Just over 800,000 people call Valencia – on Spain’s east coast and at the mouth of the Turia River – home. The city, founded in 138BC by the Romans and now the third largest in the country, is bursting with museums and galleries, while the historic old town shows off its past.
Some consider the 15th century to be its heyday, as one of the components parts of the Crown of Aragon, but modern-day Valencia – as a popular tourist destination and charming city – should not be underestimated.
The Valencia passenger terminal is located approximately 6km from the city centre, so passengers will need to seek out public transport, unless they have shuttles organised by their cruise line.
The Port of Valencia has two berths, of 395m and 379m, with facilities such as restaurants and gift shops. Access to the terminal from the ship is through an elevated walkway.
The port has also recently introduced a pilot test for a bike rental service, consisting of 10 electric bikes, as part of the European SUMPORT project. The bikes will be recharged via solar energy.
NEED TO KNOW
Take the sun lotion to Valencia, as average temperatures for July and August are around 30°. Winter also stays relatively warm.
The main shopping streets are Colón, Poeta Querol, Don Juan de Austria, Jorge Juan, Cirilo Amorós and La Paz, although those who want something a little more off-beat should try the Barrio del Carmen neighbourhood and the Tapinería Market.
Valencia has a relatively flat terrain, making it suitable for walking, but the city also has an extensive public transport network, including a metro system in the city centre.
WHAT WE LOVE
City of Arts and Sciences (CAC): This scientific and cultural leisure complex is regularly touted as one of the ‘must-sees’ in Valencia, and in truth, it’s easy to see why, if nothing else because of the breadth of activities on offer. The buildings, designed by Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava, have quickly become iconic in the city. CAC is home to the Oceanogràfic, Europe’s biggest aquarium with approximately 500 different species; The Hemisfèric, a digital 3D cinema with a 900m concave screen; and The Umbracle, an open-access garden, among other attractions.
Old town: Learn about Valencian history in the old town, with delights such as the Silk Exchange, a stunning piece of Gothic civil architecture; the Water Tribunal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; Catedral De Valencia, a cathedral built on the site of a Roman temple; and the Central Market, a great place for fresh produce.
Marina: On the other hand, not everyone wants to spend their time trekking through the streets; instead they would rather relax on the beach with a drink in hand. In Valencia, this type of entertainment finds a home at the Marina and nearby beaches. Arenas beach is just outside the city centre, while La Malvarrosa is located to the north.
Cabecera Park: In west Valencia is Cabecera Park, one of the most extensive areas of greenery in the city. It also includes the Bioparc zoo, which has 150 different species of animals and has been designed to recreate the ecosystem of Africa. The Bioparc is divided into four areas: the Savannah; baobab forest, which is home to a dozen elephants; the island of Madagascar; and the forests of Equatorial Africa.
- Sell the rich culture
- Plenty to see and do with limited time
- A mix of city and beach life