Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Best City in Spain - Valencia

Madrid and Barcelona are very popular with tourists, but a slightly less known big city is Valencia – the third largest city in Spain.

The size is just right, not overwhelming, but still enough to do with a good nightlife due to its large student population. Being on the coast it also has a great beach, and being further South than Madrid and Barcelona has a better climate!

If that wasn’t enough it has a great balance of old and new with the amazing city of arts and sciences designed by the internationally renowned architect Santiago Calatrava, currently building the Chicago Spire (which will be the tallest building in North America) and the World Trade Center Transportation Hub in New York City.

Let’s just say he is my favourite architect in the world after visiting Valencia. 

City of Arts and Sciences - Photo: Francis Shenstone
My favourite thing to do in Valencia was rent a bike for the day and cycle down what used to be the old river bed of the city and is now a park filled with sports fields and the incredible architecture of the City of Arts and Sciences.

You can normally gauge the beauty of a city spot by the amount of wedding pictures you see being taken their on a Saturday in the summer. I saw five wedding parties just outside one building; the “city” has six distinct and wonderful structures, so imagine how beautiful it is. Then to top it off, you can ride to the end of the river and reach the sea and more importantly the beach! 

With over 300 days of sunshine a year, the beach is very popular and I am very tempted to move to Valencia now.

So if you are going to visit somewhere in Spain outside of Barcelona and Madrid, I highly recommend Valencia, it’s cheaper too! 

Having been born in Spain, visited every year for 15 summers, lived and gone to school there for two years, and recently traveled for two months visiting all the major cities in Spain, I feel somewhat qualified to write about Spain. I also speak fluent Spanish as well which definitely helps. As a result I have seen more of Spain than most Spaniards, and have been to almost every city and all of the different provinces on the Spanish mainland and a few of the islands as well.

All of that to say, I know what I am talking about, now go visit Valencia :)

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