Valencia Travel Guide

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Valencia is the third largest city in Spain, but one of the least visited by tourists. This is mainly due to it being more of a working city. However,during the summer, Valencia is known for its beach during the day and the clubs and bars at night. One key thing to remember though if you want to partake in the night life is that it doesn't start until really late. If you get there too early (before about 1am) you will think that Valencia has the worst night life ever, as you will be the only one there.

As for the dining experience in Valencia, a visitor must be sure to try the most famous Spanish dish, Paella. The Valencia regions is the home of Paella and makes the dish like no other place. Paella is a rice dish that does not compare to anything else, but if one must describe it in comparison to something it would be a stir fry similar to fried rice with a wide variety of seafood, chicken, rabbit and vegetables. Es deliciosa!

Another absolutely amazing culturally rich experience of the Valencia Region is Las Fallas, "the fires." Las Fallas is a 5-day celebration of  St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters.  This is an absolutely fascinating and overwhelming experience. You have constant firecrackers, flowers, parties, crowded street and much much more!

If you are in town on the last day of the celebration, you can join in on the many block parties throughout the city.  All the neighboorhood's cooks make their special paella, and don't be surprised if they ask you to "prueba," to try, their dish and comment on who's is the best.  Be carefull if you take the challenge, Valencianos take pride in their paella.

Durning Las Fallas the city glows with lighted streets and colorful ninots around every corner. The ninots, paper mache statues made of wood, cardboard, and plaster, are as tall as buildings. One way to grasp the local humor is to read (or have a Valenciano translate for you) the satirical inscriptions on the ninots.  At the end of the festival, these statues are burned down at midnight in what is called "la Crema." As the beautiful statues are lit ablaze, the massive crowd stares in awe.  Be careful you don't get singed with falling debris.  While most of the statues go up in flames, the ones chosen as the very best in both the open and children's sections are reprieved and kept in the excellent Fallas museum.

Anyone in search of the Holy Grail need not look any further than the Catedral de Valencia located on Plaza de la Renia, near the city center.  Vistors can view the infamous chalice encased within the cathedral's gothic structure.

If you are taking a day trip to the cathedral, make a stop at the Mercado Central nearby.  One of the oldest in Europe, The mercado is 25,000 square feet of shopping heaven. You can find everything from Jamon Serrano (cured ham) to live eels. 

The creation of La Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias with its magical 21st century architecture is intended to help the city attract tourists outside of fallas time in March.

If you want to take a break from city life, the Valencian countryside has a lot to offer.  Think mountains with breathtaking views, spectacular canyons, charming and authentic villages, even a natural hot spring in which you can swim and bathe.  Public transportation (train and bus) to the bigger villages is possible, but for the more remote areas you will need your own means of transportation. In the city of Valencia you will be able to find specialised companies that offer tours to discover these off-the-beaten-path gems in the Valencian countryside.


Contributors

May 02, 2005 change by davidx

August 28, 2005 change by afmemon

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