Valencia was first mentioned in the 2nd Century BC as a roman colony. Its name actually comes from the latin Valentia which means “strength” or “valour”, a Roman practice of recognising the valour of former Roman soldiers after a war. With 2000 years of history, 45 museums, 30 parks, gardens and 16 theatres Valencia makes the ideal destination for holidays, cultural breaks, family travel, romantic escapades and solo trips. Valencia has two official languages: Spanish and Valenciano which is a dialect of Catalan. If you want to sound more like a local (even though the backpack and camera will shout “hey I am a tourist”) say “Bon dia!” instead of “Buenos Dias” and then mix and match with phrases from that “Learn Spanish in 6 Weeks” booklet you carry with you.
1. Visit La Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias
Or in English The City of Art and Sciences is an architectural complex for culture and entertainment and it is also part of the 12 wonders of Spain. The building which was inaugurated in 1998 is based on the riverbed of River Turia, which was drained and redirected after the desastruous flood from 1957. There is a strong contrast between the art deco building and the medieval buildings in the city and that is part of its charm.
2. Visit Llotja de la Seda
This gothic construction once served as a civil building and now it is one of the most visited attractions in Valencia. It was built between 1482 and 1548 during Valencia’s Golden Age.
3. Take a Trip to Mercado Central
Just across Llotja de la Seda you can find the central market and regain your energy by choosing from a wide variety of fresh food. While the food is great, the building itself is not too bad either. It combines a modern Art Nouveau style but it borrows some architectural influences from its “neighbours”, the Gothic Llotja de la Seda and the Gothic-Baroque church of Sants Juanes.
4. Visit Plaza de la Virgen
Catch your breath in this square which is located in the heart of Valencia and which dates back from Roman times. It will also give you a great chance to admire the architecture.
5. Climb the Miguelete Bell Tower
For only €2 you get access to the enormous spiral staircase. If you are brave enough to climb the 207 steps you will be rewarded with a great view.
6. See the Serranos Towers
They most probably get the name from their location-being an entry point for the road which connects Valencia with the district of Los Serranos. Another theory is that they get their name after the Serranos, an important family of the time-who lived on a street with the same name. Coincidence? I think not. The gate was part of the old city wall, built in the 14th century and it is one of the last remaining bits of the ancient Christian Wall and in fact one of the best preserved monuments in Valencia. If you want to see more towers check out Torres de Quart as well.
7. Visit the Ceramics Museum and the Palacio de Marques de Dos Aguas
This is a 2 in 1 opportunity. The ceramics museum is housed by the luxurious palace, built in the 15th Century. It combines rococco, neo-classical and oriental elements, which make it a unique site.
8. Visit L’Oceanogràfic
Quite a few marine habitats are represented at Valencia’s eye catching oceanarium. The oceanarium, which is the largest one of its kind in Europe, is integrated inside the cultural complex known as the Ciutat de les Arts i de les Ciències. It is the home to 45 000 animals from 500 different species from fish, reptiles, sharks, dolphins and whales to birds, reptiles and invertebrates.
9. Attend a Concert at Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia
If you are in the mood for something less touristic, what about a cultural evening at the opera house? Oh did I mention it is the tallest opera house in the world? The height of 75 metres (246 ft) gives it quite a “hight note” if you know what I mean.
10. Visit Valencia Cathedral
The Cathedral was dedicated to Saint Mary and it was built on the site of the former Visigothic cathedral which was turned into a mosque under the Moors. The Valencian Gothic is the predominant style of the Cathedral but it also has Romanesque, French Gothic, Baroque, Neo-Classical and Renaissance influences.
11. Museu de Belles Arts de Valencia
Even though the art gallery was founded in relatively recent times, in 1913, the paintings are dating from the 14th-17th centuries while the building which houses the gallery, St. Pius V Palace, was built between the 17th-18th centuries.
12. Visit the Prehistoric Museum of Valencia
You will have the chance to learn about archeological discoveries from the Palaeolithic.
13. Palau de la Generalitat Valenciana
This is Valencia’s 15th century Government Building. Its construction begun in 1421 and it has been a seat of government since its completion.
14. Go to the Beach
Have a relaxing day by the sea at Playa de la Devesa del Saler or at Playa del Saler.
15. Visit the Largest Urban Park in Europe
The park is located on the riverbed of River Turia and it provides outdoor activities for people of all ages.
Here is a cute bookmark for you.
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