Leisure and Culture in the heart of Valencia…
The City of Arts and Sciences is a massive city space consisting of five unique spaces, set in the Turia Gardens, open to the public to enjoy year round, and based on the idea of combining leisure and culture. It is the largest center of its kind in Europe, and well worth a visit, both inside and out.
- The Hemisfèric, an IMAX cinema with an ovoid roof over 100 meters long, inaugurated in 1998, was the first of the five major spaces constructed in the City of Arts and Sciences. More info for IMAX schedules and tickets here.
- The Príncipe Felipe Science Museum, an interactive science museum focused on science, technology and the environment, is one of the most visited destinations in Spain, with over 30,7 million visitors since its inauguration in 2000. More info and tickets here.
- The Oceanographic, opened in 2003, is Europe’s largest aquarium, with over 42 million liters of water from the Mediterranean Sea, the park incudes habitats from around the world, from penguins to dolphins, sharks to seahorses, and an aviary as well. It was just renovated in Q1 of 2016, and is a great outing for the family. More info here.
- The Palau de Les Arts, an avant-garde, modern space, inaugurated in 2005, is the home of the opera in Valencia. Throughout the year, you can enjoy operas and concerts by the Orquesta de la Comunitat Valenciana, with big names such as Placido Domingo, Roberto Abbado, Fabio Biondi, among others. More info and tickets here.
Valencia, capital of the Valencian Region and third largest city in Spain sits on the fertile plain of the Turia. Around an old historic center, Valencia has newly developed areas with avenues that make up a lively commercial and industrial city.
Originally, the city was one of the Greek settlements on the Mediterranean coast, and later was settled by the Romans and Goths. Conquered by the Arabs, Valencia achieved great political and cultural importance in the eighth century as the capital of a kingdom whose dominions extended from the Ebro to the Segura, where Arab irrigation systems led to much agricultural wealth. In 1096 it was conquered by the Cid, reconquered by the Almoravids to his death and finally becoming part of the crown of Aragon in 1238, after the conquest of Jaime I. The Muslim inhabitants of the region continued to retain their laws and religion in the kingdom of Valencia, until their expulsion in 1609, a century and a half later that the kingdom of Castile. The expulsion of the Moors brought economic ruin of Valencia, coinciding with the decline of its port. In the War of Succession. The city fought alongside the house of Austria, thus defeating the Bourbon King Philip V, the city lost all its privileges. During the Civil War it hosted the Spanish government for a long time. Today, Valencia is the main economic and cultural center of the eastern coast.
In March, Valencia holds one of the most spectacular festivals in Spain: Las Fallas. Around March 15th, large papier-mâché figures usually satirical and whose construction takes many months, are installed in the streets. The night of March 19th, the fallas are burned, which is also the feast of San José. During the festival you can see big firework displays, and kids and grownups alike play with firecrackers throughout the city.
The Beachfront Promenade…
Recently, Valencia has updated its’ beachfront and maritime area. It is no longer only an ancient city centered around the Plaza del Ayuntamiento or Town Hall. It has gracefully combined the old with the new, rustic charm with contemporary design. Since the 1980’s, Valencia has been quite rapidly updating the infrastructure, running the train tracks underground, and updating the maritime area to create an impressive promenade in which you can swim, bike, run, go for a great paella, or just relax in the sun.
- Valencia has four main avenues that approach the sea; Avenida del Puerto, Avenida de Baleares, Avenida de Francia, and Avenida del Tarongers. All have bike lanes.
- The promenade, built in the 1990’s, begins at the end of the north side of the port, on Avenida de Neptuno, where many excellent restaurants are located. There you can eat an excellent paella or variety of fish and meats, all the while looking out onto the Mediterranean Sea.
- Valencia’s beach, named “Playa de la Malvarrosa” whose name is derived from the flowering plant, Hollyhock, is more than 60 meters wide on average and about 2km long. The promenade as well runs from the port of Valencia, all the way to Alboraya.
- Along the promenade are restuarants, bars, and clubs to go dancing.