Paella comes from the rice fields around Valencia and this is the place to taste the genuine article, sitting by the beach or in the old quarter of El Carmen. A belt of greenery runs uninterrupted along the old riverbed, graced with Sim-City-style futuristic wonders.
How long should I go for? 2-4 nights
Also known as the Old City, this is one of the main districts of Valencia. This small, historic district is packed with attractions. Admire La Llotja de la Seda, the 15th century silk exchange, or check out the Torres de Serranos. Once the entrance to the city, these fortified gates now provide an excellent view point. Climb the stairs to the top for panoramic views of the Old City and Turia River Bed Gardens. One must-see attraction is Valencia Cathedral. Explore inside to find the chalice which is supposedly the Holy Grail or simply marvel at the Cathedral’s stunning architecture from Plaza de la Reina.
L’Exiample is one of Valencia’s newer neighbourhoods and has a very modern feel to it. The Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias is this district’s star attraction. Designed by Santiago Calatrava, this series of buildings is home to an IMAX, science museum, Europe’s largest aquarium and the Palacio de las Artes. Also in this neighbourhood, you’ll find the equally as striking Palau de la Música. This music palace, made up of glass domes, has beautiful views over the Turia gardens. Culture aside, L’Exiample is also renowned for its chic shopping and quirky restaurants. Head to the Mercado de Colon for a taste of a Spanish market. Downstairs you’ll find a gourmet food market whereas upstairs is home to a selection of cafes and bars.
Find yourself in hipster heaven as you stroll the streets of this quirky district. On every colourful street corner you’ll find second hand bookshops, cute bakeries and edgy galleries. If you’re in search of some independent shops for an unusual souvenir, check out the Ruzafa market or one of the area’s pop-up flea markets. II Market is held on Sunday mornings at El Patio and sells all kinds of vintage clothing. If you’re visiting in March, make sure to check out the annual Las Fallas Festival where vibrant decorations, food stalls and lights shows take over this district.
Getting there: Most other major Spanish cities are only a few hours away by train, these include Barcelona and Madrid. There are also often buses from most of the major Spanish cities.
There are plenty of buses and trains connecting different parts of the city, however exploring the city centre is easily done on foot.