Valencia letters during the night in Spain with a girl on it

10 Authentic Reasons to Visit Wonderful Valencia in Spain

What to do and what to see in Valencia, Spain. Here are the top 10 authentic reasons why you should visit wonderful Valencia!

Valencia is a Spanish and Mediterranean city that shines with rich culture and urban vibe. It can be described as a blend of wealthy architecture, plenty of historical monuments, captivating murals and cosy corners to enjoy some traditional Paella or Horchata. As an ex. resident of Valencia I decided to share my top 10 authentic reasons to visit this wonderful Spanish city. So let’s dive into it! 🙂

Did you know that PAELLA is believed to be an original Valencian dish?

1. MURALS AND URBAN (STREET) ART

If you are a lover of graffiti, colorful murals all around and artistic drawings, Valencia is a perfect place for you! Many international and local artists left their mark on Valencian walls to express themselves about the social dilemmas, political problems or just to leave an artistic mark that makes all the grey walls more lively and fun! Valencia is a true urban art paradise.

PRO TIP:

Visit El Carmen neighborhood for the biggest amount of graffiti and murals. Go early.

 

2. RICH ANCIENT AND MODERN ARCHITECTURE

Visit Valencia if you love architecture! Stroll around the city and admire the Gothic and Romanesque structures, modern facades and for some more futuristic architecture, head off to the City of Arts and Sciences complex.

PRO TIP:

The buildings are huge and if you start exploring in the afternoon, you will have the problem with bad lightning (which I had in some photos). Beware that Valencian people are strict when it comes to siesta (usually from 1pm to 5pm for shops and 4pm to 8pm for restaurants, bars…)

 

 

2. DELICIOUS FOOD

Valencian cuisine is characterised by rich flavours, Mediterranean dash with ingredients such as seafood, vegetables, meat and plenty of rice together with citrus fruit. PAELLA is one of the best-known dishes in Spanish cuisine. Many Spanish people consider paella as a dish that came originally from Valencian region. Is it true or not, who can know – I guess we have to dig deeper to find out the answer to that one.

However, what we know for sure is that today you can find many variations of paella. The main ingredients of paella together with the round rice are chicken and rabbit varieties of green beans, sometimes duck and garrofó (a variety of lima or butter bean). Of course to all that we need to add olive oil and a quality saffron (Spanish people correct me if I am wrong! 🙂 Paella has its name from the wide, shallow traditional pan used to cook the dish on an open fire. Paella actually means “frying pan” in Valencian, Valencia’s regional language which is very similar to Catalan. As This traditional dish has ancient roots and if you ever visit Valencia you simply have to try paella! I am considering to be a sin the fact that someone came to Valencia and ate the pizza.

PRO TIP:

Make sure to try a REAL PAELLA. Don’t buy pre-made and takeaway paellas. Sit in a decent restaurants and order a proper paella which you will wait for at least 30 minutes and you will end up with a dish just the same as the one on the second photo below – nice and caramelized on the bottom.

 

3. CENTRAL MARKET

⠀⠀⠀
DID YOU KNOW THAT MERCADO CENTRAL in Valencia (Central Market) is the largest centre of fresh products in Europe ⠀
and⠀THE FIRST MARKET IN THE WORLD that was offering computerising sales & home delivery?
⠀Could you believe that their delivery services have been available since October 1996!
⠀However, Mercado Central is not the only one today that offers home delivery. Still, it’s a great place to explore in the early Spanish morning. I realized it’s a bit pricey comparing to surrounding places in Valencian community but strolling along it is a must to get that sense of Valencian fresh products and Spanish cuisine overall. Explore more interesting things about Central Market in Valencia.

PRO TIP:

Get up early because market is closing in the afternoon. Bring some reusable bags and get yourself some fresh food – it is totally worth it!

4. BIKES, ELECTRIC BIKES AND SCOOTERS

You can’t be in Valencia and miss dozens of regular and electric bikes. They are everywhere and because of the huge amount of two and three-wheel vehicles, the whole city always reminded me of Amsterdam.

PRO TIP:

As mentioned above, bikes are the best choice to explore the city (or walking). Ask for the price in few shops, Dutch shops tend to be slightly more expensive.

5. PLENTY OF DETAILS

Valencia is not only an urban city full of murals and graffiti, but a city of art! With a great number of architectural artworks, this lively city is full of interesting and cute details basically everywhere you turn around! Some are funny, some are necessary, some are telling a story and some are a pure piece of art.

PRO TIP:

Try to glance here and there while walking and trust me – your eye will spot something interesting!

6. THE CITY OF ARTS AND SCIENCES

A wonderful Valencia has also its modern and – in a way – futuristic side to offer its visitors. The City of Arts and Sciences is a cultural and architectural complex and one of the most important modern tourist destinations plus one of the 12 Treasures of Spain. There is also a huge park where once Turia river was flowing, L’Hemisfèric – an  IMAX Cinema, planetarium and laserium, an interactive science museum Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe, L’Umbracle complex, L’Oceanogràfic – an open-air oceanographic park, Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia – an opera house and performing arts center, Montolivet and Assut de l’Or Bridge, L’Àgora – a covered plaza for concerts and sports events.

PRO TIP:

See additional information for opening and closing times as well as covid-19 restrictions and safety measures before visiting any of the mentioned complexes.

7. SPANISH TILES

The Spanish types of tin-glazed ceramic tiles is “Mayólica”, distinguished by a milky-white glaze. These types of tile are dating all the way to the Moors Islamic culture, became known as “Talavera”, after the Spanish ceramic centre of Talavera de la Reina in Castilla de la Mancha (in the north).

