Second stop of our 2011 Spanish Road Trip: Valencia!
Valencia has a great old town feel with areas of modern flair. We arrived late after driving from Barcelona and enjoyed our unplanned stops along the way (Tarragona and Sagunto). Tarragona was a coastal beach destination south of Barcelona, and Saunto had a castle to stop and hike around. We checked into our private room with shared bathrooms at the Indigo Youth Hostel, which was an excellent, central location for sightseeing.
Las Torres de Cuart and Torres de Serrans
If you like to visit medieval architecture, then Las Torres de Cuart is for you. Built in the mid 1400s, these towers still stand today even though they do not protect the city of Valencia anymore. Climb to the top for views of the city.
Similar to the Las Torres de Cuart, the Torres de Serrans was the one of the other 12 entrances into Valencia. With great viewpoints of the city, we were able to take a few pictures. It had a castle-like feel to it and is more popular than Las Torres de Cuart.
Valencia Cathedral was built in the early 1200s and took a couple of centuries to finish. It is no wonder since its detail is exquisite. Take note of the visitor times when walking around the city to stop in and get a glimpse inside.
Jardines de la Glorieta
Enjoying a break from sightseeing, we relaxed in the Jardines de la Glorieta. Grabbing a bench and enjoying the shade from the unique looking ficus in the park. Along with shade and trees, the park has many statues and a fountain to enjoy.
Plaza de la Virgen and Plaza del Ayuntamiento
The Plaza de la Virgen has a wonderful fountain that doesn’t make you feel like you are in the middle of the city. The plaza dates back to the forum of the Roman era.
The Plaza del Ayuntamiento is unlike Plaza de la Virgen with its modern buildings, along with the Town Hall of Valencia. The plaza also has a fountain.
Jardi Botanic de la Universitat de Valencia
As its name suggests, this botanical garden is owned by the University of Valencia and dates back to the 16th century. A relatively cheap tourist site, the variety of the gardens are excellent. Our timing was a little premature of the spring bloom season. I enjoyed the local artists painting the gardens with pastels and watercolors. I was very impressed at their talent and perspectives.
Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències
The City of Arts and Sciences was extremely modern compared to what we have seen thus far in Spain. Even though we did not want to pay the admission price, we enjoyed walking around the outside and took in the features and landscape. It actually took awhile to even walk around the grounds of this museum. The bridge to get to the museum even aligned with the design. I experienced my first horchata outside of the museum and enjoyed it. Horchata is ground up hazelnuts that results in a milky texture beverage.
Chad and Andy continued to comment on how different the dialects were in Spain and had a hard time understand the Spanish. We ate at Banyan Bar Lounge & Grill and had a great conversation about the culture of Spain and the dialects and areas. He was an excellent chef and very personable. He even let us taste some of his experimental sauces he was planning on adding to his menu. If you are traveling on a budget, the Banyan Bar is worth the splurge.
After dinner, we wandered around to find places to enjoy drinks. We found one off the beaten path and sat in the corner while enjoying a drink. We then continued bar hopping and found a club where lots of people were dancing. We did not stay to dance because it was not really the guys’ scene. My favorite bar was Marrasquino. We found a table and conversed with the another couple that were living in Valencia temporarily.
Around Nuevo Centro, we found Bierwinkel Campanar to try our luck with the Spanish (and German) beer selection. This was one of the first places with a decent beer selection.
I could not get used to eating dinner so late. I think the jet leg and traveling all day made me extremely hungry. A normal time to eat was around 10 in the evening. We headed to Canela for a fancy meal. We drank Spanish wine with our meals of swordfish, duck, and pork tenderloins. The food was served for presentation and the taste and flavors did not disappoint.
What are your favorite Valencia attractions?
More in this series:
- Oh the Memories – Returning to Barcelona
- Spanish Architecture
- Traditional Paella in El Palmar
- The Alhambra
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