From medieval architecture and Mediterranean beaches to cutting-edge cultural centres and friendly city parks, Valencia is a sparkling mix of moods and styles. The third largest city in Spain was founded by the Romans, and as such has some of the finest history of anywhere in Europe. It’s located on the east coast of the country and is home to one of the busiest ports in Europe.
Valencia is a modern industrial giant, but that doesn’t mean it’s without culture. Its historic centre that’s one of the largest in Spain and there are plenty of major attractions to be discovered around the streets and squares of the old town. Go to the Plaza de la Reina to visit Valencia Cathedral, where the Holy Grail was rumoured to be located. Climb the bell tower of the Cathedral for the panoramic views over the city. Visit a café on the Plaza de la Virgen to watch street performers and admire the sights of the city, including a 17th-century Baroque church, while sipping a café con leche.
The River Turia once flowed around the old town of Valencia but was rerouted after a catastrophic flood. The former riverbed is now a large city park, aptly named Turia. Here you can picnic on the lawn before seeing endangered African animals in the Bioparc Valencia. Or perhaps visit the City of Arts and Sciences, a multifunctional centre with an aquarium, concert hall and museums.
Valencia is popular amongst locals and tourists alike for its nightlife, especially during Las Fallas, a festival to commemorate St. Joseph and celebrate the beginning of spring. Check out the El Carmen district, where restaurants and tapas bars have taken the place of old dilapidated mansions. Go to the Mercado Central, one of the oldest covered markets in Europe and taste its fresh fruits, cheeses and seafood.