When people think of the city of Valencia, they think of its light, the sea, its great history, its position at the vanguard of modernity, its traditions and the atmosphere that you breathe in as you tread its streets.
It’s the capital of the surrounding region, known as the Comunitat Valenciana, and it’s the third biggest city in Spain, behind Madrid and Barcelona.
If your son or daughter is going to study in Valencia and you want to explore the city together, here’s what you really mustn’t miss:
1. The old town, one of the biggest in Europe
Founded more than 2000 years ago, Valencia’s history is present throughout the old town. You can’t come to Valencia and not go for a stroll around some of its most iconic buildings and places: the Mercado Central (the Central Market), the Lonja (the Silk Exchange), the Torres de Serranos (the Serranos Towers), the Plaza Redonda (the Round Square!), the Palacio del Marqués de Dos Aguas (the Marqués de Dos Aguas Palace), to name just a few examples.
Find more information on Valencia’s old town here.
2. The unique Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències
This complex – the City of Arts and Sciences in English – offers visitors a huge contrast with the old town. Created by the architect Santiago Calatrava, it is made up of several remarkable buildings: the Hemisfèric, the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía, the Museu de les Ciències, the Umbracle, the Ágora and the Oceanogràfic. Their extraordinary architectural composition cannot fail to impress.
3. A walk down the old Turia riverbed
Some years ago now, the place where the River Turia used to flow through the city was converted into the green lungs of Valencia and it is the best place to go for a walk, a run, a bike ride or just to enjoy some peace and quiet without leaving the city. This eight-kilometre long park takes you right through the heart of the city, with the Parc de Capçalera at one end and the port at the other, and you can get a drink or a bite to eat at one of the pavement cafés on the way there. All in all, a fantastic walk that you really shouldn’t miss!
4. Have a great paella
Valencia has some wonderful culinary traditions, but it is most famous for being the true home of paella: so take advantage of your visit and try the authentic version of this classic dish.
5. The Albufera: a different kind of experience
The Albufera Nature Reserve is just 10 kilometres from Valencia. The Albufera is the biggest lake in Spain, where you can see some unique species of aquatic birds, sand dunes, paddy fields and truly unforgettable sunsets.
More information about the Albufera here!
6. Come to Valencia for Fallas – Intangible Cultural Heritage
If you’re lucky enough to be able to time your visit to coincide with Fallas (from the 15th to 19th March), you’ll be able to enjoy a festival which has recently been recognized by UNESCO as part of the World’s Intangible Cultural Heritage. Tradition, celebration, social critique, art, fire and gunpowder are the key features of Fallas.
ITS SAFETY, AFFORDABILITY, AND HUGE CULTURAL OFFER HAVE MADE VALENCIA ONE OF THE TOP DESTINATIONS FOR EUROPEAN STUDENTS
You can find all you need to know about the Fallas festival here.
7. The essence of the Mediterranean: the beach
If you want to see the sea without leaving the city behind, then take a walk along the promenade (el paseo marítimo) from the Malvarrosa area to the marina. To make sure your visit is complete, have wander through the nearby areas, known as the poblats marítims. In particular, the area known as el Cabanyal, a former fishing village, will take you back through the history of Valencia.
More information on this area here.
8. Take a break with an ice-cold horchata
Horchata is a sweet and refreshing drink made from chufas (tiger nuts), traditionally associated with the town of Alboraya, near Valencia. Valencia is full of horchaterías where you can stop for a rest and try this typical Valencian drink. If you have a sweet tooth you can drink it while eating some classic Valencian iced buns, known as fartons. If you want to know more, you can even visit the Horchata Museum to discover all the ins and outs of its history and manufacture (you can find it in Partida Massamardá nº 51, 46120 Alboraya).
9. Take a walk through the Jardines de Monforte
These gardens, covering more than 12,000 square metres, are the perfect place to relax and spend some leisure time. Previously a vegetable garden, in 1872 the Valencian architect Sebastián Monleón Estellés converted it into the artistic ornamental garden it is today. The Lions’ Garden, the Fountain of the Lovers Daphnis and Chloe, the Rose Garden, and the Square of the Goddess Flora are just some of the enchanting places hidden inside these gardens.
More information on the gardens can be found here.
10. The city museums
If you like museums, Valencia has many fascinating venues for tourists interested in history, art, science or culture. All the information you need is here.
As you can see, the city of Valencia has something for everyone: For those who seek a quiet student life, and for those who want to squeeze the city to the maximum. Valencia brings together in one place culture, sport, tradition and modernity… just twenty minutes away from our university!