Spain’s third largest city, Valencia doesn’t have a grand, iconic landmark or one particular must-see attraction. However, there are plenty of good reasons why you should make sure you pay the city a visit.
Walk around the Old Town
Valencia’s old town has many monuments and pretty streets that are worth stopping by for a look. One of the best ways to see the sights of the old town, and orientate yourself for the remainder of your stay, is to book a walking tour. Viator offer a two hour walking tour of the old town, taking in all the main sights and with plenty of time to stop, take photos and ask questions. Your tour will be led by a local, so you’ll really get the insider view on what’s good in the city.
Home of the Holy Grail
First consecrated in the 11th century, Valencia’s cathedral – Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady of Valencia – is a mixture of architectural traditions. With roots in the Visigothic tradition, the site became a mosque under the Moors and was later added to with Baroque, Renaissance and neo-classical elements over the passage of the years.
A tour of the Cathedral is led by a guide well-versed in the history of the site and includes the sight that most people who visit really want to see – the Holy Grail. Whilst other Churches may lay claim to holy relics, most of these have been scientifically disproven to be what they claim to be. However, the Holy Grail at Valencia has been tested and is thought to have genuinely been the cup from which Jesus drank at the Last Supper with his disciples.
Whatever your view of religion and relics, viewing what is believed to be a cup from 2,000 years ago is quite something in itself; even more so when seen in the grand setting of the cathedral’s opulent decor that boasts paintings by Goya amongst its many attractions.
Valencia prides itself on being a city of science and culture, and one of the ways it’s proven itself to be a centre of excellence is in the field of conservation.
The Bioparc, located on the western side of the city, is easily accessible by Metro and covers some 25 acres of land. With collections of dozens of species of animals, the park is laid out like a walking safari with a feeling of immersion with the wildlife. Most of the animal enclosures are glass, meaning that there’s a sense of oneness with the creatures in the park.
Whilst you’re at the park, take the chance to visit the cafe. Although it might not have the most spectacular menu in the world, there are few other places that you could sip your cappuccino whilst watching giraffes or elephants in the glass enclosures. It’s an experience not to be missed.
Historic La Lonja
Tucked away up a mediaeval side street near the central market, La Lonja de la Seda is the old silk exchange that’s brimming with stories of Valencia’s history. The grand doorway opens into a soaring gothic hall filled with gracefully twisted pillars and ornate carvings. The carvings, which tell tales of drunken sinners and ancient kings of the land, are both beautiful and fascinating. In keeping with the gothic style of the place, friezes depicting gargoyles leer down from all sides.
If you speak Spanish, it’s well worth taking the local tour of the hall and hearing tales of its history and architecture. If not, it’s still a great place to wander round and take in the sights.
Camping in Valencia
Due to the climate and fabulous scenery around Valencia, camping is very popular. Local campsites which are excellent for visitors include Altomira, L’Alqueira and Calpe Mar. Camping equipment is not difficult to find but if you want to be sure you have everything visit Outdoor World Direct before you travel.
Although Valencia might not be the first place that comes to mind when planning a trip to Spain, it’s well worth a visit. With a beautiful historic centre and plenty to keep enquiring minds happy, there’s more than enough to make the journey worth your while.