Lying on the south-east coast of Spain, the popular port city of Valencia gives cities like Barcelona and Madrid a run for its money when it comes to tourist attractions and places to eat. Hungry for culture, or just hungry? Whichever you’re feeling, Valencia will put things right with its elegant museums and fine cuisine. Here are some of the best places to check out while you’re in the city.
The City of Arts and Sciences
Valencia’s City of Arts and Sciences is a striking complex that, as you might expect, is devoted to art and science and promoting these. The complex comprises five main elements: the IMAX cinema; the Oceanográfico marine life museum, Europe’s largest marine life museum; the Umbracle, a landscape gardens and sculpture area; the Príncipe Felipe Science Museum; and, inaugurated in 2005, the Palau de les Artes Reina Sofia opera house. The Spanish architects Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela are behind the phenomenal design of the complex.
Museo de Bellas Artes de Valencia
The Museo de Bellas Artes de Valencia (the Museum of Fine Arts of Valencia) is one of the best museums in the whole of Valencia. Entry is free, and at the museum you’ll see work by El Greco and 17th Spanish painter Diego Velazquez as well as paintings by Valencian artists. Incidentally, the building that houses all the work is a 17th century convent. If your tastes in art are more modern, you can take the Metro back to El Carmen and visit the Institut Valencià d’ Art Modern.
Eating out in Valencia
Of course, when you’re out and about exploring a big city like Valencia, you’ll work up one serious appetite. Don’t worry, though, because Valencia has most definitely got you covered. Here are some terrific places in the city where you can fill a small corner:
The place to go for an authentic paella is Navarro. This restaurant situated at C/Arzobispo Mayoral, 5 is renowned for its rice dishes. These are respectably priced at between 11 and 18 euros, and a set menu at the restaurant will cost you approximately 22 euros. The restaurant has been operating for decades and has established a good reputation.
This family-run restaurant is located in Calle Méndez Nuñez 17 and is all about the classics and the Valencian way of cooking. The restaurant believes in fine quality ingredients and therefore uses fresh materials to produce its dishes. The fideu, which is like paella but substitutes the rice with pasta, is especially good. You won’t regret eating at this restaurant by the harbour.
‘Tasca’ being a Spanish word for meeting place, this is more of a stand-up bar than a restaurant as such, but is ideal for a quick midday beer or glass of wine. The bar has been running since 1946 and gets busy, so you might have to jostle your way into a good spot to stand! While at the bar you can eat seasonal tapas such as snails and grilled artichokes as well as eel in garlic and peppers sauce. The sardines are meant to be the best in town, but you’ll just have to establish that for yourself. You’ll find the restaurant at Calle de la Purísima, 1.
Whether you’re a foodie, a culture vulture or both, you’ll have an absolute ball in Valencia after your plane has touched down. This city offers good food and good times. Make the most of it all!