Valencia is a city of subtle but powerful appeal. It eschews the razzle dazzle and fast pace of its slightly larger sister cities, Barcelona and Madrid, in favor of a more carefree vibe. While the city’s pristine beaches are busy they are not overly burdened with sun-seeking bodies. Likewise, the city as a whole projects a progressive image without making strenuous effort to do so. In short, Valencia is a destination that lends itself to bike tours, lazy beach days, casual wanders around museums, long strolls through the Turia Garden and, perhaps most enjoyable of all, an exploration of the gastronomy for which the region is famous.
Hotel Barceló Valencia
Avenida de Francia, 11
46023 València, Spain
T: +34 963 306 344
This sleek and modern hotel boasts state of the art amenities and claims an enviable location within walking distance of the City of Arts and Sciences and the Turia Gardens. It’s also only a short taxi ride away from the beach and the lively historic old town neighborhood. Come night time, the hotel’s rooftop bar serves up smart cocktails along with a memorable view of the city.
Café de las Horas
Carrer del Comte d’Almodóvar, 1
46003 València, Spain
T: +34 963 91 73 36
This eclectic hotspot is a long-time local favorite. Eccentric in its décor as well as its entertainment menu, Café de las Horas is also favored spot to pop into for a sample of one of the best versions of the city’s signature cocktail, Agua de Valencia, a subtle yet potentially lethal commingling of Cava, orange juice, vodka and gin.
Though some might call it a bit of a tourist trap, there is no denying that El Carmen is a ‘sure-thing’ when it comes to nightlife in València. A hodge podge of restaurants, lounges, assorted live music venues, clubs and bars among other things, El Carmen delivers everything from the alternative to the mainstream in a winding maze of heavily trafficked streets. Come the weekend, the crowds are plentiful and the party rages on into the small hours in a handful of spots dotting this ancient neighborhood bordered by the city’s historic Old Town district.
Ocho y Medio Restaurant
Plaça de Lope de Vega
46001 València, Spain
T: +34 963 92 20 22
Sample traditional Valèncian fare presented with sophistication and polish in a setting overlooking the city’s historical center.
La Cigrona Restaurant
Calle Serranos, 22
46001 València, Spain
T: +34 963 15 37 52
A cozy but elegant eatery in the historic Old Town specializing in paella and other Valèncian favorites.
Jardines Del Turia (Turia Gardens)
Avenida Manuel de Falla, s/n
46018 Valencia, Spain
T: +34 963 59 99 67
From disaster a beautiful garden blooms. Such is the tale of Valencia’s Turia Gardens which came to be only after a disastrous flood in 1957. To prevent a recurrence of the flooding, the Turia River’s course was diverted south of the city and one of the largest urban parks in Spain was built on the riverbed. Spanning more than 5.5 miles, the park runs the length of the city from Cabecera Park to the City of Arts and Sciences and offers everything from children’s parks and foot paths, to other leisure and sports areas, and romantic spots where tourists and locals alike take full advantage of the opportunity to unwind and take in the spirit of Valencia.
Historic Old Town
Valencia’s Historic Old Town is the city’s heartbeat. Notable sites include the Valencia Cathedral, the Plaza de la Virgen, the Plaza Redonda and La Lonja a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Aside from the sites you’ll find abundant eateries, cafes and watering holes in the Old town area.
City of Arts and Sciences of Valencia
Avenida del Professor López Piñero, 7
46013 València, Spain
T: +34 902 10 00 31
Designed by acclaimed architects Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela, València’s City of Arts and Sciences is a visually stunning conglomerate of five architecturally significant venues devoted to scientific pursuits. The five venues are: the Hemisfèric (IMAX cinema and digital projections), the Umbracle (a landscaped vantage point and car park), the Príncipe Felipe Science Museum (an innovative centre of interactive science), the Oceanográfico (the largest aquarium in Europe with over 500 marine species) and the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía (the Opera House). Now who says science can’t be interesting?
Avenida Pio Baroja, 3
46015 Valencia, Spain
T: +34 902 25 03 40
Far from your average zoo, the Bioparc Valencia is a much more innovative proposition. Taking the notion of zoo immersion to the next level, guests of the seven year-old BioParc are invited into the habitat of the animals where seemingly invisible barriers exist between guests and animals. Think a tamer version of Jurassic Park and you’ll get the idea. A selection rides and walking paths complete the novel adventure into the wild right in the throbbing center of the city.
The Beaches of Valencia
Valencia’s beaches have regularly been rated favorites of tourists worldwide with Blue Flag certified beaches like Las Arenas, Malvarrosa and El Cabañal ranking among the most popular.
Escuela de Arroces y Paella Valenciana
Calle Juristas, 12
46001 València, Spain
T: +34 963 15 38 56
Did you know that paella originated in Valencia? That is but one of the many facts you’ll take away from a paella cooking class at Escuela de Arroces y Paella Valenciana. Beginning with a guided tour of the Mercado Central (or Central Market) to purchase all the necessary ingredients to make a paella from local vendors and continuing on to the school’s kitchen for a step by step lesson in the art of paella making, this is a class that is at once educational and delicious. Oh and did I mention that it’s also fun?