Valencia – historic meets modern architecture
It is not easy to make a decision where to travel to for a 5 days trip over New Years Eve. Already the flight plan for this time of the year shows the limit just after a short look as well as the prices for accommodation in some of the possible cities. By coincidence or by listening to travel plans of a colleague the idea about a trip to Valencia came up. Some reading gave the idea that this city definitely is worth a visit and then we ended up with my colleague and her friends in a plane heading toward Valencia to spend the last days of the old year.
After a ride with the metro to the center we found ourselves in a beautiful and sunny city with many sights awaiting us to get explored in the next days. Get an answer to the many times asked question is Valencia the better and/or new Barcelona!?
Our condo was situated in the historic center of Valencia. A short walking distance to the must sees. Only a couple of meters away from the Plaza de la Virgen with the Basilica and the fountain – a good place to sit in the sun and watch the people.
For a view to Valencia from above it is advisable to wait until the bells finished ringing every hour and climb up the Miguelete tower at the Cathedral of Valencia. I heard the 360° view is stunning. Unfortunately I did not make it till the top because of the narrow and steep spiral stairs.
From there you can reach almost every interesting place by foot. On our way to the Rio Turia – the dried-up river bed – which invites for a nice walk down south to the City of Sciences and Arts we crossed the Mercado Central. A must visit in Valencia and a good place to buy some provisions for the walk. The bocadillos are yummy and with a price of 1EUR very cheap. Also everything look very invitingly and we could not resist to try different kinds of olives. These were that good that we bought some on the last day and took some back home.
We crossed the city center again to spend the afternoon exploring the Rio Turia which is nicely designed and a place good for plenty of activities like running, inline skating, people watching or just for a walk.
At the end of the Rio Turia we reached the City of Sciences and Arts – modern architecture interesting to visit during the day and the night-time. For me this was a great place for taking pictures.
Our plans for New Years Eve were quite simple and very local. Make a reservation at a nice restaurant. Have an at least three course menu and just before midnight walk to the main square – the Plaza Ayuntamiento – with 12 grapes per person and some spanish Cava. Ok our grapes were not peeled like we heard the locals do it but it was not to hard to eat one grape per chime as countdown for midnight. Each grape shall bring luck for every month of the new year.
After the night was not too long with only one or two more Aqua de Valencia it is a perfect start into the new year to take the tram and go to the beach. A relaxed day listening to the ocean and enjoying the sunny fresh air.
After five days I can say Valencia definitely is worth a trip to. The city was not that overrun by tourists, the food always delicious, a lot of interesting sights and architecture is waiting, people were friendly, the sun shines around 300days a year and your handbag seems to be quite safe.
Where to stay
Airbnb offers many affordable rooms (starts from 25EUR per night) and apartments (starts from 45EUR per night) right in the city center from where you can reach everything by foot.
Where to eat
Mercado Central for trying and buying the Serrano ham, olive, vegetables and more things for a picnic.
For Tapas we tried the typical spanish styled restaurant La Tapeta del Carmen next door to our apartment and we did not regret the decision. Also a small and nice restaurant is Taberna La Sena were they have an also small menu with a yummy choice of tapas for a late snack.
New Years Eve we had a three course meal in a stylish surrounding at restaurant Trece.
How to get around
The airport is very well connected via a metro with the city center/central Station. The most parts of the city are explorable by foot and to the beach we found an easy connection by the metro. The cheapest possibility is buying a T10 card which offers 10 rides with bus and metro. We bought one T10 card for the both of us and it was the exact amount of rides we needed.
How to get to
A long list of airlines from all around Europe offering flights to Valencia which is also connected to Madrid or Barcelona by train (RENFE). Train tickets can be bought online in advance.