By land, an extensive network of motorways and railways links Valencia with all major destinations throughout Spain and Europe.
By sea, via one of the Mediterranean’s most active ports with an increasing amount of traffic. By air, via Manises Airport, just 8 km from Valencia, which boats a car park with almost 2,000 parking spaces and an undergroundline direct to the city centre. Valencia is connected to over 20 European cities and 16 national destinations. Once in Valencia, moving around is easy due to the five underground lines, the tram and the extensive bus network. The “Bus Turístic” is a fun way to get to know the city of Valencia. Always prepare before you make a choice. There is so much info about flightjoker at http://flightjoker.com
This sightseeing bus offers three different routes and its bright orange colour makes it easy to recognize. The first route covers the historic city centre and the main tourist spots, such as the City of Arts and Science, the port and the beaches. The second takes us to the Albufera Nature Reserve, where the price of the tour includes a boat trip on the lake, while third travels around the northwest part of the city with stops at the Conference Centre, the History of Valencia museum and Bioparc. The bus trip includes information in eight languages about the different sights.
The Valencia Card, available for 24, 48 and 72 hours, enables visitors to use public transport as much as they wish during the days that the card is valid, as well as taking advantage of interesting discounts in different tourist spots such as restaurants and retail shops, among others. For more information: www.valenciatouristcard.com. Trained professionals will assist visitors with any questions concerning their trip and provide tourist material such as maps, guides and brochures in the tourist information offices, known as Tourist-Info.
Another very useful service is “Valencia Museu Obert” (Valencia Open Museum), which conceives the city as a large open air museum due to the 11 routes which allow travelers to discover its history and heritage via a network of signs with the “Valencia Museu Obert” logo located in 80 tourist spots around Valencia. Simply dial 650 800 200 and indicate the number of the monument you are in front of. A voice will give you information about the monument in Spanish, Valencian, English or French, depending on the language you select.
This project allows all tourists to enjoy a guided tour via their mobile phone. Virtual visits of the 80 tourist spots contained in this project can also be carried out at www.turiENalencia.es. This website also offers several accommodation options
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The Marina in Valencia
The America’s Cup celebration in Valencia accelerated the recovery of one of the most important tourist assets in the city.
Today, the Juan Carlos I Royal Marina is one of the most spectacular marinas in Europe. Situated to the east of the city, next to the Malvarrosa and Las Arenas beaches, where numerous restaurants, bars and discotheques are found along the promenade, the port is located just 15 minutes from the historic centre. The Royal Marina boasts two docks, one outer and one inner. The outer dock is formed by the north and south docks, both of which shelter the entry and exit of boats, while the inner dock is used solely by vessels over 30 meters long. Both docks can accommodate over 600 vessels
7 Kilometers of Beaches in Valencia
The seven kilometers of beach has become one of the city’s leading leisure areas. Just a few minutes from the city centre, the Las Arenas, Malvarrosa and La Patacona beaches, as well as the Juan Carlos I Royal Marina, can be accessed at any time of year through the city bus network (www.emtvalencia.es), bicycle lanes and the tram (www.metrovalencia.com).
You can also go there by car since there is plenty of space to park and various car parks. The seafront promenade connects the three beaches, allowing anyone who likes to skate, cycle, run, walk or just sunbathe to enjoy the benefits of being out in the fresh air. The most traditional gastronomy can be sampled in any of the restaurants located along the seafront, where meals can be enjoyed with a sea view. The youngest members of the family can play in the children’s areas and there are volleyball courts and pedal boats for hire for the older ones. During the summer nights, the beaches turn into a constant ebb and flow of people enjoying the gentle Mediterranean breeze under the Valencia moon in any of the pubs and summer terraces. The beaches continue to the north with La Patacona and Port Saplaya, both part of the town of Alboraya. Towards the south, visitors will find Pinedo and El Saler beaches, known by the perfect condition of the sand and the natural dunes protected by European law since 1994.
Nowadays, the port has become one of the most fashionable areas of the city for dining in one of the restaurants or enjoying a drink in one of the relaxing terraces.
Valencia is nature Valencia is a city boasting over two million square meters of green areas. Parque de Cabecera is currently the largest park in Europe and is the home of Bioparc, where a new concept called zoo-immersion allows visitors to immerse themselves in a slice of Africa in Valencia.
