“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”
– Miriam Beard –
PRINT & GO
Before your departure, do not forget to check/bring with you:
– Boarding Pass and Hotel Reservation
DAY 1: VISIT VALENCIA (OLD TOWN)
On the first day in Valencia, we will focus on its historical area, the city center. Since the places to see are all nearby, an early wake up is not very necessary, but I suggest you to start your trip at latest at 10:00. Everything is nearby, therefore you don’t need any other transportation but your feet.
- Your trip can start from the railway station, the Estacion del Norte. This is not a normal station, but a real monument: inside walls are filled with colorful frescoes and furniture are designed in real modernist style.
- From Estacion del Norte, take Marques de Sotelo street and you will get to Plaza de Ayuntamento, the city main square, where the main city events took and still take place. This big square is an architectural masterpiece: it is a mix of classic, traditional Spanish and Valencian elements but with a modern touch. The main buildings are the Ayuntamento (city hall) and the Correos (post office). All around the square are shops, restaurants, cinema, theaters, bars.
- A nice walk through San Vicente Martir street and Avenida Maria Cristina will make you discover many nice shops and restaurants of the city. You can focus on your shopping later, because now the tour has to go on and get to one of the top attractions of the city: La Lonja (silk exchange). La Lonja is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the best preserved examples of Late Gothic architecture. Built in the beginning of XVI century, La Lonja is the real emblem of the Golden Age of Valencia, when the city was a cultural and economic core. Architecturally, it consists of a mix of medieval monumentalism and glamor, and seduces you with its elaborate playful ornaments. It is both powerful and light-hearted, both solemn and sparkling with life. Inside, you can admire its twisted columns, its decorated ceilings and its raffinate furniture. The building is open for visits everyday but on Monday.
- Just next to La Lonja, you can find the wonderful Mercado Central (central market). This is a very ancient food market (one of the most ancient in Europe). The building itself was constructed at the beginning of the XX century, in pure Valencian style, with lots of colors, ceramics and mosaics. At every time of the day, the market is crowded with people buying some fish, meat, vegetables or any local delicacy. You can rest and have your lunch over there in order to taste the delicious Valencian food.
- After a nice lunch break, have a nice walk in the nice small streets located around La Lonja. This is the very core of the historical city center. You will enjoy getting lost in these several narrow and ancient streets, with old and well-preserved houses, nice shops, typical restaurants. These streets are plenty of life during day and night. A very nice spot inside this are is the Plaza Redonda, a small round square hosting a very small market.
- From Plaza Redonda, you will easily get to the second main square in the city: Plaza de la Reina. Besides being a square full of shops, restaurants and bus stops, this square is also the one hosting a real treasure of the city: the Cathedral of Valencia. This is the religious center of Valencia and one of the city’s landmarks, built in a particular style that mixes Gothic, Baroque and Neo-Classical. The entrance doors are the symbol of all these styles and they’re simply wonderful. The Cathedral includes also the very impressive octagonal bell-tower El Micalet. With a 2€ fee, you can climb the stairs to the top (do not forget to stretch your muscles before, the tower is really high and narrow and when I did it I had pain in my legs for 3 days!) to enjoy the views of Valencia’s old town. The view over there is stunning, you definitely cannot miss it!
- After having admired the wonderful view of the city, go behind the Cathedral, you will find yourself in Plaza de la Virgen. Before the construction of the Plaza de Ayuntamento, Plaza de la Virgen was the city’s main square. This picturesque place hosts some relevant historical buildings. Besides the Cathedral, you can find there the Basilica de Virgen de Los Desamparados, the second most important religious structure of the city, one of the first Baroque buildings in Spain and constructed in a traditional Spanish stye with a blue tiled dome. It hosts the statue of the Virgen of the Foresaken- the patron saint of Valencia. Next to the Basilica is the Palau de Generalitat, the seat of the Valencian Autonomous Region government, an imposing castle-like structure blending the late Gothic and Renaissance architecture with Moorish themes.