PRO TIP:

If you are planning to buy any tiles or details with Spanish tiles on it, make sure to get them on markets because you can find them for much affordable prices.

8. A CITY MADE FOR SIGHTSEEING

Sightseeing is a fun and interesting activity in city, don’t you agree? However, there is something about Valencia that makes sightseeing much more interesting. Is it about all those details, architecture, urban art, monuments? Hard to say! The best is that you visit Valencia and see it by yourself!

PRO TIP:

Have some comfortable shoes, plenty of water and enjoy your time sightseeing in Valencia!

9. BOTANICAL GARDEN

The Botanical Garden of the University of Valencia is a green, living museum situated in the historical center of the city. Here you can enjoy the rich plant world and not only plants from Spain but from all the continents! The whole building is built together with nature’s harmony so it is a very pleasant place to visit. You will gain plenty of knowledge here and explore some monumental trees with historical buildings (even from the 16th century!)

PRO TIP:

It is a big botanical garden so make sure to set some time aside. See their website before visiting and pay attention to siesta – a break after the lunch usually from 1PM to 5PM – Spanish people are very strict about it and they usually close almost everything at that time.

10. CHARMING NARROW STREETS

The streets of Valencia remind me of Dalmatian streets a lot! They are so narrow and cute, with balconies full of flowers and colorful to modern facades. 

PRO TIP: 

Don’t miss strolling around the city center and try to sneak in every corner possible! The streets are very picturesque and instagrammable! 

If you want to see more about Valencia, check my first expat-travel vlog because one of the locations where I was filming it was in Valencia!

If you want some more ideas in Spain, see my MIRAVET CASTLE post or HIKING TO LA FORADADA!

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Valencia-street-art-wings

VALENCIA – STREET ART

The ultimate guide about Valencian street art + pro tips !

In this post I will share with you the best street art pieces that I run into by many international and local artists which left their mark in Valencia.

Valencia is the third largest city in Spain on a southeastern coast, where the Turia River meets the Mediterranean Sea. It is just an hour and a half from Madrid by train, three hours from Barcelona by car, and 30 to 50 minutes to Balearic Islands, operating on a daily basis. Rich culture and perfect geographical position makes Valencia totally worth a visit. 


Did you know that Valencia has the largest inner city urban park in the whole of Europe?

However, that’s not only urban in this Mediterranean city.
When walking through Valencia’s Old Town, one of the first things you’ll notice is vibrant and lively street art. From huge murals to tiny artistic details, whether you are artist lover or not, Valencia will definitely blow your mind!

For years, underground artists have been making Valencia into an open-air gallery, painting fences, covering walls and even entire buildings with colorful works of beauty and messages with some sort of deeper meaning, if you can puzzle out what the artists are trying to say!

 

 

WHERE IN THE CITY?

The most murals and street artworks can be found in El Carmen, neighborhood at the northern end of Valencia’s Old Town.

As you stroll through this neighborhood, you will come across a pile of dilapidated and ruined walls covered in multicolored graffiti with contrasting tall buildings and charming, little cafes. I have to admit that all those street artworks have created a truly unusual atmosphere. I got hooked up immediately!

TRAVEL TIP!

If you don’t want to loose your time – don’t follow the street art locations marked on Google. Not even official city pages, famous blogs, magazines…none!
The main reason is because street art is very changing kind of art.

New pieces of art can be found almost every single day.
New buildings are constantly being built and old ones are being painted again. Buildings around the city are often damaged due to the behavior of the concrete itself (e.g. shrinkage and early age thermal cracking), due to the presence of damp or where origin can be traced even back to the construction phase. I came across workers and new buildings even three times while searching for popular street artworks and I walked all three times around 20 minutes!

Learn from others’ mistakes, not your own!

Examples of damaged walls of buildings & how it effects on street art.

 

SELF GUIDED TOUR OR?

I would really advise you to embark on your own exploration of the city, starting from the artistically mentioned El Carmen neighborhood across the main Market, the city center and surrounding neighborhoods. And yes, sunrise time and approx two hours before sunset are the best times for photos, and possible avoidance of the hustle and bustle.

However, if you are kind of person who likes to be guided, one of the cool things to do in the city is Street Art Tour. Of all of the Tours in Valencia, the urban art tour is the best for exploring murals and graffiti of the city.

POPULAR ARTISTS

The most famous artists are Hyuro and Escif. You can find their work around Central Market(Mercado Central) . Hyuro is an Argentinian-born artist who is lives in Valencia and Escif is one of the biggest names in Valencian street art scene – known as the Spanish Banksy.

CONCLUSION

The street art of Valencia really jumped out at me, I haven’t expected to encounter this much art! Besides, you can go sightseeing in the night too!
Street artists have done their best to tidy up the shops and you can only see their art when the stores close. Seriously, it’s the best street art city that I have ever seen.
Street art lovers and art lovers in general – don’t hesitate about planning your trip to Valencia. About four days at least!

Now sit back and enjoy in some art!
🙂

Ps: I was solo exploring and I used <a href="http://<a href="https://www.amazon.com/disparador-inal%C3%A1mbrico-universal-smartphone-compatible/dp/B07KF87VHG/ref=as_li_ss_il?dchild=1&keywords=peyou+tripod&qid=1591656801&sr=8-1&th=1&linkCode=li2&tag=kookylovestot-20&linkId=1e5414bae1fa96919be6fea7ff7e55d5&language=en_US&quot; target="_blank"><img border="0" src="//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?_encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B07KF87VHG&Format=_SL160_&ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=kookylovestot-20&language=en_US" ></a>""Peyou tripod to shoot myself.

 

 

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