Valencia, often and repeatidly shaded by Barcelona or Madrid, is definetly in the top five Spanish travel destinations and it is the absolute winner among the destinations for student exchange. Being a capital of Comunidad Valenciana it offers a mixture of impressive architecture, long sandy beaches, groovy nightlife and inspiring cultural heritage.
You will definitely will not be sorry for visiting this amazing third largest city in Spain. Let me show You why!
Heart of Valencia: Get lost in the city of golden night light
Valencia has numerous “plazas”, but my all-time favorite is definitely Plaza de la Virgen. It is surrounded by the three most emblematic buildings of Valencia: the breathtaking Catedral de Santa Maria, inspiring Basílica de la Virgen de los Desamparados and the amazing Palacio de la Generalidad. I love just sitting in the center of the plaza and admire the beautiful atmosphere of this special place. Also worth visiting and extremely picturesque, especially during the day is Plaza de Ayuntamiento which just some steps away from Plaza de la Virgen.
When in the city center do not miss the opportunity to visit Mercado Central – old market which is a feast for the eyes and your soul. Here you can always find some fresh fruit, vegetables and a whole different specter of seafood.
When you get hungry or thirsty, head to the Barrio de Carmen – here you can find some upscale restaurants and bars but also some simple ones where the balance between price and quality is optional. Barrio de Carmen also has some interesting nightlife. Almost every day of the week you can find some party going on.
If you prefer alternative party scene that does not include a crowd of drunken students from all over the world then you absolutely have to visit Benimaclet. It is some 15 minutes’ walk away from the city center, but it is definitely worth a visit. Beside of colorful houses decorated with ceramic tiles you will find numerous cafes, bars, cultural centers, flamenco concerts, poetry recitals, photography exhibitions etc.
Ciudad de Bellas Artes: The modern shape of the city
The architect that gave modern Valencia a shape was worldwide known Santiago Calatrava. One of his most famous works is valencian Ciudad de Bellas Artes. This amazing neofuturistic complex is one of the most common postcards from Valencia. Besides being the best place to take a photo session, part of the Ciudad de Bellas Artes is also oceanographic museum. If you want to see a shark swimming just above your head, then that is the place for you to go.
Playa de Arenas – get some sand in your shoes
One of the most beautiful and fun things that Valencia has to offer is definitely a long sandy beach. If you like beach volley, running on the soft sand or you just enjoy sunbathing, Playa de Arenas is just the place for you to be. Beach of Valencia is not interesting just during the day but also in the night time. There is a bunch of bars and discotheques where you can have quite a fun night out.
When in Valencia don’t even think not to try:
- Paella Valenciana – There is like numerous different types of Paellas. You can have it with chicken, duck, seafood or rabbit. The real Paella Valenciana is the one with the rabbit and chicken. I would recommend paying a bit more of money to get the real paella which is made in the bread oven than saving some euros and eating the cheap one that has no real taste.
- Agua de Valencia – After a whole day of sightseeing there is nothing like a glass of a good Agua de Valencia. This is a special cocktail made out of the freshly squeezed orange juice “seasoned” with sparkling wine and white rum. Yummy!
- Tinto de Verano – If you are more of a wine person I would highly recomend You to get a taste of this refreshing drink. It is a fine mixture of wine and different fruit juice.
- Chocolate con churros – Fresh spring afternoon just calls for a nice warm cup of hot chocolate…with churros! This fried pastry dipped in a thick chocolate is just one of my favorite desserts.
How to get…
- From the airport of Valencia to the city center?
Relax, you don’t neeed to pay for extremely expensive airport shuttles or taxis, you can just hop on the metro – it is extremely easy! It will take about 20 minutes of your time and roughly 5 euros of your money to get in the city center. At the airport just follow the signs for the metro. When you get to the station you will see the metro ticket vending machines. If you travel alone, buy the single ticket, but if you travel in group, you should buy the ticket with 10 rides for the ABCD (airport) zone, which can be used by more than one person at the time. It costs around 20 euros and you can spend some rides to the center and then just save the ticket for the time when you will be returning to the airport. And a very important tip – never throw away the metro ticket. If they “catch” you on the metro without a valid ticket they would charge you a fine.Once being at the station you will see that there are two different lines of metro there. It is not important which one you take, because both stop at the station called Cólon, which is the best to get off the metro if staying in the city center.
- From the city center of Valencia to Playa de Arenas (beach of Valencia)?
So, what is the best way to get to the beach? Metro. Go to the station Pont de Fusta, which in valencian language means “wooden bridge”. It is named by the bridge – surprise, it’s a bridge made out of the wood – which you will need to cross to get to the station. Same as at the airport, buy the tickets on the vending machine. This time pick the zone A and again you can buy a ticket with ten rides which will cost you roughly 7 euros and you can share it with your friends. Then take the blue line number 4 and after 15 minutes get off at the station called Eugenia Viñes.