Valencia was founded in 138 B.C. by the Romans. The city is situated on the banks of the Turia, on the east coast of the Iberian Peninsula, fronting the Gulf of Valencia on the Mediterranean Sea and lies between the cities of Barcelona to the north and Alicante to the south. However it was not until the late 19th-century that Valencia began to grow urbanistically, finally extending to include the 19 districts that it is composed of today. Its historic centre is one of the largest in Spain.
Its warm climate, with average yearly temperatures of over 22°C, which means outdoor living at its very best – freshly-grown local fruit and vegetables, lazy long lunches and siesta time. Famous as much for its oranges as the spectacular annual Fallas Festival in March and for paella Valenciana, traditional Valencian ceramics and intricate traditional dress. The city has a great variety of culture and architecture that will excite and entertain.
On arriving in this glorious city the first port of call has to be The Valencia Tourist Office to purchase your Valencia Tourist Card which gives amazing discounts on the top 10 ten places to visit amongst many others. This can be purchased either online or at one of their tourist offices. The prices are as follows in 2016 :
24 hour Valencia Tourist Card: 15 €
48 hour Valencia Tourist Card: 20 €
72 hour Valencia Tourist Card: 25 €
Valencia Tourist Card 7 days without transport: € 10
You can obtain a 10% discount by purchasing the card online.
Despite Valencia being founded thousands of years ago, surprisingly it is now renowned as The City of Arts & Sciences. This heads the list of the top 10 tourist destinations to visit.
- The City of Arts and Sciences
The work of Valencia’s own Santiago Calatrava, is an example of architecture at its most futuristic. The colossal structure houses an IMAX cinema (situated in the Hemisfèric), as well as Europe’s largest aquarium – the Oceanogràfic, interactive educational exhibits in the Príncipe Felipe Science Museum and the avant-garde opera house – Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía. Furthermore, the impressive l’Assut de l’Or bridge and the Agora are all a delight for the senses. Tickets to the City of Arts and Sciences
Get 15% off with the Valencia Tourist card
The remaining 9 ‘must visits’ are as follows:
- Barrio del Carmen and its mansion houses
This ancient district of the city grew between two walls; the Islamic and the Christian city walls. A wander through these labyrinthine cobbled streets, lined with towering medieval buildings will transport you back in time to another era in history. Enter the mansion houses, cross the mediaeval gates of the Serrano and Quart towers, and meander into every corner – don’t miss it! Guided walking tours of The Old town
Get 20% off with the Valencia Tourist Card
- Plaza de la Virgen and the cathedral quarter
Twenty-one centuries of history right at the heart of the city, where you’ll find such historical treasures as Valencia Cathedral, the Micalet, the Basilica of the Virgin and the Almoina. Don’t miss the Tribunal of Waters (Water Court). This is an institution of Justice to settle disputes arising from the use of irrigation water by farmers in several Irrigation Communities. In 2009 it was chosen along with the Council of Wise Men of the plain of Murcia as a place of intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO. Guided walking tours of the old town. Get 20% off with the Valencia Tourist Card
- Plaza del Mercado y Lona de la Sedan (Silk Exchange)
It was the growth of Islam in the Mediterranean that introduced silk into the Iberian Peninsula in the VIII Century. Mulberries were grown in the rich ground of the Valencian Huerta (green belt) and the material was made in the city, in the “Velluters” district.
For those who wish for some serious retail therapy should not miss a trip to one of Europe’s biggest markets, the Mercado Central, situated inside a jewel of pre-modernista architecture and enter into one of the most iconic examples of Gothic architecture in Europe, the Lonja de la Seda, declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage site by UNESCO. As well as these, make sure you squeeze in the Santos Juanes Church. Valencia Bus Turístic. Up to 12% off with the Valencia Tourist Card
34 museums to choose from, offering art, history, architecture… Soak up 18th century Valencia at the Museo Nacional de Cerámica (National Ceramics Museum), situated in the Palacio del Marqués de Dos Aguas. Muse over pieces by Sorolla, Goya or Zuloaga in the Museo de Bellas Artes San Pío V, get familiar with the Fallas in the Museo Fallero or contemplate the contemporary art pieces on offer at the IVAM and the MUVIM. Tickets to the municipal museums are free when you purchase a Valencia Tourist Card
- Plaza del Ayuntamiento.
