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- For other places with the same name, see Valencia (disambiguation).
Valencia / València, pronounced [baˈlenθja] (bahl-EHN-thee-ah) in Spanish, and [vaˈlensia] (vahl-EHN-see-ah) in Valencian, is a charming old city and the capital of the Valencian Autonomous Community of Spain that is well worth a visit. It is the third Spanish city in terms of importance and population, and the 15th in the European Union, with 810,064 inhabitants in the city proper and 1,832,270 in the Metropolitan Area (INE 2008). It is on the Mediterranean Sea approximately four hours to the south of Barcelona and three hours to the east of Madrid. Valencia is famous for its Fallas Festival in March, for being the birthplace of paella, for hosting the "2007 & 2010 America's Cup", and for the massive architectural project by Santiago Calatrava called The City of Arts and Sciences.
The river Turia ran through the center of the city, but 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.
Valencia hosted to the 2007 & 2010 America's Cup. This fact, along with the construction of the "City of Arts and Science" by renowned architect and Valencian Santiago Calatrava have made Valencia a city in transition. Massive construction and transformation over the last 10 years have turned a once little-considered medium city into a meatier and more interesting destination.
Despite being on the Mediterranean Sea, even residents used to say that "Valencia has always lived with its back to the sea", meaning that the spirit and the core of the city is not necessarily integrated with its beach. The city center and the most visited neighborhoods are not particularly close to the beach. The construction of the city esplanade in the eighties, along with the marina, and the recovery of the tram to the maritime neighborhoods, have had a big influence to ease this stance.
Valencia was founded by the Romans and was held by the Moors from the 8th to the 13th century (with a short interruption by El Cid). In 1609, the Moors who had converted to Catholicism were expelled from the city. During the Spanish civil war in the 1930s, Valencia was the capital of the Republic, which eventually lost to Franco's forces.
- Summer — Like most European countries, August is a slow month as many of the residents are on vacation. At this time of year Valencia is very hot and humid with temperatures averaging between 30-35°C (86—95°F) by day and 20-25°C (68—77°F) by night.
- Fall — September and October are more active months and the weather permits beach outings. Important events take place during this season.
- Winter — Though temperatures are still relatively mild, it's too cold to sunbathe at the beach. It's not unusual though the occasional days reaching around 20°C (68°F) in the middle of this season. Sidewalk cafes use to work all the year.
- Spring — A lovely time to visit. The annual "Fallas de San José"  unofficially marks the beginning of spring. Cafes and restaurants open their terraces and life spills out onto the street once again.
Valencia's official languages are Valencian/Catalan, and Spanish. In the capital of Valencia, which is the third largest city in Spain, not many people speak Valencian, nor are they offended if addressed in Spanish. However, outside the capital, Valencian is often preferred. As in Barcelona, with Catalan, it helps to be sensitive to this language dynamic. However, the linguistic issue is not as controversial as in Barcelona and most people in Valencia speak Spanish as their first and commonly, only language. You have some Spanish language schools in Valencia, for example "Lingua Valencia". English speaking skills of the locals can be hit or miss. Most people under 35 speak some English and some quite a bit, but most would obviously prefer being addressed at first in Spanish or Valencian. French may be spoken or understood by some.
Valencia Airport (IATA: VLC) is 9 km from the city center. The bus to Túria station departs every 30 minutes and takes about 30–40 minutes. Subway goes directly to the town centre and links the Airport to the main train station, Estación del Norte (beside Xàtiva metro stop), running every 8 minutes and taking about 20 minutes.
A taxi ride from the airport to Calle de La Paz, which is in the heart of the historic city centre and covering a distance of approximately 11 km costs around €20-23 with an additional 'airport supplement' of around €5. The tarifs are on display in the taxi in Valencian, Spanish and English but are difficult to see. The same journey back from Calle de La Paz to the airport half the price! These fees are accurate as of January 2015.
Check for taxi rank location at Valencia airport. Pre-book a taxi by calling to a radio taxi company: Taxco: +34 902 024 972 Radio Taxi Manises: +34 961 521 155 Radio Taxi Valencia: +34963 703 333 Taxis de Valencia: +34 961 119 977 Taxi Valencia: +34 644 015 655 or book online at BookTaxiValencia website
Valencia is served by Iberia, Spanair, Lufthansa, AirFrance, AirBerlin, TuiFly, Ryanair, Transavia, Vueling, SWISS, and several other airlines.
Valencia is connected with Madrid by high-speed trains, that run over the Madrid–Levante high-speed rail line. The journey takes approximately 1 hour 35 minutes. Other mayor cities, such as Barcelona, are connected with Valencia by Euromed, Alaris, or Talgo trains. The journey to Barcelona takes approximately 3 hours.
The main train station, Estació de València Nord (Estación del Norte / North Station), is in the center of the city, next to Plaza de Toros and near the Town Hall (Ayunamiento). The building itself is a well-preserved modernist structure from 1917. High-speed and Euromed trains arrive at the Estació de València-Joaquim Sorolla (Estación de Valencia-Joaquín Sorolla / Joaquín Sorolla Station), 800 metres away from the main station.
The national train company is Renfe. Tickets can be booked online on their website, where significant discounts ('Web' and 'Estrella' fares) are available for early bookings.
Estació d'Autobusos de València (Estación de Autobuses de Valencia / Valencia Bus Station), Avinguda de Menéndez Pidal, 11 (Túria metro), ☎ . A dozen bus companies operate here, with arrivals from almost every big city in Spain and most cities in the Valencia region. Ticket offices are located on the upper floor, as are a café and information booth.
