A stay in Valencia goes hand in hand with cultural highlights. The old city centre and the El Carmen district are not to be missed. Enjoy street art, boutiques and beautiful squares where Spanish life is buzzing. Stroll through narrow streets to Plaza del Carme, where the beautiful gardens of the old monastery surprise you. On Sundays you'll have a delicious paella lunch at the nearby Café el Museu.
That modern city...:
Of course! You mean La Ciutat de les Arts e Ciencies, or the city of arts and sciences. This city was designed by the notorious Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava. After a substantial budget surplus and waves of criticism from the locals, the 'city' has now developed into a tourist attraction, cultural centre and photogenic centre in addition. Definitely worth a visit, then.
The Turia park:
In 1957 Valencia was hit by a disastrous flood. The old city was flooded by up to 1.5 metres - enough reason for the municipality to decide immediately to divert the river to the west of the city. A dry riverbed followed, what to do with that now? Right, a kilometre-long park was laid out which resembles the Central Park in New York or the Vondelpark in Amsterdam: soothing and vibrant at the same time - the Turia Park is endearingly called the green heart of the city by Valencians.
On the border of the center is Ruzafa, a beautiful colorful neighborhood. Where Ruzafa used to be known as a raw neighborhood where drug dealers managed to find each other, Ruzafa is now a decent and cheerful neighborhood, with what is called the 'yup' (young urban professionals) who know how to visit this part of the city in numbers. Here you can see the hipster from Amsterdam of about six years ago, as everything comes up just a bit slower here...
So there are plenty of cool places in Ruzafa. However, we at The Orange Guide prefer more special spots and fortunately there are plenty! An absolute must is La Finestra, which means window in Valencian and Italian. It's not much more than a window, where you can eat delicious little pizzas. Tasty as a loose lunch, afternoon snack or light dinner. For romantic weekend dining we recommend Antica Osteria vino e Cucina: like sitting in an Italian living room, with very good food and top wines. El Almacen in the main street Calle Sueca is a good alternative to tapas. The Italians are for the win in Ruzafa, because the great Italian L'ambrusqueria is also one of our favourites. They've just opened a new location in the El Carmen district, maybe we'll like this one even more...
Our favorite neighborhood on the beach that we can't get enough of. With its coloured facades, fruit shops and sea breeze reaching all street corners, you come here for the maximum holiday feeling. From the trendy Mercabanyal to the alternative La Paca: you won't get bored here! Bodega La Peseta offers great vermouth and wines in a lively atmosphere, with very good tapas too - try the homemade tortilla! For lunch or dinner: Bodega Anyora. Incredibly good food, good wines and a decoration in rural atmospheres.
With the exception of La Pepica, which is a must for the very best paella, the restaurants on the boulevard are not our favourite. But if you walk or cycle further in the direction of Patacona, there are nice surprises! Le Favole for (again) italian food and Le Giraffe for French cuisine are recommended. Moreover, it is great to stay in one of the chiringuitos, also called beach bars in Spanish. A cocktail in your hand, feet in the sand - what more could you ask for?
For lovers of luxury we recommend Marina Beach Club. Book at El Portet for quality but affordable lunch or dinner in the evening sun. Lovely to relax after a day at the beach.
L'Umbracle is the nightclub of Valencia, located in the aforementioned Ciudad de las Artes y Ciencias. Another must is Akuarela, an open-air disco on the beach - quite an experience. Do realize that club life only starts late: before 2 a.m. there is actually nothing to do. So have a drink! Start the evening with the local cocktail 'Agua de Valencia' at Bar Infanta, local wines at Tasquita la Estrecha or cocktails at Plaza la Negrita.
Not only Dutch people like to cycle, Valencians also like to join in. One new cycle path after another appears in the city at a furious pace. This is a good thing, because the city is almost completely flat and quite extensive, which makes the distances pleasant to cover by bike.
Want to relax with an Agua de Valencia in your hand? Do you prefer to outsource the renting of a bike, the restaurant reservation for tonight or your entire weekend schedule? We fully understand that! Please feel free to contact us.