Spanish Valencia: the city through the eyes of a Russian tourist

Valencia in July through the eyes of a married couple

My husband and I fell in love with Spain a long time ago. Before going to Valencia, we had been to Barcelona and Mallorca. For our vacation we chose July, because this period is considered the most “beach”. The climate in Valencia in summer is hot, with little precipitation. The air temperature was kept within 30-35 degrees, but thanks to minimal humidity we easily tolerated high temperatures. If you haven’t booked a transfer from the airport, you can easily get to the center by cab (cost within 2 euros per landing and further 1 euro per kilometer) or by bus. You can also rent a car, for this you need to show an international driver’s license.

Problems with the choice of housing you will not have, because in Valencia has a large selection of hotels, inns, hostels and even camping. The main principle is the closer to the center and the attractions, the more expensive. Thus it is recommended to settle on the outskirts of the city, and the municipal transport for a modest fee will be able to take you to all corners of Valencia. There are also a number of picturesque villages with inns and private villas within easy reach. Valencia is very rich in interesting sights. And the city itself is very picturesque. There are a lot of architectural monuments, which are mainly located in the old part of town. Valencia often hosts a variety of festivals and street fiestas. You can also visit the amusement park “Matica”, it will be interesting for both children and adults. The Oceanographic Center and the Mestalla Stadium, where the local soccer team plays. And of course, what is Spain without bullfighting and flamenco? The latter can be seen in many cafes in the city. The cost of the show is 8-10 euros per person, sometimes the price of admission ticket includes one free drink. I recommend to take seats for flamenco in advance, there are a lot of those wishing to see it. Valencia is considered a major center of beach tourism. The beach area is divided into three districts: Costa Blanca, Costa Azaar and Costa Valencia. All these beach areas are characterized by excellent infrastructure and service. The beaches are free, but if you want to rent beach equipment, it is worth paying. Valencia is famous for water activities: diving, scrolling, windsurfing and surfing. And also on the beaches you can rent jet skis and boats, there are water slides and trampolines for children. On the waterfront there are many cafes and restaurants. Food in Spain is a special cult, and Valencia is no exception. Here you will be fed with delicious meat dishes, fish and vegetable variations. In the bars you can try a variety of snacks to go with your drink. Many cafes have set lunches that will allow you to save money. In Valencia, be sure to try jamón, paella, local cheeses, morsilla and chorizo. Of drinks, Spain is famous for its wines, sherry and cider. You can try them here and bring them as a gift. Valencia will surprise you with its local shopping. The shopping is colorful and original. Buy ceramics, colorful rugs and blankets, leather accessories and gold or silverware from the local merchants. Close to Valencia is Mallorca and from there you can buy quality pearls. Valencia is a resort that has managed to combine the ancient and the modern. Here will be interesting and connoisseurs of architecture and fans of fiery dancing until dawn. A wide variety of family entertainment makes the resort suitable for families and holidays with children. It was nice to discover something new about Spain, because Valencia is authentic and original.

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A trip to Valencia is something to behold! I advise anyone who will be in Spain to visit this city. It is probably the only place where it is not boring to go on excursions. A lot of things to see, the Fortress of Chativa, thermal springs, the Cathedrals. My husband and I on the last day in Spain, just came into town, not much time to see, my eyes were running wild. We found a guide at Myvalencia.ru and galloped around the city. Hopefully, we will come back here again to visit other places that we did not have time to see.

Valencia. Debut

Valencia is a city on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, combining cultural and beach activities. And April is the month of tourist “awakening”, when there are not yet all-consuming crowds in the city streets. On the plus side, Valencia has not yet reached the level of popularity among tourists like Barcelona or Madrid. Combined with the unobtrusive heat in the middle of the day and the coolness in the evening, the option of visiting Valencia was the perfect way out of the “where to go on vacation” debate for us.

In preparation for the trip, I boldly rejected all travel agency options – I wanted maximum discretion and choice. Booking apartments and buying plane tickets I made at New Year holidays, and after making up my mind I started planning the route. We were in Valencia for 10 days, and we wanted to experience as much as possible. It was this desire that was decisive in finding a place to stay. Of course, to visit a city by the sea and not at least visit the beach, even more offensive, but I was fascinated by the architecture of the old city, and therefore we lived in the vicinity of the center, where all the major attractions are concentrated. In this respect, Valencia is a very compact city: everything is within walking distance of each other – the Cathedral with the Michelet Tower, and the Central Market, opposite the Silk Exchange, the Torres de Cuart gate a little way, the bullring and a lot of museums on the way. But I’ll start in order.

