Every year, my parents, my sister and I meet for a long weekend in a spot my mother picks, this year, she wanted to see Valencia so we booked our flights, packed our bags and off we went.
1. Getting to the city
i must say that the cheapest and maybe even fastest way is by metro and Valencia looks to have a great way to connect the airport to the city during the day. Lines 3&5. But if you reach the city like me late at night, no worries the taxi is not that expensive and you arrive at your accommodation super fast. Here some more details
It's all up to you, but we stayed at a great Airbnb very close to the center, right next to Torres de Quart, which you can see below from the side.
3. The Food Market: Mercado Central
Opened daily (except Sunday) from 7AM - 3PM, the market gives you the best way to start the day. Buy yourself some fresh fruits for some vitamins before starting to explore the city. The market was built in accordance with the project dated November 1914 by architects Alejandro Soler March and Francisco Guardia Vial while Enrique Viedma and Angel Romani completed the construction in 1928.
4. City of Arts and Sciences
Listed as one of the 12 wonders of Spain, the city of arts and sciences has several components that create a complete different feeling than the rest of the landmarks in the city. The "city" consists of several buildings: L'Hemisferic (1998), El Museu de les Ciencies Prencipe Felipe (2000), L'Umbracle (2001), L'Oceanografic (2003), El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia (2005), El Pont de l'Assut de l'Or (2008), L'Agora (2009), Torres de Valencia.
I will only list some with more details below.
Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia is an opera house that opened it's doors in 2005 with the Opera Fidelio. It was designed by the Valencian born and architect Santiago Calatrava. "Measuring over 70 meters in height, the Palau de les Arts is divided into four separate halls, all boasting the latest technological advances conceived to stage all kinds of opera, musical and theatrical performances. The main Hall is at the heart of the building, both formally and structurally speaking. Designed to seat more than 1800, it will be used for opera, zarzuela, classical ballet, contemporary dance, symphonic music, musicals and theater." (Source)
The Hemisferic was inaugurated in 1998 and was the first building in the City of Arts and Sciences to open its doors to the public. It is a spectacular construction designed by Santiago Calatrava, with an ovoid roof over 100 metres long that contains in its interior the large sphere that constitutes the projection room. (Source)
"The Umbracle is a vantage point of over 17,500 square metres with an exhibition zone from which all the buildings, lakes, walkways, and landscaped areas of the City of Arts and Sciences can be contemplated. Its vegetation is characteristic of the Mediterranean, of the Region of Valencia, and of tropical countries, and changes according to the season of the year; it also contains an interesting exhibition of contemporary sculptures by internationally acknowledged artists." (Source)
The Oceanografic of the City of Arts and Sciences, designed by Felix Candela, is the largest aquarium in Europe and contains representatives of the world's main marine ecosystems. Each building is identified with the following aquatic environments: the Mediterranean, Wetlands, Temperate and Tropical Seas, Oceans, the Antarctic, the Arctic, Islands, and the Red Sea, as well as the Dolphinarium. (Source)
5. Plaza de Toros de Valencia
It is a neoclassic building design by Sebastian Monleon, built between 1850-1860, of 18 metres high and the ring has a diameter of 52 metres. The main bullfights take place during Fallas (March) and at the July Fair. (Source)
although neither March nor July there were some events when we visited the bullring, here some pics :)
6. North Train Station
"The North Railway Station is a modernist jewel of the city, with "Sezesion Vienesa" style, was built between 1906 and 1917 by Valencian architect Demetrio Ribes. On the front facade you can see the most typical elements of Valencian culture: oranges, barracas (valencian traditional house), La Albufera (the lake), women dressed with traditional valencian dress." (Source)
There are super beautiful elements inside, so make sure you take 5 min to get in :)
7. City Hall Square
The first thing that I noticed were the colorful city banks, in preparation of the gay pride looking towards the city hall itself, cute, right?
"Situated in the square which bears the same name, you will find the Ayuntamiento de Valencia (Valencia Town Hall), a key point of reference for visitors and inhabitants equally. Built in an eclectic style, it is home to the daily hectic movements of officialdom. [...] The Ayuntamiento was built in the 18th century. Inside there is an elegant marble staircase, a ballroom and the council meeting room. The City History Museum can also be found under the roof of this noble building." (Source)
In one of the corners of the square we spotted also this very beautiful fountain.
