Valencia has always been one of my favourite Cities, but I’ve never really had the chance to experience it properly – so when two opportunities to spend time in the heart of the City presented themselves last year, I jumped at them. Not only did I get to spend a day sightseeing with Emily, but I also got to stay for 2 days with my boyfriend and visit several of Valencia’s major attractions. So, here is my super quick guide to my favourite places to visit in Valencia…
Everything about the Oceanographic aquarium is incredible. The building itself was designed by Félix Candela – so it looks absolutely amazing from the outside – but the real spectacle is of course the many hundreds of organisms found inside. Oceanographic is the largest aquarium in Europe, so you would expect it to be more than a bit special. The park is split into different habitats – covering species from the Arctic, Mediterranean and temperate and tropical seas. There is a huge dolphinarium outside, and I was lucky enough to watch one of the shows (which was fabulous) with Emily. However, when visiting with my boyfriend the dolphins were not performing, but we were still able to watch staff train them for veterinary procedures which was equally fascinating. The walruses and beluga whales were probably our favourite animals because they choose to interact with the visitors and put on their own little shows by blowing bubbles and doing backwards flips into the water. A trip to the Oceanografic is definitely worth the €30 ticket price, and I could have easily spent the whole weekend in the aquarium alone – I recommend a visit!
The Bioparc is the best “zoo” I have ever been to – however, I feel as if calling the Bioparc a “zoo” is doing it a disservice because it doesn’t feel like a zoo at all. There are no cages, bars or fences to keep the animals in. Instead, they use rivers and rocks and streams to keep the animals separated from the visitors (although there is glass between several of the more dangerous animals). The concept of this park is to immerse humans in the animals’ worlds – and not the other way round. It is a completely wonderful experience and it is probably the closest I’ll get to a real South African Safari for quite a while. The Bioparc is a definite must-visit place and should be on everybody’s bucket lists.
I didn’t even know that Valencia had a Cathedral, but Emily and Ben were both adamant that we had to visit it – and I’m so glad we did. Valencia Cathedral holds one of the the few remaining Holy Chalices – and this particular chalice is rumoured to be the true Holy Grail – so of course we had to have a look inside. I absolutely loved looking around the main rooms and museum, so I was really pleased I was able to visit it twice. I find religious buildings fascinating, and the presence of the Holy Grail makes this place even more special, so again, I recommend visiting this if you can.
Ben and I popped in to the Science Museum after visiting the aquarium because we bought complete tickets for the City of Arts and Sciences – and this included entry to the museums, so we wanted to make the most of it. Obviously all of the exhibitions are in Spanish, so information-wise you don’t really learn that much. But even with the language barrier, I had a great time looking at the living exhibitions (watching chickens hatch) and walking through the dinosaur and Space exploration rooms. There is loads to see and do, but at the end of the day, it is a Science Museum with little/no English translations, so unless there was a particularly brilliant exhibition on, I wouldn’t rush back to visit it again.
Have you visited Valencia before?
(Also, most of these photo credits go to Ben the boyfriend! So have a look at his photography Instagram for more photos – ben_roach_photography)
David Bowie –> Blackstar