As you know from my previous Air Europa post, I went to Valencia. It’s one of the bigger cities in Spain and located on the seaside shore. We were there to go to La Tomatina (post coming soon) and decided to spend two days exploring Valencia. It’s a lovely weekend getaway option for a typical shopping, culture and beach combo holiday. The old city area is absolutely stunning and perfect for leisurely strolling through. In contrast there is also a more modern area with lots of metal and glasswork buildings which includes the IMAX, Aquarium and a high-tech shopping mall. We didn’t really go with a plan but instead strolled across the city as everything was quite close and very easy to navigate.
One of the most recommended spots to visit on TripAdvisor and fellow blogs is the Oceanografic (aka aquarium). Normally I veto these kind of places but the hype was insane and figured it was therefore worth a gander. We bought our tickets online and headed down there. First thing’s first and if the weather is sunny it makes the whole experience ten times better! Most of the exhibits are outside and getting to soak in the sun whilst looking at gorgeous fish is always pleasant. They divide the aquarium between species and climates. My favourite section was probably the dolphinarium and we got to see their show which was truly awesome. Admittedly most of it was in Spanish but seeing the tricks and strength of the dolphins was wicked. We easily spent two hours there and had we packed a lunch or had some drinks (they serve alcohol), could’ve spent longer and made a night of it. Easily one of the better aquariums I’ve ever been to and I support the hype!
Just to add that the whole area by the Aquarium is very trendy and futuristic, it feels a little bit like Divergent. In the vicinity is the Science Museum, IMAX and lots of restaurants and bars. It’s a good place to spend an afternoon and evening to take part in some activities, grab some food and play.
Now for something more unusual and have you ever wanted to run, climb and jump on a giant man before? There’s a huge sculpture playground based on Gulliver from the famous book. The idea being that he has been captured and tied up and now free to play on. They have integrated slides in his jacket, ladders on his shoe buckles etc. Yes it’s more for kids but there were a bunch of adults hanging out and really enjoying themselves. I love anything adventurous and unique so this ticked all the boxes. It was a super hot day though and the material he’s made of got super heated (enjoy straddling him but don’t burn yourself).
Mercado Central is the place to hit up if you’re after some nice lunch or grocery shopping for your stay. There are tons of vendors with vegetables, meats and even cooked tapas selections. It’s a great place to be amongst the locals but also rummage and haggle like a tourist. The building itself is beautiful and the mosaic tiling is worth a visit on its’ own. There were a bunch of tours happening so it definitely gets quite busy inside. Spain is without doubt known for its’ tapas and therefore grabbing some little dishes from here (like meats on bread, olives, rice and sangria) makes it a great authentic lunch spot!
Naturally you have to explore the old city and downtown area. Valencia has a great Old Town that is perfect for wandering and getting lost in. The architecture there is so beautiful you’ll feel like you’re walking through a movie set. Serranos Towers is one of twelve gates that used to form the old city wall. Now you can explore it and climb to the top for a nice view of the city. I always love seeing cities from above as you get a completely different perspective to below and amongst the walls. Here I really noticed the orange and yellow colours dominating the view. As for getting lost in the streets – do it! You’ll come across the most amazing street art, beautifully sculptured buildings and cute cafes. I can’t really tell you what route we did as it got to the point where we’d get to a junction and pick a direction based on architecture, colours or smells haha. So many people were walking around with gelato or drinking and gossiping in the many squares.
If the weather is cooperating (and honestly it probably is) then head to the beach. What can be better than warm sea, sand, cocktails and sun sun sun! We ultimately didn’t have enough time to truly enjoy a beach day but managed to get in an hour. The water was warm and as the beach stretches quite far it wasn’t too packed or uncomfortable. There are food vendors along incase you don’t fancy bringing a picnic (but something from the earlier market would work quite well hint hint). Just bring a towel, change of clothes and boom you’re sorted.
Valencia is a great place to have a weekend getaway (especially with brutal, cold winter approaching). Again I just love that it has the beach, stunning Old Town and culture to it. After Barcelona, possibly one of my favourite Spanish cities to check out! Considering we were only there for La Tomatina it was a real pleasant surprise and definitely on my radar for future breaks.