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PLEASE DON'T MISS
· Take a walk through the Río Túria - once a river and now, since a great flood in the 1950's a glorious park.
· BioParc, at the top of the Río, one of the world's newest and best zoos.
· Oceanográfic, at the bottom of the Río, next to, and part of the City of Arts & Sciences, one of the best Aquariums in Europe.
· Take in a gallery or museum - there are 28 in the city, free entry on Sunday, but all closed on Monday. IVAM for Modern art, Bellas Artes for fine art.
· Palacio de Marques de Dos Aguas, a joyous baroque and rococo masterpiece which houses the National Ceramics Museum. Its front door is a marvel.
HOT SHOPPING TIPS!
· Start your day either as early as possible, bearing in mind most shops open at 10 a.m., Avoid the crowds, hit the big chain stores between 2p.m. and 5p.m. when everyone else is having lunch or siesta-ing. Smaller stores, however do close at these times, so take this into account when planning your day.
· If Air conditioned indoor shopping centres are your thing, we recommend Centro Comercial El Saler, opposite the City of Arts and Sciences (CAC) or on the other side of CAC, Aqua and the new El Corte Inglés.
· It can be hot here! As you shop you may not realise how dehydrated you are getting. Make sure you stop and drink plenty of water – bottled water is as cheap as chips All over Valencia you will find little quioscos (kiosks) that sell everything from sweeties and chewing gum to magazines and newspapers - and of course that all important Agua!
· Fuencarral is a new designer shopping centre, Some big names are the including Adidas and Mango Accessories, but there are some excellent one offs such as our current favourite Spabrus, selling great original clothes, jewelry shoes and accessories. Upstairs are bars and restaurants and DJs play the latest grooves.
· Lladró, the fine porcelain that is collected all over the world, has its home just outside of the city. You can tour the factory and visit the factory shop by signing up on their website, lladro.es - or visit their flagship store in C/Poeta Querol
· As you are wandering around the town, don't forget to look up! Some of Spain's most beautiful architecture is here, and the tops of many of the buildings are adorned with turrets, towers and even dragons!
Valencia is a great city.
Although it is Spain's third city, unlike its big sisters, Madrid and Barcelona, it is compact, manageable and great to get around if you are visiting for the first time. You just need to know the basic layout. The city centre, which includes the Centro Historico, is bordered on three sides by the Gran Vias- lovely tree-lined avenues, and on the fourth by the Río Turía, the park that was once a river (more on this later). Across the river is access to the port and the beaches of Valencia.
Valencia is a city of contradictions and contrasts, particularly in its architecture - Ancient and modern stand side by side -usually to great effect. There are stunning examples of both, La Lonja, Mercado Central, The Ayuntamiento and Post Office on the one hand and The City of Arts and Sciences, The New Law Courts and the Velas i Vents buildings on the other.
We mentioned the Río Turía previously and this is an excellent and somewhat surprising example of forward thinking town planning on a massive scale. The Río Turía was made in to a park in the 1950's after a devastating flood burst the river banks and destroyed much of the city. Valencia built a new river bed (flood channel) away from the city diverting the ancient river to the new. The city decreed that the old river should become a park 'for all time' and it now winds its way down 10 kilometres of gardens, fountains, running tracks, sports grounds, children's playgrounds, cafés, wild areas, woods, a Music Palace, Opera house, Science Park, Oceanarium and all the original bridges (and some new), making Valencia one of Southern Europe's Greenest Cities.
So here is thisisvalencia.com's guide to the city -
SIGHTSEEING AND GETTING AROUND THE CITY
Valencia Bus Turistic
THE CITY TOUR, stopping at all the main sites including The City of Arts and Sciences, unfortunately, it doesn´t go to the new and improved port area but we will tell you how to get there later.
ALBUFERA (Valencia's rice paddies) and includes a boat trip across the waters, both routes are 12€
By EMT, the local bus:
Trams: depart from the Pont de Fuster and will take you down to the beach or out to the north of the city .
Metro: Excellent and frequent services all over the city and to the Airport.
Taxis: Relatively cheap, and plentiful most of the time.
With a guide, contact us here if you would like details
Our columnist, Barbara O'Neill wrote very briefly about the Casa Museo Benlliure in a recent column here on Thisisvalencia.com. She was quite moved and impressed by the visit and hasn't stopped talking about it since. So we have asked her to add it as a full lngth piece to our Explore Valencia section - here it is, and she is right it is well worth a visit.
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