Most people are well aware of Barcelona’s appeal as one of the most visited cities in Europe but Valencia, also located on Spain’s east coast, has plenty to offer to the savvy traveler. The 2,000-year-old city has awesome sandy beaches, amazing architecture, a lively food scene and unique traditions, without the crowds found in other large Spanish cities.
Best Things To Do In Valencia
On the southern outskirts of the city, next to the sea, there is a palm tree plantation which has been used many times as a natural film location. It is one of the most spectacular green areas with waterfalls, ponds and flowerbeds showing a range of local flowers and plants.
Silk Exchange Building (La Lonja)
La Lonja is an emblematic building in the city of Valencia and one of the most famous Gothic civil architecture examples in Europe. A lot of the silk coming into Europe was being transported through North Africa, so Valencia was the perfect location to distribute it from Spain to the rest of the continent. The first stone of the building was laid in 1492, although the construction was started a year later. The main hall or Contract Hall is divided into three longitudinal naves by 24 spiral columns of 18 meters high each, simulating palm trees. In the original design, the ceiling vault was a strong blue color, where the stars were represented.
This Art Nouveau building from 1916 is a food market where you can find local ingredients, traditional Valencian products, and a wide range of cafes and restaurants where the finest ingredients are prepared by avant-garde chefs. You can also attend cookery classes, live music and culinary events.
La Tomatina Festival
La Tomatina or the tomato festival is a Spanish festivity celebrated in the town of Bunyol, Region of Valencia at the end of August, typically the last Wednesday of the month. The origin of the tradition of La Tomatina dates back to August 1945, when some youngsters from the crowd trying to take part in a parade, got a bit rowdy and began throwing tomatoes from a nearby stall at each other, until the local law enforcement intervened in this battle of vegetables and put an end to it. The following year, the same group of young people brought tomatoes from their homes and repeated the battle. This went on for several years, gaining considerable popularity and becoming a tradition of sorts. Today, visitors flock here from all over the planet ready to release the stress and tension built up over the year by throwing tomatoes at one another.
Las Fallas Festival
Las Fallas festival, which takes place in Valencia from 15th to the 19th of March every year, is undoubtedly one of those ‘super-festivals’ attracting many foreign visitors as well as Spanish tourists from all over the country. It all started back in the Middle Ages when carpenters used to hang up planks of wood in the winter for their candles when they were working. In spring these pieces of wood would be burned as a way of celebrating the end of dark, winter working days. After a while they began to put clothing on the wooden shapes and then started to try to make it identifiable with a well-known local personality. Today, the contemporary ‘ninots’, enormous cardboard, wooden or polyurethane ornate figures are constructed with care throughout the year only to be burnt the night of St. Joseph on March 19.