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Valencia is a charming old city and the capital of the Old Kingdom of Valencia province of Spain that is well worth a visit.
Summer — Like most European countries, August is a slow month as many of the residents are on vacation. At this time of year Valencia is extremely hot and humid with temperatures averaging between 30-40°C (86—104°F).
Autumn — September and October are more active months and the weather permits beach outings. Pavement cafes are still open until around the end of October.
Winter — Though temperatures are still relatively mild, it's too cold to sunbathe at the beach.
Spring — A lovely time to visit. The annual "Fallas de San José" unofficially marks the beginning of spring. Cafes and restaurants open their terraces and life spills out onto the street once again.
Valencia's official languages are Valencian/Catalan, and Spanish. In the capital of Valencia, which is the third largest city in Spain, not many people speak Valencian and are not offended if addressed in Spanish. English speaking skills of the locals can be hit or miss. Hardly anyone over 35 speaks English, and most would obviously prefer being addressed at first in Spanish or Valencian. French may be spoken or understood by some.
Valencia Airport (VLC) is 9 km from the city center. The bus (Metrobus) to Plaza de Espana departs every 25 minutes and takes about 30-40 minutes. The bus stop is a bit hidden, only a small sign in front of the parking lot at the level of the arrivals.
A taxi ride form the airport to Calle de La Paz, which is in the heart of the historic city centre and covering a distance of approximately 11km.
Valencia is served by Iberia, Lufthansa, SAS Scandinavian Airlines, AirFrance, AirBerlin, TuiFly, Ryanair, Transavia, Vueling, and several other airlines.
Many trains come from Madrid, Barcelona (eg: Euromed or ARCO), and many other cities. The main train station, Estacion del Norte, is in the center of the city, near the Town Hall.
The national train company is RENFE. The tickets can be booked online. The cheap tourist class tickets are often sold out, so economical travellers should book their tickets some couple of days in advance.
There are also many buses coming from almost every big city in Spain and most of the cities in the Valencia region. The bus station is located by the river in Valencia, about a 15 minutes walk from the center.
Direct ferry routes exist between Valencia and Ibiza, Palma de Mallorca, and Mahon.
For train and bus transport it is possible to buy bonos in kiosks and tobacco shops. Both Bonobus and Bonometro allow for 10 rides.
Aside from going to the beach and the City of Arts and Sciences, exploring the hub of the city requires no public transportation. Much of this city can be done walking, stopping for a coffee or a beer, and then walking more, all very leisurely.
What to see
City of Arts and Science, Avda. Autopista del Saler, nº 5 - 46013 Valencia. Very interesting. It is located where the old river Turia used to flow and over there you will find a Science Museum, a Planetarium, an IMAX cinema, an Aquarium and, the Arts Museum.
Valencia Cathedral. A curious cathedral with doors from three distinct architectural periods. The building as a whole, though mostly Gothic, has collected over the centuries some Renaissance, Baroque and Neo-Classical elements.
The La Lonja de la Seda - This building is the site of the ancient local silk trade. It is also a UNESCO landmark and has recently been refurbished.
The Mercat Central — Located in an aging "modernist" building in the process of being renovated. See how the locals shop for food and buy some fantastic fresh produce, meat, or olives.
Walk along the old Tùria river bed, now a park with soccer and rugby fields, an artificial boating lake, athletics track, playgrounds, fountains, and trails. This massive elongated park spans many neighborhoods and ends at the City of Arts and Sciences. Abundant bike paths make it an ideal place to get in a little exercise and sun.
Valencian History Museum. A museum full of artifacts and multimedia presentations detailing the history of Valencia from its birth in the Roman era all the way to the modern times. Easily reachable by metro, near the Nou d'Octubre station.
What to do
There are several city beaches, and three major beaches outside of Valencia.
Playa de Malvarrosa and Playa e Levante o de la arenas are the most popular city beaches, just north of the port. To get there, take the metro or tram to Eugenia Vines or Arenas station, or take the metro to Maritim Serreria and continue with the tram to Neptu.
El Saler is the nicest and best developed beach near Valencia. Devesa is undeveloped and has nice surroundings. At Devesa and Playa Pinedo there are nudist sections. These beaches are located south of the port.
The hot spring is located 90km north of Valencia in a region known for its mountains, deep gorges and scenic nature. The crystalline waters of the lagoon bubble up from the earth at a temperature of 25ºc all year round. This place well known by the locals is still undiscovered by most travellers. The story goes that the hot spring was the preferred bathing and relaxation site for a Moorish king´s harem. The water was said to keep his women young and beautiful. Dip into the water for a swim and explore the lagoon snorkeling, see the fish around you and discover the hidden caves.