For train and bus transport it is possible to buy bonos in kiosks and tobacco shops. Both Bonobus (which as of June 2009 costs €6) and Bonometro (which as of July 2011 costs €6.55 for one zone and is also available at ticket machines) allow for 10 rides. If you want to use two lines to reach your destination, you have to use a B-T (which as of July 2008 costs €7).
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 100 locations around the city (and growing). This service is called Valenbisi. For €10 you get access to unlimited use of the bikes during 7 days, first half hour is free, then €1 every 30 minutes extra. You can purchase the ticket at any terminal at the stations.
Lights at night and reflective clothes are mandatory, helmet is only recommended. Riding through the sidewalk is also forbidden and bikeways are not frequent, this can do riding a bike in Valencia not recommended if you're not used to deal with city traffic. Drivers usually are unkind to cyclists.
- DoYouBike, Calle del Mar 14, ☎ . 10AM-2PM, 5-8PM. Rents bikes at relatively reasonable prices. Also a store on Calle Puebla Larga, 13 and Avenida Puerto 21. €2/hour, or €7/day during the week, €10/day on weekends. Helmet and pump €1.
Aside from going to the beach and the City of Arts and Sciences, exploring the hub of the city requires no public transportation. Much of this city can be done walking, stopping for a coffee or a beer, and then walking more, all very leisurely. It's not necessary to have the mindset of mastering a complex public transportation system. However, for longer trips, see below for some pointers.
The Metro Valencia consists of five lines (from which one is a tramway to the beach) and connects the suburbs with the city. As of 2011, the one-way fare for one zone is €1.40. The ticket itself costs an additional €1 and contains a rechargeable chip. This metro system is not extensive, but can get you to major points within the city. Make sure you keep your ticket as you must beep yourself out as well. If you want to take the tram, you have to buy a ticket from the machine, then validate it, before you get on.
If you use the metro a lot, you should consider getting a Bonometro (see above), or a one-, two- or three-day pass, which can be quite economical. For just over €22, you can ride for 72 hours on the metro and tram as much as you like during that time; a bonus is that if you buy a ticket at, for instance, 16:00 on a Monday, it will expire not on Wednesday night, but on 16:00 Thursday.
EMT runs buses to virtually every part of the city.
Monuments and architecture
- Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències (Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias / City of Arts and Science), Av Autopista del Saler, 5 (take a city bus from the train station or the metro to Alameda station), ☎ . Call Centre: M-F 09:00-20:00, Sa 10:00-20:00, Su 10:00-15:00. Located on the former Turia riverbed, this ultra-modern architectural complex was designed by Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava and Spanish-Mexican architect Félix Candela. For those not wanting to pay the steep admission charges to the individual sights, it is possible to wander around the complex and appreciate the architecture from outside for free. Combined admission for all sights: €36.25 (adults), €30.85 (students), €27.55 (other concessions); valid for 3 days, however the same venue cannot be visited twice. There is a 10% discount for tickets purchased online.
- El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe (Museo de las Ciencias Príncipe Felipe / Príncipe Felipe Science Museum). Winter M-Th 10:00-18:00, F Sa 10:00-19:00; spring/fall and Christmas season daily 10:00-19:00; summer daily 10:00-21:00. A science museum designed to resemble a whale skeleton, it has interactive exhibits on three floors. €8 (adults), €6 (concessions).
- L’Hemisfèric. Designed to resemble a giant eye, this building functions as an IMAX theatre and planetarium. Multiple films are screened daily, with a schedule available here. €8.80 (adults), €6.85 (concessions).
- L’Oceanogràfic. Hours vary by season, open daily. The largest oceanarium in Europe, and the second-largest in the world, has seven sections devoted to different ecological zones. The building was designed by Félix Candela to resemble a water lily. Highlights include a dolphinarium, a walk-through shark tunnel, a shark tank (open for public diving), and spherical bird aviary. There are multiple restaurants located on-site, and with so many attractions it’s easy to make this into an all-day affair. €27.90 (adults), €21.00 (concessions).
- L’Umbracle. A botanic garden landscaped with plants native to Valencia. The park also has the Jardí d'Astronomia (Jardín de la Astronomía / Astronomy Garden) and the Passeig de l'Art (Paseo del Arte / Art Promenade), which has permanent and temporary exhibits of large-scale contemporary art, mostly sculpture. Free.
- Palau de les Arts, ☎ , e-mail: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Ticket office: M W F 10:00-14:30, opens again 3 hrs prior to performance; T Th 10:00-19:00 or until performance; Sa Su and holidays opens 2 hrs prior to performance. This opera/concert house has four halls and covers an area of 37,000m². A schedule of events can be found here.
- Agora. A multi-use covered plaza, designed for sporting events, concerts, and special exhibits.
- The Seu. A curious cathedral with doors from three distinct architectural periods. A trip up the Micalet tower (formerly Moorish, but now "Christianized") provides a pleasing view of the city.
- Llotja de la Seda (La Lonja de la Seda / Silk Exchange), Calle La Lonja, 2, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M-Sa 09:30-19:00, Su and holidays 09:30-15:00. This UNESCO landmark is considered to be one of the most significant secular Gothic buildings in Europe. It was built between 1482 and 1533 on the site of an earlier oil exchange. The Llotja consists of four distinct parts: the Sala de Contractació (Trading Hall), also known as the Saló Columnari (Hall of Columns); the Saal Consulado del Mar with its magnificent ceiling; the unfinished Torre (tower) with its debtor prison (currently closed to visitors), and the Pati dels Tarongers (Patio of Oranges). Additionally, some of the Gothic gargoyles are quite naughty. €2 (adults), €1 (concessions), free on Su and holidays.
