Whenever I’ve heard someone talk about Valencia I would always think of football, which I’m not a big fan of, so I never had a huge draw to the city as i didn’t think it would hold much for me. How wrong was I! This city is full, overflowing in history, architecture, culture, art and is a foodies paradise.
We arrived early afternoon and wandered through the back streets to the Plaza de Virgen where we were greeted with a scene out of a film set. The square was alive with groups of people waltzing under the back drop of the Cathedral of Santa Maria and Basílica de la Virgen de los Desamparados…just a random Sunday get together. We sat on the fountain that depicted Neptune surrounded by eight naked women, and marveld in what we were seeing, soaking it all in. The square has a massive sun shade that is pulled across on those scorching hot afternoons which also covers the cafes that surround the square. You can spend hours here just watching the world go by.
If you appreciate good street art (graffiti) this is a city for you. Peaking around every corner is some of the best street art I have seen. The graffiti here works so well with the city and it doesn’t take anything away from its beauty; but adding to it. The images are so beautifully done, you can’t help but stop and take it all in. From little ninjas jumping at you, a little girl fishing out of a paper boat, to a giant stencil of a mans face with noodles for a beard…it’s all here. We spent a day just getting lost in the back streets seeking out the next image.
Now onto one of the hi-lights for me and a not to be missed if you come to this amazing city; the Central Market Mercado Central ( central market). First I want to tell you about the outside of this building. Yes, it’s that amazing that it needs to be talked about! Known as one of the largest and oldest European markets, this wonderful piece of Art Nouveau architecture greets your senses with thousands of soulful tiles making up an amazing facade. It was designed by Catalan architects Alexandre Soler i March and Francesc Guàrdia i Vial between 1910 and 1928. It was finally open to public, with nearly a 1000 venders ranging from 1400-sqm fish market and another 6,760 square meters dedicated to all sorts of goods. This is a place you can spend an entire morning in. I recommend getting here early and having your breakfast as you watch the locals prepare for their day…you will not regret it!
The city is a real melting pot. You can find your high end cafes and restaurants to your arty cafes and cool gin & tonic bars. And, if your lucky enough, you will see midnight rollerbladers that wined their way around the city with their light up wheels leaving trails of light in their wake. This city really does offer a lot and I highly recommend staying a couple days if you’re passing by, you will be so happy that you did!