Valencia, the third largest city in Spain, has a mix of old and modern buildings, certainly has its charm. Besides the architecture, it is where the famous Spanish food Paella originally from. Rich in culture, great architecture, delicious food and plenty of drinks, so definitely should not give this city a miss.
Let’s talk about the old buildings first. In Spain, I encountered various plazas or squares. And usually, these plazas are accompanied by famous buildings, for example, the cathedrals, bell towers or palaces. So no surprise here in Valencia it is the same. One of the places I had been to was the square of Valencia Cathedral. At the square, it was lined with restaurants and cafes. Then there was a fountain at the heart of the square. So I actually sat there for awhile to soak in the atmosphere of the square. Regrettably, I did not pay a visit to the cathedral, which according to other websites that it holds the “Holy Grail” inside the cathedral. If you had been there, maybe can share a bit about what you saw inside the cathedral.
Another square nearby is Plaza de la Reina. Right in the middle of shops and restaurants, this plaza is rather small but the location is bustling with people and vehicles. During winter, I could still see beautiful flowers blooming in the square. What a wonderful sight!
Now talk about the modern architecture in Valencia, which is none other than the City of Art and Science. I must say I was in awe when I saw the buildings in person. They were mega-huge, gigantic and futuristic. The “city” is made up of six very distinct buildings and each has its own purpose, for example, an IMAX theatre and planetarium, an interactive science museum, an open structure with landscaped walkway, the largest Oceanografic aquarium in Europe, an opera house and a covered plaza for concerts and sporting events.
I actually spent more than half a day in this city, being lost in its architecture and fun activities, time just flew by without notice. Must be wondering what did I do here that was so fascinating? Let me show you with photos:-
Name: The City of Arts and Science Valencia
Address:Av. del Professor López Piñero, 7, 46013 València, Spain
Opening hours: 10am - 9pm
Admission fees: click here
In Spain, most of the cities have a central market in the heart of the cities. Valencia has one too, it is called Mercado Central, Valencia. It is a merely 5 minutes walk from Plaza de la Reina. To find out more about the food and culture of a city is to visit the central market. I could see the produces that were seasonal during winter and what were the common things that people bought from the market.
Name: Valencia Central Market
Address:Plaça de la Ciutat de Bruges, s/n, 46001 València, Spain
Opening hours: 7am - 3pm
I only visited one museum in Valencia and that was Museum of Fine Arts of Valencia(Museo de Bellas Artes de Valencia). This museum is like an art gallery, with countless of paintings to see.
Name: Museum of Fine Arts Valencia
Addres:Carrer de Sant Pius V, 9, 46010 València, Spain
Opening hours: 10am - 8pm, close on Monday
Admission fees: free
Since paella was originally from Valencia, so I must try this Spanish dish here to compare to the countless Paella I ate in different cities. Of course, usually, I would be eating seafood paella. But to my surprise, Valencia paella has no seafood in it. The rice dish has the combination of chicken, snails, sausage and rabbit meat. Yes, you did not read wrongly, it has rabbit meat. At first, I was hesitant to eat it. Once I tried, it tasted like pork, so it was still edible. I tried not to think about those cute bunnies and just enjoyed it as a delicious dish. I found the most challenging part about eating Valencia paella was not the rabbit meat, but rather the snails. The snails were very small. So to eat them, I needed to use toothpicks to fork the snail meat and pulled them out of the shells.
The restaurant that I tried this dish is called Arroceria La Valenciana. It had set menu for lunch which was more than enough for me. At the end, I was not able to finish all the food and the waitress had suggested to take-away the leftover, saving them for later. One thing special about this restaurant was it also conducted cooking classes. So coincidentally when I was dining there, a cooking class was on the way and I had a sneak peek of how they prepared paella in the open concept kitchen. Anyone interested in cooking paella can try to sign up for this. The chef spoke English and probably an American judging from his accents.
Name: Arroceria La Valenciana
Address:Carrer dels Juristes, 12, 46001 València, Spain
Opening hours: 10am - 11pm
I like to stay at hotels that are near public transport. Because this trip I actually travel from Madrid to Valencia by high-speed train, so of course I chose to stay near the Valencia train station.
Please take note that Valencia has two train stations, they are Estacio del Nord and Valencia Joaquin Sorolla. I think a lot of people confuse about these two stations and I was one of them. Apparently, if one is traveling by high-speed trains from Madrid (like me) or other long-distance trains, then they will stop in Valencia Joaquin Sorolla. The rest will stop in Estacio del Nord (also known as the Nord). The two stations are not far from each other, about 12 minutes walk. They even provide shuttle buses shuttling passengers from one station to another. The bus ride is about 5 minutes and it is frequent.
You must be wondering why there is a need to have a shuttle bus between the two stations since it is just a 12 minutes walk from each other? Well, think about having to carry your luggage to walk around, trying to figure out which station to go and which direction to go can be daunting for first-timers to the city. So I did use the shuttle bus service on my last day in Valencia as my luggage was getting heavier after so many days of traveling and shopping.
Stay at AC Hotel Colon Valencia by Marriott
The hotel my travel partner and I stayed was AC Hotel Colon Valencia by Marriott. This hotel actually is less than 5 minutes walk from The Nord. However, my actual train station that I arrived from Madrid was Joaquin Sorolla, so it was 17 minutes walk while lugging my luggage.
The reception area was small and simple. Even the front door was small from the main street. If I did not look carefully, I might have missed the entrance to the hotel. But the service was excellent. The receptionist was very friendly and helpful.
Room was average in size, just like any business hotel, simple, nothing fancy to shout about. However, the location was good. Near train station, restaurants, cafe and shopping. I signed up for Marriott Rewards member so I could get free wifi for my stay. Yup, the wifi in this hotel is chargeable unless you are its members. Anyway, sign up is free and you get to accumulate points for your stay and free wifi, good deal right?
Address:Carrer de Colón 6 Valencia 46004 Spain