Valencia is an excellent city-break destination but it lies under the radar for most tourists.
Valencia might not spring to mind when you’re thinking of heading to Spain for a short break, particularly a foodie break. However for a number of reasons Spain’s third largest city can justifiably be termed one of the top gourmet destinations in Spain.
It’s worth starting with a visit to the vast Central Market, wandering round the colourful stalls piled high with fruit and vegetables grown in the market gardens with surround the city. The market also has some food stalls selling tasty snacks including rolls filled with spicy local sausage. Don’t forget to wash it down with a glass of fresh orange juice made from local oranges.
There are plenty of high quality restaurants and gastro bars in the old fishermen’s quarter by the sea, where you can savour the best flavours of the Mediterranean. While you’re in Valencia you also just have to eat paella. Paella Valenciana includes chicken or rabbit, several varieties of beans and sometimes snails. A Paella Marisco is a seafood version of the dish. You can sample this and other local dishes in a number of restaurants along the promenade including the one frequented by Ernest Hemingway when it was just a shack on the beach.
There are plenty more things to do in Valencia other than eat and drink. You can enjoy a cultural afternoon with a visit to the City of Arts and Sciences on Avenida del Profesor López Piñero. This leisure complex designed by local architect Santiago Calatrava is an example of futuristic architecture with a mind-boggling complex of sculptural structures. The planetarium resembles a human eye and the opera house looks like a cycling helmet! As a contrast, the area in the heart of the city contains a number of historical treasures such as Valencia Cathedral and the Plaza de la Virgen which is surrounded by monumental buildings including the Palau de la Generalitat, the grand 15th Century palace that houses the Valencian government.
There are now flights to Valencia from a number of regional airports in the UK including Glasgow, Manchester and Birmingham so there’s every reason to give Valencia a try – you’ll find plenty to see and do in this fascinating city.