Tag Archives: Valencia

Travel guide to the city of contrasts: Valencia, Spain

2019-01-13

As long as Spanish people living in inland regions have had the means to travel somewhere warm, Valencia has been one of the most popular destinations. Over the years, Americans, tourists from other Europeans countries and recently also Asians have discovered Valencia’s charm. Some travelers arrive in Valencia for the historic city, others for the ultra-modern City of Arts and Sciences, others for the beaches, whereas some people want to join a genuine Spanish fiesta. Here is a travel guide to the city of Valencia that shows you where to visit, and what to do in this lively city.

cover image of book: Valencia, Spain

Valencia is often regarded as the home of paella (a rice dish) and also the place where the Holy Grail is on display (in the Cathedral). They are only two of the curiosities that can be easily found in the city.

Batman fans know that Gotham City refers to New York City. Yet, there are very few – if any – signs or symbols of bats in New York City. There is, however, a city in Europe where bat is the key symbol: Valencia, on the Mediterranean coast of Spain. When exploring Valencia, look closely, and you’ll find bat symbols on the facades of buildings, towers, and even on the streets.
bat symbol in Valencia, Spain, Europe
Valencia, Spain – The Key Sights, Places, and Events covers the information a visitor needs on a city break, or during a vacation when there is enough time to explore also sights outside the city.

Spanish culture and customs are slightly different to the rest of Europe. The Iberian Peninsula was ruled by Arabs for five centuries, after all, and the long dictatorship of Franco ended only in 1975. The travel guide highlights the elements of the Spanish culture that travelers are likely encounter.
Plaza de la Virgen in Valencia, Spain, Europe
If you are already thinking what would be the best time to visit, here are a few tips. Summer months tend to be quite warm and very humid, which is why people escape to the beach or to the mountains in summer. If you want to join the biggest fiesta you have ever seen, the Fallas in March is your choice. Every weekend around the year is party time in the old city center, and every day is an exciting day in the City of Arts and Sciences. For outdoor activities, or exploring the city on foot or by bicycle, autumn, winter and spring are perfect seasons.

The Valencia, Spain travel guide book is available for download in all major online bookstores, for instance: Amazon.com, Google Play Books, and Kobo.

Valencia, Spain: city of arts and sciences
a main street in the city street leads to Plaza de la Reina in Valencia, Espana
All photos from the Klaava Travel Guide Valencia, Spain.

The Spanish way of celebrating Christmas: a night out in Valencia

2018-12-20

In the Western world, Christmas traditions are similar in many countries: presents, Santa Claus, colorful lights, reindeer, Christmas tree, and songs about a peaceful celebration of the darkest time of the year in the northern hemisphere. In Spain, Christmas is not necessarily the number one festivity of the year. Here is how people in the city of Valencia celebrate it.
ice-skating at town hall square in Valencia, Spain, Europe
Valencia is Spain’s third largest city with more than a million inhabitants in the metropolitan area. The origins of the city are in the era of the Roman Empire that settled military personnel on the banks of the Turia River. Even though Valencia is increasingly attracting tourists from across the world, it remains a genuine Spanish city. It has its unique culture, traditions, and big fiestas, like Fallas (in March) and Los Reyes Magos (in January).
Valencia town hall with christmas lights
You can find out more about the fiestas of Valencia in Klaava Travel Guide to Valencia, Spain. The top sights, attractions, and cultural tips are introduced in the guidebook as well.

Although Christmas is not the flashiest and loudest fiesta in Valencia (or in Spain), it is a perfect excuse to go out and spend a night out in the city center.

Shops and department stores are open late, swarming with customers. Cafes and restaurants are so busy that queues may form outside the most popular ones. If the world’s biggest lottery El Gordo hasn’t been announced yet, people queue to the kiosks that sell lottery tickets.
A popular cafe serves traditional Horchata drink
Traditional herbal shop in Valencia at Carrer de la Pau.
In Valencia, two destinations attract the biggest crowds: Plaza de la Reina and Plaza de Ayuntamiento.

The famous Cathedral of Valencia stands at the north end of the Plaza de la Reina, and that’s where the traditional Nativity Scene is set up. These Nativity Scenes are constructed every Christmas in every city, town and village.