We arrived at the airport in the middle of the day and headed straight to the city center. We expected to go by subway – a significant plus, because the station is located directly at the airport, and convenient – it takes only a few minutes to get to the center of Valencia, but almost just before departure, we changed plans, and we were met by a Russian-speaking guide, Dmitry by car, which greatly simplified our movement. I think the drive took us about 15 minutes, no more than that; we got to the apartment almost instantly. Quickly dumping bags and throwing off our clothes, we went for a walk and a grocery store. I found out beforehand where the nearest one was – “Mercadona” was literally in 5 minutes walking from the house. It was Saturday, and we had no problem picking up a basket full. On Sunday, we would sadly turn around and go chew on the providentially brought with us for a “rainy day. BP is a non-working day (as is Monday, which will turn out later). However, on Monday we found another supermarket, Dialpricks. It’s not as big as Mercadona, but it’s always open.

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But before that, we had an event scheduled, a soccer game. Valencia vs. Sevilla. Before hitting the road to the stadium (we decided not to use transport but to walk and admire the beauty of Valencia), in the morning we explored the old city. We went to the Queen’s Square, to the Cathedral to see the Holy Grail – Easter was celebrated in style, and in honor of the holiday, entry was free. On the other side of the cathedral we found the archaeological museum (built on the ruins of an ancient city) and also freely managed to look through the exposition. In general, on Sunday in Valencia, many museums can be visited for free, although on a weekday the cost of admission rarely exceeds 3 euros.

So we headed to the Mestalla. On the way we admired the beauties of the city – the north station, the bullring, the Turia Gardens! You can walk around them endlessly. But we were on our way to a soccer game. A crowd of fans stormed the stadium, and the mounted police kept order. Despite the fact that we arrived early, the whole area around the stadium was buzzing, all the nearby cafes were busy, we got a little confused and just watched the scene, anticipating the spectacle of Spanish soccer (I’m not a fan, but I was madly curious to see everything and could not miss it).

Let into the stands began about an hour before kickoff. By the way, we did not have our camera with us – we were afraid that they would not let us in at the entrance, but they almost did not check us. We went up the spiral staircase and easily found our seats. It was only here that we realized how scorching the sun can be in April in Valencia. In the city, among the narrow streets and shadows, it is practically invisible, but once out in the open, we were already burnt by the end of the first half. And that’s the main lesson that soccer taught us. The match ended 0-0, and that’s all I can say about what I saw, but that’s not the main thing – you always, must and everywhere need a hat. At the very least. And covered clothes in a suitcase.

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We were surprised that all Spaniards are dressed very warm – jeans, windbreakers, sneakers. A minimum of open things. And we came – from the north – in shorts and T-shirts. Thus, one half of the body tanned, we giggled at each other, watched the weather, and decided, in order to even out the tan, to go to the beach.

We took a bus from the city center to the main beach of Malvarossa. In the morning we bought at a newsstand a local Mobilis card for ten trips for 10.5 euros (more advantageous than the single trip for 1.5). It was not so easy to explain with the saleswoman: they rarely speak English in the city, mostly only in Spanish. However, in half an hour we were already renewing the purchase on the bus number 2. To pay the fare, just put the card to the panel at the driver (one can pass by two, in this case, apply 2 times); to exit, press the red button on the handrail. The trip to the beach took about 40 minutes, but in that time the morning clouds in the sky just had time to clear. In general, I noticed that in the morning and in the evening the sky is kind of hazy, and by about 11 hours it cleared up completely. The air temperature during the day at this time was about 20 degrees, water temperature +17. Certainly, cool, but how not to swim!

The beaches in Valencia are the widest, and people are sunbathing at this time, but only a few swimmers. My curiosity overcame my fear, and I climbed into the water. The entry to the sea is very gentle, I never found a point where my feet no longer reach the bottom. However, this did not stop me from splashing around and just enjoying the sea. I was afraid to stay in the water for a long time not to catch cold, I covered my head with a scarf, having learned from bitter experience with soccer. In spite of this, we bathed twice each and, satisfied, went home the same way. But before we got on the bus, we had to wander a bit. We wanted to walk along the beach, look at the port, look at the people, kites; maybe have lunch in a beach cafe (in April they were full to bursting, the lines were pretty long – probably because of the day off: it was Easter Monday, but of course! What we didn’t consider was that, for the most part, traffic in Valencia is one-way, and stops in the opposite direction are on other streets.

