A few weeks ago, I spent a couple of days in Valencia, visiting my Uruguayan host sister. Besides seeing her again after 5 years, here’s what I thought were the five main highlights and must-do’s.
1. Enjoy the green
I had no idea, but it turns out Valencia has a lot of green spots throughout the city, which is something that I really appreciate in a city. With the mellow lifestyle and warm weather, these parks are the perfect place to enjoy an ice cream, read a book in the shade or just catch up with friends.
Jardín del Turia is now a park, but used to be the river bed of the Turia river. You can imagine it’s a huge park, twisting and turning its way through the city.
Another good one are the Jardins del Reial, which has lots of exotic plants and trees (this goes for Valencia in general, which is quite different and enjoyable if you are from the cold cold north, namely Belgium).
2. Take a stroll through the historic city centre
There is just so much amazing architecture to look at. From older buildings to new ones, all of the streets look glorious. Don’t forget to climb the Miguelete tower to enjoy the view from the top too! The 209 steps are worth it. Tip: don’t wear a dress, it can get quite windy up there. Unless you want the whole of Valencia to see your bum, then by all means do like I did.
3. Buy some fresh produce at one of the many markets
Valencia is the place for foodies with its bustling markets spread across the city. From fresh fruit and veggies to refreshing juices, spices and different types of meats, cheese and fish, it’s all there for you to enjoy. Mercado de Colòn is a renovated old market, but it’s worth a peek. For more of a real market feel, check out Mercado Central: both the inside and outside are beautiful and you can pretty much find anything here. Since Valencia is known for its oranges, try a freshly squeezed orange juice, or buy the original spices to make your own paella.
4. Enjoy the climate and take things slow
Because Valencia can get quite hot in the summer, people live on a completely different daily time schedule. Wake up late, take a siesta in the afternoon, go out for dinner late and stay up till the sun sets over the beautiful city. Take things slow and easy.
5. Don’t skip the main attraction
Although it’s the one thing that I knew Valencia for, and it does sound like quite a tourist trap, the Océanographic and the Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències, are both definitely worth a visit, if not for the architecture alone. The pictures don’t lie, it’s a pretty photogenic space… Don’t just skip it!
Hasta la próxima!