, along which you can stroll.

La Lonja de la Seda (The Silk Market).

The city of Valencia has been a major center of commercial and cultural exchange since the early 16th century, and the LonJa de la Seda, the old Silk Market, represented the golden age for this city. The structure is truly impressive for its grandeur, but also for its fascinating decorations.
In 1996 this historic site, which is also one of the best-preserved examples of late Gothic construction in all of Europe, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is currently home to the Valencia Cultural Academy. Important exhibitions and events are held here today and it will be one of the must-see stops for you during your Spanish visit.

Barrio del Carmen

Barrio del Carmen is one of Valencia’s oldest neighborhoods and during its millennia-long history, it has been, over time, a refuge, a barracks, a place of prostitution, the gathering place for aristocrats in the medieval period and finally, a working-class neighborhood in the 20th century.
El Barrio del Carmen rises around the Convent of Carmen Calzado, from which it takes its name, and today it is known both for being the shopping district, thanks to the many stores and boutiques present, and for being the haunt of the movida, which is welcomed by the many clubs concentrated here. It is a mandatory destination for those who are here on vacation want to spend a few hours of leisure, both day and night, going from one cultural attraction to another and want to “go ‘de copas.

Albufera Natural Park

This is another protected oasis that is about half an hour’s drive from Valencia and that you can also reach in less than an hour by city bus Line 25 and for only €1.50. Within the park there is also a lovely lake and several really nice seaside resorts to visit. Here the breeze and the sound of the waves of the Albufera (i.e., small sea) will pamper you and give your mind peace.
If you are a nature lover, a boat crossing will surely be an event that will go far beyond a classic visit to a park, because it will allow you to immerse yourself in the greenery of this lush nature. By traveling with the Albufera Bus Turistic you will be able to visit the nature reserve in its entirety and a boat trip will be included.

Valencia’s Central Market

The Central Market is a colorful gathering place, it welcomes smells and tastes and is a gastronomic center made of steel, with modern, colorful stained glass windows and hand-painted ceramics on the facade: it is a distinctly modern architectural structure.
The market is located across the street from the Lonja de la Seda, and when you’re inside, you’ll get lost amidst an endless amount of tasty foods of all kinds, all spread out over more than 959 stalls. The fruits and vegetables come from the agricultural areas located south of the city (huerta Valencia). This is the perfect place if you need to do some shopping or if you want to taste local produce.

The Port and Beaches of Valencia

Valencia is known not only for its art and architecture, but also for its beautiful beaches, which welcome its inhabitants and tourists, all year round.
From the Veles e Vents building you can contemplate the sea view and enjoy the sunshine; you can stroll along the promenade to Les Arenas and the more mundane Malvarrosa, where the cobalt blue waters have been awarded the Blue Flag by Europe.
El Saler is perhaps the most beautiful seaside resort because of its still wild nature; it is located south of the city port and is very suitable aper lovers of the sea understood as relaxation away from urban chaos, since it is a secluded place surrounded by nature.
The whole area of the Port of Valencia, known as Marina Real Juan Carlos I, has been redeveloped after various industrial and environmental disasters, giving back the beaches and seas to its city.
To the south you can also visit the beaches of Costa del Sol and the very famous resorts of Torremolinos and Benalmadena, as well as Malaga, Nerija and Ronda.

These are just a few of the tourist attractions of this spectacular city, because there are other places worthy of a visit that will leave patrons with beautiful memories of an enchanted place that really has a lot to tell and nothing to envy from other beautiful Spanish cities.


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