Ah, Valencia. The place where the sun always shines (except for the occasionally rain), where the oranges grow on the trees and where live is always great.
It was the second time that I visited the city. This time it was for a much shorter period then the first, as my first lasted for almost 6 months (cf. Lucie on Erasmus). I could always come back to Valence. I will always come back to Valence! But why do you have to go there? Let’s rephrase that, why shouldn’t you want to go there? There is something for everyone there you see. You have the sunny weather to start with, the historical center to continue and the beach and parks to end with. And for those who want that little something more, you also have futuristic buildings, tapas, paella and sangria!
When you arrive with your airplane, you have a beautiful view over the city. If you know where to look, you can see the Ciudad de las Artes y de las Ciencias and the Plaza de Toros as well.
In Valencia you have everything: you have the beach – the cultural city center – you have nature in the Turia, the Albufera – you have museums – you have the Fallas (15th – 19th of March), good food, … Name it, you have it.
We first stopped at the beach. We went in the beginning of march, so it wasn’t the best weather to go sunbathing, but nevertheless it’s not a waste of time going there even if you can’t lay down in the sand. We went there by foot… but if you don’t want to have sore feet for the rest of your trip, just go by metro.
After going to the beach we walked (yes, we did) back to the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias. We didn’t visit it, because when I was there on Erasmus, I visit it all. The only thing I did visit again, was the Oceanográfic. It’s the largest aquarium of Europe and very beautiful to visit. I mean, you can walk under sharks ;-)! If you do want to visit the rest of the Ciudad, you can also visit the Hemisferic, the Museo de las Ciencias (very interesting for children I think), the Umbracle (free, this is actually the main entrance via the parking) and very occasionally, you can also see an opera in the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia.
The next day I wanted to visit a Fallas Museum. I wasn’t in the city during the Fallas – at least, not this time – and I found that such a pity, so we needed to go to a museum. There are two in Valencia, we chose the nearest one: Museo Fallero. It was fine. You see some parts of the Fallas of each year. You see how they grow in material, in form, … during the years. Actually, since we were there during the opening of the Fallas, we also went to a Mascletta. If you haven’t seen it before: it’s just a lot of noise. So much, that you can feel the ground trembling under your feet. But I think it’s great. Something you have to see at least once in your life J. During the Fallas, you can see the Mascletta every day at 14h. There also a big firework every evening. During the opening of the Fallas only on some evenings (more info, go to the website).
After a walk in the Turia, we went to the city center. Here you can visit everything: plaza de toros, the station (go inside, please – we didn’t do that this time, because there was a procession going on), the Central Market (go inside ;-)), the Lonja, the Torres de Serrano, the cathedral and the Miguelete (tower), the Plaza de la Virgen and the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, …
We also went to the botanical garden. One tip: don’t visit it. I don’t know. I went there in June 2010, and now in march… both times it was disappointing. I thought that this time there would be – perhaps – more blossoms. But there weren’t. So… not worth visiting. Maybe if you have sufficient time. Near the botanical garden you have de Torres de Quart.
For the soccer fans: you can also visit the Mestalla. Five years ago it was just a big piece of concrete, now they put some color on it. It looks rather nice.
We also visited Bioparc. One of the best zoos I’ve already visited. So if you like animals, or if you go with children, this is a great stop. You can walk between the apes as well. Though it used to be free, now you have to go with a guide.
But there’s so much more to do when you’re in Valencia: go to the Albufera, go eat tapas and paella (please do!), just walk around in the city – it’s not that big. Discover it for yourself.