Valencia is Spain's third largest city. It has a changeable Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers, mild humid winters and stormy autumns and springs.
Some of Valencia's claims to fame include it being the former capital of the Old Kingdom of Valencia province, it is the birthplace of paella, it is home to the Fallas festival in praise of St Joseph each March and, of course, its famous orange.
The Turia River, which once ran through the centre of the city, was diverted in the 1960s after severe flooding. The old river bed is now Turia Gardens which runs for 8km through the centre of the city. The Palau de la Música is adjacent and the City of Arts and Sciences lies at one end. Two official languages are spoken there Spanish and Valencian, a dialect of Catalan.
Valencia is a flat city with large green areas and 75km of urban cycle lanes. The historical city centre and Turia Gardens are easily reachable by the lanes and slow traffic streets.
Spain has seen a surge in popularity for the bicycle. It's a public transport system which allows you to pick up a bike in one place and leave it parked somewhere else for a monthly payment. There are plenty of purpose-designed bike parking and racks around the city.
Discovering any city, particularly a flat one, by bicycle is a great experience. With Valencia Bikes you will be escorted by a guide and cover the streets, squares, gardens and most outstanding monuments. There are several stops along the way for refreshments and a chat.
The City of Arts & Sciences is bound to grab your attention. It covers a surface area of 350,000 square metres on the dry river bed, and entry is free. Laminated glass is used in the construction of the buildings, surrounded by streams and pools. The planetarium looks like something from space.
Valencia is also known for its nightlife. In summer there is nightlife on the beach, at the Port and Malvarossa Beach. Since the America's Cup was held there in 2007 and will be held again in 2009, lots of clubs opened and people go there to party.
The Bohemian Barrio del Carmen is a warren of tiny streets that burst into life after dark and is popular all year round. Laneways housing bars, cafes and shops run off Calle Carbelleros, the main street.
Agua de Valencia is the city's unofficial cocktail, and people start sipping them from 11pm, the time nightlife kicks off in Spain.
The newly-opened Purple Nest Hostel is right around the corner from Barrio del Carmen. It has shared and private rooms, ensuite and shared bathrooms and lockers in every room. Sheets and towels a provided at no extra cost. All rooms have heating and air-conditioning.
Purple Nest is the only backpackers in Valencia with a fully-equipped bar and live acts, and a rooftop area is a great place to mingle with other guests. There's a communal kitchen, safety deposit boxes and DVDs to borrow. And there is somewhere to park your bicycle!
Valencia, on Spain's eastern Mediterranean coast, four hours south of Barcelona.
Valencia Bikes tours run between 10am and 1.30pm. They cost around $43 and include bicycle, English-speaking guide and soft drink. They run every day and bookings are required.
Purple Nest rooms start at $35 per person a night. It has a sister property, Red Nest, across town.
Emirates has flights to most major European cities with connections to Valencia. Return fares to Paris are:
- Perth $2091
- Melbourne $2267
- Brisbane $2277
- Sydney $2285
- Adelaide $2908
Connections to Valencia are available and conditions apply.
Prices correct at September 18, 2008.
For further information
Valencia Guias/Valencia Bikes
Paseo de la Pechina
32 bajo izq
Ph: +34 963 851 740
Fax: +34 963 850 827
Purple Nest Hostel
Plaza Tetuan 5
Ph: +34 963 532 561
Fax: +34 963 427 128
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