Top Ten Things to do in Valencia – Spain
Valencia is Spain third largest city – so you have a fair amount of choice when it comes to international airlines. Iberia, Easyjet, Jet2, Thomsonfly and Ryanair all connect Spain to the UK and a whole host of other European destinations. The airport also connects to most Spanish aviation hubs so Barcelona, Ibiza, Lanzarote, Menorca, Majorca and Tenerife are all easy options.
Valencia is a very modern and a very clean city with the public transportation to match. The bus beats the Metro when it comes to commuting into and around the old city centre. In December 2008, you could lay down 1.20 and get anywhere in the city on the humble bus.
La Parpadellais is a fantastic Italian eatery without the throngs of tourists and the hiked up prices to match. The multi-lingual menus boast a massive selection of tasty treats but the chicken dish with soy sauce and an assortment of nutty nuts is a safe bet. The upper floor offers great view of the nearby cathedral and the staff are all smiles too. Youll find it at Bordadores 5, Valencia. Alternatively if you want to try a little authentic Tapas try out Tintofino Ultramaino. This centre of mighty fine finger food is on Calle Corregeria, its open late and its easy to find near Plaza de la Reina.
Valencia city centre is easy enough to cover on foot but if you want to make the most of the parks and attractions that populate the old, dried up, sunken river bed, then youll need a bike.
Cycle The City
You can make the most of this pedestrian friendly, thoroughfare from the city – all the way down to the coast. The majority of bike rentals includes a bike lock, helmet and rucksack for stowing away all your essentials, and you normally need to hand over your passport as a deposit. If you’re stuck for options, the tourism board recommend Orange Bikes and Do You Bike
Cruise Through the Old River Bed to the Bioparc
With a fine bike conveying you through the back streets of Valencia, you’ll be down in the nearby Jardin del Turia (river bed) in no time. When you descend take a left and head to the ever expanding zoo Bioparc Valencia. If youre not a fan of the average zoo and think that the run of the mill – no sky enclosures are cruel, then you might approve of this one. The climate in Valencia allows for large open air gardens and lots of expansion. Get within hair raising distance of the lions, watch the rhinos treading their tracks and see the gorillas up close.
Here you can enjoy a multi lingual dolphin show that appeals to all ages!
When youre done with the land loving animals its time to cycle in the opposite direction for a few quick and easy kilometres, following the old river bed towards the ocean. Past the parks, the tennis courts and the armies of health conscious joggers you will come to the Science Park and the rather wonderful Oceanofráfico.
A 26 million litre dolphinarium, seven globally diverse aquariums, an Antarctic enclosure and a Red Sea Auditorium are just some of the highlights in this chunk of the Science Park. There are 45,000 specimens from 500 different species of salt water friendly – creatures here so if you do visit, factor in half a day to get through it all.
Hemisfèric, Umbracle and Palau de Les Arta Reina Sofía
After your exploration of the Oceanofráfico youll find that the Science Park has much to more to it than mere dolphins and sharks.
One additional option is the Hemisfèric built to look like a human eye, with a 900 metre squared screen on the inside of the lid. In other words its an Imax cinema with astronomical shows, planetarium presentations, cartoons and seasonal entertainment.
Next door to this youll find the Umbracle, a breath taking garden promenade, perfect for romantically orientated night photos and a spot of relaxation away from the super urban-ware of the city centre and its army of pneumatic drills. The final science park treat worthy of the international backpacker is the Palau de Les Arta Reina Sofía a massively important performing arts centre and stage for the big, touring operas like Carmen.
If you dont mind a little diversion then a great little alternative can be found slightly south out of the city centre at Plaza Baron de Cortes on bus route 35. This arguably superior market is much more vibrant and packs local produce in at slightly more affordable prices. Expect many a leg of pork (trotters nall) hanging from the rafters.
There are two markets worth taking a trip to in this city. Within the old city limits its Mercado Central at number 6, Plaza del Mercado. This is a beautiful building set amongst boulevards – strewn with orange trees and ornate churches, with lights shows bounding off the intricate stained windows. Inside the stalls stock everything edible that locals and tourists could ever want but it is endorsed by the tourism board which means that these 8000 square metres can get uncomfortably busy.
This might sound like a random point to mention but when you think about it, doing laundry is a curse that follows you and your backpack around the planet. In Valencia however there is a place that combines washing your clothes with fun! Step up the l@undry stop at number 17 Calle Baja, (Carrer del Baix). In this airy little address you can surf the web, grab a drink, read a magazine and just generally chill out while the giant machines beat the crap (actual dirt) out of your clothes. The shops open every day between 09.30 and 22.00.