- Plaza de Toros de Valencia (Plaza de Toros de Valencia), Calle Xativa, nº 28 (next to North Train Station), ☎ . Is a bullring in València, Spain. Artistic Monument. It is currently used for bull fighting and big shows. The stadium holds 12,884 people. The Valencian bullring, situated next to the north train station, was built between 1850 and 1860 and the architect was Sebastian Monleon.
- Torres de Quart (Porta de Quart), Plaça de Sta Úrsula, 1 (at the end of Calle Quart), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 09:30-19:00, Su and holidays 09:30-15:00. This pock-marked medieval tower was part of the medieval wall that surrounded the old city. Great views of the city can be had from the top. €2 (adults), €1 (concessions), free on Su and holidays.
- Torres de Serrano (Porta de Serrans), Plaça dels Furs, s/n, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M-Sa 09:30-19:00, Su and holidays 09:30-15:00. Built in 1392, this gate was also part of the ancient wall and for a time also served as a prison. The gate has been massively renovated and somewhat modernized, but is still interesting and located across the street from the park. This tower also offers excellent views. €2 (adults), €1 (concessions), free on Su and holidays.
- Almodí (Almudín), Plaça Sant Lluís Bertrán, s/n, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 09:30-14:00 15:00-19:00, Su and holidays 09:30-15:00. Constructed in the early 14th century on the site of a Moorish palace, the building is essentially Moorish in design and originally functioned as the municipal granary; its name is derived directly from 'almud' (Arabic: bushel). The building was fully restored in 1996 and is now a venue for temporary art exhibitions. €2 (adults), €1 (concessions), free on Su and holidays.
- Banys de l'Almirall (Baños del Almirante / Almirante Muslim Baths), Baños del Almirante, 3-5, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Tu-Su 11:00-14:00. Although constructed in 1313 after the Christian reconquista, the bathhouse was built in the Arabic style and is considered to be an excellent example of Moorish architecture. It was used continuously as a bathhouse until the 20th century, and is one of the few remaining such structures in Spain. It was fully restored in 2005. €2 (adults), €1 (concessions).
- Drassanes del Grau (Atarazanas del Grao / Royal Shipyards), Plaça Juan Antonio Benlliure, s/n, ☎ . Tu-Sa 09:30-14:00 15:00-19:00, Su and holidays 09:30-15:00. These Gothic shipyards date to the early 14th century, and attained their current layout in 1500. Trade ships were built and repaired here, as well as galleys used for defense against Barbary pirates. Later the building was used as a storehouse for salt, and now functions as a venue for temporary exhibits. Due to the shifting coastline over the centuries, the shipyards are now two blocks inland from the shore. €2 (adults), €1 (concessions), free on Su and holidays.
Museums and galleries
- Museu de Belles Arts de València (Museo de Bellas Artes de Valencia / Museum of Fine Arts of Valencia), Calle San Pío V, 9, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M 11:00-17:00, T-Su 10:00-19:00; closed 1 Jan and 25 Dec. This 17th-century former palace now houses over 2,000 pieces of art, with a primary focus on art of the 14th to 17th centuries. Highlights include an excellent collection of medieval altarpieces, a collection of engravings by the Italian artist Piranesi, and a handful of minor works by Velázquez, El Greco, and Goya. Photography permitted, no flash. Free.
- Institut Valencià d'Art Modern (IVAM / Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno / Valencian Institute of Modern Art), Guillem de Castro, 118, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Tu-Su 10:00-19:00; closed on 25 Dec and 1 Jan. This museum focuses on Spanish and international modern art and photography, and hosts regular special exhibits, workshops, and lectures. A library, gift shop, and café are located onsite. Photography permitted, no flash. €2 (adults), €1 (students), free (seniors/disabled/unemployed/children under 10); free admission on Sunday.
- Museu Nacional de Ceràmica (Museo Nacional de Cerámica / National Ceramics Museum), Poeta Querol, 2, ☎ , fax: +34 96 351 3512, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Sa 10:00-14:00 16:00-20:00, Su and holidays 10:00-14:00. This very ornate Baroque palace once served as the residence of the Marqués de Dos Aigües, and is now a museum. The ground and first floors showcase a collection of stagecoaches and period furniture, while the upper two floors house an extensive ceramics collection with a focus on historic Valencian pieces. Of particular note are Moorish ceramic tiles from the main mosque which was located on the site now occupied by the cathedral, as well as six plates designed by Picasso. Photography permitted, no flash. €3 (adults), €1.50 (concessions); free on Sa afternoon and Su, 18 May, 18 Apr, 12 Oct, and 6 Dec.
- MuVIM (Museu Valencià de la Il·lustració i de la Modernitat / The Valencia Museum of the Enlightenment and Modernity), Quevedo 10 y Guillem de Castro 8, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Tu-Sa 10:00-14:00 16:00-20:00, Su and holidays 10:00-20:00. The museum is devoted to civics and culture, with special exhibits focused on such topics as graphic design, photography, and cinema. The building and garden were designed by Valencian architect Guillermo Vázquez Consuegra. €2 (adults), €1 (concessions); free on Sa, Su, and public holidays.
- Centre del Carme, Carrer del Museu, 2, ☎ , fax: +34 96 192 2641, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 01 Oct - 14 Jun Tu-Su 11:00-19:00; 15 Jun - 30 Sep Tu-Su 11:00-14:00, 17:00-20:00. The former convent now hosts rotating special exhibits showcasing local history as well as historic and contemporary artists from Valencia and outside the region. €2 (adults), €1 (concessions).
