One of the most beautiful cities in the whole of Spain; Valencia is also its most up-and-coming with an energy that sets it apart and a host of colourful festivals that will impress even the most experienced of travellers. While it might not be as famous as its sister cities of Madrid and Barcelona, Spain’s third-largest city Valencia more than holds its own when it comes to entertaining the many tourists that pass through its walls year on year. Best known for being the home of Spain’s most famous dish, Paella Valenciana, as well as the legendary El Cid, and the world famous Holy Grail – don’t question its authenticity, it is the real thing, honestly!
It’s also home to some of Spain’s most unique architecture with an old quarter complete with narrow streets and gothic buildings, a medieval fortification or two, museums, cathedrals, bars, cafes – we could go on. Valencia also has an ultra-modern side that boasts Spain’s second most visited tourist attraction; and no it’s not a mosque, or a cathedral, or even a palace. It is, however, the collection of some of Europe’s most mind-blowing architecture that makes up the City of Arts and Sciences – think organic-looking white spaceships and you’re on the right track. This ‘city’ not only houses a multi-functional arts and music centre, an interactive science museum, a planetarium and an IMAX theatre, but also Europe’s largest aquarium; truly a first of its kind in Europe and something that the locals are very proud of.
The Palacio del Marques de Dos Aguas houses the National Ceramics and Decorative Arts Museum. This incredibly ornate baroque building, both inside and out, is well worthy of it's €3 entry fee. Make sure you take time to view the ornate Rococo style Nymph's Carriage.
As the sun goes down people start to congregate around the bars and ice cream parlours of Plaza de la Virgen to relax and plan for the evening ahead. Fantastic architecture, beautiful lighting and a water fountain depicting Neptune make for a particularly pleasing backdrop.
Retire from the heat of the day by visiting the city's magnificent Cathedral. Superbly ornate with three distinct architectural styles of entrance - one Romanesque, one Gothic and one Baroque - it is also believed by many to be the home of the true Holy Grail. Why not go and decide for yourself?
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