Valencia is the third biggest spanish city, known for being the birthplace of paella, for hosting the “2007 & 2010 America’s Cup”, and for the massive architectural area called The City of Arts and Sciences. The city has a ‘river’, Turia, ran through the center of the city, however it was redirected a while back and replaced by a beautiful park. This is a very nice place to spend any free time you have in the city on a sunny day.
The most important event is the Fallas, an incredible fest where local areas build big papier maché models. They are mostly of a satirical nature, the fallas take a whole year of planning and construction to complete. Each neighborhood has a falla. It is best to arrive by 16 March, as all of the fallas are required to be finished or they face disqualification. Another feature of Fallas is the fireworks. It’s like the city’s a war zone for a week! La Tomatina, hosted by nearby village Buñol on the last Wednesday of August. A festival that involves thousands of participants throwing ripe tomatoes at each other. Make sure you wear clothes that you can throw out after wards, as it gets very messy.
A free walking tour will show you this beautiful city at best, walking through the historical centre.
A lot of Bodegas and Tapas bars where you can get typical Spanish fast dinner for quite good prices. When you arrive at about 8PM they are usually having special offers like “Tercio y Tapa” for about €1. Valencia water is a very famous mixed alcholic drink, while orxata is a refreshing drink. I liked the ‘library and cultural’ Ubik cafè in a nice alternative area of the city
Tips on paella:
To recognize “real” local paella from tourist junk, avoid any places with large paella pictures on the door step. This is a sure sign for frozen/microwaved paella.
NO paella that deserves this name contains sausage, ham or meat broth, for instance). If you want to eat an authentic Paella, try it at the Malvarrosa beach area, when possible, make reservations or arrive early (no later than 2PM), especially on Sunday, because these restaurants fill up quite quickly on the weekend.
Paella is typically eaten at mid-day (between 2-5PM), so many restaurants do not serve it at dinner. Be careful of those that do as this is not the custom here and the quality of the paella may be poor.
The paella pan is of a size that almost all restaurants require a minimum of two servings for an order. Restaurants that allow ordering one order are likely serving frozen paella.
La lonia dela seda
Renting a bike is an increasingly popular way for visitors to explore this essentially flat city. Since 2010 the city offers public bicycle rentals at over 250 locations around the city (and growing). This service is called Valenbisi.