In a triangular layout, eclectic architecture, a central fountain and colourful flower stalls brighten the landscape. It’s surrounded by some of the city’s most iconic buildings, such as the Plaza de Toros, the Estación del Norte, the Ayuntamiento de Valencia (town hall), the Edificio de Correos (post office) and Plaza Redonda, to name but a few. It is renowned for playing host to the “mascletàs” celebrations, which takes place during March and during the aforementioned Fallas. Valencia Bus Turístic Up to 12% off with the Valencia Tourist Card
- The Royal Marina and Valencia’s beaches
The Juan Carlos I Royal Marina is one of the city’s most important landmarks, not only due to the events that are held there, but also due to their unique buildings. It houses the 19th Century Harbour Sheds, the Edificio del Reloj and the Veles e Vents building, the emblem of the new Marina. There are also shops, terraces and restaurants with spectacular views, as well as a children’s park and the Superyachts berthed in the North and South Marinas.
Just a few metres away are the beaches of El Cabanyal (Las Arenas) and La Malvarrosa, next to the attractive Paseo Marítimo promenade. We suggest you try a delicious paella in one of the seafront restaurants, or have a drink in one of the bars. For those who prefer a wilder kind of beach, we recommend El Saler, next to the Albufera Natural Park. With the Valencia Tourist Card you receive
FREE bus, metro and tram travel.
- The Albufera Nature Park
The Albufera Nature Park will transport you to a world of untouched, pure nature where the only sounds you will hear are the birds singing and the sound of water. Unspoiled by and protected against man, the reserve is located just 10 km out of the city. A visit here will show you the Valencian passion for the environment and help you to discover the origins of their gastronomy. Free public transport with the Valencia Tourist Card
- The Turia Gardens
A garden covering 9 km and situated on the old bed of the River Turia. This is a true green area, stretching from the west of the city to the east, reaching as far as the City of Arts and Sciences. Explore by bicycle or train. Also absolutely worthwhile is a pit stop at the Palau de la Música, pausing to enjoy the unique bridges which cross it from north to south. Bicycle hire -15% off with the Valencia Tourist Card.
- Bioparc and Oceonografic
From east to west, Valencia is brimming with activities – both leisure and educational – to familiarise you with the animal kingdom, with such activities as an African safari through the Bioparc or a tour of the underwater world in Oceanogràfic, where you’ll be able to see tropical fish from as far as the Arctic and the seas of Japan. Get the ‘nature pack’ for lots of great offers. Tickets to Bioparc and the Oceanogràfic. Get 15% off with the Valencia Tourist Card
Now to the nightlife. For those who wish to party the night away, Valencia is positively bursting at the seams. There is the Carmen area which offers the alternative and bohemian nightlife of Valencia. Furthermore nice areas besides the Carmen area are Ruzafa and Varrio Canovas with lots of restaurants, bars and clubs.
Not only is Valencia booming within the tourist industry but also with their real Estate market. Many foreigners prefer Valencia rather than Barcelona or Madrid because it is not overcrowded, more authentic and boasting a beautiful historic centre. Houses are cheaper and it has a great climate. Indeed in the last decade they have hosted the America s Cup and Formula 1.
Sources we would like to credit and thank for valuable information include and Maria from www.visitvalencia.com – the Valencia Official Tourist website where you can purchase your all-important Valencia Tourist Card and Christa from http://moving2valencia.eu/valencia/
Want to know another great City? – Visit Madrid