After the long weekend spent in this marvellous city, Valencia became the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions Spain. In fact, each day spent in the city of oranges got better than the previous one.
Valencia’s popular sights are converse, but supplemental at the same time – the old, the new, and everything in between. Despite all pros of Valencia, the big winning point to me turned out to be its wonderful Mediterranean vibe and summer feeling.
Plaza de Toros de Valencia, Bullring
The Bullring is located at Plaza de Toros de Valencia in the city centre of Valencia right next to the Northern Station. To be honest, I’m not a fan of any Bullfight. Unfortunately, in 2018 Bullfights are still held throughout the whole year.
The Bullring was built in the 19th century by Sebastián Monleón. The Bullring also host the Bullfighting Museum which was founded in 1929. If you’re interested in Bullfighting, many objects from XVIII, XIX and XX centuries related to this “art” are on display.
Turia River Gardens in Valencia
The Turia has probably the most interesting story of Valencia to tell. The fascinating modern example of a landscape wasn’t always an 8 km long and 200-wide monumental green park in the historic centre of the city. Turia River, as the name says, was a river.
The history of Turia goes back to the 13th century when the locals used the tiny stream of Turia in order to wash their clothes. There were a lot of barracks along the riverbed as Turia was not flowing the whole year long.
Valencia and its history grew up in Turia. However, each century the locals experienced numerous floods. But the devastating flood from 1957 wrote the future of Turia – 60 people lost their lives and more than 70% of Valencia was under water. One year later, the government of Valencia decided to change the course of the River
This master plan was completed in 1969 and the old Turia bed became a chance for the government to create the unique and modern landscape that we can enjoy nowadays – Jardín del Turia (Gardens of Turia). This diverse urban space hosts a large network of walking-, jogging-, and cycling paths, playgrounds and exercise areas, fountains and urban architecture, a lot of flower beds and beautiful trees, … and of course the City of Arts and Sciences (here)!
La Malvarrosa Beach in Valencia
One of the reasons why I would pack my whole stuff and go and live in Valencia is the beaches! Valencia has not only one but more than 7 beautiful and mostly undeveloped beaches within easy distance from the city centre. You can choose from Las Arenas Beach, Patacona Beach, El Saler Beach, Devesa del Saler Beach, Garrofera Beach, and Pinedo Beach.
Although it was November, I could feel the summer-sun-beach vibe at La Malvarrosa which is the most popular beach in Valencia and the one that is nearest to the city. La Malvarrosa is a lovely long stretch of fine golden sand … And to be honest, I was positively surprised that it was so huge, clutter-free, and clean! It was even bigger than the beaches of Costa Brava and those near Barcelona (and in Valencia clean means clean!)
The large promenade lined with palm trees was constructed in 1980. There is also a great variety of restaurants and cafes facing the seafront. Every year the beach hosts the Air Festival of Valencia, as well as the Neapolitan Mascletá in March, and other smaller fire festivals in July.
There are 7 bus routes in Valencia that run towards the beach on a regular basis – 2, 19 , 31, and the night liners N1 and N9.
The Serranos Towers in Valencia
Always following my fondness for finding the greatest city view like in New York (here), Dubai (here), London (here), Los Angeles (here), Prague (here), Lisbon (here), and Bratislava (here) – I found one of the best in Valencia too! The panoramic view from the Serranos Towers is not the most famous in Valencia (El Miguelete – Miguelete Bell Tower), but it is also not that touristy…
The Serranos Towers were built in Gothic style at the end of the 14th century by Pere Balaguer as a city gate and part of Valencia’s fortification. For 3 centuries the towers were used as a prison for the people with a prominent position in the society of Valencia, much like the Tower of London (read more about the Tower of London here). That’s why the towers survived the liquidation of the city walls in the 19th century. Nowadays they are one of the landmarks of the city. From here you can see up to 100 km in distance, and I was lucky to have beautiful weather and gorgeous sunset too!
Opening Hours: The Serranos Towers are open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 to 14:00 – 16:30 – 20:30; on Sunday and public holidays from 10:00 – 15:00.
Tickets: Adults 2 €; Children and Students 1 €; Sunday – Free Entry
La Plaza de la Virgen in Valencia
La Plaza de la Virgen became my favourite Plaza due to its shimmering warm colours during the afterglow in Valencia! The square is simply a pleasure to walk, stare and photograph its architectural masterpieces! You can also choose to sit down for a drink or two and enjoy this less frequented corner of the city.
La Plaza de la Virgen embodies the contrarieties of modern and ancient in Valencia. The square is the ultimate counterweight to the City of Arts and Sciences! It is the perfect cultural remain of how traditional Valencia looked like in the past couple of centuries. The Plaza is soaked with history since Roman times. The Plaza is home to three of the most important monuments in Valencia: Basilica de Virgen de Los Desamparado, Palau de Generalitat (the government building), and la Fuente del Turia (Turia Fountain).
La Fuente del Turía (the symbolic fountain) represents the River Turía and the irrigation canals that supply water to Valencia. In the middle of the fountain, you can quickly recognize Neptune, who symbolizes Turia and the eight naked women around him are the branches of the river.
Here you can visit the second most important church in Valencia (after St. Mary’s Cathedral, Plaza de la Reina) – Basilica de Virgen de Los Desamparados. The religious building is one of the oldest Baroque monuments in Spain that was built in a traditional Spanish style. The Basilica de Virgen is of great importance to the locals because it hosts the patron of Valencia – the Virgen of the Forsaken. For architectural photographers, this place is a godsend, especially the portal of the Apostles which was built in the 14th century in a Gothic style.
On the way back to our Hotel, we decided to try the famous Churros and Valencian Hot Chocolate at the Chocolatería Valor.
Churros are a deep fried-dough, long and ridged pastry snack, most often sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon. Churros are fried until they become crunchy and veeeeery greasy. Sometimes they are filled with jam, sugar or condensed milk. You still don’t want to cut down on your daily calories? Don’t worry! They are served with a cup of chocolate in which the churro is dipped …But wait, this is not what you have in mind when you hear hot chocolate! The Valencian hot chocolate is not really drinkable as its viscosity is higher than this if maple syrup 😀 In the battle between my hot chocolate and me, the hot chocolate won after 2 small dips of churros 😀
Enjoy the day!