Valencia. Known for its futuristic structures, falles festival, the home of paella and delicious seafood. Spain’s third largest city and less frequented by tourists than it’s sister cities Barcelona & Madrid, Valencia is a beautifully quirky destination to get out and explore on foot. If you’re heading to Valencia, here are my 6 favourite experiences to make sure are at the top of your Valencia bucket list!
1.Cycle the Entirety of the Jardin Del Turia
The Jardin Del Turia (Turia Garden) is the park that surrounds Valencia and stretches from the Cabacera Park to the City of Arts & Sciences Building. Hire a bike and ride from one end to the other along a path that spans 9 kilometres. Places to hire a bike can be found on the edges of the park and (the one I chose) that is located right smack bang in the middle of the park. The length is perfect, the paths are wide, the sights are beautiful and as it is a park, it’s unlikely you will be able to get lost (even though I did give it a try!).
2. Stumble onto Valencian Street Art.
I love street art at the best of times, but I found when I visited Valencia that there was just SO MUCH and it was SO GOOD. In particular, the area of El Carmen in Valencia is covered with beautiful street art. Street art so good it deserves its own post.
3. Climb The Miguelete
The Miguelete is the large bell tower that is connected to the Valencia Cathedral (also beautiful in its own right). If you don’t mind walking up 200+ steps in a tight spiral staircase, you will be rewarded with a beautiful view of the city of Valencia. Only 2 Euros and a little bit of exercise – it’s totally worth it to see the gorgeous Spanish city from above (one of my all time favourite things to do when I travel!).
4. Eat Authentic Paella by the Sea.
Most sea side towns are well known for their seafood. Valencia in particular is known for its fantastic seafood paella. Head to the beach (about a thirty minute walk from the city centre or accessible by bus) choose from one of the restaurants lining the beach, order some delicious seafood (with a wine or sangria of course) and relax by the beach.
5. Visit during Las Fallas
Las Fallas is Valencia’s big festival that is celebrated (in a BIG way) every year. This is the festival that welcomes Spring and is held from 1st – 19th March every year. The Fallas festival is a huge fiesta that the entirety of Valencia embraces. Throughout the start of March, every day at 2pm there is the sound of the traditional mascela, gunpowder explosions. ‘Fallas’, or large statues are also erected throughout the streets in this time, leading to the last day of the festival where all the sculptures are burnt – symbolising that ‘everything that is bad is burnt and reborn from the ashes’ to welcome a new, fresh Spring. There are many other aspects to this fiesta, and I was lucky enough to be there through the set up of many of the crazy looking sculptures. Expect fireworks at all hours (and handled by all kinds – even little kids!), lights and sculptures throughout the streets and masses of locals and tourists alike!
6. Eat lunch at the Mercado Central.
It’s no secret (and probably no surprise) that I’m a big lover of markets. I love walking up and down the rows and choosing something yummy, local and unique of the country I’m visiting. Valencia is no different. Luckily, it’s Mercado Central is huge, smack bang in the centre of town (and aptly named) and filled with all kinds of cuisines and Valencian specialities.