48 hours in Valencia
48 hours in Valencia
14 August 2017
There’s plenty to see and do in this often overlooked Mediterranean port writes Tatyana Leonov.
Rise early and join the locals walking, jogging and cycling around Turia Gardens. The 9km-long grassy vastness is one of the largest inner city urban parks in europe and home to an athletic track and a multi-sports arena, as well as cafes and art displays. The park was formerly a river that flowed through valencia until the 1950s, but after recurrent flooding the waterway was diverted and the dry riverbed was transformed into the huge lush green space that rests there today.
Valencia’s old Town is chock-full of picturesque squares, decorative cathedrals and fascinating museums, and you could easily spend a whole day meandering around the cobblestone laneways. Be sure to see valencia Cathedral, which houses what is believed to be the Holy Grail. The 15th-century Silk exchange, or La Lonja, is a beautiful example of late Gothic architecture. Head to the top floor of the national Ceramics Museum to see an example of a pretty valencian-tiled kitchen, before retiring to a cafe in one of the many squares for an afternoon vino.
Valencia is the birthplace of paella and the traditional recipe is a flavoursome mix of white rice, white and green beans, chicken, rabbit and snails. Take your time wandering around perusing menus, but remember that sometimes restaurants found away from busy squares offer cheaper – and often better – foodie fare. Tarin’s (Calle Caballeros 4) is a great option with an extensive menu and a lively atmosphere. The paella here is gigantic and most delicious.
valencia’s Central Market is a buzzy shopping precinct crammed with locals. Join the crowd and stock up on cheese and ham, then head over to one of the standing- room-only cafes for a traditional valencian snack – horchata and fartons. Horchata is a cold, sweet milky drink prepared using ground tiger nuts, while fartons are delectable sugar-dusted sponge cake biscuits.
Valencia is a coastal city, so it’s worth checking out one of the many nearby beaches. La Malvarrosa beach is a huge sandy stretch popular with city-slickers because of its proximity to the city. el Saler beach is a bit further south and usually less crowded. even further south but worth the half-hour drive is Sagunto beach, beside the Sagunto ancient Roman settlement, where you can explore ancient ruins before heading in for a dip.
A flamenco concert is a must-see! Its origins can be traced back to andalusia in southern Spain but is now seen all over the country. For a casual dinner before the show, find a hole-in-the-wall bar teeming with locals and order tapas and wine. Then, head to Cafe del Duende (cafedelduende.com, $15 entry) where you can watch flamenco performers up close in the small and intimate space. The shows are held Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 11pm and Sundays at 8pm.