Valencia © Turespaņa
Valencia was founded by the ancient Romans in 137 BC
and has been pillaged, burned, and besieged numerous times by
various conquerors since. But vivacious Valencia has nevertheless
sailed into the second millennium as a sophisticated, modern
A favoured location for the America's Cup yacht race,
Valencia is situated on the Mediterranean coast about four hours
south of Barcelona. The city is spread out around its busy port and
backed by hills which give way to the plains of Aragon.
Valencia oozes traditional character, particularly in
its old town (El Carmen), and has retained its cultural heritage
not only in the form of medieval architecture but also in its
quirky, exuberant festivals like the Battle of the Flowers, the
fireworks of Fallas, and even one dedicated to tomato-hurling.
The Valencians even have their own language.
Interspersed with the old and historic, however, there is much that
is new in Valencia, including its major attraction, the seemingly
futuristic City of Arts and Sciences, which draws around four
million appreciative visitors each year.
Outdoors, it is hard to beat the golden beaches which
fan out from the port along the coast, and the sprawling city
offers plenty of green parks for strolling, cycling, or simply
lolling on a bench to get your breath back after indulging in the
vibrant life of the city.
Football is a local passion, and fans should not miss
the atmosphere at one of the carnival-like Valencia FC home
matches. When night falls, dine on paella, which originated here,
and then hit the town, because Valencia is renowned for its lively
collection of bars and clubs.