One day in Valencia
One day in lovely Valencia it’s a challenge even for us. It’s a big city with many attractions – ok maybe not that many like in Barcelona, but still there are lots of spot worth a visit. We knew it well, when we were planning our trip to Spain, but we came to the conclusion that in Valencia we will spend only 1 day. As I said, for such a bigcity, it is quite a little time, but somehow Valencia didn’t convinced us. Actually, we didn’t expect too much from this city (ok, science center was interesting for us), but still the city surprised us very positively. It is also probably because of Karolina, who not only hosted us, but showed us a bit of Valencia.
Word of introduction: We arrived to Valencia on Thursday evening from Barcelona. The journey lasted about 4h so it wasn’t that bad and long. 😛 We were traveling by ALSA bus, which unfortunately doesn’t belong to the cheapest. However, if you buy a ticket early enough (just like us), then the price is not so bad. So we had all the friday to dispose, because our next bus (to Almeria) was at 00:30 AM on Saturday.
The Weather in May
Before I tell you what we saw, let’s talk a lil bit about weather. It was the first half of May. As far as in Barcelona the weather was perfect, but in Valencia was a way too hot. There was no drama, but the heat was already big. The farther to the south the worse the temperature is. Even evenings were warm enough to walk without a jacket.
North Station / Bull Arena – Xativa
We started with a metro journey to the city center. Unfortunately, the first half of the day we spent alone, because Karolina had to go to work. So at the beginning we were solely responsible for ourselves. It wouldn’t be such a big problem if we had knew Spanish, but unfortunately both of us speak English and German. In Valencia, they don’t necessarily know these languages, and although we had a map and a subway plan, we didn’t know which station was the city center (yeah, we didn’t check it before). Finally we managed to talk to the locals and found the best station. It came out pretty well because we found ourselves on the most popular square in Valencia and relatively close to the city center. On the one hand we had a very nice North Station building, and on the other, the famous bullring. We are not a corridor fan, so we didn’t enjoy the view or even took a picture…
City Hall Square – Plaza del Ayuntamiento
This was our second stop… It is the largest square in Valencia, surrounded by beautiful, modernist buildings. Only the town hall was built in Baroque style. The place is really charming and very well maintained. All the buildings are clean and elegant. Refined to the smallest detail. That is why we took photos from every side of this square. Next to the square is a beautiful fountain, surrounded by colorful flowers. Very tasteful place, although there are not that many attractions. However, when visiting Valencia you can’t miss this place! 🙂
Not that far from the City Hall, we found the pink bank building! I didn’t even have it in the guide, though it should be there, due to its original colors and unusual decorations. <3
Església de Sant Tomàs Apostol and Sant Felip Neri
We headed to the Cathedral, but we visited also other attractions on the way. That is how we found this church, whose name I am not even able to translate. 😀 As you can see, Valencia is not very multilingual and sooner or later you will learn Spanish here than English. Anyway, I was able to find out that Església de Sant Tomàs Apostol and Sant Felip Neri is a baroque church built in the 18th century. We also managed to get inside at the last minute before closing, but overall it was nothing special.
Finally we reached the Plaza de la Reina. Here is located one of the most representative buildings in Valencia – the cathedral. This is a must for all visitors of Valencia. There is a Holy Grail in the Cathedral, but its authenticity and real application will not be discussed here. 😛
The entrance to the Cathedral costs 5 euro and the price includes an audioguide. To our surprise, Wi-Fi is also available in the Cathedral, which is supposed to serve as a supplement to the audioguide. However, Facebook and the whole internet also goes well. 😀 What is worth to pay attention to? Except the issue of the Holy Grail, it is worth to look closer at the incredible altar. It is distinguished not only by rich decorations, but also by deeply saturated colors.
Immediately behind the altar there are relics of the saint (I don’t remember the name of the saint). However, I would say that this is something for people with strong nerves, because the dried hand with jewelry is not my favorite view. To catch the breath I recommend to look up, specifically for the stained glass. They are also quite interesting! 😉
Bell tower Miguelete
It is a 50 meter tower which is part of the cathedral. Still, our ticket is no longer valid for climbing and we had to get another for 2 euros. Of course it is worth it, because Valencia presents itself much better from the top. 🙂 All of this is due to the colorful buildings. Besides, there are also several roofs covered with a „shimmering” tile that really looks amazing from the roof.
Get ready only for the wind. Maybe in the city somehow didn’t bother, but at the top, it wanted to break our heads. We also had a huge bad luck being on the tower. Don’t forget that it is also a bell tower with big bells. 😀 We were there at full hour. When the unexpectedly loud came from the ringing bell, we almost died of a heart attack. The noise was horrible. Darek thought that the tower was crumbling at all. Little children cried. I almost too. I don’t recommend such attractions 😀
At this point we ended our lonely tour of Valencia. Karolina left the office and we met up in the same place where we first arrived (ie North Station). It was lunch time, so we all agreed that it was time for a meal. We went to the Mercado, where are several pubs located. For 10 euros you can eat two dishes + coffee or dessert. We choosed it without hesitation. Of course I recommend the Sea Fruits, which are really delicious in Spain.
As for Mercado, it was fortunately already closed. 😀 Somehow visiting another market was not the top of my dreams. Although it is the largest market in Europe – its surface area is 8160 m2! But it was enough for me to see it only from outside 😀
Gardens of Turia / Green River / Dry River
We decided to take a break from the buildings and noise of the city, and at the same time we wanted to reach the Science and Art Center. The best solution was to walk around the old riverbed. We left the city walls and entered the green jungle!
The gardens of Turia, the Green River and the Dry River (all names in use) start its history in 1957. Valencia was then haunted by a tragic flood (amazing), in which 80 people were killed. In order to prevent such events in the future, the city authorities have decided to change the riverbed. The old trough has been properly developed. I have to admit that they did it well. The area is just fabulous. Prepared for both active and less active people. 😛 Walking here is a pure pleasure. Also, the children will find something for themselves – there are lots of slides, swings, etc. Really, this place has made on us a huge and very positive impression. Great plus for such an amazing, beautiful and perfectly developed place! And thank you Karolina that you took us there! 🙂
City of Art and Science
We were so excited because of this place!! After a long walk on dry river, we finally reached the most modern part of the City. It is also the most recognizable part of Valencia. It was designed by Santiago Calatrava and Felix Candela. Interestingly, the one million investment and the employment of some of the best architects was not enough to build beautiful and indestructible architectural masterpieces. As it turned out, the town requires constant observation and expensive repairs all the time.
In the City of Art and Science are located Planetarium, Europe’s largest Aquarium, Science Museum, Palace of Arts and L’Umbracle. We had originally planned to enter the Aquarium, but we came 15 min too late. However, a colleague who was inside told us that we didn’t miss anything special. Well, a matter of taste. If you want to check out tickets and opening hours, check out the official website.
To sum up
This is where our tour ended. We drank last Sangria in Valencia and then we did a small shopping. We had a bus to Almeria at 00:300 so we needed to buy something to eat for the route.
Generally we are very satisfied. We know that there was still something to see – we could spend more time in the city, or even in the dry river or in the science center. Again we walked a lot – around 20 km, but it was worth it. I also recommend to pay attention to street names – some signs are really noteworthy! 🙂