Hello Valencia
Valencia
Hello Valencia
   
Hello Valencia
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City of Valencia
Introduction
Valencia, a city of cultural and commercial prestige is situated halfway down the Eastern coast of Spain. It is considered to be one of the principle cities of the Mediterranean, and is the third most important city in Spain. Its population is 800.000 inhabitants, or 1.800.000 if we add to that the population of the surrounding suburbs and towns. A modern communications network makes Valencia easily accessible, and links Valencia to other important Spanish and European cities through its Port, Motorway links, Airport and Railway network
There are two official languages in Valencia: "Valenciano",
used in the Valencian Community, and Spanish, Spain's official language.
Valencia by Moonlight
As night falls, the city lights up and is transformed: Valencia becomes a beautiful creature of the night that needs to be seen and enjoyed. The artistic use of public lighting gives a new perspective to the historic buildings and places of interest for the tourist.
Bullring
The comfortable temperatures encourage you to be outdoors, sampling the delights of the city: theatre, cinema, dance, music, thousands of bars, cafes, restaurants, and discos provide an offer of entertainment to suit each and every visitor.
The centre of Valencian nightlife is the Barrio del Carmen, in the heart of the old town; in this area, traditional bohemia and modernity live together in harmony and are flourishing. There are quiet cafes that invite you to sit and contemplate life, lively open-air patios, and all sorts of bars and discos for listening to the latest sounds or dancing the night away.
Other good nightlife areas are to be found in and around the Avenida de Aragón, Plaza de Canovas, and the university zone of Avenida Blasco Ibáñez, Plaza de Honduras, Plaza Xúquer and Juan Llorens. Not forgetting, of course, the Paseo Neptuno and the beach, where summer nights merge into summer days.
It does not leave a route substantial and entertained by the district of Ruzafa (Russafa), that follows without losing its populated character.
Gargoyle
If the tower of Babel existed, would be located in the district of Ruzafa, since in little more than 30 streets they coexist around 115 different nationalities, a high number if it compares with the number of States Members of the United Nations, that ascend to 191, adding Swiss and Taiwan, and if it also considers that occurs in a single district of the city.
Ruzafa is a crucible of cultures and people, have become an multi-ethnic district, have near 200 commerce opened by foreigners, predominating the commerce of Chinese origin (the Chinatown in Valencia), supermarkets, houses of meals, footwear, cibers, etc, that concentrates around the Street Convento de Jerusalén (Matemático Marzal, Pelayo and Bailén), also abound the Latin American and Arab commerce, of the Cuba Street (Literato Azorín, Cadiz and Sueca).
City of the Arts and Sciences
The Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències (City of the Arts and Sciences) in Valencia is a spectacular creation. The buildings in this imposing leisure and culture centre designed by Santiago Calatrava comprise an avant-garde image which takes us into the 21st century.
City of the Arts
The Hemisfèric shows the very latest Imax films, a planetarium and an innovative laser show.
The "Príncipe Felipe" Science Museum is a spectacular building which makes up interactive scientific motifs and exhibitions where visitors can touch everything and become protagonists of curious experiments.
All the ecosystems of the world with their plant and animal inhabitants, will come together in the Oceanogràfic.
The best opera performances, concerts and scenic shows will be contemplated at the auditoriums in el Palau de les Arts, with its spectacular giant oval-shape design.
Sports activities
The excellent climate and long coastal area make Valencia an ideal location for water sports such as sailing, windsurfing, water-skiing and jet-ski.
Valencia is also a haven for golfers. The friendly climate means 365 day-a-year golf at one of the four courses around the city - El Saler, El Bosque, Manises and the Club Escorpion, the courses are set in areas of great natural beauty and are a joy to behold for all lovers of the sport.
The full range of sporting possibilities is completed with a modern network of installations for all kinds of activities: the Velódromo Luis Puig, for athletes and cyclists, the Pavilion Fuente de San Luis, for basketball, the Mestalla and Levante Stadiums, for football fans, the Club de Tenis (the tennis club), numerous swimming pools, la Hípica for equestrian events, the motorcycle track in Cheste or the sports facilities in the El Saler and Los Jardines del Turia parks.
And for those who like something different, there are plenty of adventure sport activities available in the region.
Shopping
Valencia has a long craft and artisan tradition, the ceramic industry being particularly important. The town of Paterna is famous for the production of socarrats (painted ceramic wall decorations) and for its green and purple coloured ornaments. There are hand painted fans, decorated with ivory or exotic woods, and incredible silk art which can be seen in ceremonial dress and the costumes of the Fallas festivals.
If you are looking for something special; pay a visit to the city street markets where you will find a variety of articles, from clothes to antiques. These markets, set up on public walk-ways, only operate in the morning and move from neighbourhood to neighbourhood during the week.
If you fancy some retail therapy just wander through the city and you'll find all that you need; top international fashion houses and the latest local designer outlets, side by side with the big national and international department stores - shop till you drop!
We recommend a visit to the Plaza Redonda on Sunday mornings; its hustle and bustle take you back to 19th century Valencia, an open-air flea market with paintings, books, plants, animals, leather goods and music. Also on Sunday, stamp collectors and numismatists gather in the Lonja de la Seda for their ritual of exchange and barter.
Seat of the Virgin
Take a stroll around the municipal food markets, especially the Mercado Central and you'll find an experience for all the senses; an amazing fusion of aroma and colour set in a building known for its exceptional modern architecture. In the neighbouring streets there are traditional, small shops and intense commercial activity.
The Mercado de Colón, another architectural jewel has recently been refurbished and houses modern cafes, restaurants, a commercial centre, craft shops and flower stalls.
Gastronomy
Valencian gastronomy is varied, natural and traditional. The fruit and vegetables of this fertile land, fresh fish and abundant seafood provide the main ingredients of an exquisite Mediterranean cuisine.
The most characteristic dishes are made with rice which is cooked in myriad of ways; the star of the show is the world famous Paella, though there are other traditional dishes like arroz al horno (oven-baked rice), arroz a banda (rice with fish), arroz negro (rice with black squid ink), la fideuá (made with noodles instead of rice) and all i pebre (a casseroled stew made with eels, garlic and pepper).
All of these should be enjoyed with a glass or two of white wine from Alto Turia and the Serranía, or red wine from Requena, Utiel, and the Campo de Liria. They are all wines of excellent quality with their own officially registered designation of origin.
The dessert menu offers fresh fruit (Valencia produces wonderful oranges and citrus fruits) and an extensive array of pastries such as rosetones, arrop i tallaetes or arnadí (a sweet made from pumpkin, sweet potato and almonds), these are often accompanied by a mistela or muscatel liqueur. During the Las Fallas festivals buñuelos (a kind of doughnut) are very popular and must be sampled. In the summer months, horchata (a milky drink made from tiger nuts) and fartons (pastry sticks sprinkled with icing sugar), will delight and refresh the weary traveller. Finally, we must mention the 'Agua de Valencia' (Valencian water!!), a potent combination of fresh orange juice and cava; just perfect for raising a glass in honour of your visit to the city.
¿Where can I eat the real valencian paella?
The Valencian paella is a plate universally well-known, but also prepared of so many different forms that paella is called to almost any plate that contains rice.

