The greenest Spanish megalopolis; a dynamic city; a picturesque resort on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea – there are various options to describe Valencia. However, there is hardly one title that can give a full picture of this incredible city. It combines humans with nature, ancient architecture and contemporary buildings, calm holidays to never-ending parties. You can come to Valencia for one or two weeks or even a month! You won’t get bored here. Hundreds of interesting places are located not only in the city but also in its suburbs.
Districts in Valencia
According to the administrative division, Valencia consists of 19 districts. Each of them is divided into quarters. Some had a status of independent municipalities. However, as time went by, they all became parts of a single city.
Consider the following information while looking for a perfect district:
- The Old Town (Ciutat Vella) is the most comfortable area in Valencia for the tourists. It offers a wide range of restaurants, hotels and a high concentration of the main city attractions.
- Eixample is considered to be an elite district, especially the quarters called Russafa. Here you can stroll in the center of the city, admire beautiful historical buildings and enjoy a delicious meal at one of the numerous cafes or restaurants.
- If you are looking for a developed infrastructure and budget grocery stores, pay attention to the coastal district called Poblats Maritims.
- In case you want to combine a beach holiday with cultural activities, you can stay in the district of the beach Las Arenas. It has a harbor for yachts, a picturesque and cozy place.
- Tourists on a budget and those who love the greenery will definitely enjoy Campanar district. It is a bit remote from the center but the city has a convenient system of public transport. Besides, here you can attend a landscape park, a zoo, or go shopping in a huge mall.
- The Malvarrosa beach is extremely popular among travelers. However, staying in this district is not the best idea. The majority of the residents along the coastline in this part of the city are the Gypsies. Not everyone likes this kind of vicinity.
A longstanding Gothic Cathedral, ancient temples, fragments of city buildings, splendid architecture of several generations, interesting museums, beautiful parks, an oceanarium, and an extraordinary zoo – this is Valencia.
Around 12% of the population in Valencia (almost 100 thousand people) have a foreign nationality. The third part of these people (31.4%) are the citizens of various countries of the European Union. As far as the diasporas are concerned, the Romanians (11%), Italians (6.9%), and Chinese (6.6%) are the largest ones.
A brief history
In 413, the Visigoths conquered Valencia, and in 714 it was under the Moorish siege. The city became a part of the Caliphate of Córdoba and was developing rapidly. At the beginning of the XI century, the Caliphate decayed, and Valencia became the capital of the Moorish Kingdom. During this period, the city obtained the irrigation canals, the city walls changed their appearance, and brand-new constructions were built (for example, the well-extant Arab bathhouses).
A new chapter began in the history of the city in 1238. It was caused by the military assault by the army of James II of Aragon, and the introduction of Christianity. In the same year, the first church was built in Valencia. The foundation of the Cathedral was laid in 1262. The golden age of the city lasted until the XVII century. In 1609, the baptized Mauritians were banished from the country. This event entailed a financial crisis.
Valencia had to survive not only a total decay of the economy. It also lost all the privileges for the local citizens (1707), was under governed by the French (1812-1813). In the XIX century, its economy revived. In 1936-1939, Valencia was a temporary capital of Spain.
The history of Valencia has many tragic pages. However, they only case-hardened the city, gave it some extraordinary charm and atmosphere.
Before the trip, you should calculate the approximate budget that you will require for the travel:
The best time to visit Valencia
If you want to participate in the Falles Festival, you should come to Valencia from March 1st to March 19th. Then, the whole city turns into a bright celebration. Attendance of corrida is also a fascinating experience. Its season starts on March 19th. The Feast of Corpus Christi is another fascinating fancy-dress parade that happens at the beginning of June and gathers lots of fans. You can celebrate an extraordinary St.Valentine’s Day in Valencia on the 9th of October. But be ready to let go of typical cards and accept a bouquet of marzipan candies. The second week of January and the end of January are perfect for travelers hunting for discounts and sales. “Delicious” prices stick around the city boutiques for around a month.
You need to have an international driving license to be able to rent a car in Valencia. Be very careful while driving around the city. The penalties for violating the road regulations are pretty high. By the way, not only drivers must be attentive. This concerns the pedestrians as well. Jaywalking or crossing the street illegally can bring you to some unexpected and quite unpleasant expenses.
Just like in many other cities, Valencia has a special Valencia Tourist Card. You can purchase it at the metro station. A happy owner of this card can get from the airport t the city for free, not to pay for public transport in zones A and B, get pleasant discounts while visiting museums, shops, and even restaurants.
Tips in Valencia are more than welcome. As a rule, they compile 10-15% of the cost of the service. 5% will be enough for a tour guide. At some restaurants, the service is included in the price. However, if you are satisfied with the waiter’s work, people here tend to leave some extra bonuses.
What should a tourist do in Valencia
A walk down the streets of Valencia will allow you to get the first impression of the city and even fall in love with it. If a tourist wants to enjoy all the beauties of this Spanish to the full, he or she should:
- Explore the City of Arts and Sciences which territory is decorated with ponds and pools. Get inspired by its contemporary architecture, admire the futuristic buildings, drop by the cinema, oceanarium, Prince Philip Science Museum.
- Head to check out the Turia Gardens. Rent a bike or just walk around and enjoy the landscape design, throw a picnic or even exercise.
- Attend the Valencia Cathedral with a tour and see the Holy Grail. It’s a renowned cup that is believed to be the cup Jesus ate from on the Last Supper.
- Admire the city view from the observation deck at the El Miguelete bell tower. From there, you shall see the historical center of the city, modern districts, some attractions, and even a sea.
- Taste real paella at one of the local restaurants. And if you happen to be in Valencia in summer, then horchata will save you from thirst and heat. It’s a delicious soft drink made of milk and from chufa tubers (tiger nuts) and sugar. In Horchaterias (special establishments in the city), you shall find several kinds of this incredible drink with exquisite desserts.
- Go shopping at the Central Market of Valencia. It’s a vivid and atmospheric place where everything looks so delicious that it’s almost impossible to pass by the counters.
- Swim in the Mediterranean Sea. Head to one of the popular beaches: Playa de la Malvarrosa, Playa de Pinedo, or Platja del Saler.
- Participate in the Falles Festival. It’s a crazy celebration that lasts for a week and is accompanied by firecrackers, music, flower gifts to Virgin Mary, and large parades in beautiful outfits.
- Have a romantic stroll around Valencia at night. It’s illuminated with millions of lights and looks captivating.