According to DigoPaul, Valencia is the third largest city in Spain. There is a lot to see and experience in Valencia. Many of the main attractions are located in or near the old town of Ciudad Vella. If you want to visit these, you should take your legs to help, and you will see and experience Valencia’s bustling street life. Attractions located outside the most central area can be easily reached with the city’s well-developed transport system. The city is not very big, and you get there quickly by metro, tram, bus or taxi.
City of Arts and Sciences
The city of arts and sciences in Valencia is the city’s most important tourist attraction. The complex was built at the mouth of the old Turia river, which was diverted after a flood in 1957. Now there is an architectural masterpiece there, consisting of seven futuristic buildings with different functions. Perhaps the most famous is L’Hemisferic, which looks like a huge eye and is located in the middle of a huge pool. There you will find, among other things, a state-of-the-art cinema complex, laser show and planetarium. The other six buildings in the complex are L’Oceanographic, with Europe’s largest aquarium, the El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia opera house, the L’Umbracle sculpture park, the El Pont de l’Assut de l’Or bridge, the L’Agora covered plaza, and El Museu de les Ciencies Principe Felipe, an interactive museum designed like the skeleton of a whale.
Bioparc is a very inviting zoo. You will find it right near the city of art and science. The unique thing about Bioparc is all the energy that is put into creating as natural an environment as possible for the animals. Here no one wanders restlessly in a cage. All fences and barriers are instead hidden in vegetation, water obstacles and rock formations. Many of the plants in the zoo are from the natural habitat of the respective animals, and from different parts of the African continent. Several of the animals live in the same area as other species they would normally also travel near. The whole of Bioparc probably contributes to the fact that the animals’ behavior is approximately similar to what is natural. Among the biggest attractions are gorillas, elephants, hyenas, lions, giraffes, crocodiles and rhinos.
The Gothic building that houses the silk market in Valencia was started in 1483, and is considered by many to be the most important monument in the city. It depicts a medieval castle, easily recognizable by its towers, stone walls and marksmanship. This is where the silk trade was completed. The rooms in the building thus have different functions. In addition to the actual negotiation room where the bargaining took place, one of the rooms was used as a courtroom. There you could be sentenced to prison if you could not make up for it, and then sit behind lock and key in the building’s central tower. Those who have been to Palma de Mallorca probably recognize the building style. The silk market in Valencia was built only a few years after it was completed in Palma, and the design was more or less copied.
Valencia’s largest and most important food market is located directly opposite the silk market Lonja de la Seda. The building is in Art Nouveau style and was completed in 1928, after about 14 years of construction. Strictly speaking, going to look at fresh produce is not something everyone likes to do on a city break, but here it’s actually worth it. Especially if you are already in the area, perhaps to see the aforementioned silk market. Mercado Central is an architectural masterpiece of over 8000 square meters. In the two large halls inside you will find more than 300 stalls that all sell delicious fresh produce. The people of Valencia stop by not only when shopping for the home, but also when they want a quick meal. Many people pick out the menu for a picnic in the Turion Park which is right next door, or they head to one of the market’s small restaurants.
Church of San Nicolas de Bari and San Pedro Martir
This beautiful church must then have one of the longest names among all the buildings in the world. Like many other church buildings in Spain, San Nicolas was begun sometime in the 13th century, and then underwent a number of alterations and additions to the present day. The name comes from several frescoes (wet wall murals) that tell the stories of San Nicholas de Bari and San Pedro Martir. The decoration is among the most beautiful of its kind, and includes a ceiling painting that many compare with what we find in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. The Catedral de Valencia is also nearby, if you have the time and inclination to see San Nicolas de Bari.
Malvarrosa Beach is Valencia’s best beach, at least if you want to be entertained in addition to sunbathing and swimming. The beach extends far to the north end of the city, and is about 140 meters at its widest. Volleyball is played there and impressive sand castles are built. Beach life can also be seen from above in what is Europe’s largest Ferris wheel. Along Playa de la Malvarrosa there is a beautiful promenade called Paseo Maritimo. This ends up in the marina that was built in connection with the regatta Americas Cup. A stroll here takes you past a number of good eateries with delicious seafood. Feel free to eat Paella. That right was, after all, invented in Valencia.
Town Hall Square
All self-respecting Spanish cities offer several impressive plazas. In Valencia you can choose from many, but first on the list should be Plaza de Ayuntamiento (town hall square). This is Valencia’s town hall and main post office, both of which are architecturally pleasing. The plaza is dominated by a beautiful fountain, surrounded by beautiful flower beds in all the colors of the rainbow. It becomes extra colorful when the space is filled with florists, which has been a tradition in Valencia for almost 100 years. Plaza de Ayuntamiento is a great base from which to explore this vibrant city. From here you have walking distance to, among other places, the Old Town. The streets that end up in the plaza are otherwise considered Valencia’s best shopping area.
The world’s narrowest house?
Valencia is one of many cities that claim to house the world’s narrowest house. In Norway, we have Ålesund trying its hand at exactly the same thing. It is probably asked whether the people of Sunnmøringen must bite into the sour apple, because Valencia’s contribution is no more than 107 centimeters wide. The building is actually no wider than there is barely enough space for frames around the front door. Right should be right, and it must be pointed out that the homeowner has cheated so it lasts. The buildings next door have been used to make it possible to get something sensible out of the limited area. If you want to stop by, the address is Plaza Lope de Vega 9. There you will find Tasquita La Estrecha, a nice little bar and restaurant that serves good food and even better drinks.
Turia Park is Spain’s largest urban park with an area of over 110 hectares. Turia is the name of the riverbed on which the park is established. The river had a tired tendency to flood, and was therefore redirected after it caused great damage and loss of life in 1957. The park starts at one end of the city of arts and sciences, before it eels through large parts of Valencia, forward to the Parc de Capcalera. In addition to being a phenomenal sight in itself, the park also houses many of the city’s biggest attractions. Here you will find, among other things, the zoo, Gulliver Park, a pond where you can rent small boats, several museums and galleries, sports facilities, and much more. The biggest attraction in Turia Park is of course the aforementioned city of science.
In March, Valencia begins to prepare to welcome spring. Then the streets and restaurants to the brim are filled with festive residents attending Las Fallas, a festival in memory of Saint Joseph. The folk festival lasts for five days, and usually ends on 19 March. The closing day is centered around the parade called Cavalcada del Foc, a celebration in honor of fire. There are a lot of bangs and bangs in fireworks, and at midnight the huge figures are burned by cardboard mash from which the festival takes its name (falls, which actually means torches). Valencia is truly a spectacle these days, and Las Fallas is considered one of the best and liveliest festivals in Spain.