The authentic Valencian paella can defraud if you expect to find seafood in it, or ribs, or blood sausages, or other exotic ingredients that are used in some places of Spain (olives, potatoes, etc.). You'll find vegetables and meat solely (of chicken and rabbit), in addition to the rice, of course.
Paella
Consider that this plate arose in the Valencian rural atmosphere, and the agriculturist used the ingredients he had by hand: the vegetables of the familiar orchard, and the animals of corral (duck, chicken and rabbit). If the paella is cooked with care, you'll find it exquisite.

If you like the seafood, ask for a "paella de marisco", or a "arroz a banda". Also you can request the "mixed paella", of seafood and meat, although I do not recommend it.

In almost any restaurant of Valencia, you'll find great variety of rice plates. I advise you to visit the restaurants of the beach of the Malvarrosa, where you'll be able to eat good paellas (although noncheap) and later you can walk by the marine stroll.

Also I recommend you a visit to the Palmar, a town of fishermen. Almost an island surrounded by waters of the Lagoon. There you will find also good surroundings to enjoy a paella later and, a stroll in boat by the Lagoon, "bon profit" ("enjoy your meal").
City beaches
The beaches are an absolute must for visitors and Valencians alike. The Las Arenas and Malvarrosa beaches are just a few minutes from the city centre. Alongside the beaches is the Paseo Maritimo, a magnificent sea-front promenade, ideal for taking a stroll, jogging or roller-skating. On the beaches there are children's play areas and volleyball to enjoy after taking a dip, building a sandcastle or sunbathing.
Beach Malvarrosa
A modern, bustling port divides the sea front of Valencia into two main sections. To the north lies an attractive promenade along the most urban and popular beaches: Malvarrosa, Cabañal and Las Arenas. The beach itself has full facilities in addition to the wide range of bars, restaurants and leisure activities which transform the area into a hive of activity 24 hours a day in the hottest months. To the south lies Pinedo, a quiet beach leading onto the beautiful, fine sand beaches of El Saler and Devesa, sheltered from westerly winds by a strip of sand dunes and pine trees. They also have the great advantage of being situated in the Albufera Nature Reserve, one of the finest natural settings along this coastline. Besides swimming and sunbathing, the beaches in Valencia are the scene of a great variety of activities. Its 15 km of beach are ideal for windsurfing, sailing and dinghy sailing in the yacht club. The El Saler golf course on the very edge of the sea is one of the best in Europe, and just a few metres away lies a leisure complex for riding, playing tennis and pelota, or taking a traditional boat ride around the Albufera lake itself.
Cabecera park
Located at the head of the old Turia river bed, with its 35 hectares, the park forms a great green belt running through the city. Water is central to the park and all the family can enjoy boating, rowing or taking a pedal boat out on its beautiful lake.
For those who like to walk, there are three routes for exploring this immense park with various play areas to keep the little ones entertained. In the near future there will be the new Bioparc (the best zoological garden in the city) and the Parque de Atracciones Fun-Fair, unmissable for our youngest citizens.
Don’t Leave Valencia Without...
1. Enjoying the wide range of Mediterranean cuisine, using fresh ingredients from the fertile Huerta Valenciana agricultural region.
2. Visiting the city's modern Conference Centre, designed by Sir Norman Foster and a fine example of contemporary architecture.
3. Visiting the City of Arts and Sciences, the city's largest complex offering scientific, cultural and leisure opportunities. It includes the Hemisfèric IMAX cinema, the Oceanogràfic aquarium, the Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe science museum and the Palau de les Arts culture centre.
4. Attending a session of the Water Courts, an institution created in the 10th century to rule on irrigation disputes. It is held every Thursday at midday at the Puerta de los Apóstoles of Valencia Cathedral.
5. Catching a tram to Malvarrosa beach and taking a stroll along the fantastic promenade. Enjoy a paella in one of its popular seafront restaurants.
6. Taking part in water sports or other outdoor activities.
7. Visiting the Fallas festivals, held between 15 and 19 March, when the city is taken over by the sound of musical groups and fireworks, and the smell of gunpowder.
8. Visiting the Plaza Redonda in the historic heart of the city and buying some traditional pottery or a fan, famed for their unique designs and superb craftsmanship.
9. Visiting one of the many cafe terraces at nightfall.
 
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Francisco Garcia