If you are planning your next European break, the beautiful port city of Valencia which lies on the southeastern coast of Spain should be high on your list. With over 4.5 million people visiting the city each year it has a lot to offer.
With its accommodation to suit every budget, a Mediterranean climate, a historical old town and several beaches, Valencia combines the essentials associated with both a city and a beach break. Making it a great choice if you like to mix adventure with relaxation. It is also the birthplace of one of Spain’s most famous dishes, paella. Therefore, making it a great choice for foodies too.
Here are just some of the top Valencia attractions that you must visit.
The City of Arts and Sciences
The number one attraction in Valencia is the City of Arts and Sciences which is a cultural and architectural complex. It is located in the riverbed of the Turia River in the east of the city. The Palace of The Arts was designed by local architects Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela. Many compare it to the Sydney Opera House and it is easy to see why.
The complex includes several attractions. These include Oceanogràfic (aquarium), The Hemisfèric (3D cinema), Príncipe Felipe Science Museum, Palau de Les Arts Reina Sofía (opera house), The Umbracle (open-access garden) and The Ágora (an events venue). During the summer months especially, people from all over the world flock to The Palace of The Arts. Therefore, tickets should be bought in advance to avoid queues and avoid disappointment.
La Lonja De La Seda
La Lonja De La Seda is considered to be a masterpiece of Valencian Gothic architecture. It was built between 1482 and 1533 is a must-visit when in Valencia. The name translates to the “Silk Exchange”. This refers back to when Valencia was one of Europe’s main trading cities. This UNESCO World Heritage is a great option if you love both history and architecture.
La Lonja De La Seda is located in the city centre in front of Valencia’s Central Market. Therefore, why not combine a visit to both when you visit Valencia?
Central Market (Mercado Central or Mercat Central)
As one of Europe’s oldest and largest operating markets, a visit to Valencia’s Central Market is a must. Especially if you are a foodie. With over 900 stalls covering more than 8,000 square metres, selling everything from fruit and vegetables to fresh fish, cheeses and olives, there is something to whet everyone’s appetite. There are also restaurants within the market where you can grab a local delicacy, a cold drink and watch the world go by.
Even if you are not a foodie, a visit just to see the stunning modernist building with a beautiful entrance and colourful tiles, the market is housed is highly recommended.
Located in the Old Town, Valencia Cathedral also known as Saint Mary’s Cathedral or Valencia Cathedral is an impressive building. It was built between the 13th and 15th Century. Predominantly Gothic in design, baroque, Romanesque and neoclassical influences and aspects can also be seen.
In the Cathedral, you can visit the “Chapel of the Holy Grail”. Here you will find one of the supposed Holy Chalices which is believed to be the Holy Grail, the cup that Jesus Christ drank from at the Last Supper.
Barrio Del Carmen
Barrio Del Carmen is in the heart of Valencia’s Old Town. The thousand-year-old city neighbourhood grew between two walls, the Muslim and the Christian. It is a beautiful and bohemian place that many visit for the culture and leisure options available. Here you will find terraces, bars, restaurants, markets and boutiques together with late-night bars, live music venues and clubs. Therefore making this a popular and lively neighbourhood to visit regardless of the time of day.
It is also home to a number of museums. These include the Institut Valencià d’Art Modern (IVAM), el Museo de la Prehistoria and el Museo de Etnología.
With several beaches along the Valencian coastline, it’s a tough choice deciding which one to visit first. However, Malvarrosa Beach, which is situated between the town of Alboraya and Calle Acequia de la Cadena is a firm favourite for both locals and tourists alike.
Located just minutes from the old town, Malvarrosa Beach is a stunning 1-kilometre long, 135-metre wide golden sand beach with Blue Flag status. The beach has a range of amenities including showers, lifeguards, medical stations and drinking fountains together with several restaurants along the promenade which runs the beach.
I hope these recommendations and tips to plan your trip and itinerary when visiting Valencia help. It is a city which has something to offer everyone. With an abundance of history, culture and the bonus of several beaches and amazing food, you really must tick Valencia off your list as soon as possible.