Valencia is a vibrant Mediterranean city where the party never ends. Yes, the city’s charming ruins and ageless roman architectural forms hide a laid back ambiance for a great city getaway. Come to this home of the largest market in Europe and experience some real Spanish cuisine. You can sample some turrón de Jijona and the turrón de Alicante on your ultimate Valentia food tour. Or, take a walk down the Turia Gardens, where once River Turia flowed, and marvel at its sheer size and beauty. Plus, capture your memorable moments of this home of the Holy Grail at the royal Torre de Serranos.
Enough said. Here are our top 10 things you must do on your grand Valencia tour:
Explore The City of the Arts and Sciences
The Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias or the City of the Arts and Sciences is an ultra-modern cultural and scientific complex at Valencia’s heart. It is by far the city’s symbol and the largest structure of its kind in Europe.
A tour of this national monument will witness a futuristic scene that stars on the big screen. Pass through Europe’s longest underwater tunnel, L’Oceanogràfic, for a splash of marine ecosystems. Or, get your Instagram shots at the Outdoor Club’s changing art installations.
The Stunning Turia Gardens
Turia Gardens came about out of a sheer accident. You know, it sits where the once majestic River Turia flowed. But, in 1957, the river flooded, causing at least 60 deaths in a single day. After, Valencia’s municipality chose to drain the river and replace it with the Turia Gardens to avert such incidents in the future.
Today, you can visit the stunning gardens for some outdoor family actions, like cycling, forest baths, and a picnic. There are a plethora of fun things to explore like fountains, sports fields, trails, a slide park for kids even and Gulliver Park.
Check out The Gothic La Lonja de la Seda
Now, for a taste of Europe’s golden moments, your itinerary must include a sightseeing tour of the La Lonja de la Seda. Also known as the Silk Exchange, this 15th-century gem is a UNESCO World Heritage site in Valencia.
La Lonja de la Seda was once a silk market where merchants from the Mediterranean would gather for trade and cultural exchange under the watchful gaze of its twisting columns and vaulted ceilings. Its gothic-style design, unique to Valencia, was quite different from the normal Gothic-Mediterranean style. The gothic style was practically synonymous with religious buildings at the time, so it was quite an exception to see.
The Ultimate Wine Tour
A city tour in Valencia is half-done without a tour of Valencia’s award-winning wine zones. Yes, in 2017, Valencia got up to 130 global awards for its wines, most of which are from the Utiel-Requena area. This 2,500 year old seductive wine route is home to a rolling mountain terrain where 40,000 hectares of vineyards scatter the landscape.
The Holy Grail at the Valencia Cathedral
The Holy Grail is a sacred object that has been shrouded in mystery for centuries. To date, at least 200 people claim to have the cup that Jesus Christ used during the Last Supper. But, historians have checked and confirmed that the cup that is currently at the Valencia Cathedral fits the place and traits of the real Holy Grail.
In turn, the Cathedral attracts pilgrims from all over the world who come to view it. And Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVII have also used the cup during Holy Mass. The holy chalice is kept in a stained glass display case above the Cathedral’s altar.
Shopping in Valencia
For a city that is home to the largest market in Europe, your Valencia exploits must include shopping for souvenirs. We suggest visiting Linda Vuela a Rio for elegant perfumes and scents, Abanicos Carbonell for hand-painted manual fans, or Las Ollas de Hierro for souvenir accessories. The charming arts and crafts at Cestería El Globo, ceramics at Lladró, and Valencian craft beer at La Boutique de la Cerveza will wow you.
Beach Culture in Valencia
Visitors come to Valencia for beach vacations between late June and late August each year. Here, at least 13 world-class beaches await you.
Picture this. Explore the traditional Valencian life on a pedal boat at the El Cabanyal Beach. Or, dance the night away at a seaside bar while staying in an uptown Valencian resort in Las Arenas. Better still, have a mini-Venice experience at the Port Saplaya Beach.
And guess what? All the beaches in Valencia are less than 10km from the city center. How cool is that?
Festivals in Valencia
For a city that never sleeps, Valencia is the go-to spot for annual festivals. It is a mix of religious and secular concerts. For example, each year there is Parade of the Three Kings, a kids’ festival in January. Then, February ushers in street parties, music, and dancing in the Carnaval (Carnival).
The ultimate Valencia festival, the Las Fallas de San José, is from March 15th to 19th. It hosts marching brass bands, street performers, night fireworks display, beauty shows, bullfights and paella competitions to your delight. Then, the Maritime Holy Week runs from March to April. We suggest attending these festivities while on your camping tour in the city.
Street Food Tour
When you want a taste of the real Valencian culture, blend in with the locals and do what they do. An easy way to do this is by ditching the 5-star meals for some fresh street food. Have some Paella Valenciana; a local rice dish served with mussels, a local seafood. Better still; try the Horchata y fartons, Valencia’s signature tiger nut milk. When you are in a hurry, snack on some Flan de Calabaza, a pumpkin dessert, or Morcilla and Egg Sandwich comprising sausage, scrambled egg, and sandwich.
Valencia FC Football Tour
Finally, when you are in Valencia, plan to visit Valencia Club de Fútbol, one of Spain’s most successful football clubs. It boasts of four European trophies, Copa del Reys and La Ligas, and is the force behind the untouchable Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Get your orange-themed gear and head to Mestalla Stadium to see Valencia FC play. Or, see the grand opening of the new futuristic Nuovo Mestalla stadium planned for 2022.