72hrs in Valencia
Valencia is one of the liveliest and largest cities in Spain. It is located smack right in the middle of the county's eastern coastline almost in line with the Balearic Islands. The beaches are stunningly beautiful, the buzzing lifestyle of the locals is inspiring, and the splendid nightlife is full of the most fun parties. Together with an ample cultural offer, the city has so much to cater for the visitors.
The spectacular City of Arts and Sciences is a boasting extravagant-architecture phenomenon, newly built over the past few years with a sheer wealth of museums, galleries, and shows for people of all ages to enjoy. The premises comprises of the Palace of Arts (Opera), Prince Felipe Science Museum, the Hemisféric (IMAX), a shaded terraced garden (Umbracle), the famous aquarium of Valencia (Oceanográfic) and the Ágora.
The gastronomy in Valencia is traditional and innovative, making it a delight for foodies. A local favourite drink is the horchata de chufa, a sweet and silky nut milk made from small, wrinkled tiger nuts. We recommend heading to the Casa de l'Orxata in Mercado de Colón and Horchatería Santa Catalina at Plaça de Santa Caterina nº 6 to get a taste of the best in a charming scenario.The famous paella Valenciana, fideuá (similar to paella, but replaced with noodles) and our personal favourite being the arroz negro 'black rice', which gets its colour from the ink of the cuttlefish, are all popular demands in the region. For great rice dishes and a view of the city beach, head to La Pepica at Paseo Neptuno nº 6. With its over 120-year history, the special paella "La Pepica" was first made for the Valencian painter Joaquin Sorolla when he visited the restaurant accompanied by other artists and friends.
Located 10 kilometres south of Valencia city, you can visit the La Albufera viewpoint and enjoy a boat trip around the canals that link to the largest lake in Spain. Many people flock to where the piers are to watch the sunset. This valuable coastal wetland is declared a Natural Park since 1986, with more than 200 Km² of rice fields. We recommend doing this excursion in the late morning, and have a local paella dish at Restaurante La Sequiota in the nearby town of El Palmar.
Come dinner time, we recommend trying Ma Khin Café in the Mercado de Colón just opposite the comfort food famed Habitual by Ricard Camarena. Ma Khin Café is a contemporary and chic space that offers a rich menu, it is the result of the fusion of the essences between Mediterranean and Asian cuisine. Behind a modernist façade in the heart of the popular Cabanyal-Canyameral district of Valencia, lies Casa Montaña, a classic among the locals in the city. The tavern dates back to 1836, making it a tradition to go on Sundays for appetisers. For dinner, we would recommend Al Tun Tún for its gastro-life concept with cheer music, fine wine, and great Mediterranean dishes. For vegetarian dishes, we tried Malmö by Borja García: a veggie restaurant with a Nordic character in Ruzafa. In the Grupo Copenhagen, there is also Restaurante Copenhagen, Restaurante Oslo, and the newly opened Helsinki Bar; a permanent pop-up foodie, otherwise known as The Food Gallery situated in the shopping resort Bonaire.
International sports events like the American's Cup and the Formula 1 Grand Prix has put Valencia city on the world map. We had like to think that a lot more attention has been given to the city because it's an easy destination to enjoy. Valencia's great Mediterranean weather, live markets, close proximity to the beach and historical monuments make this city easily one to visit in southern Europe.