We fell in love with Valencia over 7 years ago. We were going to buy a holiday home, but instead moved here permanently! It’s real Spain to us in that most people here do not speak any English. the language spoken is Castellano Spanish and Valenciano. The schools used to teach French as the second language, but now have changed to English. This means that it will be some time before the main part of the population here in Valencia can speak some English.
To us, this made it all part of the excitement. At first we spoke to our neighbour in French, but since attending classes, we can now speak to him in Spanish! If you try and are not very good at it, you will be treated in a friendly manner, unlike some other areas. Our friends in the local village all speak to each other in Valenciano, but when we join them, they speak Castellan Spanish for our benefit.
So, my advice is to bring an English/Spanish dictionary with you. If you are feeling really brave why not buy an English/Valenciano dictionary?
We have a wealth of knowledge about the area so can always point you in the right direction. To start with, I would like to give you a feeling for what happens here, as it’s quite exciting!The City
The city of Valencia is one of the most fascinating, historic and beautiful cities in Spain. With Roman origins dating back to the second century AD, today it has a population of more than a million people, making it Spain’s third largest city after Madrid and Barcelona. Built around a still thriving mercantile port, it also boasts an abundance of artistic, architectural, historic, social, and cultural interests and amenities to cater for all people and tastes. Ancient and Modern
The ancient part of the city around the cathedral can be largely explored on foot and includes some impressive edifices and lovely old streets and squares with café bars and restaurants, but from here you can take the “Bus Turistic” to see the rest of this great city.
Today, since the river Turia was diverted into a new, artificial channel following the last major catastrophic flood in 1957, the empty riverbed that remained is now the site of a beautiful park stretching for several kilometers through the city center, with lovely gardens to stroll through decorated with fine trees, fountains and modern sculpture and crossed by numerous bridges.
Within this old riverbed towards the South is a new development, comparable with London’s docklands or Paris’s La Défense. It has been named the City of Arts and Sciences and here a local contemporary architect has been given full reign to his imaginative creativity to build some of the most fantastic new civic buildings to be seen in modern times. Notable examples are the Natural History museum, the Hemisferico (planetarium), the Oceanografico with Europe’s largest aquarium and dolphinarium and the IVAM (Instituto Valenciano del Arte Moderno), which now stages annual repetoirs of plays, operas and music.
The most recent addition has been a new “safari park” type of zoo with an African theme to begin with, but more to come.
There is an excellent metro system that connects with the airport and, along with the main line train service, also connects with many outlying towns and both are very cheap. Additionally, there is a tram service that connects the city center with the Malvarosa beach close to the port, which is 6 km of beautiful, sandy beach and is actually part of the city.Events
In the last couple of years Valencia has been and is continuing to play host to a number of notable events. Valencia was chosen as the venue for the 37th “America’s Cup” yacht regatta in 2007, while this year it saw the Formula 1 motor racing in its streets around the port area. The well known motor racing circuit near Cheste (normally motor bikes) held formula 2 trials and was the venue for largest ever rock concert in history when Madonna performed there. We hope that the Cheste circuit may now be the venue for many other concerts by top bands and performers.The Region
The region around the city of Valencia, unlike many more familiar areas of Spain, is still un-spoilt by the holiday and tourism industry and is an abundance of beautiful, green countryside, much of it under agricultural cultivation with vines for local wine production, olives, peaches, almonds and of course the oranges, for which Valencia has so long been known.
Just to the south of the city is the huge nature reserve park of Albufeira. This extensive tract of very flat land next to the coast features a large lagoon surrounded by hundreds of acres of paddy fields that annually yield the mountains of rice for Valencia’s most famous culinary invention - the “Paella.”
Everywhere you will find very fine scenery sprinkled with private residential sites and the further inland you venture the more breathtaking it becomes with mountains, valleys, river gorges, lakes, caves and quaint, old picture post card villages among things to visit there. ￼
For the beach lover and sun worshiper, there are several kilometers of superb sandy beaches along the coastline to the north and south of the city, as well as at the city’s coastline. ￼And of course, the climate here is everything you would expect of sunny Spain.Fiestas
Valencia seems to have more than its share of great fiestas throughout the year. Perhaps the most characteristic and notable of these being “Las Fallas” ￼which lasts throughout March with hundreds of amazing, satirical sculpture groups made from wood, paper and Styrofoam that are burned on a truly spectacular night of grand firework displays, street parades and bonfires. ￼
There are also the August fiestas with bull runs in the streets, in which the whole town appears to participate, live band concerts and more huge fireworks displays. ￼
￼In other towns there are the Moors and Christians parades and there are others that are unique to specific towns such as the Chamber Music week the open air in Montserrat, eight nights of classical music concerts with a different orchestra (some world famo￼us) each night. Then there is the wine fiesta in Requena and of course the famous, tomato-throwing extravaganza of the “Tomatina” in Buñol. So at many points throughout the year in various places there are great events and entertainments to go see and/or participate in.Conclusion
This lovely region of Spain has such huge potential and so much to offer that we still think it is the most “up and coming” region in Spain. That is why we think it is one of the best places to visit, whether for a short break to sample the city, or a longer break to explore the wider area.
So, come and see Valencia first hand, discover this still relatively unknown jewel of Spain that really has something to offer everyone.Post-Script
If you require more information there is a lot more more that we can share with you, but first take a look here: -[/b]Valencia InformationTop Tips for those Moving Here or Just Arrived!Top Trips Out!Top Towns & Villages of InterestTop BeachesTop AttractionsTravel ModesIf you need help please contact me.