Valencia Holiday - sites and experiences you shouldn't miss...
Planning your Valencia Holiday is made easier by the availability of cheap flights to Valencia. Below is some background information of sites and experiences that hopefully will be of benefit to your Valencia holiday...
Situated on the eastern coast of Spain, Valencia is a historic city that blends both touristic infrastructure and honest working-class flavour. A city of 1.6 million inhabitants, it is well-known for its very active port, among the most busy on the Mediterranean, providing a point of export for its textiles, furniture, ceramic tiles, and its famous oranges.
A modern city, its economy is largely based on small and medium sized industry, well-supplemented by a burgeoning tourist and construction sector. However underneath this sheen of commerce and industry, there is a core of tradition and history from which Valencia’s charm derives.
Valencia Holiday - a unique culture
Valencia is a bilingual city (Spanish is spoken along with Valencian) and region, one of the liveliest spots in all of Spain. Established by the Romans in 137 BC on the foundations of a pre-existing Iberian town, Valencia has gone through numerous occupations by Visigoths, Moors, Aragonians, as well as its famous conquering by El Cid in the late 11th Century. With the coming of the 15th and 16th century, Valencia developed into one of the major Mediterranean cities, famous for both trade and the humanities.
If this was the most glorious period in Valencia’s history, surely the worst period was during and immediately after the Spanish Civil War; during this period, reconstruction was necessary following the war, Franco smothered the speaking of Valencian, and a disastrous flood occurred in 1957.
Valencia Holiday - touristic development
Nevertheless, Valencia has enjoyed a resurgence in the last decades of the 20th Century and into the 21st. Through industrialization and hardship, beautiful sites have endured, and indeed there is throughout the city a preeminence of aesthetic detail. The mild climate allows for tourists to walk through its mazy streets through most of the year, and anytime of the year is a good one for your Valencia holiday. Walking through the historic core is relaxing and beautfiul,with the ancient Barrio del Carmen containing many beautiful examples of Arabic and Roman buildings.
Churchs and Cathedrals are evident showing evidence of Gothic, Baroque, and Romanesque styles. Notably, La Longa de la Seda, the remarkable silk exchange built in a Gothic style, has been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. Additionally there is the presence of more modernist touches in the Mercado Central and Estación Del Norte, the primary railway station of the town. Perhaps the most well-known building however, is Santiago Calatrava’s impressive City of Arts and Sciences, a complex that definitely bridges Valencia’s past with the future.
Valencia Holiday - food and festivals
Much more than mere architecture, Valencia is an ebullient place of festivities and gastronomy. Valencia is often talked about as “Spain’s vegetable garden” , a reference to the fruits and vegetables which seem to grow here so plentifully. The markets of the town provide the produce of the outlying area to tourists and local alike, along with fresh fish and meat. ‘Paella Valenciana’ is the famous dish that comes from this region and city, a variable mixture of vegetables, different types of meat and fish, and rice, fried up in large pans.
Apart from this there is a wide assortment of desserts and pastries available, with the Valencian specialty of sugared pumpkin worth a try. Indeed, Valencia is almost spoiled with its large harvests, and nowhere is this ever more apparent than in the annual Tomatina festival, which is essentially the world’s largest tomato fight. The other major festivity of the city is even more spectacular, the Fallas festival in March, is centered around the creation of large papier-mâché sculptures that are stuffed with gunpowder and exploded in outrageous fashion, in the daily Mascleta.
The festival runs for two weeks, an energetic and cacophonous period of local competition, historical and religious processions, ongoing pyrotechnics, loud brass, fife, and drum music, political satire, and very very little sleep. It is such a tradition that even a whole section of the town, the Ciutat fallera, is devoted to this annual celebration.
Renting a Car in Valencia
This festival alone marks Valencia as a unique travel destination, but overstressing just this one event ignores the wealth of activities available. Having a hired car affords you with the ability to navigate this city as well as its environs; you can make your holiday more than just a Valencia holiday and explore the coast and the interior around the city. Travel up and down the coast or more inland to explore Aragon or visit nearby Elche, but be mindful that in the city, the signage can sometimes be confusing.
Street names can sometimes be labelled in Valencian and sometimes in Spanish, or sometimes in both. This is because there is a protectionist policy to language that has new streets be printed in the native dialect, while older signs are printed in Spanish. However, once you are used to this, you will find that seeing Valencia partially by car allows for comfortable appreciation of this fine city.
In what ever way you wish to experience your Valencian holiday, make sure you enjoy it...
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