- Centre Arqueològic de l'Almoina (Centro Arqueológico de la Almoina), Plaça Dècim Juni Brut, s/n (behind the cathedral), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Tu-Sa 09:30-19:00, Su and holidays 09:30-15:00. This extensive site was first uncovered in 1985 during preparations for new construction, which was subsequently cancelled. Excavations revealed archeological remains dating from the Moorish, Visigothic, and Roman periods. After completing excavations, the city of Valencia converted the site into an underground museum. Highlights include Roman baths, a Moorish courtyard, and various artifacts. €2 (adults), €1 (concessions); free on Su and public holidays.
- Centre Cultural Bancaixa (Centro Cultural de Bancaja), Plaça de Tetuán, 23, ☎ , fax: +34 96 387 5578. Tu-Sa 10:00-14:00 17:00-21:00, Su 10:00-14:00. The former 19th-century residence is now a cultural centre which hosts temporary exhibits of and contemporary art and photography, by Valencian, Spanish and international artists. €2, free on Su and public holidays.
- Museu d'Història de València (Museo de Historia de Valencia / Museum of Valencian History), Camino Viejo de Chirivella, 1, ☎ , fax: +34 96 370 1136, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Sa 09:30-19:00, Su and holidays 09:30-15:00. Housed in a former reservoir, this well-designed museum is dedicated to the developmental history of the city, from the Roman era until the present. Although labels are in Catalan and Spanish, booklets with English translations are available at the front desk. Constructed in 1850, the building itself is interesting in its own right as an excellent example of 19th century industrial architecture. €2 (adults), €1 (concessions), free on Su and public holidays.
- Centro de Exposición y Museo Lladró (Lladró Museum and Exhibition Centre), Ctra de Alboraya, s/n (take bus 16 from city center to its end at Tavernes Blanques suburb), ☎ , toll-free: , e-mail: email@example.com. Sep-Jul M-F 09:30-17:00, Sa 10:00-13:30; Aug M-Sa 10:00-12:30. Here is the Lladró Porcelain factory. Visitation is possibly only through a guided tour, which must be scheduled beforehand, either online or via phone. Tours last about 1½ hours and are conducted in Spanish, English, French, Italian, and Russian. You can visit the factory, observe the process of porcelain making, and at the end see a large collection of Lladro porcelain some worth €30,000. Photos allowed only at the collection. Free.
Parks and gardens
- Jardins del Túria (Jardines del Turia / Turia Gardens). Daylight hours. After catastrophic flooding in 1957, the Turia River was diverted to the south of the city, and the former river bed was converted into a 7km-long elongated park which spans many neighborhoods, ending at the City of Arts and Sciences. The park encompasses soccer and rugby fields, an artificial boating lake, athletics track, playgrounds, fountains, and cafés. Abundant bicycle paths make it an ideal place to get in a little exercise and sun. Free.
- Parc Gulliver (Parque Gulliver / Gulliver Park), ☎ . Sep-Jun daily 10:00-20:00; Jul-Aug daily 10:00-14:00, 17:00-21:00. The centrepiece of this unusual playground is a 70m-long sculpture of Gulliver (from the classic book Gulliver's Travels), who has been tied to the ground. Visitors can climb on and slide down the giant figure, much as Lillupitians might have. The sculpture was designed by Valencian artist and illustrator Sento Llobell. Free.
- Pont de la Trinitat. The oldest bridge in the city, with the current structure dating to the early 16th century. The two 17th-century sculptures of Valencian saints were originally on another nearby medieval bridge, and relocated to this bridge in the mid-20th century.
- Jardí Botànic (Jardín Botánico de Valencia / Botanic Garden of Valencia), Calle Quart, 80, ☎ , fax: +34 96 315 6826, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Nov-Feb 10:00-18:00, Mar Oct 10:00-19:00, Apr Sep 10:00-20:00, May-Aug 10:00-21:00; open daily except 25 Dec, 1 Jan, and during inclement weather. Established in 1802 by the University of Valencia, this lovely garden maintains extensive collections of plants from a number of different habitats. Most of the greenhouses date from the latter half of the 19th century, while the modern research center was completed in 2000. €2.50 (adults), €1.50 (concessions), free (children under 7); €10 (10-visit ticket).
- Jardí de Montfort (Jardín de Monforte / Monforte Garden), Plaza de la Legión Española, s/n (entrance on Carrer de Montfort), ☎ . Daily 21 Mar - 20 Sep 10:30-20:00, 21 Sep - 20 Mar 10:30-18:00. This formal Neoclassical garden was designed in the mid-19th century by Valencian architect Don Monleón for the aristocrat Marqués de San Juan. It was declared a 'National Artistic Garden' and is now maintained by the city of Valencia, which opened it to the public in 1973. Free.
- Bioparc Valencia, Av Pío Baroja, 3 (main entrance), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Daily, hrs vary by month and season: 10:00-18:00 in winter, 10:00-19:00/20:00 in spring/fall, 10:00-21:00 in summer; detailed hrs available here. As far as zoos go, this is more animal-friendly than most. Focused exclusively on African fauna, the modern zoo has been thoughtfully designed to provide maximum space in natural settings for its residents. A special highlight is the walk-in lemur exhibit (no touching or feeding). €23.80 (adults), €18 (children 4-12), €17.50 (seniors), free (children under 4).
- Jardins del Real (Jardines del Real / Jardín de Viveros / Royal Gardens), San Pío, V, s/n, ☎ . Summer: daily 07:30-21:30; winter: M-F 07:30-20:30, Sa Su 07:30-21:30. Originally established by the Moors in the 13th century as gardens for the royal palace (no longer standing), this pleasant and popular park is the second-largest park in Valencia, after the Turia gardens. The park includes a rose garden, sculpture garden, bicycle track, and aviary. During the summer various festivals are held here. Free.
