Valencia: Historic Home of the Holy Grail and of the Hippies

Valencia, located at a quick hop from Madrid and Costa Blanc, is where the peacefully modern architecture blends with the riotous fiestas and vibrant hippies. The city is one of the hippiest as well as expensive Spanish travel places, which is often tagged as the ‘new Barcelona’. Formerly a Catalan neighbor, but the third largest city in the country, Valencia is a contemporary architectural marvel, which is evident through its stunning attraction of the City of Arts and Sciences (La Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias).

The historic old town’s cobbled alleys are filled with ample of highlights, such as an international marketplace where all key produces from all over the province is sold. From there, it is simply not impossible to escape from the holy glory of the majestically gothic Valencia Cathedral, the final dwelling place of the Holy Grail as per the legends as well as the most famous place for enjoying a panoramic view from its tower.

Valencia city

Valencia city

Photo Credits: Federico Galarraga

Just like the hippies enjoying their life independently, other inhabitants also do not rest after the sun sets to bring up a vibrant nightlife. The antique old quarter is where the tourists can enjoy a throbbing nightlife and effervescent dining sights. All these sights are just nearby the famous beach, just a few minutes away for having a peaceful walk in the morning.

Getting Around Valencia

While there are public buses and car rentals available, it is best to explore the city on bicycles, especially for exploring the historic centre. Motorway transport is superb but often congested during peak hours when it is often hard to find a proper parking place. Therefore, the only option left is paid (blue) parking place that are plenty in the city centre.

 

Valencia Transport Services

Valencia Transport Services

Photo Credits: Wilfredo Rodríguez

It is wise to get the Valencia Tourist Card for enjoying unlimited free transportation, offers on the fees of major tourist attractions, and restaurant bills. Available as one-, two-, or three-day passes, the pass is available at the airport, hotels, attractions, tourist offices, and even online.

Things to See in Valencia Spain

There are many places to see in Valencia. Perhaps, the most famous attraction in Valencia is Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias. Touted as the city of arts and sciences, this is a giant, one-stop complex of architecture and entertainment designed by Santiago Calatrava. The complex boasts a cluster of eclectic edifices such as museums of which hands-on science museum is quite stunning, L’Oceanogràfic as the largest marine park of the continent, planetarium, laserium, L’Hemisfèric as the Imax cinema, and El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía as the performing arts centre and opera house. Consider reaching here by strolling via the sprawling Túria gardens along the flow of the former river and intersecting a green strip for linking the old town to this complex.

Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias

Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias

Photo Credits: Cristina Mateos

Whether visiting for the first time or ninth time, no tourist will ignore the La Seu/Catedral. Also known as the Valencia’s Cathedral, the mighty holy edifice was built between 1262 and 1426. The legends claim this cathedral to preserve the Holy Grail. The bell tower provides superb panoramic views of the city, which is the second draw. Talking about the architectural style, it is mainly Gothic although baroque and Romanesque styles do adorn the building. As a tip, come here to attend a mass on a Sunday and hear some local experiences.

La Seu/Catedral

La Seu/Catedral

Photo Credits: Nils

If you are with kids, the newest zoo called Bioparc Valencia is a must-to-visit attraction. With the home to thousands of animals, the zoo has diverse species from the tropics, South East Asia, and Africa, all dwelling in their natural habitats.

Bioparc Valencia

Bioparc Valencia must-to-visit attraction

Photo Credits: Viajeros Sin Límite

Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, La Lonja de la Seda de Valencia is a magnificent 15th-century gothic silk exchange edifice. Built between 1482 and 1548, the edifice has a sandy-brown exterior and is well preserved in the historical centre. Another architectural wonder, although not a UNESCO site, is the elaborate Palacio del Marques de Dos Aguas. Formerly a stunning palace in the 18th Century, this edifice is now the national ceramics museum.

La Lonja de la Seda de Valencia

La Lonja de la Seda de Valencia

Photo Credits: Abariltur

Museo de Bellas Artes de Valencia is another worth exploring museum in the city, which is dedicated to fine arts. It is perhaps the largest arts museum after the Museo del Prado in Spain. This is where one can enjoy an assortment of ancient and modern showcases of arts made by several Spanish painters such as Goya, Murillo, Greco, and Velazquez. The visitors even enjoy watching the majestic sculptures and archaeological works.

Things to Do in Valencia

  • Water sports such as sailing, kite-surfing, jet-skiing, diving and wakeboarding at the Valencia beach towns along Costa Blanca having apt water and wind conditions; dive sites and PADI courses are ample in Denia and Javea
  • Cruising through one of the one-hour sightseeing trips, leisurely day trips, glass-bottom boat trips, and ferry trips to the Balearic Islands in less than four hours
  • Hiking outside the city through a day tour (popular options include the Hoces Del Cabriel and Via Ferrata at Dos Aguas)
  • Canyoning and rafting through Avensport
  • Cycling around the City of Arts and Sciences
  • Biking through a tour in the outskirts

Shopping in Valencia

  • Mercado Central (Central Market) with thousands of stalls selling food products
  • Calle Colón as the main shopping street offering smaller boutiques and upscale fashion houses
  • Calle Poeta Querol for a hippiest designer wear
  • Plaza Merced for antique souvenirs such as vintage postcards
  • Largest flea market at Plaza Luis Casanova on Sundays, full of antique stalls
  • Plaza Redonda market for birds and pets.
  • Cabanyal market on Thursdays for clothes and accessories at most competitive rates

Restaurants/Hotels in Valencia

Valencia is the birthplace of paella. The visitors can easily find classic tapas taverns offering this traditional dish. The city is ideal for enjoying the quintessential Spanish cuisine.

  • Seu Xerea (Moderate) for modern fusion cuisine mixing nouveau Mediterranean and Eurasian flavors; do taste the Thai-style green curry and its lunch menu
  • Vertical (Expensive Michelin-starred) for jaw-dropping dishes amidst stunning views from the top floor of Hotel Confortel4

Excursions

  • Castelló de la Plana for hiking and culinary delights
  • Parc Natural de L’Albufera for bird watching and exploring El Palmar, the birthplace of paella flanked by vegetable and rice cultivations

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