Spain’s wonderfully diverse third city, Valencia, is a remarkable city break destination. Teaming with nightlife and a growing food, festival and cultural scene, Valencia gives cosmopolitan Barcelona and Madrid a run for their money.
If you only have a few days in Valencia, then here are some unmissable locations to snap on camera so you can take your holiday memories home.
1. The City of Arts and Sciences
Known locally as La Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, this futuristic complex was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. A space for arts and leisure, you’ll find the immersive Príncipe Felipe Science Museum, Europe’s biggest aquarium and marine centre L’Oceanogràfic, the oval shaped Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia opera house and the multifunctional event space Ágora.
There are several activities, exhibitions, IMAX screenings and workshops throughout the year at The City of Arts and Sciences, so it’s worth planning in advance if you want to attend.
2. Valencia Cathedral
Built on the site of an original Roman temple, the gothic cathedral dates back to the 13th and 14th centuries. Over the years, renaissance, baroque and neoclassical modifications have been added to the structure making it one of the most mind blowing buildings. A must-see is the Chapel of the Holy Chalice, home to the vessel rumoured to have been used by Christ during the Last Supper.
3. Colón Market
Built in 1914 by Francisco de Mora y Berenguer, this largely open-air market is now one of the city’s most integral renovations. It’s one of the main meeting and event spaces for locals to enjoy a coffee, and shop for crafts or fresh flowers. The outside is noted for having decorative Valencian tiles reminiscent of Gaudi’s work.
4. Torres de Serranos
Now a gateway to the urban park Turia Gardens, both towers stood as a defence point at the gate of the ancient city walls. Tall and imposing, this landmark offers a great vantage point to take photos and is another wonderful example of gothic architecture in the city.
5. Albufera Natural Park
Only 10 km from Valencia is Albufera Natural Park, where you’ll find a tranquil freshwater lagoon, rice fields and unspoilt beaches. You can enjoy a hike on one of six routes, a bike ride or even a calm boat ride.
The reserve is also home to wildlife and rare birds, and local fishermen still get their catch here. The area is said to be where Paella originates, so it’s worth venturing into the nearby villages such as El Palmar to sample some!