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Valencia Mini Guide
Valencia is an exciting cosmopolitan city which can offer visitors culture, nightlife and dazzling beaches. It is the biggest city in Spain after Madrid
and is located on the east coast where it benefits from a warm Mediterranean climate.
If you want to soak up the sun, play volleyball or get submerged with water sports, Valencia has miles of coastline to visit.
Successive cultures have left their mark on Valencia. In the 700s the Moors traded goods there including silk, leather and paper and the late Gothic silk exchange building - La Lonja De La Seda – has been deemed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The Moors were later fought by the Spanish hero on horseback, El Cid, who conquered Valencia and changed its mosques into churches. More recently the famous home grown architect Santiago Calatrava produced the City of Science and Arts which has a fantastic range of entertainments constructed in a modern style.
No visit to the city should miss this fascinating development which has many restaurants and covered walkways as well as an oceanographic park, an IMAX cinema, a theatre and a science museum. Tourism is now booming in Valencia. Much money has been spent on making the industrial city more attractive by restoring parts of the old medieval city, cleaning up its beaches and making more parts of Valencia pedestrian friendly. There is so much to see and do in the city that a short trip could never do it justice.
Valencia's museums, its port, colleges, churches, and its bullring are all worth visiting. There is even Gulliver Park, an amusement park for children which is based on the book Gulliver's Travels. Many fun festivals are held in Valencia which attract large crowds. The unique La Tomatina has become hugely popular with tourist who want to get rid of their inhibitions in a food fight festival by throwing tomatoes at each other. Taking place in August in the nearby town of Bunol, La Tomatina attracts thousands of participants and has parades, music, dancing, fireworks and a paella cooking contest.
More solemn, but no less celebratory, are the holy week festivities which rejoice in the Catholic faith with processions and candle lit vigils, while thousands of boat lovers were drawn to Valencia in 2007 for the 32nd American Cup yacht race.
The presence of many students in Valencia means that the city has an enviable nightlife with a number of arty bars located in the Carmen, Ruta de Bakalao, and Blasco Ibanez areas of the town. One of the city's focal points for visitors is the Placa de Reina with its numerous bars and restaurants near to the fabulous Placa de la Verge which has a fountain and a basilica of the Virgin Mary.
Wherever you end up going, Valencia has a green feel with a multitude of public parks and botanical gardens to stroll through such as the Jardines de Ayora and the Jardines de Real which offer tranquility and architectural interest. Valencia is renowned for its food and produce such as Valencia oranges. Get a flavour for the city by sampling Spanish omelette or rabbit paella followed by Bunuelos (fritters) for desert, and a cold glass of Horchata, a vegetable beverage made from barley.
Valencia has its own airport with links to 15 European countries. From the airport it is easy to hire a car and make the short journey downtown.
- Often, tours of historical sights can be difficult with small children but Vinaros, just outside Valencia has introduced audio tours for children. They'll follow the same route around the sights as their parents but have a guide attuned to their needs and presented in a fun, informal manner.
- The Las Fallas Festival coming up soon in March between the 15th and the 19th is a fabulous affair, renowned across Spain and in the huge procession, models of world landmarks are paraded around and eventually burned on top of bonfires accompanied by fireworks