There are few cities like Valencia, able to harmoniously combine the remnants of its farthest past, dating to the year 138 BC, with the most innovative and avant-garde buildings from the new millennium.Valencia is trade and culture, cinema, theatre, museums, magic, business. It is the centre of international and avant-garde design, and one of the most active cities in Europe regarding fairs and conferences.Thanks to its location, Valencia has historically been Spain’s Mediterranean port and has that special charm of cities that are also seaports. And the fine sand and clean water, the vastness of the sea and the closeness of the coastal mountains make the Valencian coast uniquely attractive. Here are listed the top 9 things to do in Valencia, Spain.
- Oceanogràfic – The star of the City of the Arts and Sciences is this cutting-edge oceanarium that opened in 2003. With 45,000 individual animals from 500 different species, you won’t find another attraction on this scale in Europe. The aquarium is organised by ten zones, each synthesising a distinct environment, and using real seawater pumped from Valencia’s waterfront.
- City of the Arts and Sciences – The attraction is a staggering ensemble of ultra-modern structures that are given an ethereal quality by the reflecting pools that surround them. The whole thing was started in the mid-90s and the finishing touches were made in 2005. Within these gargantuan buildings are cultural venues and first-class family attractions like L’Hemisfèric, a planetarium and IMAX Cinema, or the breathtaking L’Umbracle, a botanical collection of plant species native to Valencia. Book ahead to avoid queues.
- El Miguelete – The cathedral’s octagonal bell-tower graces many postcards sent home from the city. It’s a Valencian gothic construction begun in 1381 and completed just under 50 years later. Originally it stood completely alone from the cathedral, but extensions in the late-1400s brought the two structures together.
- La Lonja de la Seda – This majestic late-15th-century building is a UNESCO site and held as the masterpiece of Valencian gothic architecture. La Lonja de la Seda is the finest a monument to Valencia’s golden age, when the city was one of Europe’s main centres for trade and culture.
- Central Market – Opposite the Silk Exchange is another prized landmark, the cavernous and palatial Central Market building. Even if you’re just sightseeing here you’ll love the building’s art nouveau metal and glass design.
- Valencia Cathedral – The city’s solemn gothic cathedral dates to the 13th and 14th centuries, with renaissance, baroque and neoclassical modifications made over the next few hundred years. Go inside to see 15th-century renaissance paintings by artists such as the Valencian, Jacomart as well as several from Rome commissioned by Pope Alexander VI.
- Casco Histórico – Like most historic centres in Spanish cities the heart of Valencia is made for wandering. All of the must-see sights in this part of the city are just couple of minutes away from each other.
- Jardín del Turia – This astounding park brings you fresh air and relaxation right in the middle of the city. It came about in the 20th century after the River Turia burst its banks in 1957 causing great damage to the city.
- Malvarrosa Beach – Within minutes of the old-town you could be sunning yourself on a Mediterranean beach. Malvarrosa is a wide strip of golden sand that stretches for a kilometre along the city’s seafront. The beach has been awarded the Blue Flag for all the amenities it provides, from lifeguard towers , a medical station, drinking fountains and showers, to its easily-navigable ramps and footpaths.