From train and plane, to bus and bike, there are a number of ways to get to Valencia and travel around once there. The following is a quick rundown of what you need to know about transportation in Spain's third-biggest city.
L'Oceanogràfic opened its doors in 2003, and was an immediate hit. The price of entrance isn't cheap, but you could easily spend all day here. And you'll need to, if you plan on seeing everything. This is the largest oceanarium in Europe, with sections dedicated to the Red Sea, the Arctic, the Mediterranean, coral reefs, mangrove forests, tropical waters and the oceans. There's an auditorium, a dolphinarium, a spherical bird sanctuary and multiple restaurants. Grumble about the ticket price all you want, but by the end of the day it's hard to deny you got your money's worth.
When the Institut Valencià d'Art Modern opened its doors in 1989, it was Spain's first museum dedicated to modern art. Found on the western corner of the old town, bordering the Turia riverbed, the IVAM is probably Valencia's most important and popular museum.
With hundreds of stalls selling fruits, veggies and meat, Valencia's Mercado Central is among the largest fresh food markets in Europe. And although it has become one of the city's principal tourist attractions, it's remained popular among locals as well, many of whom do their everyday shopping here.
Sometimes, we need to remind ourselves that Valencia is more than just a big city. The province is also home to quiet forests, deep ravines and rugged mountain chains, all waiting to be explored. We spent one April morning walking along the Regajo River, near the western border with Cuenca, in an effort to satisfy our intermittent desire to connect with nature.
Valencia wears its age well, since many of its oldest elements have been incorporated seamlessly into the modern city. The Baños del Almirante and the Alumdín, for example, fit in so well that it's easy to forget they're both 700 years old.
"After One Month..." is a series in which we normally share first impressions of our new homes. But in Valencia's case, our rose-tinted first impressions have long since matured into gnarled old certainties. Still, after years of calling this city home, we love it more than ever. And that should speak volumes.
Decorated with a symmetrical grid of orange trees, the Plaza del Patriarca is home to a couple of Valencia's most historic buildings: the Real Colegio Seminario del Corpus Christi and La Nau, both of which date from the 15th century.
A thousand years ago, a formidable set of walls protected Valencia from marauders and invading armies, and anyone hoping to gain access to the city had to pass through one of its twelve monumental gates. Today, the medieval walls have disappeared, but two gates remain: the Torres de Serranos to the north, and the Torres de Quart to the west.
The neighborhood of El Carmen takes its name from the massive, ancient convent around which it was built. Today, the monks are long gone, but the Convento del Carmen has found a renewed purpose as one of the city's premiere cultural spaces.