Plaza de Ayuntamiento is a large Town Hall Square that has plenty of action during Christmas. The Town Hall and many other buildings have been lit up, as well as the fountain. Something that you probably don’t expect to find on the sunny Mediterranean coast of Spain – an ice-skating rink – has been built on the square. Courageously, Valencians test themselves on the ice as others cheer skaters on from the sides.

Some places in the old city center of Valencia can be crowded during the evenings and nights of Christmas, but there is always a seat and a table in a restaurant or bar a short walk away from the busiest areas.

travel guide to Valencia, Spain, South Europe

Top 5 must-see historical places in the city of contrasts: Valencia, Spain

2018-10-27

Our travel guidebook author has explored the ins and outs of the city of Valencia in Spain, and this is his conclusion: Valencia is a city of contrasts, an exciting destination even for travelers who think they have seen it all. The ancient city center with majestic buildings and ancient shops and bars is simply remarkable. A fifteen minute walk away from the old town, the ultra-modern City of Arts and Sciences drops the jaw of any globetrotter. These are the five top sights in the historical city center of Valencia in Spain.

The top 5 sights have been extracted from the travel guidebook Valencia, Spain – The Key Sights, Places and Events (published in Klaava Travel Guide book series). The text has been edited for this blog post.

Plaza de la Virgen

Plaza de la Virgen in the old town of Valencia, Spain, Europe
Plaza de la Virgen is a home for a number of key buildings in the city. It is not a coincidence, because the plaza is the former center of the city. The town hall used to stand at the west side of the plaza. During the Roman era, the square was a Roman Forum, a central place in the city.

The key historical buildings around the square are:

Basilica Virgen de los Desamparados
Cathedral
Palau de la Generalitat
The fountain at the square is a new work of art, revealed in 1976.

Plaza de la Virgen is a meeting place for Valencians, a central place for many fiestas and one of the sights that attracts plenty of tourists who like to snap selfies in front of the fountain.

La Lonja

La Lonja, Valencia, Spain
The original purpose of La Lonja building (opened in 1533) was trading. It may not sound like an exciting, soul-stirring experience, but judge after you have seen it yourself. Nevertheless, La Lonja was built for merchants who arrived in Valencia to negotiate about silk produced in the region. The city wanted to impress merchants, and invested in the architecture of the building.

Pere Compte and Joan Ibarra were the architects who conducted the work for 50 years. Today, La Lonja is a Unesco World Heritage site.

Barrio del Carmen neighborhood

Barrio del Carme, Valencia in South Europe, Spain
Barrio del Carmen is the oldest district of Valencia where many buildings are so old that they can’t stand straight anymore. This part of the city used to stand on an island in Turia River. As the city expanded south, the south side of the island was connected to the mainland. The entire river was diverted away from the city center in 1956.

The Carmen neighborhood shows its age in many ways. Houses are small, many of them are worn down, and alleys are more narrow than in other parts of the city. Near Plaza del Tossal, a number of restaurants and bars keep the nearby streets busy all day and night.

Plaza de Ayuntamiento

Plaza de Ayuntamiento in Valencia on the Mediterranean coast
The buildings around the Town Hall Square are big, tall and decorated around the largest square in central Valencia.

It wasn’t always like that. Until late 19th century, Convento de San Francisco, a monastery, covered the space that is today the Town Hall Square. The city wanted to move the town hall to a more spacious place away from Plaza de la Virgen, and when the monastery couldn’t maintain its property anymore, it was demolished. The new central square of Valencia was established, and the Town Hall moved to a large school building overlooking the plaza.

Facades of many other beautiful buildings line the square, like

Correos (Post Office),
Ateneo Mercantil and
Teatro Rialto.

Plaza de Ayuntamiento is also a central place of many big fiesta events, such as Fallas.

Torres de Serranos: medieval towers and gate to the city

Torres de Serranos during Fallas fiesta party event
Valencia has had fortified walls around it three times during its long history. Only two gates have survived the third wall: Torres de Serranos and Torres de Quart. In addition to being watchtowers, they are also gates where entrance to the city was controlled.

For tourists, Torres de Serranos is the primary destination because it is located near Plaza de la Virgen and the Cathedral.
The massive towers were built in 1392-1398. It is possible to ascend to the tower to see the city from a bird’s view, but even taller towers that let you see over the roofs of the city are, for instance, in Santa Catalina Church and in the Ateneo building.

More about the travel guide Valencia, Spain here download ebook travel guide to Valencia, Spain