Valencia is a much-anticipated travel destination this year. The city received The World Design Capital 2022 award, so you’re guaranteed to marvel at its exceptional historical and contemporary art and design.
City of Classic Art
Located just an hour away by rail from Madrid, or three hours from Barcelona, Valencia is one of Europe’s oldest and most classical art cities, dating back over two thousand years. It is located in southeast Spain, on the Mediterranean Sea shores of the Turia River. From mid-March, the weather is pleasant with a cool sea breeze. The city features a wealthy old town with historical architecture, as well as modernization in the form of a most advanced, futuristic building group.
The first recommended place is Plaza de la Virgin Square in the center of Valencia, where local people gather to relax and socialize. In the center of the square stands a fountain with a statue of a young man. Most visitors find it hard to resist taking lots of photos because every corner of the place is just so photogenic, not to mention the surrounding buildings in classical style.
Also, don’t miss Valencia Cathedral, which has more than 500 years of history. This is an exquisite blend of Gothic, neoclassical, and baroque art. The cathedral houses the Holy Grail of the Last Supper and the Angels Playing Music paintings by Italian painters Francisco Pagano and Pablo de San Leocadio, respectively, created in 1481, but only discovered in 2004 during renovation of the cathedral. On the other side, you will find El Micalet (Micalet Bell Tower), the cathedral’s observation deck. To enjoy the 360-degree panoramic view of the city, you must walk 207 steps up a spiral staircase. As exhausting as it sounds, it is worth every step.
City of Arts and Sciences
Next, let’s visit the City of Arts and Sciences, a futuristic city with architectural phenomena. This unusual and futuristic ultra-modern building was constructed on the historic Turia River path, covering an area of almost 350,000 square meters. This complex houses the Interactive Museum, a scientific museum, and the Oceanographic Park aquarium that replicates an aquatic environment. The underwater glass tunnel, which is 70 meters long, allows visitors to witness whales, dolphins, sea lions, seals, and other rare aquatic species. There’s also the mega-entertainment IMAX cinema in the Hemisferic building, designed like an eye, together with an opera house and other world-class venues, designed by Santiago Calatrava, a Valencian-born architect, and Felix Candela. If you plan to visit, I recommend spending an entire day there, or at least three hours.
The Birthplace of Spanish Fried Rice or Paella
Paella, often known as Spanish fried rice, is a Valencian dish. Historically, Valencians gradually developed this meal by combining rice with local seasonings. The classic paella flavor requires the rice to be slightly scorched in the pan.
For restaurant suggestions, I recommend Palace Fesol, an old and popular restaurant in the city. However, if you want to enjoy the sea breeze, El Cabanyal on the waterfront is an excellent choice where there are various, reasonablypriced paella and local dishes.