Before our trip to Valencia Spain, I decided to check out the city on a few vlogs on Youtube and travel sites as well. It looks pretty amazing. And everyone who’s written about the place only has raves about it. When I was finally there, I didn’t realize that it was THAT amazing. My advise to people is — get ready to be immersed in modern art and culture and explore the dizzying yet charming Old Town.
You’ll enjoy your Valencian vacation to no end – this I assure — if only because the place boasts of a plethora of wonderful Valencia Spain attractions, all of which are certainly worth seeing.
The third-largest Spanish city, Valencia is not only awesome and breathtaking, but mesmerizing as well. I reserve the last description for the City of Arts and Sciences complex. I was practically spellbound as I stepped into it, with its many lights still lit when the morning is just about to break. If you’re coming from Madrid, the complex must be the first site you will see as you enter the city. It is only 3 to 4 hours from Madrid, (depending on your chosen mode of transportation) but once you’re there, you feel that you are a world away, especially if you are in the science complex.
Valencia is recognized as the heart of the autonomous region this part of the country, not only in a historical sense, but in terms of economy as well. And even if it’s divided into the modern complex and Old Town, the two totally compliment each other, and in fact, forms a fusion that makes the city stand out from the rest of Spain.
Breathtaking — that’s what it is after emerging from the centuries of occupation of three major groups – Romans, Moors, and Catholics. Such are strong influences that contributed to what the city has become today – a modern metropolis that embraces its glorious past.
Suffice it to say that the city is all about dream holidays, rich Spanish culture and tradition, avant-garde art, modernism, warm beaches, and of course, paella, the delicious sticky rice-dish. Only a select Spanish city can promise immense vacation pleasure and enjoyment – and one of them is Valencia.
What to see in Valencia Spain
I. City of Arts and Sciences
Modern design, symmetry and strength are the obvious qualities that the edifices and structures at the arts and science complex want to convey
1. Prince Philip Science Museum
It looks odd, like a giant exoskeleton of some prehistoric animal. Yet inside, the Museu de les Ciencies Principe Felipe amazes, as it is home to a number of permanent expositions and events that delve in modern science and technology.
2. Hemispheric Planetarium
This ultra-modern science facility assures visitors the surreal experience of what’s it like to be in outer space. The planetarium employs equipment and gadgets like laser and IMAX that enhance the lights, sounds, and images of shows and displays. In effect, it affords every visitor a fantastic, out-of-this-world sensation.
3. The Agora
One can see how the edifice of the Agora takes on the shape of an upright purple-colored mullusk shell. A creation of Santiago Calatrava, it is located near the Oceanographic and asserts a stunning presence at the Sciences complex.
4. Assut de l’Or Bridge
Puente de l’Assut de l’or, the Dam of the Gold, is an impressive cable bridge by engineer Santiago Calatrava. Affectionately called the Serreria Bridge by its builder, locals on the other hand love to call it El Jamonero, the ham cutter.
5. Oceanographic Park
A gargantuan aquarium complex that features thousands of water species, the water park is also where dolphin shows are enjoyed by visitors. Design is done by famous architect Felix Candela.
II. Old Town
Museo de la Almoina
This section of the city is aptly named, as evidenced by the archaeological remains at the museum at the Plaza de la Almoina. There is also the Serranos tower, was once part of a wall that surrounded Valencia. For me, the Old Town is charming, with its narrow, rather convoluted roads that lead to precious sites such as the town’s famous markets, crowded squares, centuries-old cathedrals, and inviting cafes. The Old Town is the perfect next destination to cool the excitement down after that exhilarating tour of the City of arts and sciences.
1. Plaza de Toros de Valencia
The bullring is a staple feature in Valencia postcards, as the famous stadium is one of the city’s iconic symbols. Built in the mid-19th century, it stands right in the midst of the city, near the city hall and the North Station. Bullfighting events are still being held there, especially during the Fallas fiesta. The latter is a traditional festival that occurs in March, where there is a grand parade of puppets or gigantes. The festivity ends with the burning of the gigantes except the one chosen as the best of the lot.
