My last trip to Valencia was a typical example of erroneous judgement. I was not supposed to participate to this trip because I had the feeling (don’t ask me why!) that Valencia was the typical Spanish town on the sea, full of tourists and touristic attractions and poor of art and history. I was then convinced by my friends who wanted to go there to visit the “Oceanografic” and in the end I decided to join them for a long weekend.
I am now super thankful because Valencia was completely different from what I expected: a vibrant town full of life, art and history (I found there a few of my favorite Liberty buildings in the world!) and, guess what? Also full of vintage!!
Once arrived in town as usual I immediately headed to the “vintage” area of Ruzafa while waiting for my friends to arrive. Ruzafa is a beautiful area and I enjoyed an amazing walk and a very interesting vintage tour. One of the best vintage shops in Valencia is here (Madame Mim) as well as the cute Petticoat Vintage (where I bought a 70s scarf for 5 euros!) and Trinity Vintage (where I found a lovely vintage kimono with Japanese print for 15 euros). After a quick walk in the Eixample area to admire the beautiful buildings and some interesting non-vintage shops I headed back to Ruzafa for a drink with my friends before dinner. If you want to try something typical but a bit strong taste the famous “Agua de Valencia” which is made with vermouth and orange juice but don’t forget to eat something with it! The drink is delicious but also quite strong for soft drinkers!
My second favorite area of Valencia was El Barrio del Carmen: a lively area full of art and artists, bars, street art, vintage and some interesting shops. One of the most famous vintage shops of Valencia (La Vespa Roja) is in this area (the shop deserves a visit, especially for the lovely cheap dresses and 80s jewelry) and I also found a very interesting African shop (Tamala) for those who love wax prints and African jewelry. As well as Ruzafa, El Carmen is an area where the best that you can do is wandering and get lost in its streets. You will enjoy the atmosphere, people, art and be sure that there will be a surprise around every corner!
If Ruzafa and El Carmen will show you an unconventional Valencia, you can find the most conventional one in the city center, while visiting Plaza del Ayuntamiento, La Llotja de la Seda, the Old Town. Let me just give you some hints on my favorite buildings in town: the station Estació del Nord is such a beauty, not only from the outside but also from the inside. You will find it on your way from the center to Ruzafa, so make sure you have a visit inside as this building is really amazing! Same Liberty style you will find in the Central Market of Valencia, a great historical market with incredible architecture and a beautiful square that you cannot miss (Plaza del Mercado). Last but not least, I fell in love with the amazing building hosting the National Museum González Martí: I didn’t visit the inside as I was not interested in the museum but from every single corner this building is breathtaking (make sure you see all the facades!).
Just another quick hint: if you are shopping in the Eixample area, there is a wonderful Liberty building in Calle de Pizarro with fantastic decorations and doors!
Another area that is worth the visit for its incredible modern architecture is the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias. The buildings that are part of this center are all white with outstanding architecture (I took tons of pictures there!) and you can also visit them inside as they host the Oceanografic, the Hemisferic, the Science Museum and the Art Palace Reina Sofia . If you want to visit them all you may spend your whole day here but there is a special price ticket if you want to save money while visiting all the buildings!
Let’s now talk about food: when you are in Valencia you cannot miss the real typical Valencian paella! We ate very good ones at Casa Roberto and Navarro. As we talked about the Agua de Valencia earlier, let me also add something not alcoholic that you should try there: people from Valencia like enjoying a break drinking fresh “horxata” (barley water) with soft bread cakes called “fartons”. The best horxata e fartons that you can find in Valencia are those from the historical Chocolatería Santa Catalina.