Collected by Stephanie Perry, AFAR Local Expert
Spain's third-largest city (after Madrid and Barcelona), Valencia was founded as a Roman colony in 138 B.C. and still bears traces of its ancient history. This medium-sized city is amazingly diverse in its offerings: an impressive cathedral, an enormous public market, the City of Arts and Sciences (including a world-class oceanographic aquarium), an expansive park made from a drained river bed, and much more. Plus, it's the birthplace of paella!
Plaça de l'Almoina, s/n, 46003 València, Valencia, Spain
Its full name is “The Metropolitan Cathedral–Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady of Valencia,” but people will know what you mean if you just call it the Valencia Cathedral. Consecrated in the 13th century, the cathedral has what it claims to...
Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències, València, Spain
Valencia’s most iconic attraction, the City of Arts and Sciences is located at one end of the Turia River Bed Gardens, drained in 1957 due to flooding and converted into a large public park and recreational area. The complex includes...
Passeig de Neptú, 34, 46011 València, Valencia, Spain
Valencia claims to be the birthplace of paella, so where better to try this richly indulgent meat-and-rice dish? Paella can include a variety of meats, beans, and vegetables—along with saffron—the spice that delivers its distinctive golden-yellow...
Plaça del Carme, 6, 46003 València, Valencia, Spain
Located in the Plaza Carmen, in the Barrio del Carmen, the Asador del Carme offered a charming and satisfying outdoor dining experience. We chose a price fixe menu that began with salted peanuts, a chicken croquette appetizer, and a...
Carrer del Pintor López, 1, 46003 València, Valencia, Spain
The Turia River bed gardens run for 9 km (about 6 miles) through the city of Valencia. The original river was diverted in 1957 due to flooding, and since then, the exposed riverbeds have been converted into wide, lush parks and gardens. The City...
Plaça de la Ciutat de Bruges, s/n, 46001 València, Valencia, Spain
Centrally built in the middle of the Ciutat Vella, Mercado Central, or Mercat Central if you want to stick to the local version of Catalan is Valencia's go to market for Paella produce. Set in a magnificent Art Deco Building, it is home to about...
Plaça de Santa Caterina, 6, 46001 València, Valencia, Spain
Spanish churros and hot chocolate get all the press in Spain, but in Valencia it’s all about horchata and fartons. Horchaterias abound in this Spanish region where the refreshing milky semi-sweet drink is made from chufa (aka tigernuts), water and...
Playa de la Malvarrosa (Valencia), Spain
At the Playa de la Malvarrosa in Valencia, you’ll find this striking sculpture, called “Water Boat Fountain” or “Fuente del Barco de Agua.” The metal frame forms the boat’s frame and mast, and ingeniously placed jets of water create the illusion...
Carrer d'Alacant, 25, 46004 València, Valencia, Spain
Even if you’re travel-weary upon arrival in Valencia, take a few minutes to appreciate the elaborate mosaics embellishing the Estacio del Nord train station’s facade and interior walls. Art Nouveau-style botanical devices, ladies in elaborate...
Ciutat de les Arts i de les Ciències, Carrer d'Eduardo Primo Yúfera, 1B, 46013 València, Valencia, Spain
Part of the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, L’Oceanografic is a world-class oceanarium with an almost overwhelming amount of displays and shows. There are huge aquariums, of course, including a shark tank and a “fish tunnel” that surrounds...
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