Valencia is a city boasting over two million square meters of green areas. Parque de Cabecera is currently the largest park in Europe and is the home of Bioparc, where a new concept called zoo-immersion allows visitors to immerse themselves in a slice of Africa in Valencia.
Invisible barriers allow visitors to observe how giraffes eat, watch elephants bathing, contemplate the humanity of the gorillas, experience lions up close, laugh with the mongooses and see the different families of lemurs who scamper around feeling right at home. Over 250 species make up the almost 4,000 animals living in over 100,000 square meters of land, which faithfully recreates the most endangered African habitats such as the savanna and forests of Madagascar and equatorial Africa.
The plants found in Bioparc are a faithful reproduction of these areas, as are the immense baobabs, caves and large rocks. The idea behind Bioparc is to raise the visitor’s awareness of the importance of respecting animals, as well as how to conserve the environment. The water in its canals is recycled. In the next few years, it is expected that the park will not only contain a piece of Africa, but also habitats from Southeast Asia and South America.
TheTuria Gardens situated in the old Turia riverbed begin at Parque de Cabecera and run for 9 kilometers, almost reaching the Mediterranean Sea. At the end of these gardens is the City of Arts and Science, where visitors can enjoy a visit to the largest aquarium in Europe, the Oceanográfico, where they can view various species of marine life from the tropics and the Mediterranean. Whales, dolphins and sharks are just some of the species found there.
The city also boasts over seven kilometers of fine sandy beaches, recognized with Blue Flags for quality. You can go for a stroll, take a swim or ride bicycles there. Ten kilometers from the city centre is the Albufera Nature Reserve, where you can enjoy a boat ride on the biggest lake in Europe, passing through rice fields and feasting on one of the traditional rice dishes in the area at one of over 30 restaurants run by families living in the town of El Palmar inside the park. The Dehesa of El Saler forms part of this setting: a natural park formed by a Mediterranean forest and the most renowned beach in Valencia, El Saler. Its dunes, as well as the entire natural park, are protected by European Union guidelines.
Valencia Formula 1 Race Track
Valencia will host the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Europe until 2014. The streets surrounding the port and the beaches will be converted again from 25 to 27th June into an urban circuit with a capacity for 100,000 spectators, propelling the city to international fame as the host of the most prestigious motor competition on the planet.
The urban route was designed by the German architect Herman Tilke, and spans a length of five kilometers with a 14-metre wide track. The project took advantage of the installations created for the 32nd America’s Cup.
Motorcycle racing fans also flock to Valencia for the annual Motorcycle Racing Grand Prix at the Ricardo Tormo Racetrack. The Valencia circuit also hosts other important events each year such as the Superbike, Rally and GP2 Series world championships.
Horses and Tennis in Valencia
The equestrian world is also coming to Valencia via the Global Champions Tour. The city will host the Grand Prix of Spain until 2011, with possibilities of an extension until 2013. Between 6 and 9 May, the best riders in horse racing will gather in the City of Arts and Science. The competition and training area are situated in the Science Museum lake area.
The Turia Gardens become the “Horse Gardens”, the site for the boxes area occupied by the horses taking part in the competition as well as a leisure area. The image of Valencia and the City of Arts and Science projects to 116 million homes across the planet via the Eurosport television channel.
Valencia also enters the Tennis Open 500 full force between 1 and 7 November. The tournament will take place inside the Ágora building (6,500 capacity) on a fast surface court.
Parallel events where sports, music and fashion will go hand in hand will be held throughout the Valencia Open 500. There will be night sessions where the public can enjoy the best tennis, unique dining and nightlife areas to be installed in other parts of the City of Arts and Science.
Festivals and Celebrations in Valencia
Popular celebrations take place in Valencia throughout the year. These celebrations can be religious or secular, combine ritual and ingenuity, gunpowder, music and, the pièce de resistance, fire. Their most audible, visual and olfactory expression are the fireworks which Valencia natives have turned into a specialty marked by variety and uniqueness. The most famous and internationally recognized of the celebrations in Valencia take place between 15 and 19 March, Las Fallas.
This festival is a large pantomime of staged life, in which current local, national and international issues are satirized. Nearly 700 fallas monuments are erected in the city streets, where the aroma of chocolate, gunpowder and buñuelos (fritters) lingers during the days of the celebration. Music bands and parades of “falleros and falleras” (Valencians dressed in traditional costumes) liven up the atmosphere in the streets full of residents and visitors, who throng in the streets in the heart of the city to experience this celebration.
