For the several months I’ve been here now, I’ve been the one receiving recommendations for things to do in Valencia. Now, I’ve been here long enough to know the best places to see and it’s time to sell this great city to others. For those looking to study abroad, Valencia is the perfect place to do it. The city has a little bit of everything you may want in a study abroad experience including impressive European architecture, beautiful weather, and of course, the beach. Additionally, the many universities here make the city rife with students, making for a lively nightlife. And even if Valencia isn’t a spot you could see yourself studying abroad in, I think everyone who studies abroad in Europe should at least travel to Valencia for a few days.
There are many beautiful sites to see in the city of Valencia, but I am going to narrow it down to what I consider to be the top three things to see while here. First, is the Turia River bed. This beautiful park is what remains of what was once a river that separated the city of Valencia in two. The river overflowed 80 years ago and flooded the city, causing the people to divert the path of the river elsewhere. The aftermath of this effort was this extremely popular park, where thousands of people congregate every day. It probably takes roughly an hour to walk the length of this park, but every minute is filled with beautiful scenery. You can enjoy the numerous bridges that you walk under and the relaxing ponds you pass by as you walk towards the impressive modern architecture of the Arts & Sciences Museum and the Aquarium.
The second thing you must do if you come to Valencia is to walk around and explore the many plazas of the city. Sit down for a glass of Agua de Valencia or Sangria or grab a bite to eat at one of the many tapas restaurants. To name a few, La Plaza de Ayuntamiento, La Plaza Redonda, and La Plaza de la Reina are all very popular plazas among the people of Valencia, where many locals will go to hang out. As you sit down for a drink or something to eat in one of these plazas, you are often accompanied by gorgeous fountains and often entertained by street performers. If you are lucky enough to come to the city during the Fallas festival, these plazas are where the big monuments are, and often where the fireworks are shot off.
The last thing that you must do when you come to Valencia is enjoy the amazing beaches the city has to offer. As the city of Valencia is not extremely big, the beaches are never too far away. You can get to a beach in just 15 minutes from the city center. The golden sanded and blue watered beaches are very popular among the people of Valencia. You can see people out on the beach year round as the temperature never drops too low. A trip to Valencia is never complete without visiting the beach at least once.
As far as food goes in Valencia, you can’t go wrong basically anywhere you may go. Many of the items will be the same at most of the restaurants. A typical spanish restaurant will offer tapas such as what they call patatas bravas which is a potato dish with a delicious garlic mayo sauce. Another typical spanish tapa is calamari. The most common dish in Valencia is, of course, paella. This very popular rice dish originated in Valencia. There are several different kinds of paella offered but the most popular ones are paella valenciana which is made with chicken and rabbit, and seafood paella which is made with mussels, clams, shrimp, calamari, and other seafood. It would be a crime to come to Valencia without trying tapas and paella.