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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. (less...) (more...)
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Points of Interest in Valencia
- City of Arts and Science (Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències), Avda. Autopista del Saler, nº 5 - 46013 Valencia (Take a city bus from the train station or the metro to Alameda station), ☎ +34 90 210-0031. 10AM-9PM. Very interesting. It is located where the old river Turia used to flow and over there you will find a Science Museum, a Planetarium, an IMAX cinema, an Aquarium and, in the near future, the Arts Museum. It is famous for its architecture by Santiago Calatrava.
- 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.
- Plaza de Toros de Valencia--Wrh2Bot (talk) 16:22, 21 May 2013 (UTC)--Wrh2Bot (talk) 16:22, 21 May 2013 (UTC) (Plaza de Toros de Valencia), Calle Xativa, nº 28 (next to North Train Station), ☎ +34 902 10 7777. 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.
- 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.
- The Llotja — This building is the site of the ancient local silk trade. It is also a UNESCO landmark and has recently been refurbished. Some of the gargoyles are quite naughty.
- The Mercat Central — Located in an aging "modernist" building in the process of being renovated. See how the locals shop for food and buy some fantastic fresh produce, meat, or olives.
- Walk along the old Tùria river bed, now a park with soccer and rugby fields, an artificial boating lake, athletics track, playgrounds, fountains, and trails. This massive elongated park spans many neighborhoods and ends at the City of Arts and Sciences. Abundant bike paths make it an ideal place to get in a little exercise and sun.
- Torres de Quart, at the end of Calle Quart. This pock-marked medieval tower was part of the ancient wall that surrounded the old city. Another set of nearby towers called the Torres de Serrano were also part of ancient wall. The Serrano towers have been massively renovated and somewhat modernized, but they are still interesting and are located across the street from the park.
- Lladró Porcelain Museum and Factory, take bus 16 from city center to its end at Tavernes Blanques suburb. Here is the Lladró Porcelain factory. Visit is free, but it has to be scheduled before. You visit the factory, the process or porcelain making and at the end a large collection of Lladro porcelain some worth $30,000. Photos allowed only at the collection.
- 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.
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
If you can't be in Valencia at the time of the festival, you can at least get an idea of what it's all about by visiting one or both the following museums: Museo Fallero  Museo de Artistas Falleros 
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.
- 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".
- 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), San Ramon 23 (Barrio del Carmen), ☎ +34 963 922 146. Lunch only. Lunch Menu 7,70€.
- La Tastaolletes (Vegetarian), Calle Salvador Giner 6 (Barrio del Carmen), ☎ +34 963 921 862.
- 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), ☎ +34 96 391-4151, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 10 PM - 3:30 AM. A popular bar come 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, ☎ +34 96 392-1235. 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, ☎ +34 96 391-7356. 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:
- El Tornillo 
- Velvet Underground 
- Wah Wah 
- Matisse, Calle Campoamor 60
- 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.
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, ☎ +34 639 740 746. 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, ☎ +34 639 740 746. 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, ☎ +34 961 051 681. 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.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Valencia on Wikivoyage.