During the last years different magazines and newspapers advised that Valencia was one of the best (somentimes nº 1) places to live in the World. Is not a coincidence that the city is in that list year after year. Many are the couples and families who decide to move to this mediterranean ‘paradise’. Here are some of the reasons to appear in those lists.
Valencia, cradle of civilitzacions
However Valencia is now the 3rd biggest city in Spain, during the Ancient times, was not even an important city. The city was founded by Romans in the 2nd century B.C. The first city, Valentia, was founded where now we can find the Cathedral. Romans were here 7 centuries. We have Almoina Museum with some ruins preserved such as the Therms, Curia or the Horreum. Then arrived Visigoths who stayed in the city for 3 centuries until the arrival of the Arabs in the 8th century.
In the 11th century was erected the Muslim Wall we can still watching in some of the streets (If you want to learn more about the Medieval Age in Valencia, book our Valencia Medieval Tour). 2 centuries later James 1st troops entered in the city and Valencia developed again under the Christian rule. Silk industry, Holy Grail, Printing Press arrival. There were many milestones that marked the history and the culture up to the Modern Age. After being part of the Spanish Kingdom step by step Valencia importance dicrease and began to go unnotice. Many artists as Mariano Benlliure, Ignacio Pinazo, Joaquín Sorolla or authors as Vicente Blasco Ibañez (The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse) had to leave Valencia to continue their careers.
Arts & Sciences area, Old Town squares, Turia Park (known as the ‘River’), Markets and a long bunch of posibilities. Best thing to do once you arrive into the city is take a walk in the old town. We reccommend you our Valencia Medieval Tour to understand better the history and to see some of the most important monuments in the Old city, but of course you can do it on your own!
Our reccommendation is to start in the city center to see the Valencia’s Cathedral, a Gothic temple with Romanesque, Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassic addings. Here, at the cathedral you have the brand new Plaça de la Reina and Plaça de la Verge, both 100% pedestrian and always full of activities such as popular dances, handcraft markets, concerts and more. You can continue walking down Carrer dels Cavallers to see some Gothic Palaces examples as Palau de la Generalitat or dels Mercader. You can continue straight to see Torres de Quart, one of the 2 Christian Gates we still have. The other are Serranos Gate, at Caller Serrans.
Then you can walk down to Turia Park and stroll a bit. Maybe is too long to arrive to Arts and Sciences area, but is worthy. If you have few time we reccommend you to rent a bike and feel free in Valencia. Valencia on a bike is easy and you can quickly arrive to the beach, Sciences Museum, Ruzafa and other areas away from the old town. Also the extend cycling path net that we have in Valencia is a fact to keep in mind. We believe is better to rent abike from a shop that rent the public ones, because those are heavier, you need to find always a bike station to leave and find a new bike and sometimes are even more expensive. Good things for the city bikes you can cycle to the beach and if you are tired to come back by bike you can always take the metro, bus or a taxi!
Valencia means Museums
However the weather in the city is mostly of the time good and we love to spend our getaway in the street, Valencia has a bunch of good museums to learn about the history, culture, traditions and art. If you are in the city and love museums here is a list of our favourites!
Fine Arts Museum – Some people declares that is the second best Pinacoteque in Spain (the ones who say that are from Valencia). But is true that in our Fine Arts Museum we have a really good examples of Gothic painting, Renaissance and Impressionism. Besides this you can also find a Velazquez portrait, a Boticelli, Van Dyck and more.
IVAM– Keeping on art, the Modern Art Mueums a great place to see some Conteporanean and modern works. Here you can see many Pinazo’s art pieces, also Julio González and a bunch of artists since the WWII postwar.
Marqués de Dos Aguas-National Ceramic Museum is a must to understand the history and the ceramic tradition in Valencia. One of the most important pottery and ceramic colection in the World. But is not just important the material inside, the container, the building is a magnificen example of the Baroque in the city.
MUVIM– Is highly reccommended the guided visit of ‘The Adventure of Thought’ to approach to the western culture thinking history since Middle Age up to our days- Booking mandatory but is free!
The day is divided by Food!
Spain is well know for gastronomy. Valencia is well known for paella, but there is more! Ask to a valencian how many times do we eat. Breakfast, Almuerzo, lunch, maybe merienda and dinner…
Start the day with a coffee at home, maybe you can eat something but from 9-12:00you can order esmorzar (almuerzo) or a second breakfast as the Hobbits. That meal consist in a bocadillo/sandwich with maybe tortilla, sausages, squid, pork loin, chicken….then some olives a drink and coffee. Some people consider the almuerzo a proper lunch.
Then for lunch you can eat a paella (Never for dinner, please). Note that we call paella (Valenciana) is with chicken and green beans the rest of «paellas» we just call rice 🙂 seafood rice, vegetables rice, however are made in the paella pan! There is a good bunch of places to eat paella. Our favourite is Casa Carmela, but also we reccommend Trinquet de Pelayo or Vaqueta in the city center. But if you want to experience the real paella in a great spot, we highly reccommend you to visit Albufera with Integra-T Experience. Our Albufera Tour includes visit to the rice fields, birdwatching in the Natural Park, a boat ride and traditional paella lunch in a restaurant where you can choose from chicken, seafood, fish or vegetarian paella.
If you are still hungry, before dinner you can alwys have an Orxata during the summer or a hot chocolate with bunyols (pumpking fritters) during winter.
Dinner ‘traditionally’ is a lighter meal, but you can always go for tapas into a restaurant. Our local tapas are Codfish croquettes (with potato instead bechamel), Titaina (stew made with tomato, red peppers, pine nuts and tuna), Maybe some mussels (Clotxina in Valencia) or the typical ‘bollit’ at home (boiled potato, carrot, omin and green beans).
Of course all meals you can pair with excellent local wines…
Valencia Wine Tour
Where I can do a winery visit in Valencia…If you are wandering where to go to visit a winery near Valencia, what kind of wine to drink in Valencia, Integra-T Experience offers you several alternatives to enjoy our local wines. First you neet to know is that Valencia region has 4 Wine appellation (Utiel-Requena, Valencia, Alicante and Cava in Requena). Our small-group tours go to Utiel-Requena area where white, rosé, red wine and cava is produced. Our Half-Day Wine Tour starts in the city of Valencia where you will be picked up at your accommodation in the city.
On the way to Requena you will learn about the wine history in the region and the wine making process. Our first stop is a medieval cave to see the space where wine has been produced for centuries. After trying some wine you will do a guided walk in the old town ofRequena seeing some Gothic Palaces, stunning churches and the medieval walls ofthe town. Then is time to move to a second winery in the middle of the vineyards and where you will try 3 different wines paired with local products as culd-cuts or EVOO. Then is time to go back to Valencia.
If you want to include more we reccommend you the Valencia Wine Tour. A full-day tour that includes a full visit to an olive oil mill with tasting and local lunch in Requena.
Valencia is a cool new destination in Spain and Europe because the weather, food, history, culture but also because of the architechture. The fancy buildings designed by Santiago Calatrava mixing with the local Modernist and Art-Nouveau buildings. Walking Valencia you can find buildings from 10th century to our days. Valencia is an open museum for all architechture lovers.
Now our question is, when are you planning to come to Valencia. We wait for you!