Valencia’s idyllic charm goes beyond its long stretches of Mediterranean beaches, as the City of Arts and Science Center is one of its most popular tourist attractions. The giant complex includes one of Europe’s largest aquariums, the Oceanogràfic, as well as a sculpture park, stadium, a science museum and much more.
Spain’s third-largest city is also bathed in Art Nouveau architecture. Walking around the Old Quarter admiring the asymmetrical lines and nature references dotted along the buildings on warm, sunny afternoon is the perfect way to get your bearings.
Speaking of wandering, a walk through the Mercado Central, one of Europe’s oldest and largest markets, will introduce you to both the Art Nouveau and the Gothic style of architecture. Plus, you can buy groceries and goods from over 400 market vendors.
Does the dish paella sound familiar? This traditional Valencian rice dish often includes things like seafood, rabbit, chicken, vegetables or even snails, but the cooking the saffron-seasoned rice just right in a large, flat pan is the key to perfecting this Spanish delicacy.
If you time your trip well, you may be able to catch one of the region’s festivals, the most famous being Las Fallas, which occurs every March. The city builds structures called fallas, and then burns them in the streets to honor St. Joseph. La Tomatina is another famous Valencian tradition, a festival in August which is essentially a giant tomato fight.
Festivals or not, Valencia seamlessly blends as a city with a bit of everything, whether you relish beaches, nature, history, architecture or modern innovation.