Valencia

Soak up sun and culture in a vibrant gastro-centric Mediterranean city

Overview

Ever found yourself sipping a Rioja at your local tapas bar thinking, ‘I wonder where paella was invented?’  Well, ponder no more. Valencia is indeed the true home of this mouth-watering Spanish favourite. Originally cooked with chicken, rabbit and snails, it’s an authentic recipe that Valencians remain fiercely passionate about. As if the draw of a hundred simmering paella pans isn’t enough, there are so many reasons to visit this beautiful Mediterranean city. Come and see. It won’t disappoint.

The area is known for its 300 days of sunshine and year-round pleasant climate, clear skies and perfect conditions for strolling, beach living or relaxing on sunny terraces. December to February, are considered low season. However temperatures remain mild with highs averaging 17 degrees and night time around 8 degrees. This is the best time to avoid crowds and snag deals on accommodation, although beware that during the popular December marathon and throughout Christmas week, this can be turned on its head.

The Old Town

Easily walk-around-able, the historic centre still showcases Roman, Visigothic, Muslim and Medieval cultures. Discover iconic monuments such as the grandiose UNESCO recognised Silk Exchange, the twin Serrano and Quart towers, and the lively Plaza de la Reina. These all bear witness to Valencia’s 15th century Golden Age when the city boomed. Don’t miss the imposing Cathedral with its Renaissance art and Baroque façade. It was built on a Roman temple that was later a mosque, and grew as the city itself expanded. It is said that that the cup kept safely in the chapel inside is the holy grail itself, the chalice of Christ. Reward your morning’s adventuring with tapas at one of the many bars of the central plaza.

Arts & Culture

Constantly evolving, Valencia is leading the pack with stunning experimental and award-winning 21st century constructions. Lovers of architecture won’t miss the City of Arts and Sciences by Santiago Calatrava, Norman Foster’s Convention Centre and Veles e Vents by David Chipperfield. In particular, hours can be spent wandering the open air spaces around the astonishing City of Arts and Sciences, admiring what looks like a sunken alien craft; and that’s before you go inside any of the complex’s buildings to experience the world class exhibitions and events taking place. Low season festivals include January’s FESTIN which combines art with gastronomy. Then in February CLEC fashion takes place as well as the Valencia Culinary Festival.

Shopping

Colourful Mercado Central in the Old Town is one of the oldest and largest fresh produce markets in Europe. Hosting over 1000 stalls, it is a great place to wander or pick up supplies for a delicious fresh picnic. Ask to sample before you buy or enjoy a meal at one of the sit down outlets. In a modern twist, it was the world’s first market that accepted online orders for delivery. Leather, ceramics and linen are good buys, and if you can dodge the mass produced souvenirs, there are some beautiful locally produced products. Try Al Vent or Artesania Yuste close to the Old Town. Remember that many shops and boutiques still respect the siesta, so at least your credit card can have an afternoon break.


Low Season Saving

From 30% versus Peak Season


Tourist:Local Ratio

Peak Season

Low Season

1:1
1:2


Major Airport

Valencia Airport VLC

Low Season Months

Jan
9°C
32mm
6hrs
Feb
11°C
31mm
6hrs
Mar
13°C
34mm
7hrs
Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct
18°C
89mm
8hrs
Nov
13°C
57mm
6hrs
Dec
10°C
42mm
6hrs

Hotels

Top Experiences

Turia River Park

Run the 5km track or picnic in the afternoon sun. This piece of heaven was created from the old river bed, after the Turia’s course had to be diverted in the 1950s, a testament to the city’s ingenuity.

Learn to cook Paella

Impress your friends with your newfound culinary skills. Options abound such as classes combining market tours, sangria making, wine tasting, and even jazz with Valenica’s signature dish.

Albufera Lake

The number 25 bus travels 10km to this rural getaway, a natural lagoon and wildlife haven. Take a boat on the still waters, visit smallholdings and fishermen’s cottages before dining at El Palmar.

Insider Tips

  • Valenica’s 20 kilometres of beaches have all been awarded Blue Flag status. Malvarrosa Beach is the closest and most popular whereas Pinedo Beach is more peaceful with a signed nudist section.
  • The Fallas burning in March is a true spectacular. At any time though, you can admire these wooden papier-mâché structures. Each year some are saved and kept at the impressive Fallas Museum.
  • La Estrecha in Lope de Vega Square behind St. Catalina's Church is Europe's narrowest building at 107cm across. Now it’s a façade only as the interior wall is removed. Blink and you’ll miss it.

Good To Know

  • If limited for time, you can skip the cathedral and just climb its bell tower, la Miguelete. It costs a mere €2 and the 207 steps are well worth the climb for the views from the top.
  • Shoppers should look for artisan products labelled “Made in Valencia”. In the post-Christmas low season, winter sales begin, with many venues offering reduced prices.
  • The 1000 year old Tribunal de las Aguas, recognised by UNESCO, is a vestige of the past which can be witnessed at noon on Thursdays under the Apostles Gate at the Cathedral.

Food & Drink

Casa Carmela

£££

This classic beachside restaurant at the waterfront has been run by the same family since 1922. One of the last remaining places in the city where paella is still cooked over a wood fire.

Ricard Camarena Restaurant

££££

With 2 Michelin stars it’s Valencia’s best according to the famous gastro guide. The passionate chef also runs Canalla Bistro, Habitual, Coca Loca and Central Bar.

Chef Quique Dacosta

£££££

The 3 Michelin starred chef owns 4 restaurants in Valencia: El Poblet with 1 Michelin star, Vuelve Carolina, Mercat Bar and Llisa Negra. All of them are highly recommended.

Reviews

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