A mix of ultramodern architecture and medieval magic Spain's third largest city is magnificent a wonderfully liveable place with thriving cultural, eating and nightlife scenes.
Brilliant contemporary architecture graces Valencia, which also has a fistful of fabulous Modernista buildings, great museums and a large, characterful old quarter. The region is famous as the home of rice dishes such as paella, but its buzzy dining scene offers plenty more besides. It's mostly the work of world famous, locally born architect Santiago Calatrava. He's a controversial figure for many Valencians, who complain about the expense, and various design flaws that have necessitated major repairs here. Nevertheless, if your taxes weren't involved, it's awe inspiring stuff, and pleasingly family oriented. Unless you have tickets for a performance, a guided tour is the only way to enter. Tours run twice daily weekdays in Spanish, but there's usually some English summarising provided. It's a fairly low slung building in truth, and impresses more from within than without, raybans sun glasses though its soaring bell tower is a city icon. Its 207 ray ban latest model 2016 chunky spiral stairs lead you to unparalleled views over the historic centre. Interestingly, the perimeter and height are exactly equal at a tick under 51m. The 14 bells ring out for masses and weddings but formerly warned of corsair attacks. This splendid building, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was originally Valencia's silk and commodity exchange, built in the late 15th century when Valencia was booming. It's one of Spain's finest examples of a civil Gothic building, designed by the architect Pere Compte, who was obviously at the peak of his profession. Two main buildings flank a citrus studded courtyard. There's very little printed information around the sight, so the audioguide (3) is a good investment. The quality and presentation are sky high though, and the sheer spectacle merits a visit. For many, the most spectacular counters are in the seafood section. There are cephalopods aplenty and fish of all kinds it's a good moment to bone up on some restaurant menu vocabulary! El Galet is a classic stall that specialises in liveeels. Museo de Bellas Artes This seminary in the heart of old Valencia was founded in the late 16th century by San Juan de Ribera, a towering Counter Reformation figure who wielded enormous spiritual and temporal power in Spain and beyond. An impressive if austere Renaissance building, it is ray ban rb4068 most noteworthy for its small but excellent religious art museum. The archbishop saint endowed it with a brilliant collection of what was at the time modern art, and he obviously had a good eye for a painting. The cloister courtyard is an impressively sober Renaissance space with two levels and columns of Carrara marble. It's decorated with typically colourful tiles from Talavera, a famous ceramics town west of Madrid. In the centre is a later statue of the sainted founder. La Albufera Synonymous with rice, agriculture and the goodness of Valencian soil, this lagoon and its surrounding flatlands sit just south of Valencia city. Long used for rice cultivation, it's the spiritual home of paella and similar polarized ray bans dishes. It has important dune and wetland ecosystems and its rural ambience, beaches, birdwatching and rustic restaurants make it a great escape, and one easily accessed by bus or bike lane. The most emblematic of the Albufera settlements, the traditional farming village El Palmar prides itself as being the birthplace of the Valencian rice dish, and these days every second building seems to be a restaurant serving it: it's ridiculously easy to end up with a quality bellyful. Boat excursions leaving from here typically include a visit to a rice farm as well as a trip on the lagoon. Though much modified over the years, the layers of history here are evident, and the precinct has an appealingly Mediterranean feel, with sunbaked stone, olives and pine trees on the rocky hilltop. In general, there's good, mostly multilingual information throughout. Torre de la Fe, literally the high point of the castle, offers stunning vistas on both sides and was the heart of the upper castle. From here, the spine of the ridge continues to a ruined watchtower. Castillo de Sagunto Sagunto, 25km north of Valencia, offers spectacular panoramas over orange groves to the coast and the Balearic Islands from its hilltop castle. It makes a good outing for a day from Valencia.
though the castle itself is in a ruinous state. The majestically located castle's long stone walls girdle twin hilltops. In truth, the fortress could do with a major facelift and is currently best for a stroll among the ruins, appreciating the magnificent vistas, rather than learning much history.
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