However, other celebrations are equally important. The year begins with the procession in honor of Vicente Mártir in January. Other religious festivals with spectacular monuments include the Maritime Holy Week processions, Corpus Christi and the transfer of the Virgin of the Forsaken, the city’s female patron saint, from the Basilica to the Cathedral. The Feria de Julio (July Fair) is not to be missed, with the battle of flowers and an extensive program of concerts and cultural activities.
Music in Valencia
The Palau de les Arts, created by Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava, is without a shadow of doubt, the artistic star of the city. Since October 2006, the Palau has offered a full programme which has introduced Valencia to the international opera and theatre circuits. Representations of all styles from the classic to the contemporary take place in its four halls.
The main hall contains a 460 m2 stage and 1,380 seats. Each opera can be viewed in various languages via digital screens installed in the seats. The 166 m2 orchestra pit is the third largest in Europe and can adopt, via four mobile levels, different shapes and heights, achieving the highest sound quality depending on the performance and the conductor’s interpretation.
Another musical reference in Valencia is the Palau de la Música. This is one of the most important music centres in Spain and welcomes over 500,000 spectators each year. The musical tradition of Valencia is present throughout the city. Some examples of this music tradition are the concert series offered at the Colón Market, the Cathedral, La Lonja (Silk Exchange), Santa Catalina Church and La Nau at the University of Valencia. In another vein, from Tuesday to Sunday, at 9.30 am, and Thursdays at 6.40 pm, the Iglesia de la Patriarca offers masses with Gregorian hymns sung by priests, a tradition that goes back to 1604. Starting in 2011, Valencia will be home to the European campus of Boston’s Berklee College of Music. This will be the largest music school in Europe and the main objective of its plan of studies will be to prepare young, creative musicians capable of tackling the new musical challenges posed by the 21st century and turning them into references in modern music. Around one thousand students will attend the school, with a staff selected from performers, composers and producers, prize winners and musicians nominated for prestigious music awards such as the Grammys.
Fashion Shopping in Valencia
Valencia is a city that loves fashion and design. This is reflected in its wide group of creators such as the well-established Francis Montesinos and Álex Vidal. Tonuca, Noelia Navarro, Dolores Cortés, Alejandro Sáez de la Torre and Higino Mateu are some of the young designers whose collections have made a substantial impact and who are making their way on to the national and international circuits.
Vicente Gracia stands out in the World of jewellery and was selected by Vogue as one of the top twenty jewellers in the world. However, the city also has much to offer those who prefer widely known names.
Some of the possibilities in Valencia for keeping up with the latest trends are Escada, Loewe, Bulgari, Emporio Armani, Hermenegildo Zegna, Louis Vuitton, Hermés, Roberto Cavalli, Farrutx, Carolina Herrera, Roberto Verino and Pomellato for jewellery, and the Valencia-based Lladró company for porcelain. Those seeking clothes with a more urban flavour will find them in the streets around the Plaza del Tossal, where many shops stock international brands. Additionally, C/ Colon is the street par excellence for shopping, the location for the major fashion and decor establishments. As for typical handicraft objects, shops stocking handmade wicker and leather goods can be found in Plaza Redonda and C/ de las Cestas. Furthermore, Valencia has its own date with the latest fashion trends.
Fashion Week arrives in the city in January and September to reveal the new pieces by youthful designers such as Ion Fiz and Ramón Gurillo alongside well-respected names like Hannibal Laguna, Álex Vidal and Dolores Cortes, and Valencia natives Tonuca and Nona. The catwalk has also been reserved for a parade of promising
Gastronomy in Valencia
Valencia boasts over 8,000 bars, cafeterias and restaurants, which provide a wide offer and, therefore, the highest quality of service and attention. Ca Sento, La Sucursal, Torrijos, Riff and Vertical are all Michelin Star restaurants, placing the cuisine of Valencia among the world’s best. Quality cuisine coexisting in perfect harmony with stoves preparing everything from traditional plates like paella to the famous tapas. Those who wish to try traditional paella on Valencia’s beach should go to one of the numerous restaurants found in Las Arenas beach.
