Valencia's botanic garden has a history dating back to the 16th century. Home to thousands of species of plants, and nearly as many cats, the garden is one of the city's most relaxing corners.
Housed in the dried-out skeleton of the world's biggest whale, the Prince Felipe Science Museum is worth visiting primarily for the other-worldly architecture of Santiago Calatrava. A joint ticket will allow you to check out the exhibits here, and catch a show at the IMAX theater in the nearby Hemsiferic.
Housed within a stately, 19th-century palace in the neighborhood of La Xerea, you'll find one of Valencia's premiere private art institutes. The Centro Cultural Bancaja hosts long-running exhibitions which tend to focus on Spain's most famous artists.
La Xerea is one of the six neighborhoods which make up the Ciutat Vella, or "Old Town," of Valencia. And of all the city's neighborhoods, it's our favorite. La Xerea is central, historic, packed with ancient churches, palaces and monuments, and somehow manages to retain the calm of a quiet residential zone. And most importantly, it's our home.
Situated within the confines of a 16th-century monastery on the banks of the Turia riverbed, the San Pío Museum of Fine Arts is a treasure trove of medieval religious paintings, classic Valencian works, and masterpieces from the most famous of Spanish artists.
Normally, when we hop on bikes and leave Valencia for the south, it's to visit one of the many beaches stretched out along the coast. But today, we had a different destination in mind: the rice fields between the city and the lagoon of Albufera.
In the town of Manises, you'll find a few workshops which offer the chance to try out the art of ceramics. The most popular is hosted at the Association of Valencian Ceramics, or AVEC. A week after our initial tour of Manises, we showed up at AVEC's doors, ready to learn.
Today, the town of Manises is best known as the location of Valencia's airport, but that hasn't always been the case. For centuries, the name Manises had been synonymous with "ceramics." We spent a day in the town, learning about the industry which has long fueled its economy.
Agua de Valencia was invented last night by your alcoholic uncle, who raided your kitchen and poured all the liquor he could find into his orange juice. "Just some OJ," he said, stumbling out to join you on the terrace. But you know your uncle, so you took a sip from his glass when he wasn't looking. Woah, that's not just orange juice! And actually, it's kind of delicious.
Located literally across the street from the beloved, city-defining Turia Park, the Viveros Gardens have a tough act to follow. But this large park acquits itself well, with a history, beauty, and atmosphere all its own.