Who would refuse a relaxing break in the Spring sunshine?
Certainly not me…. Valencia really is a welcoming city, its bigger sister Barcelona (just up the coast) is an equally lovely city but Valencia feels like it is keeping a little something back for itself.
You can easily just stroll a few streets away from the main plazas and you will find some wonderful tapas bars serving to locals and tourists alike.
El Mercado central is a delightfully restored indoor market with around 1,000 stalls across two main halls, one being completely dedicated to fish and seafood.
This is a great place to experience a genuinely bustling working market. The wonderfully appealing Art Nouveau influences can be seen internally and externally, throughout.
As is often with any town or city, just strolling around the streets and lanes exploring different nuances, can frequently be a highlight.
The old historical town of Valencia is no exception, wandering along the cobbled streets peering around corners to see what you will come across next. What you will notice when strolling around is the street art and intricate murals, some of them are fantastic.
The relaxing plazas of Plaza de la Virgen or the Plaza de la Reina.
These squares are a great place to grab a coffee, take the weight off of your feet and watch the world go by.
There is an amazing mix of architecture throughout Valencia, the façade of the ceramic museum truly is incredible, do try and get to see it.
Valencia cathedral houses in a chapel, what is believed by many to be the true Holy Grail, it’s not for me to say, but it is quite incredible either way.
The Turia Gardens is an ingenious example of recycling.
The Turia river repeatedly flooded Valencia, so the river was diverted and the old river bed transformed into a park and gardens, to be enjoyed by everyone.
The old bridges that straddled the original river, now span across the gardens, which make this quite unique.
At the eastern end of the Turia gardens is the City of Arts & science.
This is probably one of the most photographed parts of Valencia and a complete contrast from the old town.
Once again this recreational area can be appreciated by all ages and a photographer’s delight when the sun goes down of an evening.
If you have time, visit the Silk Exchange which is just near the central market, it is only a couple of Euros to get in.
Equally for free, stroll into the ticket hall of the main train station.
It is like stepping back in time, the ceramic tiling is amazing.
Strolling around the old town on a warm evening and finding a welcoming local bar.
The wonderful varieties of tapas, there are so many to choose from and it is so pleasant not to be rushed into the late evening.
The top of the list of culinary delights I experienced has to be Paella.
As Valencia is its spiritual home, there is a lot of competition.
Although it was not quite beach weather in March but sinking your toes into the sand on Playa La Malvarrosa has to be a pleasure.
Discovering the last few traces of the Formula 1 pits, complete with tyre marks was a bonus.
As although we went to the harbour area especially for this, we thought that all traces of Grand Prix circus from 2008 to 2012 would have disappeared, as this was a street circuit.
In the sunshine this really does slip back a treat, particularly after a long day sightseeing.
Another local delicacy is Horchata & Fartons.
Horchata is an ice-cold refreshing milk drink, made from chufa nuts (tiger nuts) and accompanied with fartons (pastry fingers), to dunk into your horchata.
It does sound bizarre, but is very tasty.
Point of Note
My lasting memories of Valencia will be the friendliness of the locals and the feeling that although tourism is large part of the cities income, it certainly doesn’t come across as the overriding influence in their daily lives. Valencia feels very family orientated and the draw of the surrounding Turia gardens lends itself to this extremely well.
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