The next day I looked at myself in the mirror and was horrified – my forehead was completely burned, swollen and blistered. So I’m not afraid, probably never in my life. And on that day we planned an excursion out of town! As harmful as in Valencia, the sun had not affected me anywhere else: yes, we miscalculated with the sun at soccer, on the beach it was windy, the sun was almost not felt (again), but I covered my head! There was no time to think about it, I wrapped my scarf around my maximum again, applied sunscreen, and we hit the road. It was early, the morning was cool and clear and we visited the Roman aqueduct near Valencia! Such a nature that takes your breath away! The beauties are indescribable, the mountains, the trees! In a word, I forgot about my forehead. But when I came back, I didn’t recognize myself-the swelling had gone down, and one eye was half-closed. The vacation time was continually flowing away, there was a whole list of unvisited places ahead, and I had to fight the disease…

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If bathing in the sea, I was afraid of catching a cold, I could not think of such a thing! I spent the whole next day at home, unable to open my eyes. We called the number given to us out of hopelessness. I have to give them credit, in the promised hour the insurers found a doctor, and in another half an hour he rang the intercom of the apartment. By some miracle we understood each other, he administered two injections and I physically felt my eyes opening. The diagnosis: sun allergy. For the appointment we paid 70 euros, but we didn’t get a receipt from the doctor – as we were told later by the insurance (they called to inquire about the quality of the service provided), sunburn cases are not covered by the insurance, and the insurance company is not reimbursed. I didn’t care. The main thing was that it was getting easier.

I was not able to go outside until the evening of the next day, wearing sunglasses. The weather, however, played by our rules and the sun did not let the clouds out, it even rained a little. My husband bought me a hat with big brim for 30 euros, and my mood slowly improved. The swelling from my eyes went to my cheeks, every day in the mirror I saw a different person. But I took the will in the fist and, having contacted Dmitry (he helped us a lot, both in case of illness and with leisure time), I decided to go on another excursion.

We had planned to visit Lake Albufera on our own by shuttle bus, but now we had very little time left, and I decided not to save money. We drove to Albufera with Dimitri and took a boat trip on the lake (4 euros per person). The guide said something in Spanish, but I just enjoyed the nature. Today I closed to the maximum – long sleeve, pants, hat and glasses. After we went to the town of Culera to visit the pirate museum (it turns out that in the 16th century, the coast was attacked by Turkish pirates!) and enjoy the beautiful views of the sea. Well, at the end of the tour we had a real Valencian paella at a restaurant in the village of El Palmar. As for cafes, in Valencia, they are at every step – literally. There are a lot of bakeries with enticing kinds of ruddy pastries, but we could never decide to sit down in the middle of the street, where there is a constant stream of cars on one side and people on the other, and try something. But there is no shortage of customers in the cafes – the tables are busy from early morning and work, mostly until late at night. Well, we confined ourselves to paella in a wonderful place in pleasant company.

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Vacation was inexorably coming to an end, and we allocated a day to visit the city of arts and sciences. We also took an early morning walk through the gardens of Turia. It took us about half an hour to walk from the city center to the futuristic compositions of Santiago Calatrava. We chose to visit the Oceanographic Museum and the Prince Philip Science Museum (the cost is better if taken together, we can visit on different days). But we had no time left: having been on Oceanografic, having trampled all our feet, we did not have enough energy for the Philip museum, so we did not quite understand it, we ran about half an hour, took some photos and went down to the cafe on the first floor of the complex – we were very hungry. It might be worth taking dry rations with us, there are small snack bars on the grounds of Oceanographic, but despite our hunger, we didn’t dare splurge on dubious-looking sandwiches. In the Philip Museum there is a cafe of Italian cuisine, we got pasta for 12 euros (the portion was huge and we had enough for one plate for two) and two beers for 3 – something you need after such a long walk: the Oceanographic is impressive in both scale and content.

Oceanographic Museum. Puffy Cheeks. We took an audio guide – you have to leave a deposit of 5 euros and an ID. We left 10 and a copy of our passport. We were given two)

The last day was on Sunday, and we were happy to take the opportunity to visit the museums for free. The Ceramics Museum is gorgeous, the Silk Exchange is majestic, the Torres de Cuart is austere and powerful. We also climbed the Micaylet Tower of the Cathedral (cost 2 euros any day), left all the strength – the climb is not easy, the stairs are steep and narrow, we were a little unprepared for such an ordeal. The view opens to the whole city, but a little blurred because of the stretched mesh. At Queen Square we tried orchata, a local drink. Very unusual taste! Agreed in the opinion that something like carrot juice.

I left with regret: Valencia certainly leaves an indelible mark, a sea of impressions, despite the difficulties. The narrow streets, medieval charm, orange trees in the streets, a very bright and cheerful city. A must visit!

P. S. On the day of departure for the first time I saw in the mirror completely my face, at the passport control passed without problems! =)))

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