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Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Valencia: a true gem on the Mediterranean coast

View of Las Arenas BeachFor many years, the most famous Spanish cities on an international scale were, without a doubt, Madrid and Barcelona: two sprawling metropolises that captured a large part of tourism in Spain. However, in recent years, Valencia has enjoyed greater coverage in the media, thanks in part to major sporting events and celebrations (such as the America’s Cup Sailing Regatta and the Formula 1 Gran Prix), which have converted it into a more popular destination within the international tourism sector. As well as attracting visitors from all around the world with these competitions, Valencia has grabbed tourists’ attention due to the numerous attractions on offer, which make the city an ideal destination for holidaymakers and those wanting to settle down permanently on Spanish soil. Additionally, the city is well-linked to Barcelona and Madrid (via the AVE: a high-speed train which offers daily journeys to the Spanish capital), as well as the rest of the world, with its international airport in Manises.

Mercado Central of ValenciaIn comparison to the two large cities of Madrid and Barcelona, Valencia is much more manageable in size. Despite being the capital of the Valencian Community and boasting many typical characteristics of a large city, Valencia benefits from smaller dimensions (especially compared to the capital of Catalonia and Madrid) and this eliminates many problems associated with big cities.

Its expanding outer areas are also very well-linked to the city centre via an efficient public transport service which, for example, can reach the City of Arts and Sciences (next to the Paseo de la Alameda and Avinguda de França) or Avinguda de les Corts Valencianes (near to the Conference Centre and the new stadium of Valencia CF) in just fifteen minutes via metro or bus. It is also very easy and comfortable to get around the city by car.

Valencia truly stands out for its beaches: something with which Madrid cannot compete for obvious reasons. A short distance from the city centre, and, again, easily accessible via public transport, the beaches of La Malvarrosa and El Cabanyal attract both tourists and locals alike. In fact, it is almost considered a Valencian tradition to enjoy spending weekends on these urban beaches, eating tasty paella in one of the traditional restaurants on the promenade, such as La Marcelina or L’Estimat.

Area surrounding La Malvarrosa beachAnother obvious selling point for Valencia is its gastronomy. The home of famous Valencian paella offers many innovative culinary options which remain loyal to the long-standing tradition of rice-based dishes. Here we can highlight restaurants including La Vertical and Quique Dacosta’s famous Poblet, as well as the renowned cuisine of Vicente Patiño (Saiti) and Ricar Camarena. This pair own three eateries in the city: El Canalla Bistró, a bar in the Mercat Central and the gastronomical restaurant of Camarena.

In the same way that Valencia’s gastronomical sector has been solidly established in comparison to that of Madrid or Barcelona, the city’s cultural sector also leaves nothing to be desired from other large Spanish cities. Valencia is home to numerous museums and a select program of expositions. The following attractions are all a must-see: the Institut Valencià d’Art Modern (IVAM), the Museu Valencià de la Iŀlustració i de la Modernitat (MuVIM), the Museu de Belles Arts de València (San Pío V) and the Centro del Carmen.

Plaza de Toros - ValenciaRegarding the city’s cultural heritage, Valencia boasts the magnificent Silk Exchange, which has been declared a World Heritage site and is a perfect example of European gothic civil architecture, and the spectacular Cathedral which features the towers of Santa Catalina and Micalet.

Last but not least, we must mention a characteristic that will be of particular interest to those wanting to reside in this beautiful city: the prices of luxury properties. In comparison to high-end real estate in Madrid and Barcelona, the prices of residences in Valencia is considerably lower and, in fact, it is possible to find a large number of these properties in the heart of the city.

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