Shop till you drop

Valencia, Spain’s third-largest city, does not disappoint when it comes to retail therapy. With a mix of independent retailers and household favourites to pop into and flex those shopping muscles, a walk through Valencia’s centre has something for everyone.

When you arrive in Valencia, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to where to shop since retailers and boutiques offer the very best in Spanish fashion. One of the ‘12 Treasures of Spain’, Valencia’s City of Arts and Science is located in between two of the cultural hub’s main shopping centres. El Saler contains a plethora of high street labels, while the modern Aqua retail space has prestigious luxurious boutique brands.

Chic and classic Art Nouveau buildings are housed amongst pavement cafés to provide the perfect rest stop to enjoy a twist on the traditional mimosa and opt for an Agua de Valencia (cava, orange juice, gin and vodka).

Building sandcastles

Playa de la Malvarrosa beach in Valencia is the closest to the city and therefore attracts sun worshippers, picnic lovers and paddlers looking to take a serene, cold dip after exploring the city.

Or hop over to its neighbouring Playa de las Arenas, where the vibe in the summer months is lively, vibrant and enticing, with a collection of restaurants to choose from. Enjoy traditional Spanish cuisine along the seafront promenade with La Perla serving authentic Valencian dishes from the Mediterranean Sea or head to Marina Real Juan Carlos for stunning vistas that stretch beyond the eye.

Contemporary cultural retreat

The City of Arts and Science, located on the River Turia, houses a series of interactive activities and natural wonders that provide fun for the entire family.

Head to L'Hemisfèric, which contains an IMAX cinema, planetarium and laserium, and the interactive museum, El Museo de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe, which was built at the turn of the new millennium, for a modern and captivating look at science and space.

Back to nature

If you’re a nature lover, then L'Umbracle is the perfect afternoon jaunt as its landscaped walk introduces its guests to plenty of indigenous plants and species that are native to the city of Valencia. Before you leave, make sure you check out the entertainment and cultural complex’s open-air aquarium marine park L'Oceanogràfic. The largest of its kind in Europe, the park contains buildings that represent the Antarctic, the Arctic, the Mediterranean, Wetlands, Temperate and Tropical Seas, Oceans and Islands.

Once you’ve left the marvellous structure, saunter along or take a relaxing bicycle ride through the Turia Gardens, which makes a perfect travel route for those looking to move from the hustle and bustle of the city to get back to nature. Boasting 9 km of gardens, it’s one of the biggest urban parks in Spain and is the ideal retreat for families, nature lovers and explorers who visit Valencia from all over the world to marvel at its vast green landscape.

A taste of history

Learn about Valencia's rich traditions and artefacts at a multitude of museums throughout the city. Several of these are free to enter, including the city’s Museo de Bellas Artes (Museum of Fine Arts). Located on the boundaries of the Turia Gardens, the museum contains renowned works by El Greco, Velázquez and Murillo.

Opposite the bullfighting ring in Southern Valencia sits the Bullfighting Museum (Museo Taurino), while the Museum of Ethnology (Museo de Etnología) and Museum of Prehistory (Museo de Prehistoria) depict findings, information and artefacts that showcase civilisation through the centuries.

Outstanding architecture

Visit the city’s 13th-century cathedral that was built on an old mosque and combines a collaboration of architecture from the Gothic, Baroque and Romanesque periods. Mosaic paintings and stained glass windows adorn the walls inside, and be sure to take a look at the chalice. Climb the 207 steps of the accompanying Micalet bell tower for dazzling views over the Valencian countryside and nearby beaches.

Next, stop by the UNESCO World Heritage Site, La Lonja de la Seda. A wonder of Gothic architecture, it’s a marker of the city’s status and wealth and was used as a Gothic chamber of commerce for silk trading in the 15th and 16th centuries.

With sumptuous shops, balmy beaches, cultural sites and magnificent museums, Valencia offers the perfect city and beach hideaway. So, hop on the train for a relaxing, cultural retreat!