Rice: The speciality of Valencia
Rice was introduced to Valencia by the Arabs in the 12th century with great success due to profitability made from rice sales. 30% of the rice produced in Spain comes from the province of Valencia. The Albufera Nature Reserve and the town of Sueca are areas with over 9,000 hectares of land dedicated to rice cultivation.
Furthermore, Albufera is very well-known for its restaurants specialising in many kinds of rice dishes. There is a Rice of Valencia Certificate of Origin which endorses the quality of the product. The different varieties are Bahía, Senia and Bomba, selected because they guarantee both satisfaction and a healthy option for consumers. Visitors can find Valencian rice in delicatessens as well as in any of the city’s markets or supermarkets. A very curious activity is to visit the Museo del Arroz (Rice Museum), located in an old rice mill dating from the start of the 20th century.
Horchata: The local drink
Horchata is one of the most popular drinks in Valencia, made from tiger nuts, a fruit originally from Egypt and brought to this Mediterranean city by the Arabs. Tiger nuts are grown in sixteen towns in the Valencia region of L’Horta Nord, which combines specific meteorological and soil requirements to make this the only region in Spain where this truly unique tuber is grown.
However, the most famous town with the most horchaterías (stands) for enjoying this drink is Alboraya. Finding out about the cultivation system and manufacturing process is as interesting as trying the drink.
Wines of Valencia
The Wine of Valencia Certificate of Origin groups17,800 hectares of vineyards spread over four smaller subzones: Alto Turia, Valentino, Moscatel and Clariano.
Nightlife in Valencia
Valencia continues to be a city with a thousand personalities once night falls. Its numerous nocturnal leisure areas include all kinds of venues and so no one has to go far for a change of atmosphere. Loyal to the Mediterranean timetable, the nightlife in Valencia comes to life at midnight. Pubs stay open until 3.30 am and night clubs until daylight.
As spring arrives, bars spill out onto the streets with hundreds of terraces springing up, allowing customers to enjoy the pleasant weather under the Valencian moon. The nightlife trail begins in the Carmen district, the city’s most popular, diverse and international leisure area. Its streets are densely populated with many pubs and clubs. Various bars offer live performances.
Visitors can let themselves be carried along by the flow of people in C/ Caballeros, making stops here and there until reaching the Plaza del Tossal and getting lost in the surrounding streets.
In the Ruzafa District
The Plaza de Cánovas, for the younger crowd, is located in the centre and contains various bars scattered along C/ Salamanca and the streets at right angles to it. Once summer arrives, the beaches are filled with numerous terraces and nocturnal street markets. The Juan Carlos I Royal Marina also offers interesting bars, located by the Mediterranean Sea.
Culture in Valencia: Valencia's Museums
Valencia boasts 34 museums where art and history from all eras can be enjoyed.
The city’s Museum of Fine Arts offers the second largest collection of paintings in Spain after the Prado museum, and includes work by Sorolla, Goya and Zuloaga. The Valencian Institute of Modern Art (IVAM) contains permanent collections and temporary exhibitions featuring art from the 20th and 21st centuries. The González Martí National Museum of Ceramics and Sumptuous Arts contains a wide collection of Spanish and international ceramic works, as well as decorative art. To find out about Las Fallas, the most important celebration in Valencia, a visit to the Museo Fallero (Falla Museum) is recommended. Visitors can discover the origins of the celebration there and see some examples of the original papier-mâché monuments that characterise the festivities. Other museums that stand out include the Valencian Museum of the Enlightenment and Modernity (MUVIM), the History of Valencia Museum (MHV), the Valencia Centre of Mediterranean Culture-La Beneficencia, and the Municipal History Museum. It is worth visiting the L’Iber Museum for its originality, as the museum contains the largest collection of tin soldiers.
Valencia Museum of Fine Arts
C/ San Pío V, 9
Valencia Institute of Modern Art (IVAM)
Centro Julio González.
C/Guillem de Castro, 118
National Museum of Ceramics
Rinconada García Sanchís, 6
Museo Fallero (“Fallas” Museum)
Plaza Monteolivete, 4
Valencia Centre of Mediterranean
C/ Corona, 36
History of Valencia Museum
Next to Parque de Cabecera.
C/Valencia (Mislata entrance)
Casa Museo José Benlliure
C/ Blanquerías, 23
Municipal History Museum
Plaza del Ayuntamiento, 1
C/ Guillem de Castro, 8
Bancaja Cultural Centre
Plaza de Tetuán, 23