What to do in Valencia, Spain
Visitors to Valencia, a third of whom are Brits, adore its thriving arts, culture and gastronomy scene. What’s particularly noticeable is that snaking through the city the old path of the river is given over to green space with historical landmarks, cultural venues and viewing points along the way.
The City of Arts and Sciences is a particular highlight but throughout the city the architecture is Instagram-friendly. And the presentation of paella, its native dish, is often updated for a new generation – that’s if it’s not beautifully served in the traditional manner.
If Valencia is on your bucket list, the Citybond team highlights its top five things that are waiting to be discovered.
Wander the Central Market
A much-loved attraction for both tourists and locals in Valencia, the historic Central Market, or Mercat Central de Valencia in Spanish, is one of Europe’s largest and oldest markets. Opened in 1928 by King Alfonso XIII, it’s known for its spectacular architecture - the Spanish Ministry of Culture declared it a ‘Heritage of Cultural Interests’. More than 300 vendors gather from Monday through to Saturday to sell produce, fresh fish, meats, cheeses, coffee, spices and much more. Covering more than 8,000 square meters, its popularity means it can get a little hectic so it’s best experienced in the morning before the peak hours and when the stalls are still full of the day’s wares.
Explore the city by bike
Thanks to its extensive network of bike paths and bicycle-priority roads in the city, one of the best and easiest ways visitors can experience Valencia is via cycling, Visitors can cruise around with a local guide on a set tour, or for those who prefer to go it alone it also has plenty of bike hire companies whose ranges include e-bikes. Keen cyclists looking for a longer ride during their visit can take La Safor Greenway, an easy four-mile trail venturing through orange groves and market gardens on the south end of the city.
Visit the City of Arts and Sciences
Nestled alongside the Turia River on the outer edge of the city, the Spanish public voted the City of Arts and Sciences, or the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, one of the 12 Treasures of Spain and it's certainly one of the most impressive cultural centres in Europe. As well as hosting a variety of exhibitions, workshops and educational events throughout the year, it’s also home to an IMAX Cinema, opera house, concert space and aquarium. The centers are open every day from 10am-9pm, though hours vary off-season.
Climb The Serranos Towers
Superbly preserved, The Serranos Towers was built in the 14th century and was once the busiest of the twelve gates of the wall protecting the port. Later, it was used as a prison for noblemen. Today, the monument welcomes visitors from all over the world to admire the Valencian Gothic style structure – as well as the incredible views of the city and the Turia River from the top. Hot tip: it costs €2 to visit, but it’s free on Sundays and public holidays, when it’s open 9.30am to 3pm.
Spend a day at the beach
A trip to Valencia is not complete without an afternoon or two spent lounging at the beach, especially in the summer months when temperatures reach highs of 30C. Right on the Mediterranean Sea, Valencia is known for its warm waters and sun-kissed shores. The most popular and accessible beaches like La Malvarrosa, Patacona, and Las Arenas are dotted with cafes, bars and restaurants and amenities continue with chairs for hire and volleyball courts. For more secluded days on the sand La Garrofera, La Devesa, and El Saler - home of paella, Spain’s famous dish - are just as enjoyable and less crowded.
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