Valencia! Thanks, we had a great time. It was definitely not a love at first sight. The Old Town didn’t impress us as other Spanish cities, but we can not deny that you do not sin with attractions!
My husband celebrates his birthday at the beginning of March and it is our little tradition that I (now together with my little ladies) organise a surprise trip away to celebrate this day. I was wondering about Valencia for a while, it was not my obvious choice. I spent countless evenings looking for a perfect combination of cheap flights to sunny place, with inexpensive accommodation, a bit of culture and, most importantly, with some attractions for children (well my husband is like a big kid!).
Two things I heard about Valencia that you can eat the best paella in the country and that the residents have a special love for pyrotechnics. Well, in both cases I agree, especially since we visited it just before Easter as they have a huge street party called Las Fallas. We saw even 4 years old with firecrackers.
I can assure you that in Valencia you will not get bored. The city is definitely an explosive mixture: a combination of amazing food, architecture and attractions for children. Honestly, it should definitely be in the top ten European cities dedicated to families. In addition, the beautiful weather even at the beginning of March makes it a great choice for the weekend break. As I mentioned above, the Old Town did not impress us at all. However when I was doing my usual research I found plenty of positive reviews about the old town and its architecture. I presume it is like with love….it just didn’t click. If you decide to visit this part of the town, Mercado Central and the Cathedral are must-to-see. The central market is a place full of smells and sounds, and it’s all in a stunning building. It is full of fresh and local products that will be a fantastic gift to take home. If you’re gourmet of local delicacies then definitely try Horchata in beautiful Horchateria Santa Catalina bar. By far, our favorite place was the City of Arts and Sciences. In this respect, we also rented a flat in a convenient area as we would walk around this area every day.
TOP 5 THINGS THAT YOU NEED TO DO / SEE IN VALENCIA
Visit l ‘Ocenografic – the largest aquarium in Europe, divided into 9 buildings, where you can see various marine ecosystems, such as the Arctic or the tropical sea. It is here that you will see huge sharks, turtles or whites that happily play with you through the glass or want to pose for photos. In addition, within the price of the ticket there is available spectacular dolphins show where you can watch their amazing acrobatic skills. The spectacle is available twice a day and it is an unforgettable attraction for children as adults. Cycle through Turia Park to the beach – here we highly recommend renting bikes for the whole day and traveling around Turia Park until you reach the beach. Valencia suffered many floods, so the city decided to change its course and created this magnificent and always vibrant city park. Have a play at the Gulliver’s Land – this is a unique playground. This fun kingdom created for children is full of unique slides, ramps, walkways and stairs. Gulliver’s travels inspired designers to create this unique project – a giant Gulliver tangled in strings, whose clothes and hair create giant slides (one of them can accommodate over 10 people at a time). Walk around the City of Arts and Sciences (Ciudad de las Artes y la Ciencias) – this is by far the most characteristic place in all of Valencia. A complex of modern and very futuristic buildings which impress every visitor. The park consists of several buildings: L’Hemisferic (planetarium and cinema), El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia (place of major cultural and musical events), L’Umbracle (impressive promenade with a viewpoint and an urban garden), El Museu de les Ciencies Principe Felipe (a science museum that interactively stimulates the creativity of every child) and L’Ocenografic. Shopping at Mercado Central – one of the oldest operating fairs in Europe. A lot of agrotourism farms sell their local products. Gourmets will be delighted as it offers variety of meats, olives and cheeses. Definitely a place to satisfy curiosity or hunger.Unfortunately, we spent only 2.5 days in Valencia, but if you stay longer and look for additional attractions, then Bioparc or the National Museum of Ceramics can be something for you. In addition, one of my favourite places were the districts of Russafa and La Gran Via. I just loved walking between these beautiful tenement houses in pastel colours. In addition, we discovered the best restaurants in this area. When we rented the bikes, we also drove through El Cabanyal area, but this district did not make the best impression on us. I generally love places which offer very unique atmosphere, but it felt to us that we were passing through the slums. The houses were very picturesque, but it felt very abandoned.
WHERE TO EAT?
Ubik Cafe – a wonderful place that resembles a library. An additional plus was the children’s corner, so while we ate the girls could have a good play.
Mercatbar – this place serves the best tapas, we ever had. The owner has several other restaurants with Michelin stars, so it is not the cheapest place to eat, but trust me, it’s worth it. Everything is prepared by the chefs directly before serving and you can even have a peep at the chef in action.
Horchateria Santa Catalina – if you visit Valencia then you must try Horchata. You can find it everywhere, but apparently this place serves the best one.
Las Adelitas – delicious Mexican food and amazing margarita
Gelateria La Romana – in my life I did not eat as delicious ice cream as here (and I lived 2 years in Italy who pride themselves on doing the best); service is great and before you order your scope, you can try several flavours before.