- Museu de Ciències Naturals (Museo de Ciencias Naturales / Museum of Natural Sciences), Av General Elío, s/n, ☎ , fax: +34 96 353 9956, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Su and holidays 09:30-19:00. The museum is divided into several segments, covering Valencian contributions to the sciences, the ecology of the Valencian region, and of course paleontology with the requisite dinosaur skeletons. €2 (adults), €1 (concessions); free admission on Su and holidays.
- Palau Reial de València (Palacio Real / Royal Palace), Av General Elío, s/n, ☎ . First established by the Moors and later rebuilt by Christians, this building served as the royal Valencian residence until its demolition in 1810. It was subsequently forgotten and then rediscovered in 1986. The partially-excavated site is now surrounded by a fence with informative panels in Catalan/Spanish/English. Free.
- The Barri del Carme neighborhood is in the old center. It is the perfect place for a stroll where you can witness the transition from a forgotten area to an up-and-coming diverse neighborhood. Barri del Carme has many outdoor cafes and trendy shops. There is an interesting mix of people, from lifetime residents, to alternative types, hippies, gays and lesbians, and other assorted peoples. The neighborhood swells at night with revelers, but please respect the neighbors who live there.
- Tribunal de les Aigües (Tribunal de las Aguas / Water Tribunal), In front of the cathedral's Puerta de los Apóstoles (SE corner of the Plaça de la Verge), ☎ . Every Thursday at noon; it is best to get here no later than 11:30 to secure a good spot. The Huerta, the fertile region surrounding Valencia, has relied on artificial irrigation since antiquity. The tribunal was developed to mediate disputes between farmers, and is believed to date back to Roman times; it has operated in its current form since the Moorish era. The court consists of nine representatives who meet in public and issue judgments on water rights and usage. Proceedings are conducted in Catalan (Valencian) and verdicts are issued orally. Although today the court is largely ceremonial, verdicts are considered legally binding by the highest court in Madrid and by the EU. In 2009 it was listed by UNESCO as an 'intangible cultural heritage'. Free.
What are Fallas? The origins of the Fallas Festivity go back to an old tradition of the city's carpenters, who before the Festivity of their patron Saint Joseph, burned in front of their workshops, on the streets and public squares, their useless things and other wooden utensils they used to hold the candles that gave them light during the winter season. This is the reason why the night of the cremà (in which the Fallas monuments burn down) is always on March 19, the Festivity of San José. In the 18th century, Fallas used to be piles of combustible materials that were called "Fallas" and were burnt the night before the day of San José. These Fallas evolved and acquired a more critical and ironic sense when showing in the monuments reprehensible social scenes. Around 1870, the Fallas celebration  was forbidden, as well as Carnival. In 1885 this pressure created a movement that defended typical traditions by awarding in the magazine "LaTraca" the prizes to the best Fallas Monuments. This competition, which began to be popular among different neighbourhoods, brought the creation of the artistic Falla, where critique was still an important element together with aesthetics. In 1901 the Ayuntamiento de Valencia awarded local prizes to the best Fallas. This was the beginning of the union between the people and the political power. This relationship has greatly developed this popular festivity in its structure, organisation and size. In 1929 the first poster contest for the promotion of the Festivities and in 1932 the Fallero weekend was established. It what then, when Fallas became the Mayor Festivity of the Region of Valencia. Today, more than seven hundred big and small Fallas are burned in the city of Valencia.
Valencia has a fantastic festival each March called Fallas, in which local areas build big papier-mâché models. They are mostly of a satirical nature and can be as tall as a few stories. Fallas are constructed of smaller figures called ninots, Valencian for "dolls". The fallas take a whole year of planning and construction to complete. Each neighborhood has a falla, but 14 fall into the Sección Especial category and these are the most important, expensive, and impressive. Each falla has an adult falla (mayor) and a kid's falla (infantil). 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! They wake you up early in the morning and go on through the day. Every day, there are three fireworks events, la despertà, la mascletà, and el castillo. La despertà occurs every morning at 8AM in order to wake you up. At 2PM in the main square of the city, the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, there's a thing they call Mascletá. This is 120 kilos of gunpowder translated into a lot of noise. It has to be experienced to be understood. This is very popular and you should arrive an hour in advance at least. Every night between midnight and 1AM, there is a castillo, a fireworks display. The last night it's called la nit de foc, the night of fire, and this is the most impressive. This is also very crowded and you need to arrive early to be able to see it. Along with these displays, people set off fireworks all day, making it very difficult to catch any sleep.
The days of 17th and 18 March is La Ofrenda. The falleras from each falla take flowers to the Plaza of the Virgin. These flowers are used to construct the virgin. The processions are grand and very beautiful and worth catching. They follow two main paths: one down calle San Vicente and the other down Calle de Colon.
At the end of a week displaying the 'fallas' they are burnt. This is called la cremà. The fallas infantiles are burned at 10PM and the fallas mayores are burned anywhere from midnight to 1AM. The one at the town halls is burned last at 1AM. The most impressive to see are the fallas in Sección Especial, because these are the largest and most dramatic when they burn. These tend to be very crowded and one should arrive early.
Things one should do during fallas:
- Go around and see the various fallas, but especially the Sección Especial.
- Pay to enter one of the bigger fallas to get a closer look at the individual ninots.
- See la mascletà and the la nit de foc.
- See one of the various parades, especially the ofrenda.
- See the virgin made of flowers.
- Buy churros or buñelos at one of the many stands on the street.
