Valencia a good choice for a self catering holiday destination

April 10, 2009 | | Comments 1
Valencian holidays something for all the family

Valencian holidays something for all the family

Valencia comprises the provinces of Alicante, Valencia and Castellon. Valencia basks on the Mediterranean Coast in central southeastern Spain. The densely populated area is a prime tourist destination, with Valencia city having the reputation as the place the Spanish go to party. The area offers budget resorts, such as those on the Costa Blanca, to upscale villas in elegant Valencia. Small villages are scattered through the mountainous inland region, but it’s the coast that remains the main draw.

Cheap Flights to Valencia

Valencia has now the eighth busiest airport in Spain, with this huge increase in passenger numbers explained by the introduction of a large number of low cost flights from the UK and Europe and a marked increase in the number of foreign property owners in Valencia and to the south along the Costa Blanca.

Valencia Airport handles direct flights to many important cities both in Spain and abroad. The main Spanish Airports with direct flights to Valencia are Asturias, Barcelona Airport, Bilbao, Ibiza Airport, Lanzarote Airport, Leon, Madrid-Barajas, Malaga Pablo Picasso Airport, Menorca, Majorca Airport, Santander, Santiago de Compostela, Seville, Tenerife North and Tenerife South Airport, Valladolid Airport and Vigo Airport

There are now twelve UK Airports that offer regular, scheduled flights to Valencia from five different Airlines: Iberia, Easyjet, Jet2, Thomsonfly and Ryanair.

Things to do around Valencia

Below is a brief guide of what to do in and around Valencia.
Las Fallas
A reason in itself to visit Valencia, this five day fiesta commences on the 15th March.
During this period the city explodes into life with round-the-clock partying, fireworks, concerts, street markets and processions. One such procession, known as the ‘Ofrenda’, features a two day long stream of flower bearers proceeding to decorate a huge effigy of the Virgin Mary outside the city cathedral. The scent of millions of flowers wafts through the city streets.
A daily firework display known as the ‘Mascleta’ takes place at 2pm in the City Hall Square. While it lasts just ten minutes the explosions build in intensity to a point where you can actually feel the earth move! Locals tell you to watch with an open mouth not just because of the spectacle but also to stop your ear drums bursting!
Perhaps the best known aspect of the Fallas are the more than 500 sculptures or ‘Ninots’ which are created during the preceding year. These often comical paper-mache creations can be up 60 feet tall. Street parties are held around these statues in many of the main squares. On the night of the 19th these inspired works of art are systematically set alight – with fire engines in attendance – in an orgy of fire called ‘La Crema’! Within minutes, a year of creative work is just a pile of ashes, the only consolation being yet another reason for a party!
The origin of Fallas has long been associated with the welcoming of spring by Valencia’s many carpenters. Off-cuts of wood were supposedly piled into the street and set alight on St. Joseph’s Day, the patron saint of carpenters.
As with La Tomantina (see later) it seems a small annual event has just escalated into an internationally renowned fiesta. During Fallas the population of Valencia doubles to around 3,000,000.
Moors & Christians – Alcoy, Valencia
Every April a re-enactment of a famous, if partially mythical battle, between Moors and Christians takes place in Alcoy.
As with Fallas, preparation starts at the end of each fiesta for the following year. Armies of Moors or Christians, known as Filaes, work around the year to prepare for each April fiesta.
The mock battle sees participants dressed in lavish costumes which are judged during the fiesta. The winners donate their costumes to the Moors & Christians Museum. The culmination of the battle is the firing of hundreds of blank bullets making this one of the nosiest of all Spanish fiestas. At the end of the battle, St Georges flag triumphs and is raised overhead with pride.
A fiesta to attend if you enjoy ceremony, history, equestrian displays – and noise!
La Tomatina
A short drive from Valencia takes you to the normally sleepy town of Buñol, which plays host to a surreal vegetable battle on the last Wednesday of every August.
La Tomatina appears to have started in the 1940’s when a crowd of boisterous friends began pelting each other with tomatoes in the town square. Inevitably onlookers were drawn in and so much fun was had that it has become a yearly event.
A crowd of around 30 000 fruit fans now gather annually for the world’s greatest food fight. From early Wednesday morning residents and businesses cover their doors and windows in preparation for the red onslaught.
The battle commences when huge trucks, laden with tomatoes make their way through the crowds and officials in the back unload their messy cargo for waiting participants. From this moment no one is safe, tourists are particularly attractive targets, and tax men leave town!
Around 60 000 pounds of tomatoes explode in 30 minutes, and everyone has a great time. Clothes may get frayed but tempers do not! After the battle a yearly competition starts to clean up the mess in record time to restore the town to its former glory. This is a celebration not to be missed.
Do go! Don’t wear your designer clothes!
Valencia’s covered food market is renowned as one of the best in Europe and boasts an immense selection of fresh fish, meat, fruit and vegetables all under one roof. If it’s edible, even vaguely, you’ll find it here! Not for the faint hearted – but if you’re considering living in Spain this something you will learn to enjoy.
Built over a period between the 13th and 15th centuries and subject to extensive alterations in the 18th century this fine cathedral is a mixture of architectural styles and houses the Holy Grail – or so they say.
Barrio Carmen
The oldest part of the city, comprising dark and narrow alleyways crammed with shops, houses, palaces and bars. This is the city’s historic centre. Perhaps the busiest and most atmospheric area for an evening stroll and street side people watching!

