So much is written in the Internet about Valencia. An infinite number of books have been published – but still in fame and popularity of Spanish cities Valencia ranks behind Madrid and Barcelona. Indeed Valencia is “just” the 3rd largest city in Spain, it is not one of the prime business centers of Spain, its sister cities are smaller cities as well, their soccer club ends up mostly behind the clubs from Barcelona and Madrid. So – why focus and write another text about Valencia?
It´s just because in my eyes Valencia is the most attractive city in Spain. Being smaller than Madrid and Barcelona turns into an advantage in many ways:
The numerous beaches in Valencia and surroundings are amongst the cleanest and most attractive. Whether you are looking for Sports activities, maritime ambiente to relax, good food or just a refreshing swim in the Mediterranean Sea, you will be delighted.
The people are just awesome. They are so friendly and kindly welcome everybody with their openminded characters. The poison of exhaustive touristic exploitation of visitors has not infected the population at all. (Yes – their is crime and also bad individuals, but given the size and compared to other places Valencia is totally visitor-friendly and safe)
History and Culture:
Valencia always has played an important role in Spain and the entire trading community of the Mediterranean Countries. Still many well maintained monuments, buildings and conventions are still alive. Numerous activities, like walking tours, museums, workshops are available to explore the Valencia culture in depth.
To prepare your trip I recommend the site Valencia bonita. Uptodate information about activities and places to visit are of great value.
Activities with kids:
Apart from extensive beachlife activities kids will be delighted spending a day in the beautiful Sea-Aquarium Oceanografic. Nearby you can stop by the Ciudad de las arts y las ciencias. A nice science museum, which allows children to explore the world in their very own way. Also the Bioparc is a great place if you love exotic enimals. Read my blog A day at the Bioparc Valencia for more details. Some kilometers away from Valencia you find many waterparks and with Terra Mítica a gorgeous Theme Park. We came so many times to this region that we saw them all and we always enjoyed it so much.
Like in most Spanish cities Valencia is celebrating all catholic holidays with processions, nice costumes, fireworks and dances. The major ones are Easter, Christmas, New year and Corpus.
However FALLAS is THE outstanding celebration in Valencia and exclusively in Valencia.
During a week the entire city puts itself in pretty decorations and each neighborhood organized in Casals fallers is decorating their streets with carpets of flowers and thematic ornaments. It all comes to its highpoint the 19th of march on Saint Josephs day when they burn it all down and Valencia will be in flames. Some rumors say that FALLAS is the most exhaustive Fiesta behind Carnival in Rio.
Valencia has many markets. Most of them are hosted in beautiful ancient buildings and surrounded by bars and restaurants, where you can enjoy the fresh ingredients from your market tour.
My favorites are the Mercat Central, Mercado de Ruzafa and Mercado Colón. The first two are rich in all sorts of vegetables, fruits, meat, seafood, sweets, spices, vinery, beers, juices, etc. The Mercado Colon is slightly different. It is an awesome ancient building which hosts various bars and restaurants – ideal to start the day with breakfast or to start the night with some copas before you get wild at one of the clubs or parties.
Apart from all the Gucci, Armani, Adidas, Lacoste etc. outlets Spanish Retail Store El Corte Inglés will help to find the right dress for any event.
Handy crafts, souvenirs and pieces of art you find everywhere from very cheap (mostly made in China and of poor quality) to Premium. Topics which represent all Spain and are perceived as soooo typical are sold everywhere. However I recommend to buy everything around Flamenco in Andalucía and not in Valencia. It is just not from here.
True Valencia related items are for example: Fallas, Valencian ceramics, Abanicos (all Spain) Paella, Horchata, Fartons, Oranges.
Paella is the most known and popular dish from Valencia and its region. Many varieties are served in numerous places, of cause all homemade. They are offered all day but as it is a heavy meal the natives prefer to eat it for lunch. In order to find out the real good ones by yourself follow my blog Delicious spanish food in Valencia. Of cause Valencia is not only Paella. A whole variety of other rice dishes, seafood, tapas, montaditos or fresh made bocadillos are the Spanish delights of your choice. All are described in my blog Delicious spanish food in Valencia and Ensaladilla rusa.
Clubs, discotecas, beach-parties, concerts, festivals: Every night in many locations. Remarkable is that there are places and events to party for every one. It is not an exclusivity for teens and twens or the rich and Avantgarde.
See my blog Valencias identity found in Graffiti