Endless grey clouds and hardly any winter. That was Belgium during the last months. The idea of taking a trip for a few days to a sunny destination sounded very tempting.
Valencia is a fabulous place to discover! Together with its mild climate, this city offers a nice balance between the city life and nature.
The ‘Jardines del Turia’ form the green lung of the city. Nowadays the old riverbed is a giant garden where locals stroll, bike or do their morning workout. The historical district, Barrio del Carmen, is a hive of narrow streets with a lot of churches & restored houses. The impressive thing about Valencia is, that you don’t see ugly buildings.
We were fortunate to participate to Fallas, the popular festival of San José. The festivities were taking place in the different districts although the daily set off of fireworks in the town hall square attracted many people. Even on a Monday afternoon the square was packed (fireworks during daytime are weird, instead of a black backdrop, it’s a blue one).
Already early in the morning people take seat to have their perfect spot to see the fireworks
Not a lot to see but lots of noise
Anyway, we were hosted in the B&B 7 MOONS, one block away the Turia gardens, in the middle of the city. Great location, super service! The day of arrival, we followed the crowds of people and ended up at the Mercado Colón. In this charming covered market wine stalls, flower shops & tapas restaurants are located. Then we hit the old town. The beauty of historical architecture & trees in the streets amazed us. It looked perfect. The cathedral is a massive construction but the surrounding squares with the basilica look like a fairytale. We ended our walk at the Museum of Fine Arts. After the Prado, this museum hosts the most important painting collection in Spain. Before going back to our hotel, we enjoyed the sunset from the Royal Gardens.
One of our favourite spots in Mercado Colón
Kids & adults having fun with firecrackers at the entrance of the Fine Arts Museum. During the Fallas festival everywhere you see kids having fun with firecrackers in the streets.
Plaza de la Virgen starring the Basilica and the Cathedral
Conjunto Catedralicio in the distance
Gotto love the street art you see everywhere. What a great way to embellish ugly parts of a street
At night we went to the Russafa district, the new trendy area with a lot of bars & small restaurants. On our way there we heard music, got off track (as usual) and ended up at a folk dance with live music. Men & women dressed in typical costumes, dancing and playing their castanets. Then we crossed another square full of people waiting for something to happen. After ten minutes a light show started. Pretty nice but not to compare with the Light Festival in Ghent. Finally we had tapas for dinner accompanied by a great glass of wine.
Public places such as the Main Post office & the Railway Station are major sights worth visiting. With their stained glass and stunning tiles telling numerous stories, they make rather dull buildings attractive. On the second day of our stay we also passed by the Mercado Central, a lively space where the local delicatessen are sold, and the MUVIM which stands for Museum of Contemporary Art. Of course we made time for coffee breaks on a sunny terrace & got lost just by following streets that aren’t mentioned on the map. This is the way we discovered a historic tower called Torres de Quart, IVAM Museum of Modern Art. After a beautiful vegetarian lunch at the Ana Eva restaurant, we visited the Botanical Gardens of Valencia. We dreamed of even more exotic destinations just by seeing special species of palm trees and ferns. That evening we even had dinner outside.
Wouldn’t you like to drop your letter in these post boxes?
Beautiful interior @ the Railway Station
Picture perfect trees match the buildings. Or is it the other way around?
Greetje @ The Botanical Garden
We wanted to see the beach so we rented bikes to get there. We followed the Turia gardens and passed the cultural & leisure site called the City of Arts & Siences. This amazing range of futuristic buildings were designed by Santiago Calatrava (for Belgians: the same architect as the Belgian railway station Liège-Guillemins).
We rented our bikes @ Senati Bikes.
The beach of Las Arenas was deserted, it was too cold for the locals to come out.
Drinks @ A TU Aire beach bar
On our last night out in Valencia we went for the famous Paella Valenciana. Full but satisfied we easily found our way back to the B&B.
Thank you Véronique for being my perfect travel mate as usual!
Don’t leave Valencia without having an Aqua Valencia. A good place to try it is on the sunny terrace of the famous Sant Jaume café.
Text: Greet Van Maele
Information about Valencia: www.visitvalencia.com
Already looking forward to our next trip!
Greet Van Maele works as a Production Manager at Concertgebouw in Bruges. This talented active girl introduced me (Véronique) long ago to backpacking. She loves culture, yoga, travelling and is an excellent cook. Not to forget she is one of our dearest friends.