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Holiday to Valencia

There’s plenty to experience on a holiday to Valencia, but there are few highlights that are simply unmissable – here are some of my personal recommendations…

Stroll Through the Old Town

The architectural mix in the Old Town is quite astonishing, ranging from Baroque cathedrals to the Gothic grandeur of the Silk Exchange, the breathtaking building where the silk merchants of old used to ply their trade. The Old Town reflects the many cultural influences that have made Valencia what it is today – Roman, Muslim and Chrisitans have all ruled the city at one time or another.

I always say to my Valencia shuttle passengers, you can spend days wandering through the streets of the Old Town and still not see everything, but don’t miss out on the Santa Catalina Bell Tower, the Basilica de la Virgen de los Desamparados, and the Plaza de Reina. The Plaza is also the best place to pick up a horse drawn carriage to take you around the Old Town, which is certainly an experience you wouldn’t want to miss.

Marvel at the City of Arts and Sciences

When they drained the Turia river after a severe flood, they had two choices; turn it into a park or a highway. The highway would have made driving from Valencia airport to the city easier for me, but I can’t fault their choice, especially since the recent addition of The City of Arts and Sciences. This jaw dropping modern science park truly has something for everyone – an outstanding science museum, IMAX cinema, aquarium, dolphinarium, and underwater restaurant are amongst the many facilities on offer.

Shop at the Central Market

With over a thousand bustling food stalls to explore, the Central Market is the best place to sample local delicacies. Housed in a handsome modern building and decorated with colourful ceramic tiles, the stalls have plenty to offer to foodies on a holiday in Valencia, including fresh fruit, regional cheeses and wines, and the local speciality – paella.

See the Holy Grail at Valencia Cathedral

OK, no one can say for sure whether Valencia’s claim to be the resting place of the mythical Holy Grail is based on sound historical research, optimistic wishing, or a canny marketing play by the city’s tourist board. But in any case, the Valencia Cathedral is an unmissable highlight of the city. The mix of Roman, Gothic and Baroque architecture is fascinating, and (however authentic it may be) the golden chalice that hangs above the altar certainly looks the part – my Valencia shuttle passengers invariably rave about how exciting it was to see!