Spain’s third-largest city is an industrialized conurbation on the Moors (who seized it back from Spanish national hero El Cid). Valencia Spain was finally retaken by James 1 of Aragon in 1238. Thereafter it became one of the Mediterranean’s major cities, with considerable influence over the development of Spain – for example, it was Valencian merchants who funded Queen Isabella’s sponsorship of the historic voyage undertaken by Christopher Columbus in 1492. Here Valencia Spain Travel Guide for you…
The city’s busy port of El Grao and Holiday beaches are away from the city centre, which is surrounded by extensive suburbs. But the heart of the old city still beats within its bustling modern counterpart, offering plenty of original character on Plaza de la Reina, which used to be the town square.
The fine Cathedral (completed in the 15th century) is mainly Gothic. The octagonal bell tower is a city landmark, offering the best view of Valencia Spain for those who brave its 207 steps. There are numerous splendid churches and the Lonja de la Seda (silk exchange) of 1498 is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It, too boasts a good viewing tower (only 144 steps!). the winding streets of the Barrio del Carmen contain many ancient buildings, and it remains a lively centre of everyday Valencian life.
There is also much to like about the Valencia Spain that grew up outside the old city walls (now demolished), with its broad avenues and striking modern architecture, notably the amazing City of Arts and Sciences by celebrated local architect Santiago Calatrava that attracts four million visitors annually. But before leaving this thoroughly modern place, spare a thought for local teacher Cayetano Ripoli. He was the infamous Spanish Inquisition’s last victim, executed here in 1826 for …. Being a freemason.
Any time – but Valencia has a mild maritime climate, so it’s possible to visit in summer without getting fried.
In 2007, the coveted Americas Cup sailing trophy was successfully defended here against the New Zealand Challenger….. by the landlocked Swiss holders.