Valencia, the third largest city in Spain, was founded by the Roman Empire in 138 B.C. Since ancient times, Valencia has been well-known for its radiant light, Mediterranean spirit, and fertile soil. Valencia is a dual city where everything finds its contrast and complement: antiquity and modernity, past and future, throbbing life and serenity, classicism and innovation, culture and nature, urban atmosphere and sea breeze.
With more than 2000 years of history, Valencia contains influences from Roman, Visigoth, Moorish and Medieval cultures. Over the last years, the city has shown its splendour as the host of major international events such as the America’s Cup regattas or F1 European Grand Prix.
Valencia enjoys a warm climate for most of the year, boasting an average temperature of 18º C (in June, approx 21.8ºC) and around 300 days of sun per year.
Valencia surprises visitors with its harmonious blend of antiquity and modernity. A visit to the old town is a must. There you'll find everything from the bustling Plaza de la Reina and Plaza de la Virgen, between which is located the Cathedral with its famous bell tower, El Miguelete, and the Serranos and Quart Towers, the only two perfectly-conserved city gates. Strolling through the Barrio del Carmen, you’ll arrive at the jewel of civil gothic architecture, the Lonja de la Seda (UNESCO World Heritage) which is situated opposite the modernist Central Market.
All of these contrast with the City of Arts and Sciences, designed by Valencia’s own Santiago Calatrava. The atmosphere inside this spectacular architectural complex, which lies in the former Turia riverbed, makes it one of the most worthwhile visits of all. Hiring a bicycle is highly recommended here, as you can cycle the 10 km along the riverbed which crosses the city, and take a quick trip to the African plains with a visit to Bioparc, a new zoo-immersion concept. Nearby is the bus stop for the Albufera Bus Turistic which takes you on a two-hour visit to the Albufera National Park where you can take a trip in an albuferenc, little boats used to go fishing in the lake, or visit a barraca, the houses where the families of fishermen used to live. The Botanical Garden of the University of Valencia also deserves a visit. Furthermore, Valencia boasts a seven-kilometre stretch of beaches, where you can enjoy some of the city’s traditional dishes, as the paella, on the seafront.
Art lovers are spoilt for choice, with over 30 museums to choose from. Some house contemporary art, such as the IVAM. On the other hand, you have the Museum of Fine Arts, the second largest art gallery in Spain, after the Prado Museum.
For further information on the city and its surrounding area you can visit the following sites:
- City of Valencia: www.turisvalencia.es
- Region of Valencia: www.comunitatvalenciana.com
- Spain: www.spain.info