8. Plaza de la Virgen
Right in the heart of Valencia's historic district lies the charming Plaza de la Virgen, an old little square that dates back to the Roman times, offering tourists and locals alike a respite from the hustle and bustle of city life.
When you arrive in the square and are a bit lucky not to be very crowded one of the elements your eyes will immediately spot is the fountain of Neptun. " Created by local sculptor Silvestre Edeta, this work of art is actually an allegoric representation of Valencia's Turia River and its eight irrigation ditches." (Source)
if you have the time, sit down and enjoy a Sangria at one of the terraces. Don't necessarily except cheap prices and good quality but totally worth it to watch all the people passing by
9. el Micalet
I more recently discovered that looking over cities from the top brings me a lot of joy, and of course, one of the things I research before i go to a new place is what are the best spots for great views. Well in Valencia at least one of them is El Micalet.
Not extremely high with of course a tight staircase it is completely worth it :)
and I can't not add some more pictures just to highlight the view :)
10. but wait....
maybe if you read other of my posts you wonder where are my breaks? I had a looooot of breaks, no worries, I'll share all of them in one post about food and drinks in Valencia as there is a lot to tell ;)
11. The Botanical Garden
One of the things you immediately notice are the permanent inhabitants ..... namely a huge amount of CATS :)
The botanic garden of the University of Valencia, known as El Botanic, was founded in 1567. For 200 years it was a cultivated plot used to grow medicinal plants, linked to studies in Medicine. The year 1802 marks the point at which the University definitively moved the gardens to el Huerto de Tramoyeres, near the Torres de Quart. Throughout the 19th century, classes in Botany were given there and acclimatisation experiments were carried out with plants of agricultural interest. In 1987, the University of Valencia began the process of fully restoring it, which concluded in the year 2000. Currently, the Garden carries out research into plant diversity, conservation of rare, endemic or endangered species of Mediterranean flora and the conservation of natural habitats. (Source)
12. Don't forget to pay attention to the streets around you
there are so many cute little streets, it's a pleasure to get lost around them
13. La Lonja
" Built between 1482 and 1533, this group of buildings was originally used for trading in silk (hence its name, the Silk Exchange) and it has always been a centre for commerce. It is a masterpiece of late Gothic architecture. The grandiose Sala de Contratacion (Contract or Trading Hall), in particular, illustrates the power and wealth of a major Mediterranean mercantile city in the 15th and 16th centuries." (Source)
In 1996, La Lonja was added to the UNESCO world heritage list "considering that the site is of outstanding universal value as it is a wholly exceptional example of a secular building in late Gothic style, which dramatically illustrates the power and wealth of one of the great Mediterranean mercantile cities" (Source)
My favorite part is actually the exterior or more exactly the corners of the building, where you can find this very detailed ornaments.
14. Narrowest House in Valencia
I mean there is no need for extra words, the picture indicate perfectly how narrow this house is :)
15. Playa Malvarosa
please don't judge, and I know that I read in a lot of places that this beach is amazing, but except of being very big (which is awesome) I can't say I was impressed, but anyway, it has sand and sea and it gives you the best wavy hair that you can get, so great to pass by
1.6 Torres de Serranos
"The Serranos Towers are considered to be the largest Gothic city gateway in all of Europe, and were constructed at the end of the 14th century by Pere Balaguer as part of the city's fortification. They provisionaly housed prison cells and served as a triumphal arch on many festive and solemn occasions." (Source)
17. The cat's house
"At the foot of a blue wall on Carrer del Museu, the facade of a tiny house attracts the attention of passersby. The house is only a foot or two tall but it is designed in a classically Valencian style. It has a Spanish tiled roof, a little fountain, and a "garden" to the side (actually just one potted plant). [...] Legend has it that the old woman who previously owned the house behind the gate left it for the feral cats of Valencia to inhabit." (Source)
18. The end of 2 full days
believe it or not, although maybe all the above looks like a lot, the city is not very big and it is easy to see everything in a weekend. If you organize yourself good enough and you would like to go the extra mile, I am sure you can easily fit in a half day trip to Albufera National Park.