Guide to Valencia, a city in the Costa del Azahar region of Spain.
Cities of Spain - Valencia
Valencia - Capital of the Comunidad de Valencia and the third largest city in Spain, Valencia has a population of around 1,500,000 and a municipal area of 134.65 square kilometres. Well known for its exuberant outdoor living, its spectacular fiesta - Las Fallas, and its 13th century cathedral Valencia stands on the course of the River Turia and is situated on the stretch of coast known as the Costa del Azahar (Orange Blossom Coast). Its original name was Valentia, which means “strength” or “valour”.
Valencia was founded by the Romans in 138 BC, during the 8th century it was captured by the Moors (when it was known as Balansiya), it was re-taken for the Christians by the heroic leader El Cid (Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar) in 1094, after which he ruled the city until his death, after another brief spell under the Arabs, it finally returned to Christian control in 1238 and became part of the Kindom of Aragon.
You will need several days to fully explore Valencia but you could take in some of the main sites with a days stay over. A good place to start your visit would be the 13th century cathedral, begun in 1262, it has been remodelled and extended over the centuries, the main entrance is through an 18th century Baroque doorway - the Puerta de los Hierros, its 223 foot tall octagonal bell tower was built between 1380 and 1442 and is one of the symbols of the city.
One of Valencia’s main landmarks is the Torres de Serranos, a huge gateway built in 1238 and part of the city’s defensive fortified walls. Also worth a look is the former commodities exchange building called La Lonja, which was constructed in the 15th century, it is now mostly used for cultural events.
Among the interesting museums to visit in Valencia are the ceramics museum - the Museo Nacional de Cerámica Gonzalez Martí, the main art museum - the Museo de Bellas Artes, and the Fallas museum - Museo del Gremio Artistas Falleros.
Valencia’s major fiesta is held during March and called Las Fallas, this spectacular event’s main attraction are the huge papier-mache scultures which are ceremoniously burned in the streets.
Valencia can be reached by road via the A-3 or the A-7, it has its own International Airport located to the west of the city. Valencia is also a major port, the largest on the Mediterranean western coast, ferries run from here to Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza.
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Costa del Azahar Hotels: Gran Hotel Peniscola
Costa del Azahar Places: Alcala de la Selva - Alcossebre - Benicarlo - Benicassim - Burriana - Castellon de la Plana - Cullera - Morella - Onda - Orpesa - Peniscola - Sagunt - Teruel - Vilafames - Vinaros - Valdelinares