- Go to one of the temporary bar/nightclubs set up on the street and dance all night long.
Things one should be aware of:
- Most of the streets in the city are closed to everything, except pedestrian traffic and it is difficult to get around. The best way to get around is either by walking or taking the public transportation. Driving a car is not a good idea.
- Most of the restaurants are very crowded and some are not open. There is usually very long waits and slow service and you should plan for this in your schedule.
- Most of the hotels are also very crowded and should be booked in advance.
- Many people throw fireworks near pedestrians and its very easy to get burnt or injured.
- Some of the fallas, like Nou Campanar, are well outside the city center and are quite far by foot, it is much easier to take a bus.
- Fallas Museums
There are several city beaches, and three major beaches outside of Valencia. See 
Playa de Malvarrosa and Playa e Levante o de la arenas are the most popular city beaches, just north of the port. To get there, take the metro or tram to Eugenia Vines or Arenas station, or take the metro to Maritim Serreria and continue with the tram to Neptu (all on one ticket).
El Saler is the nicest and best developed beach near Valencia. Devesa is undeveloped and has nice surroundings. At Devesa and Playa Pinedo there are nudist sections. These beaches are located south of the port. To reach them, take the Yellow Bus (operated by "Herca") from Calle Alicante near the train station, in direction "Perello". The trip takes about 30 minutes; the bus runs hourly 7AM - 9PM.
The hot spring is located 90 km north of Valencia in a region known for its mountains, deep gorges and scenic nature. The crystalline waters of the lagoon bubble up from the earth at a temperature of 25°C all year round. This place well known by the locals is still undiscovered by most travellers. The story goes that the hot spring was the preferred bathing and relaxation site for a Moorish king´s harem. The water was said to keep his women young and beautiful. Dip into the water for a swim and explore the lagoon snorkeling, see the fish around you and discover the hidden caves. For the brave there´s the option to jump off cliffs right into the deepest part of the lagoon.
- Don Quijote, Av de los Naranjos, s/n (Polytechnic University of Valencia campus), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. A great school where you can take 4–6 hours of courses a day. All courses including beginner courses are taught entirely in Spanish.
- Espanole (International House Valencia), Calle La Nave, 22, ☎ , fax: +34 96 353 1929, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A member of International House, a network of language schools all over the world. The school provides the students with lots of leisure time activities and even housing can be arranged by the school, either in a studio, in a shared apartment or in a guest family. Even the beginner courses are taught entirely in Spanish, which makes it difficult to follow the lessons in the beginning.
- Linguaschools Valencia, Calle de Bernat y Baldoví 11 (next to the Universidad de Valencia), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Office hrs M-F 09:00-17:30. Organizes Spanish courses for foreigners, using the immersion method. The school is based in a real Spanish villa close to the old town of Valencia. Here, you can enjoy your classes, lounge on one of the terraces or study in the garden.
- Route 66 Idiomas, Calle Moratín 15-4, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Offers courses in both Spanish and Valencian (Catalan). Students can choose to study 10-20 hours a week, or choose a less intensive long-term option of 3-4 hours a week.
- Mercat Central (Mercado Central / Central Market), Plaza Ciudad de Brujas, s/n, ☎ . M-Sa 07:00-15:00. Located in a newly-restored modernist iron and glass building dating from 1928, this is one of the largest markets in Europe. See how the locals shop for food and buy some fantastic fresh produce, meat, seafood, or olives.
Patriarca Square (Plaza del Patriarca) is a good place to look for the major national brands like Loewe, LLadró, Louis Vuitton, Dolores, Farrutx, etc.
- KandaBooks, Calle de la Tapineria, 18, ☎ . An international secondhand bookshop and exchange near the Plaza de la Reina. Run by a friendly couple who are always happy to help find the perfect book or gift, you can find both fiction and non-fiction for those first learning different languages, to award winners for those advanced learners or natives in English, Spanish, French, Italian or German. They also offer sweet treats from the UK, inspiring nature photos, beautiful handmade greeting cards and badges of local scenes. Open Monday - Saturday.
- inVLC magazine, Various locations, ☎ . inVLC magazine is a free magazine for visitors, expats, locals and anyone learning English. It can be found in lots of locations in the city and the Community.
It contains independently written articles about local facilities, such as restaurants, bars, shops etc, essential local holidays and fiestas information, guides to local towns within the local community, and language sections for anyone learning English.
- Godé Gastroclub, Calle de los Centelles, 34, ☎ . A wine store with a twist, a place where you can find and try wine from all Spain and beers made in the region from small breweries and trying refreshing drinks. Located in Ruzafa, one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in Valencia. Open Tuesday - Sunday.
Tips on Paella
- Local paella — There are several versions of this tasteful rice dish: Paella Valenciana, with meat (chicken and/or rabbit usually), Paella de Marisco, with fish or seafood, or even Paella Mixta, with meat and fish at the same time, the least popular among locals. It is very difficult to say which is the "real" paella, as every person has his/her own version (Though 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; you will find there are several good restaurants. The authentic Valencian Paella is made only with fresh ingredients, in a special iron pan and using a fire made with wood (not gas or electricity). Vegetarian Paella is called "Paella vegetal" or "Paella de verduras". Authentic paella can be rather dry, it's not a soup and shouldn't look like gumbo. Don't be shy about scraping the caramelized rice from the bottom of the pan, it's delicious!
- Arròs a banda and arròs negre — This rice is black because it contains squid ink. You can find these dishes at the same places as above.
- Fideuà, a paella-like dish, with short noodles and fish, was invented in the Gandía and Denia area (Alicante) and can be usually found in paella restaurants. It deserves a try too.
