Valencia is Spain’s third largest city. It is home to approximately 1 million people and it lies on the east coast of Spain. Spain’s great location on the Mediterranean ensures that it receives over 300 days of sunshine per year.
Valencia has a relaxed pace of life. People take advantage of the long lunch breaks to indulge in the famous cuisine and to soak up the sun on its pristine city beach.
Valencia is a city of contrasts with the awe-inspiring architecture of the old town standing shoulder to shoulder with the futuristic and modern City of Arts and Sciences.
Valencia is lucky enough to be located right on the coastline and it boasts its very own city beach. The beach is absolutely amazing. The clear water of summer gently laps against the white sand which makes it a safe place for swimmers. The sand is dotted with different sports facilities to enjoy and a 3km promenade stretches the length of the beach. The beach plays a very big part in Spanish culture with many people retreating to it in the evenings.
Students can participate in a variety of activities on the beach. These include beach volleyball, swimming, running and football.
The old town
The Old Town is an architectural gem right in the heart of Valencia.
It has everything we stereotypically think of as Spanish. The narrow, winding cobbled streets, the beautiful open plazas, the tall buildings with intricate iron balconies and traditional restaurants with people dining al fresco – you name it, it’s here!
Due to constant flooding, the Valencians diverted the River Turia in the 60s and converted it into a meandering green open space with countless facilities for the locals to enjoy. The riverbed is a unique park which is home to football pitches, playgrounds, skateboard parks, fitness equipment and running tracks to name but a few. The City of Arts and Sciences and the Biopark are located at either end of the riverbed. The riverbed is a popular area for meeting friends, celebrating birthday parties or simply just relaxing – and the best thing about it is that it ‘flows’ right through the city.
City of Arts and Sciences
Santiago Calatrava is Spain’s most famous architect and he is from none other than Valencia. It was he who designed the curious and inspiring City of Arts and Sciences. Located in the riverbed, this collection of buildings is home to an interactive science centre, the largest aquarium in Europe, a 3D Imax cinema and an arts centre which plays host to both music and stage productions.
This new part of town is continuing to grow in popularity with both locals and tourists.
Food in Valencia
Valencians are very proud of their Mediterranean diet which they believe is the best in the world. La Huerta, the area around Valencia, is famous for growing fresh fruit and vegetables. A drive in Valencia’s countryside will see you travelling past fields and fields of orange trees. Spanish cured ham, cheese, olives and olive oil are all a major part of the diet. Valencians are very proud of the fact that paella originated here. This is a rice dish which is cooked in a special shallow pan. The ingredients include chicken, rabbit, vegetables and saffron. The secret to a good paella is not to stir the rice while it is cooking.
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