Estacion Del Norte
This train station in the centre of the city is a modernist architectural masterpiece. Stroll around the building and admire the intricate details shaped in crystal, wood and marble.
Next to the station is the city’s magnificent bullring. It plays host not only to the bullfights but also to numerous concerts and live events throughout the year.
Torres De Serrano and Quart
Two immense Gothic entrance towers to what was the walled city of Valencia. The defense wall that ringed the city was dismantled in the middle of the 19th century. The Quart tower now houses a locksmith museum.
These can be found throughout the city and cover a wide variety of interests. Particularly worthwhile visiting are the Paleonthelogic Museum, the National Ceramic Museum, the Museum of the Fallero Artist and the Museum of Natural Science.
If all this gets too exciting check out the Rice Museum!
City of Arts and Science
An immense pharaonic project aimed at expanding the city into what was the abandoned wasteland to the east of the city centre. This is Valencia’s equivalent to the London docklands. Comprising L’Hemiferic, the Museum of Science, the Oceanographic park, and the Palace of Arts this area covers some 90 acres.
It represents modern Valencia at its extravagant best. Stunningly futuristic architecture has to be seen to be appreciated. Allow at least half a day per attraction to get the best from this visit.
One of the finest modern art museums in Europe, with both permanent and visiting exhibitions. Late summer opening hours and free jazz performances have made this a popular venue to meet friends.
Turia gardens
An example of good emerging from bad. Disastrous floods in 1957 caused great loss of life and resulted in an ambitious plan to divert the river Turia around the city.
The now redundant riverbed that travels through the heart of the city has been turned into a wonderful garden and recreation area full of sporting and leisure facilities. It is ideal for a stroll and for crossing the city away from the crowds and traffic.
La Feria
One of the largest exhibition centres in Europe, this modern series of building hosts exhibitions of all types throughout the year.
These are to found all around the city, north, south, east but not west! Beaches awarded the European blue flag for quality can be found just to the north and south of the city.
They range from quiet local beaches on the outskirts to the cosmopolitan Malvarosa promenade just minutes from the city centre. Ports to the north and south of the city are perfect for leisure activities or trips to the Balearic Islands.
Valencia is now established as one of Europe’s top teams – as any Arsenal fan will regrettably confirm. The crowd atmosphere is both electric and good humoured. This is living proof that football can be enjoyed by all the family and even watched without rain or Bovril!
Many fine courses exist around Valencia, within minutes of the city. The most famous being El Saler – publicly owned and ranked as one of the best 50 courses in the world. El Bosque and El Scorpion clubs are well known for their golf and hospitality facilities. Several more courses are planned for the near future.
The Circuito de Cheste is a recently completed all seat race track used by F1 Williams as their test circuit. It is located minutes from Valencia just off the main road to Madrid. Prices are sensible while facilities and viewing positions are excellent.
This track plays host to both World Super bike and Motor GP events.
Sierra Calderona Nature Park
Just 22 miles to the north-west of Valencia, in the direction of Lliria, is the newly declared Sierra Calderona nature park. It boasts over 65 square miles of unspoiled mountains and Mediterranean pine forests. The highest peaks reach 3.330 feet and offer views of the sea. Wildlife includes: boars, foxes, weasels, squirrels, civet cats, and badgers. The park is open to visitors and crossed with well-marked footpaths.
For more information on the activities in and around Valencia visit the official government visitor website.

Valencia a city with lots to see and do

Valencia a city with lots to see and do

Things not to do around Valencia

A few tips below which you might find useful during your stay, so please try and avoid the following:-
• Do not visit museums or galleries or theaters on Monday or public holidays. They are invariably shut.
• Don’t pull out into the middle of the road while awaiting a gap in the traffic. Spanish drivers will not understand this manoeuvre and if you attempt this you will probably be rewarded with a free vocabulary lesson.
• Try not to say hello in English. Very few shopkeepers and sales assistants around Valencia speak English. However, everyone will be as helpful as possible – especially if you make an attempt at Spanish by saying, for example, ‘hola’ or ‘buenos dias’.
• Don’t try to pay with a cheque. Cheques are viewed with great suspicion and most Spaniards write few, if any, cheques. Travellers cheques are also rarely accepted. Try cash, credit cards, but you will need your passport as ID.
• Don’t form a physical queue where none exists. You may have to wait to be served, in say, a bakery or government office, and the best way to take your turn is to say in a loud voice – ‘El ultimo?’ Somebody in the waiting crowd will then say ‘Yo’. You then simply keep a beady eye on him, or her, and move to the counter immediately after they finish. If you try and form your own neat and tidy queue then you will probably be there all day. Of course, if there already is a queue when you arrive then join it.
• Never ask a government or utility worker to make a photocopy for you. Government offices never offer to make photocopies for the general public. Always arrive armed with photocopies of every document you are carrying.
• Do not go shopping or sight-seeing in the early afternoon. Many British and European tourists can be seeing wandering around Valencian towns and cities in the early afternoon. They usually look a little vacant and bored. Everything is, of course, closed. After lunch you should stay at home, or in the hotel, until about 5pm. Only then will the urban streets begin to come alive.
• Don’t try to order lunch before 1.00 pm. Restaurants usually begin to take orders for lunch from around 1.30 pm – at the earliest. However, if you want to be sure of a good table then be sure to get seated before 2.15. Valencians eat punctually. Restaurants are also usually very children friendly, it’s not unusual to see families out for dinner well past the UK watershed!!

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