Valencia; are we ready?
So with comfy shoes, a fulfilling breakfast with a kick of coffee; the best way to see Valencia has to be on foot, or by bike.
Popular with locals & tourists alike, within the old town, is the stunning Mercado Central, or Central Market.
In our opinion, equaling the fabulous La Boqueria in Barcelona, all housed in a wonderful art nouveau building.
The mainly food market is an explosion of colour, sights & smells. From the huge fresh fruit & vegetables (is it all this huge?), the legs of ham, the vast array of Spanish cheeses and the beautifully fresh fish hall.
Wander round, take it all in but remember this is a working market, watch your backs…
Step outside the market, and after a few steps and you will come across the impressive La Lonja de la Seda, or Silk Exchange.
This UNESCO World Heritage site, built at the beginning of the 16th century, has stunning exteriors and interiors, and for a couple of euros you can step inside to view ‘The Hall of Columns’.
Don’t worry the detour around the Silk Exchange will not take you long, but worth it for a price of a cup of coffee.
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As you will notice …
… so far, everything is within easy walking distance
That is so true of the old town, everything seems to be in touching distance. It calls out for your inner adventurer to discover.
Head south to the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, with the beautiful City hall on one side.
The old Central Post Office on the other.
A walk around the square is greeted by scent of dozen or so flower stalls.
Valencia is a stunning city from an architectural standpoint, rewarding you when you glance up.
From the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, you can catch a glance of the North Station, another impressive facade,
but wait there’s more, stroll into the ticket hall, and you’ve stepped back in time.
You’ll notice the ceramic tiles upon the pillars and ceiling depicting Valencian fruit.
Step out of the station, and what’s that? The Plaza de Toros de Valencia or Valencia’s Bullring, with a capacity of around 12,000.
Despite being built in the mid-19th century, it follows a neo-classical style.
A wander through the gentrified Ruzafa district, again the quality of the architecture stands out.
A check of the watch …
… and you’re past the yardarm, refreshment is required.
This calls for a change of direction, heading northwest to the Mercado de Colon, or Columbus Market. A recently renovated area, offering up bars, restaurants & shops.
Now seems an appropriate moment to take the weight of your feet and join the locals in some refreshment.
A crisp white Rioja, a local Turia Cerveza or a refreshing Agua de Valencia (A bucks fizz with a punch; replace the Champagne with Cava, add Vodka & Gin, and plenty of Valencia’s renowned orange juice.)
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Refreshed and recharged
It’s only a short stroll to the Jardines del Túria, the urban park that wraps the north and eastern outskirts of the old city.
Created from the riverbed of the diverted river Túria, which was prone to flooding, often with disastrous consequences.
However, what you have now is an open space enjoyed by locals.
Follow the course of the old river south towards the Mediterranean Sea, strangely walking under the bridges where the water had once coursed.
After a slightly longer stroll, you now step into the future, and probably more recognised images of Valencia
The Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, or City of Arts and Sciences.
A striking array of futuristic design with El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía,
L’Hemisfèric, El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe, L’Umbracle, L’Àgora & L’Oceanogràfic. Wonderful by day, stunning illuminated at night.
Senses overloaded by now …
… time for something more relaxing.
The beach. The sensible option now is to jump into a taxi, and head towards the harbour and the beach. It is walkable, the trip to the beach is around 2 miles (3.5km) from the L’Oceanogràfic.
Should you choose to burn a few more calories, then you can take the route via the port & harbour.
The harbour still has visible reminders of the 32nd & 33rd Americas cup based in the city in 2007 & 2010 respectively.
Look a little harder and you can also still see the rubber from the Formula 1 circus, which held the Grand Prix of Europe in the city from 2008 to 2012.
The beautiful Port Authority Building stands tall in the old harbour area, to the north of the modern day port.
A wander around the harbour brings you to the golden sands of Playa La Malvarrosa, and the flurry of restaurants overlooking the sea.
Here you can try Paella, in its spiritual home.
It’s probably time for a siesta now
You will notice that the locals have, and the streets become a little quieter away from the city centre hotspots. It’ll be time well spent because the there’s plenty to do later into the evening. We did.
Enjoy an evening stroll in the warm air, whilst mixing amongst the many tapas bars and restaurants that Valencia has to offer.
I’m sure you know this, but Valencia is like the majority of Spain and feast well into the evening, it’s not unusual to graze close until midnight.
After this, a few hours shut-eye are required, the first full day done; sleep will come quickly.
Tomorrow is another day
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Inspired to visit Valencia?
Tempted to explore the city? There’s so much to see.
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