By Jasmine Silk 3rd Year French & Italian
Jasmine Silk tells us why Valencia is the place to be this year.
The increasingly popular city of Valencia sits on the the Mediterranean coast of Spain, south of, and often overshadowed by Barcelona. Like in Catalonia, or the Basque Country of Spain, the Valencians have their own culture, language, and uniquely interesting history. Valencia’s long history is what makes it the amazing place it is today - from being the place where paella was born, to La Tomatina, a festival held in a nearby town every August where everyone pelts each-other with tomatoes. There are a million things to do in Valencia; from churches to zoos to beaches, it would be impossible to list them all. So, here are just four reasons why I loved it so much.
The Beautiful Old Town
When I was there we stayed in a hostel in Valencia’s Old Town, just a bus or bike ride away from the beach. The buildings were stunningly beautiful. Whilst most of the main attractions, such as the cathedral, or ‘La Lonja’, an old gothic exchange building, will allow you inside, it is equally lovely just to wander through the square or pedestrianised areas and explore the area.
From the the pool of water in the centre of the square where you can see straight down to the Roman ruins below the glass, to the amazing street art which hides around every corner, it is uniquely beautiful. It’s not quiet either; bars and cafes cover every street, serving Agua de Valencia, their deadly and delicious drink, which combines champagne or cava, with gin, vodka and orange juice. In the nights people sit out in the squares and drinks the Agua de Valencia, competing in similar challenges to the ten before ten of the Cori Tap here in Bristol (it ends about the same way).
Just a short walk away from the cathedral is Valencia’s most famous Marketplace, designed by friends of Gaudí, Alexander Soler i March and Francesc Guàrdia i Vial when they won the design contest 1910. It was completed in 1928. Aside from being beautiful to look at the marketplace has a huge range of food and drink on sale - you can sit and eat tapas, or you can wander round filling up on the millions of free samples. All of the food is so amazing, and with so enough stalls for you to get lost, you could easily spend all your time and all your money here and not regret it one bit.
Jasmine Silk / Epigram
The Turia River is known for its floods, and after the Great Flood of Valencia in 1957 the city decided they had had enough of it. The river was diverted to skirt the city, and the space which was once the riverbed was transformed into the beautifully green Turia park which stretches through the city all the way to the ‘City of Arts and Sciences’ complex. The complex is perhaps the biggest tourist attraction of the city, with a variety of activities to do including a planetarium, IMAX cinema, an opera house and interactive museums. It is surrounded by pools which you can row paddleboat your way around.
After the miles long green stretch of the park it looks like something out of sci-fi film or an alien spaceship dropped on the city, offering a complete change from the more historical aspects of the rest of the city.
Finally, one of the best and simplest attractions of Valencia is its beachfront location, making it a city break and beach holiday rolled into one.
Not half as busy or polluted as the beaches in Barcelona, the long sandy beaches in Valencia are the perfect place to spend the day. Stretching for miles at when you reach the end of the river there’s plenty of room for everyone, if you get there early you can set up right by the sea and spend the day swimming and sunbathing.
The fact that you haven’t left the city at all also means its still so easy to go and get anything you need, rather than dragging tons of stuff down to the beach.
So, there you have it - four good reasons to book that flight to Valencia right now. The city offers some of the most unique sights I’ve ever seen, and something for everyone to enjoy; from culture, to food, to drinking the deadliest alcohol outside the Cori Tap on a beach in Spain.
Featured Image: Jasmine Silk / Epigram
Have you been to Valencia? Let us know!