Valencia, the third largest city in Spain, lies along the Mediterranean Sea on the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula. Although there is a distinctly modern, high-energy feel in the larger Spanish cities, this port city has a more relaxed atmosphere and a devotion to enjoying its natural attractions. As you will find remains of a 100BC Roman colony and ultra-modern architecture, old meets new here. Here are the list of 15 top-rated tourist attractions in Valencia.
About 15km south of Valencia, La Albufera is a huge freshwater lagoon separated from the sea by a narrow strip of pine-forested sand dunes. It’s legendary for the rice that is grown here. It’s also an important dune and wetland ecosystem and much of the area is covered by the Parque Natural de la Albufera. The zone is great for birdwatching. El Palmar, right on the lagoon, and El Saler, which has a beach supported by piney dunes and a lagoon side, are the most interesting Albufera villages. Another popular destination for its beach and rice dishes is Pinedo, just across the river’s mouth from Valencia.
14. Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias
In the town of Valencia, Spain, the City of Arts and Sciences is a cultural and architectural complex. It is the city of Valencia’s most popular modern tourist destination and one of the 12 Jewels of Spain. Designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela, the project began the first stages of construction in July 1996, and was inaugurated on 16 April 1998 with the opening of L’Hemisfèric.
13. Turia Park
The Turia Gardens in Valencia, or Jardines del Turia, are not your typical city park, but a former river bed that has been turned into green spaces, lined with playgrounds and sports facilities. It winds its way through the center of the city, winding from the Bioparc to the City of Arts and Sciences all the way to the sea.
The Hemisfèric was inaugurated in 1998 and was the first building in the City of Arts and Sciences to open its doors to the public. It is a spectacular construction designed by Santiago Calatrava, with an ovoid roof over 100 metres long that contains in its interior the large sphere that constitutes the projection room.
11. Colón Market
One of the city’s most famous modernist structures. It was erected by Francisco de Mora y Berenguer in 1914. It is an open, circular area that occupies the entire block, bringing the old awnings of traditional market places to mind.The market is a city meeting point with its colourful, Valencian façade reminiscent of the modernist designs of Gaudí.
10. Bioparc Zoo
Bioparc was founded in 2008 and is owned by the city of Valencia, but operated by a zoological company for profit. It lies along the Turia gardens and, instead of the other way around, has a modern idea of providing designated areas for animals that are visited by people. They use natural landforms such as large rocks, ditches, and rivers to hold them apart, instead of separating animals from humans by railings and cages.
9. House of Cats
In the quirky El Carmen neighbourhood, at the northern end of the Old City, you’ll find all kinds of unusual street art, but this has to be one of the most surprising.
8. Valencia’s Town Hall
The City Hall is made up of two connected blocks: the Casa de la Enseñanza (the old Mayoral School) and the section that was added by the architects Francisco de Mora y Berenguer and Carlos Carbonell Pañella at the beginning of this century. The first block is characterised by its academic design, including baroque features on the front doors, while the newer part combines more traditional and mannerist styles.
7. The Central Market of Valencia
If you love food, then you will enjoy the fresh produce, their colour and flavour, and if you value richness, variety and quality in the kitchen, then the Central Market in Valencia is a paradise you cannot miss out on. It is an essential place to visit in the city, with an enormous collection of modernist architecture containing fresh produce from the Valencia orchard and all the flavour and aromas from the Mediterranean. Don’t doubt about it, visit Central Market. Your senses will thank you! This Valencia agora has more than 1200 stalls with fresh fruit and vegetables, especially oranges, tomatoes and beans. Meat, cheese, spices, nuts, spices fish, seafood are just some of the other products on offer, yet it is the live eels that seem to catch everyone’s attention.
6. Valencia Institute of Modern Art
In 1989, when the Institut Valencià d’Art Modern, also known as IVAM, opened its doors, it was the first museum of modern art in Spain. Here, the permanent collection focuses on the Catalan sculptor Julio González, putting together nearly 400 of his pieces of wrought iron.The local impressionist painter Ignacio Pinazo is also well represented. The IVAM also boasts hundreds of other works from world-famous 20th-century artists, in various media, and several changing exhibitions of reliably high quality.
5. Malvarrosa Beach
Situated north of the port of Valencia, Malvarrosa Beach offers the chance to swim in the warm Mediterranean Sea, play beach sports and take walks along a wide beachfront promenade. The beach features historic villas, fine restaurants and clean waters and is only minutes away from the city.
Take a break from the city center and spend a few hours lazing on the Malvarrosa’s golden sand. Rent lounge chairs for tanning or umbrellas to protect you from the sun. There are also public restrooms, showers and drinking fountains at various points along the beach. The water here is calm and ideal for swimming. Lifeguards patrol the beach and put up flags to mark the safest swimming areas.
4. L’Oceanografic Aquarium
This City of Arts and Sciences highlight is a tribute to the magnificent ocean life of the Mediterranean off the coast of Valencia. With over 11 million gallons of water and 45 thousand individuals from 500 different species, it is the largest of its kind in Europe. This includes a massive dolphin area, shark and ray tank, and much more in nine huge underwater towers. The aquarium is divided by geographic region into ten sections, covering everything from arctic to equator, with special note played to the local Mediterranean sea life.
3. Bullring of Valencia
The Bullring and the Train Station are coupled because they are right next to each other and if you see one you migth as well see the other.
The Bullring has been the centre of Valencia’s bull-fighting for almost 150 years now. It is a large, impressive structure in the style of a Roman Coliseum but employing Doric ornament (the traditional Ancient Greek style).
2. Torres de Serranos
Under the supervision of Pere Balaguer, construction began in 1392. The towers were designed to be defensive structures at one of the busiest city gates. They were saved from demolition when the city walls were knocked down in 1865 and used as a prison for the nobility between 1586 and 1887. The back of the towers have been opened so that the pointed arches and the vaulted domes can now be seen from the Plaza de los Fueros. The Towers represent an excellent example of gothic architecture.
1. Valencia Cathedral
The Catedral de Santa Maria de Valencia, another of the most popular sights in the region, tops the list for most visitors, along with the stunning Plaza de la Virgen square outside. Inside and out, check out the incredible Gothic architecture, and don’t forget to go looking for the Holy Grail, believed to be hidden here by others.
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