- If you still have time, you can anticipate one of the activities of day 2, more precisely the enjoyable walk at the Jardines del Turia (Turia Gardens). Passing through the majestic Torres de Serranos (one of the two remaining city gates from the XIV century, built in an impressive Gothic style), you will arrive in this green paradise in the heart of the city. The Turia Gardens come from Turia river, formerly the river of the city. Because of several floods in the XX century, Valencia decided to divert the course of the river. And the fertile soil of the riverbed quickly gave life to a lush garden. The river banks and bed are currently filled with various architectural monuments, museum and culture centres, playgrounds and sports areas, fountains and well-trimmed arty gardens. The gardens go on for 9km, it is a very long walk, but of course you can do just a part of it.
Your first day in Valencia is over. If you still have some time you can do some shopping (stores close at 20:30, sometimes even later) or go back to the hotel for a rest before starting the nightlife of Valencia. During the night, the streets of the city center gets full of tourists, young people and locals going to some of the several restaurants and bars the city offers. Enjoy this great experience!
DAY 2: VISIT VALENCIA (CONTEMPORARY AREA AND MUSEUMS)
The second day in Valencia will be extremely interesting, especially for the fans of contemporary architecture. It will be a real discovery, you will be astonished to see how this great city managed to take care of its ancient treasures while developing an entire area of pure and wonderful contemporary art, namely the City of Arts and Sciences.
Depending on your available time (e.g. if you have your flight back in the evening), you can plan your day. For instance, if you have the entire day available, you can have a walk at the Turia Gardens in the morning on day 2 instead of day 1 and visit the City of Arts and Sciences in the afternoon, whereas if you have half day available it is better to see the Turia Gardens on day 1 and focus day 2 on the visit of the City of Arts and Sciences.
The City of Arts and Sciences is not very centrally located, but can be easily reached by public transportation. There are several buses (such as 1,13,14,15,19) departing from Plaza de Ayuntamento every 10 minutes and getting you there in around 25mins.
There are not enough words to describe this architectural and cultural wonder and its way to fuse perfectly with the surrounding nature. This is certainly one of the best architectural complex in Europe. The City of Arts and Sciences is indeed a huge futuristic educational complex designed for Valencia by the famous Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, as a present to his home city. Calatrava’s vision is that of the space age, inspired by animal skeletons. The City of Arts and Sciences is composed of 5 elements, all bound together in a luxurious landscape of clear water spaces and greenery.
- Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia. Inaugurated in 1995, the Palace of Arts has 4 distinct auditoriums for various kinds of stage arts, from classical concerts and operas to theater plays. Due to its incredible acoustics it is becoming one of the most prestigious opera halls in Europe
- Oceanografic. The ‘Oceanografic is the biggest marine park in Europe. A collection of smaller structures grouped around and across a water reservoir. There is a section on every marine zone in the world – from Arctic to Mediterranean. The structure is open every day, except for Monday, and the entrance fee is 27,90€.
- Hemisferic. The’Hemispheric is an IMAX 3D cinema displaying all educational films. The screen is located on the top, therefore you need to lie on the floor in order to watch the show. The entrance fee is 8€.
Umbracle. This is a luxurious green promenade with species of plants from all over the world. It is also the only part of the complex with public access free of charge.
- Museo de las Ciencias. The Museum of Sciences is the core of the entire complex. It consists of a huge structure of three floors of ultra-interactive science material on topics like electricity, physical laws, lasers, human body, sport sciences, sound, lights, planetarium, and many others. The exhibition is completely interactive and the things to discover are so many that you will probably spend 3hours there. The museum is open every day, except for Monday, and the entrance fee is 8€.
The visit of the City of Arts and Sciences will take you half a day (or even more), if you still have time afterwards I strongly suggest you to have a walk in the area. I think a visit to the City of Arts and Sciences, an admiration of its architectural and natural beauty and a discovery of the cultural treasure inside the buildings, can be the best way to say goodbye to the wonderful city of Valencia