- All i pebre — All i pebre is made of eel, a snake like fish typical from the Albufera, a lagoon near Valencia. You can drive to El Palmar and taste it there. Delicious, but a very special taste. You can find good paella, and other traditional dishes at the restaurants here too.
- Llet merengada — A kind of milk-based soft ice cream with a cinnamon-lemon taste.
- Bunyols — Fried doughnuts, sometimes round shaped, sometimes like rings. Widely available only during March. Dip them in hot chocolate. Sometimes they are too oily, so don't eat a lot of them or you will not be hungry again for several hours. If you can choose the 'carabasa' (pumpkin) version, you should try it. They are generally tastier.
- La Lluna (Vegetarian), Carrer de Sant Ramon, 23 (Barrio del Carmen), ☎ . M-Sa 09:00-16:30, 20:00-24:00. Lunch menu €8-11.
- La Tastaolletes (Vegetarian), Calle de Salvador Giner, 6 (Barrio del Carmen), ☎ . Tu-Sa 14:00-16:00 21:00-24:00, Su 14:00-16:00.
- La Pepica, Paseo Neptuno, 6, ☎ . M-Sa 13:00-16:00 20:30-21:00, Su 13:00-16:00. Known for paella, this family-run restaurant has been open since 1898, and has served the likes of Ernest Hemingway as well as contemporary and modern celebrities. Reservations are recommended especially on weekends, and can be made online.
- Rías Gallegas, Carrer de Ciril Amorós, 4, ☎ . Tu-Sa 12:00-14:30 18:30-22:30, Su-M 12:00-14:30. Serves traditional cuisine from Galicia. Comida €35.
- RiFF, Calle Conde de Altea, 18, ☎ , e-mail: , email@example.com. Tu-Sa 13:30-15:30 20:30-23:00. Internationally-renowned chef and owner Bernd Knöller earned a Michelin star in 2009. Reservations can be made by phone or online. Occasional classes and cooking workshops are also offered. Tasting menu €49-65, wine extra.
- Barrio del Carmen is a major nightlife destination in Valencia. There are numerous restaurants, bars, and dance joints, which tend to cater to a youngish crowd, in particular along Calle Caballeros.
- Radio City, Santa Teresa 19-2, Barri del Carmen (2 blocks off Plaza Tossal), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 10PM - 3:30AM. A popular bar-cum-club with a crowded dance floor playing a variety of danceable world music. The crowd is mixed locals and travellers, mostly under 30. Aggressive bouncers.
- Calcata — This is a slightly upscale, younger crowd nightclub in a beautifully renovated old building. Weekends from midnight. Entry €10 includes a drink.
- Café Infanta, Plaza Tossal 3, Barri de Carme, ☎ . Bar and cafe with outdoor seating, decorated with Hollywood memorabilia. Watch and absorb the spirit of the neighborhood.
- Blau — This is a newer bar on Calle Alta in Barri del Carme that plays groovy music and has a good mix of people.
- Café Negrito, Plaza del Negrito, Barri de Carme. Relaxed cafe with outdoor seating.
- Venial, Quart 32, ☎ . Gay and hetero-friendly disco in Barri del Carme, located near the typical drinking haunts of the neighbourhood, but open after everything else closes.
- Johnny Maracas, Calle Caballeros, Barri de Carme. Plays Brazilian and Spanish flamenco. Always a good atmosphere, although drinks a little pricey.
- Blue Iguana, Almirante Cadarso, 30. This is one of the best nightclubs in Valencia. New and old good music all night offered by Dj Moisés.
Plaza del Cedro is a nice place where all possibilities are given to spend a night partly o complete in less touristic ambiance than in the center.
- A lot of Bodegas and Tapas bars where you can get typical Spanish dinner for quite good prices. When you arrive early (the Spanish early) at about 8PM they are usually having special offers like "Tercio y Tapa" for about €1. To find them orientate more to the parallel streets to Carrer de Doctor Manuel Candela.
- Later to drink something occupying the time between dinner and going out there are many bars with different kind of music present.
- If you feel like dancing there are 4 famous pubs where especially at the weekends a lot young people can be found. The entrance is normally for free and they are almost neighbors all located in Calle Campoamor. The music is more alternative (Rock/Indie/Pop) that in general in Spain but it changes depending on the DJ. So just have a look to all of them to find the one you like most. They are closing at half past three in the morning and if you don't want to be alone maybe the best time to arrive is between half past one and half past two. For more details see:
- Additionally there is typical Spanish nigh-life feeling on the Plaza del Cedro itself. Different kind of people enjoying the mild Mediterranean clime to sit outside talking, drinking and playing guitar often until the sunrise.
Other centres of are night-life are Cánovas (more up scale), Juan Llorens (young also, less "alternative"), around the university (students), and increasingly in the area near the beach and port.
Wine lovers may want to explore the wineries of the Valencia wine region , including Bodega El Angosto, Bodegas Los Frailes, and Bodegas Murviedro.
Traditional Regional Drinks
- Agua de Valencia — Valencia water is a very famous mixed drink. There are several recipes, mainly based on a mix of orange juice and Cava, the local sparkling wine.
- Orxata — A drink made from tigernut, xufa in Valencian or chufa in Spanish. Being cold and sweet, it is specially popular during the summer months. In Spanish it is called 'horchata' and it can be found in 'horchaterias' or 'orxateries', but also in most of the cafes and bars. When ordering a horchata, you will most probably be asked whether you would like to have a 'farton', a small pastry for being dipped in horchata, as well.
- Cibada — An iced malt drink.
- Llima Granizada — Iced lemonade.
- Café del Temps — Espresso on ice.
