An #EpicSpain Road Trip: Valencia
Valencia has done something better than all other cities – it has embraced change and look to Spain’s bright future. It’s the third biggest urban area in the country, but still gives off a small-town feel with its plentiful creative outlets, cosy people watching places and friendly locals. Not only does Valencia love all things Spanish, it also is an amazing hub of intellectual pursuits and historic significance.
It’s the ideal city to visit on an epic Spanish road trip between the Costa del Sol and Barcelona along the Mediterranean Sea.
A foodie culture
Arguably, some of the best dining experiences can be discovered in Valencia that rival all others in Spain. The city is surrounded by fertile farmland, ingredients are always fresh and prepared by seasoned chefs. Plenty of traditional dishes can be found at bars and cafes scattered throughout the old part of own, including heaps of paella, which is a tasty rice dish with seafood, cured meat and saffron for seasoning. For authentic surroundings that have been enjoyed since the 1800s, have some tapas and paella at Bodega Casa Montaña near the waterfront.
Marketplaces have a way of centering a traveller and giving a sense of your surroundings. Valencia has two wonderful markets full of local produce, wine, handicrafts and a few antiques. The Mercado Central has the most goods for souvenirs and textiles, while the Plaza del Mercado is the prettiest and has fantastic things to snack on while you walk. If you want to blow off some energy, head to the old riverbed and visit the amazing installation that’s a nod to Gulliver’s Travels. It’s a giant playground in the shape of Gulliver anyone can climb on. The best view is from above where you can get an overall look at this impressive feat in design.
The main event
Valencia is most well-known for its sprawling art and science centre in the middle of the city. Officially known as the “City of Arts and Sciences”, or CAC, this complex was completed in 2005 to celebrate the great progression of creativity and innovation throughout Spain. There are several buildings and a massive outdoor space. Guests can venture inside the l’Heminsferic to see the contemporary planetarium and IMAX cinema, then check out the interactive science museum for all ages next door.
There’s an open-air aquarium and oceanographic park, home to many local and exotic animal species sectioned off into varied atmospheric environments. Outside there is a giant suspension bridge to walk over, then end a stroll through the L’Umbracle to see some native plants, flowers and art galleries under the Spanish sun. It’s easy to spend a day or two at the complex to et a real feel of Valencia’s modern spirit.