Valencia is the third city of Spain, by number of inhabitants. It is located to the east of the Iberian Peninsula, next to the Mediterranean Sea.
If you plan to visit this lovely city, read this tips:
Which is the best time of the year to visit Valencia?
Valencia has a warm climate so you can visit us all the year.
If your objective is to enjoy our beaches, I recommend you to visit us from June to September.
If you want to know the fallas, you'll have to come between the 15 and the 19 of March.
For the rest of activities: visits to monuments, the city of the arts and sciences, routes, etc, any day is good.
How many days should I stay in Valencia?
I recommend you to stay 3 days:
The first day dedicated to know the city and its monuments. In the morning, visit la plaza de la Reina, the Cathedral, the Miguelete, the palace of the Generalitat, the central market, the city council, the towers of Serranos and Quart. Go to eat to the beach of the Malvarrosa, and in the evening, walk by the marine stroll and reach the port to contemplate the preparations of the America's Cup, that will be disputed in Valencia in the 2007.
The second day, leave the city and go to the beach of the Saler and the dehesa, narrow piece of land that separates the sea of the Albufera (Lagoon), populated with dunes and pines. Go to the town of the Palmar to eat and, in the evening, take a stroll in boat by the natural park of the Albufera and contemplate the sunset on the lake.
The third day, dedicated to know the city of the arts and sciences. Visit L'umbracle, the oceanographic museum, eat in his restaurant surrounded by aquariums, and in the evening, visit the museum of sciences, and L'Hemisferic.
Where can I eat the real valencian paella?
The Valencian paella is a dish universally well-known, but also prepared of so many different forms that paella is called to almost any dish that contains rice.
The authentic Valencian paella can defraud if you expect to find seafood, or ribs, or blood sausages, or other exotic ingredients that are used in some places of Spain (olives, potatoes, etc.). You'll only find vegetables and meat (of chicken and rabbit), in addition to the rice, of course.
Consider that this dish arose in the Valencian rural atmosphere, and the agriculturist used the ingredients he had by hand: the vegetables of the familiar orchard, and the animals of corral (duck, chicken and rabbit). In spite of its simplicity, you'll find it exquisite.
If you like the seafood, ask for a "paella de marisco" (seafood paella), or a "arroz a banda". Also you can request the "mixed paella", of seafood and meat, although I do not recommend it.
In almost any restaurant of Valencia, you'll find great variety of rice plates. I advise you to visit the restaurants of the Malvarrosa beach, where you'll be able to eat good paellas (although noncheap) and later you can walk by the promenade at seaside.
Also I recommend you a visit to the Palmar, a town of fishermen. Almost an island surrounded by waters of the Lagoon. There you will find also good surroundings to enjoy a paella and, later take a boat by the Lagoon.
What is the arts and sciences city ("ciudad de las artes y las ciencias")?
It is a complex of buildings dedicated to the culture and built by several architects of reputation, among them Santiago Calatrava and Felix Candle. It began to be constructed in 1998 and is made up of 5 buildings.
Due to his futurist architecture, the visitor feels in a space of different leisure, that allows him to alternate different atmospheres in "a reduced" space. We can submerge in the marine depths in L'Oceanografic and right away following we can enjoy a three-dimensional film in the L'Hemisferic or can take a walk by a mediterranean forest in L'Umbracle and continue with a exhibition on the Milky Way.
Which beaches do you recommend?
The first beach that you should visit is the beach of the Malvarrosa. It is the city beach and you'll arrive easily. You'll find a very long promenade at seaside that begins in the port and extends during several kilometers.
Also visit the beach of the Saler, next to the natural park of the Albufera (the Lagoon), protected by the environmental laws. Illegal constructions were demolished and the dunes were reconstructed to give them back their original state.
What are the "fallas"?
The fallas are the celebrations of Valencia. They take place from the 15 to the 19 of March and transform the city totally.
During that week, hundreds of monuments (that we call fallas) are placed in the streets and seats of practically all the city. These monuments are constructed with cardboard, elaborated and painted of such form that they become true works of art, whose life is ephemeral. Day 19 at night, all the monuments burn simultaneously (except the winning falla and the one that the city council sponsors, that burns a little later).
The origin of the fallas was a celebration of the beginning of the spring, in which piles of old objects were burned in a ceremony of renovation. With time, these "piles of objects" became the present works of art.
The fallas celebrations are totally opened to the visitor. Most of the activities are developed in the street. We emphasize "mascletaes" (symphony of explosions which gets passionate to the Valencians), the fireworks, the parades, the offering of flowers to the Virgin of the Abandoned ones, and the "burning". In addition to verbenas and celebrations during all the night.
Article submitted by R. Sanchis, the owner of http://www.web-valencia.com where you can find a lot of information about Valencia, a great photo gallery of the city, tips, recipes and more.
Also, he is the web-master of a Valencia hostel:
Pension Lyon in Valencia
a hostel located in the heart of Valencia that offers cheap accommodation.