- Blanc i Negre — Iced coffee with leche merengada.
- Calimocho - A popular drink, originating in the Basque Country, made with red wine and cola mixed.
Staying in or near Old Town means you will hardly need transport, unless you go to the beach.
- Red Nest Hostel (Hostels Valencia Spain), Calle de la Paz 36 Valencia Spain, ☎ , fax: +34 963 427 128, e-mail: email@example.com. A good budget hostel Valencia in the city center.
- Purple Nest Hostel (Hostels Valencia Spain), Plaza Tetuan 5 Valencia Spain, ☎ , fax: +34 963 427 128, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A good budget hostel in Valencia hostel in the city center.
- Indigo Youth Hostel, Calle Guillem de Castro,64, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Small, friendly hostel in city centre.
- Hôme Hostels, Plaza Vicente Iborra S/N 46003 - Valencia - SPAIN, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. The best youth hostels in Valencia. Located in town center. Specialized in backpackers and groups. The cheaper one in Valencia. Enjoy the real Spanish life, stay comfortable in one of the Hôme Hostels, all located in the heart of the historical center of Valencia. From €15.
- Hostal al Rincon, Calle Carda 11, Mercado. Single without bath €17. Wi-fi. Safe parking. These guys claim to have been around for over 400 years!
- Bed & Breakfast Almirante, Almirante, 3  Valencia -España, ☎ , fax: +34 963 925 501, e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: 1PM, check-out: 11AM. Located in a quiet area of the center of Valencia, at only 2 minutes walking from the Cathedral, and very close to the best spots of the old city, the lively area of El Carmen, and the old riverbed.
- Expo Hotel Valencia, ☎ . Avda. Pío XII, 4. An ideal location situated within the Nuevo Centro. Offering 3* surroundings, great service and with a private swimming pool, it's a perfect base for business or pleasure visits.
- NH Villacarlos Address: Avenida del Puerto, 60, 46023, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel.: +34 96 3375025, Fax: +34 96 3375074. The hotel is within walking distance of the historic centre and the commercial heart of the city, as well as La Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, the Valencia football stadium Mestalla and the Palau de la Música. There are a few other NH hotels in Valencia  if this one doesn't take your fancy.
- Hotel Holiday Inn Express Valencia - Ciudad de las Ciencias, Escritor Rafael Ferreres, 22, 46013 Valencia, Spain, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Limited service hotel part of the IHG family located 600m from the City of Arts and Science Complex and 2km from Malvarrosa Beach. 100 rooms. Breakfast included in all bookings. €50.00.
- Barceló Valencia, Av. Francia 11, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A brand new hotel near the Arts and Sciences complex, ideal for business visitors. €1-200.
- Confortel Aqua 4, C/Luis García Berlanga 19-21, ☎ . Near the City of Arts and Sciences, this is a brand new hotel.
- Hotel Las Arenas Balneario Resort, Eugenia Vines 22-24. A five star hotel facing the sea. €160-550.
Internet terminals for 2 Euros/hour can be found at the main tourist information on the east side of the Plaza de la Reina in front of the cathedral, and at the cyber cafe in the Calle de Cerrajeros. 1 Euro/hour in the Chinese places in Calle de Pelayo, west of the train station. McDonalds on the Plaza de la Reina as well as many other restaurants and cafes offer free WiFi.
- Albufera — A fresh water lake which is part of the protected natural space called Parc Natural de l'Albufera, which comprises the lake and surrounding marshy areas, as well as the pinewood and sandy dunes and beaches of El Saler. Rice is cultivated in the surrounding area of the lake. The Albufera also hosts many interesting varieties of migratory birds. The local village in the area, El Palmar, is also a good place, if not the best, to try some paella or other local dishes.
- El Saler — This is the coastal area of the Parc Natural de l'Albufera. A long stretch of land with a dense pinewood, dunes and marshes that separates the lake from the sea. These beaches are on "protected" land and are the cleanest, most secluded beaches within easy reach of the city. Despite being very near the city, due to their protection and lack of the services of an urban or resort beach, they used to be pretty quiet, something not few people might prefer to the urban Las Arenas, Malvarrosa or Patacona beaches. Naturism is allowed and common in some of them, like in Playa de la Garrofera and in Playa de la Devesa (this one has to be reached on foot walking for about 5-10 minutes from the parking area). Accessible by bus, but that requires a good level of organization. A round-trip taxi ride should cost between €10-20, depending on how far along the beach you go.
- Manises, 15 km south west of Valencia. It is not only the site of Valencia's airport, but also an important center for pottery. Some 100 ceramics factories are located in the municipality, where the art has been practiced for at least 700 years. At the MCM Museum, there are exhibitions about the history of ceramics in the area.
- La Tomatina, hosted by nearby 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.
- Cullera, is the nearest beach resort from the city, apart from the more aimed at locals Pobla de Farnals, and worth a day visit from Valencia if you have time. It is settled down an isolated mountain (with a big white sign saying "Cullera" on it) beside a beautiful bay. It has crowded and quiet beaches. The most quiet ones are located along the lighthouse road. There is also a naturist beach right North of Cullera, in Playa del Dossel, with a tricky road to access it. There is a castle on top of the mountain from which enjoy stunning views.
- Rent a car and do a day trip to any number of picturesque villages or small cities in the region, including Chulilla, Sot de Chera, Xátiva, Sagunto, among others.
- Hot Spring and other discoveries: A small tour company offers rides and guided visits to off-the-beaten-path destinations around Valencia. The most popular tour is an incredible hot Spring natural pool in a canyon, 90 km of Valencia. Access by public transportation is difficult.