One of the most visited cities in Spain, Valencia, nicknamed the 'Bright City' thanks to its very high annual sunshine hours, overlooks the emerald Mediterranean Sea and is the birthplace of Spain's famous national dish, the paella.
The dish, officially known as the 'Paella Valenciana', often consists of Calasparra or Bomba Rice, chicken, cooking chorizo, seafood and various vegetables, and is normally seasoned with saffron and a special type of paprika known as Pimentón de la Vera.
Celebrating its centenary in 2013, the Museu de Belles Arts de València (Museum of Fine Arts of Valencia) contains around 2,000 outstanding works of art from the late medieval era to the Renaissance. It also exhibits many archaeological artefacts and modern artworks, and is housed in a magnificent 17th-century Baroque palace.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Llotja de la Seda (Silk Exchange) is a splendid Gothic landmark that was completed in the mid-16th century on a site that had previously served as the Oil Exchange. The extravagant building, which is now the home of the Cultural Academy of Valencia, is a testament to the city's tremendous maritime wealth in the 16th century, and has elaborate Gothic and Renaissance architectural features
Marking its 10th anniversary in 2008, the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (City of Arts and Sciences) is a major entertainment venue that was designed by renowned Spanish architects Felix Candela and Santiago Calatrava. It features an impressive science museum, planetarium, oceanographic park, IMAX Cinema and many other world-class attractions, and was expanded to include an opera house in 2005.
This large zoo opened to the public in 2008 and is noted for its extensive collection of native animal species originating from Equatorial Africa, the African savannah, and Madagascar. The park feels distinctly wild and far reserved from many other more 'closed-in' zoos, and recycles more than 95% of the water it uses.
If you're looking for affordable holidays in Valencia, you could book a stay at the Hostal Valencia, the Ibis Budget Valencia Aeropuerto, or the Silken Puerta Valencia. For deluxe accommodation, consider the majestic Hotel Las Arenas Balneario Resort, the chic Hospes Palau de la Mar Hotel, or the immaculate Hotel Melia Valencia.
Treat yourself to some delightful Mediterranean dishes at the Navarro restaurant, head to La Casa Di Sophia for other delicious pizzas and Mediterranean recipes, or try the Mood Food Restaurant for some fabulous fusion cuisine. You can also enjoy excellent Spanish-, Mediterranean- and Argentinian-themed food at the Restaurante L"Origen, or visit the Ricard Camarena Restaurant for other superb local dishes.
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