Despite Valencia being Spain’s third largest city, many of us don’t seem to consider it when making a choice over which Spanish destination to visit. Barcelona and Madrid are firm favourites, but why is poor Valencia forgotten about when it has so much to offer visitors? Well we’re about to tell you why Valencia should be high on your list of must-see European cities.
There are beaches!
One thing that seems to surprise many is the fact that Valencia has beaches. And not just any type of beaches, but wide, sandy, not hugely busy beaches. The best kind some may say.
The great thing about the ones in Valencia is that many of them are very traditional, undeveloped and therefore unspoilt. They’re also real unlike some of the beaches in Barcelona and in other parts of Spain, and you just can’t beat real sand can you? The other great thing is that they’re not too far from Valencia city centre either.
It’s the home of Paella
In my opinion probably the biggest selling point on this list. Yes, Valencia is the birth place of Paella, the most famous of all Spanish dishes! Although you can get this amazing rice dish all over the country, the best will always be found in Valencia, and with virtually every restaurant serving it, it’s pretty hard to miss. Traditionally served with rabbit, sausage, chicken and snails mixed through the saffron infused rice, you will not find a truly authentic Paella like this anywhere else in Spain. Foodies, get yourselves over there quick for a taste sensation like no other!
Las Fallas festival
Las Fallas is an annual Valencian festival which falls in March each year to welcome in spring. The streets fill with locals and visitors from all over the world, ready to celebrate this fantastic fire festval.
The idea behind Las Fallas is that everything bad is burnt and then reborn from the ashes. And that’s how they welcome in the new season. The celebrations usually go on for the entire month with a whole programme of activities and events available for everyone to attend. If you’re looking for something a bit different for the new year then this might just be it.
It has a great nightlife
Forget Ibiza, Valencia is where the party’s at! The city is big on its rooftop discos, however the main attractions for those looking for a great night out are most definitely the famous clubs L’Umbracle and Mya, both situated within the heart of the City of Arts and Sciences. With different music playing in each club guests have a choice whether to dance the night away to mainstream hits (usually in Spanish) in the open air L’Umbracle, or to enjoy a more techno vibe downstairs in Mya. Other lively areas include Barrio del Carmen, partically around Calle Caballeros or maybe pop over to Plaza Cánovas for a less touristy atmosphere.
Talking of the City of Arts and Sciences…
Image © FromTheNorth
As well as being home to the best nightlife in Valencia, L’Umbracle also functions during the day as a huge, open-access garden with a range of Mediterranean plants and contemporary sculptures. The City of Art and Sciences also holds Europe’s largest aquarium, Oceanogràfic, which is well worth a visit. The aquarium also hosts sleepovers for children which we’re very jealous of!
There is a 3D cinema, a science museum, an arts venue showing ballets and operas, an events centre and a very impressive bridge designed by the Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava.
Oh, and did we mention just how much cheaper than Barcelona and Madrid it is? What more could you want or need from a city?