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In recent years, the historic Spanish city of Valencia has had a major tourist boom. Many of its visitors come to enjoy its comforting climate, beaches, landscapes, traditional monuments and its delicious paella. It is the third largest city in Spain, after Madrid and Barcelona, with 1 million residents and is located on the eastern side of the country, surrounded by the calm waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
For travelers looking to make the most out of their trip, below are six essential places to visit in Valencia. From museums, markets and more this comprehensive guide by azureazure.com has got you covered! Keep reading below to learn more.
The Cathedral and the Plaza de la Virgen
As you stroll through the charming historic center of Valencia to visit the cathedral, imagine all of the history that took place among these streets. From noble medieval knights living in their palaces to other historic figures leaving their mark on the city these ancient pathways carry vast amounts of history. Speaking of history, In the Plaza de la Virgen stands the majestic Valencia Cathedral, which mixes Romanesque with Gothic and Baroque. Inside is the Holy Chalice, a relic, which according to recent studies, could be the Holy Grail itself that Jesus Christ used at the Last Supper.
Museum of Fine Arts
Located in the Palacio de San Pío V, which dates back to 1683, the Museum of Fine Arts in Valencia is the second largest art gallery in Spain, after the El Prado museum in Madrid. It showcases works from the XV to XIX centuries, with works by artists such as Goya to the unpublished work of Velázquez on display. Other notable artists on display at the museum include: Sorolla, Pinazo Murillo, El Greco and Van Dyck.
Located in the center of Valencia in a large modernist building with an area of more than 8,000 square meters, is the Central Market of Valencia. This immense bazaar is full of the best products from Valencia and the rest of Spain and is considered the largest fresh produce market in Europe. It has more than 1,200 booths with an array of traditional foods and drinks.
The Valencia Marina
Next to the neighborhood of El Cabañal is the Marina de Valencia. To get here you must walk along an extensive promenade that is home to many local restaurants that offer authentic Valencian paella. For those looking to try this traditional Spanish dish we recommend eating at La Pepica Restaurant, where the famous Valencian painter Joaquín Sorolla, and writers, Vicente Blasco Ibáñez and Ernest Hemingway, a great lover of Spain, used to eat. Once you are done with your delicious meal and head over to the marina, you can overlook the beautiful ocean and see a display of boats cruising along the sea.
City of Arts and Sciences
The city of Valencia is home to one of the most modern European complexes for scientific and cultural studies: The City of Arts and Sciences, built by world-renowned Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava.
The building stretches for almost two kilometers at the end of the former riverbed of the river Turia and is made up of six buildings: Hemisfèric (an IMAX cinema where you can see digital projections), Umbracle (a beautiful promenade dotted with gardens), the Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe (which offers a multitude of interactive activities), Oceanogràfic (the largest aquarium in Europe, with more than 500 marine species), the Auditorium Palau de las Artes Reina Sofía (dedicated to opera) and Ágora (a space dedicated to concerts and other activities).
Albufera Natural Park
On the outskirts of Valencia is the Albufera Natural Park, an extensive outdoor paradise where Valencians go to disconnect from the stress of the city. It is surrounded by rice paddies, forests and a beautiful lake where you can go on boat trips around the park. Many have said that they have seen herons and ducks fly throughout the park along with picturesque sunsets that are considered to be one of the most beautiful in Spain. It is also an ideal place to eat Valencian paella, if you want to enjoy your meal away from the hustle and bustle of the city. ■