2. Les Torres dels Serrans
My fear of heights didn’t stop me from climbing up the Les Torres dels Serrans, or Los Torres of Serrano. It is one of the 12 gates that guard the city during the late 14th century. Legend has it that the name was derived from a famous family the lived near the place.
3. Catedral de Santa Maria de Valencia
My visit includes attending the midday Sunday mass at Catedral de Sta Maria de Valencia, a spectacular Roman Catholic church — inside and out. It was built in the 13th century as a replacement to an ancient temple. The religious edifice speaks of Roman and Gothic elements in its design.
4. Turia Fountain
Wandering to the Plaza de la Virgin near the Cathedral, you will certainly not miss the Fuente del Turia, which displays a huge statue that represents the god Neptuno. The flowing water is supposed to depict the Turia River
Another Goth-inspired edifice masterpiece from the 15th century is the Lonja, one of the city’s important landmarks. Another popular Valencian monument-landmark, the Central Merkat, is just across the street.
6. La Playa
The urban beaches are but some of the reasons why tourists troop to the city during summertime. Here I took fancy of the dolphin statues on display at the Las Arenas Beach (Playa de las Arenas de Valencia).
7. Estacion de Nord train station
The North Station, or Estacion del Norte in Spanish, was constructed way back in 1917 by the Railways of the North of Spain, a top train station maker in the city during those times. The North Station boasts of a premier train railway system, seeing a steady traffic of commuters day in and day out.
Tasting Valencia’s Paella
It was a busy day — the exploration of the Sciences complex , the midday mass at the Catedral de Sta Maria de Valencia, and stroll along the Old town got me really starving. Come 2PM, we finally decided to try one of those Old town restaurants that serves the Spanish dish that the region boasts about – the paella. We found one right within La Plaza Mercado (Plaça Merkat) — Restaurante La Cava. This Mediterranean restaurant along Calle San Fernando is just one of the many at Market plaza, and I thought we made the right choice as the food joint serves really delicious paella.
Gazpacho con croutons – cold soup to start the meal
Enjoying a taste of Valencia food means having a plateful of sumptuous paella for lunch
The lamb dish (cordero) perfectly complements my Valenciana
I realized that a flan is a flan, whether you’re in Madrid, Barcelona, Manila or Valencia. It’s the perfect postre to have – para siempre!
Hotels in Valencia Spain
One of the modern medium rise Valencia Spain hotels, it is just a few-minute walk from the City of Arts and Sciences — we even passed by it as we proceeded to the Valencia beach. It is a little over a kilometer away from station Ayora and around 3.7 kilometers from the Central Market. All available rooms are furnished to the delight of guests, and feature vital amenities like Wi-Fi and satellite TV. The luxurious suites boast of a private balcony or terrace for some spectacular views.
Where located: Av. de França 33 València
For guests who want to be booked at a convenient hotel Valencia room that’s a stone throw away from the City of Arts and Sciences complex, the best option is the Tryp, considered by many as one of the finest Valencia Spain hotels. Common feedback are its large, spacious, and clean rooms and suites as well as quick and efficient services. Guests choose this hotel if only because it offers rooms with spectacular views of the city.
Its location is at Carrer del Pintor Maella 35
Traveling to Valencia Spain?
How to reach by bus:
Auto buses are perhaps the cheapest means of going to Valencia or any other Spanish city and town, for that matter. The first departure of buses from Madrid is as early as 8:00 in the morning. On the average, it will take you 4 1/2 hours to as long as 7 hours to complete your journey to Valencia via bus. ALSA bus company offers regular bus services to the city – just click on the its link here and enter the necessary information. You may also purchase bus tickets at the ALSA Plaza Eliptica station.
How to reach by train:
If you take the high-speed train by AVE at Atocha Renfe station, you now have a direct connection between Madrid and Valencia. Travel time is much less compared to bus — around 1.5 hours. There are a sufficient number of train trips daily, from 1 to 3 scheduled trips to Valencia every hour — the maximum frequency is usually during the day’s peak hours (late afternoons).