Valencia – sightseeing (Voyage HS Bruckner)

Going ashore in Valencia

After arriving in Valencia 8 times in a four month voyage with HS Bruckner I have to say that this beautiful city took me by surprise each time and offered me some of the most beautiful and exciting moments of my life. Most of the tourists visiting Valencia spend 3-4 days in the city, having a tour of the centre, admiring some old churches and Cathedrals, some old towers and squares, the big Arena, the open market (read about our visit in Mercado Central here), some gardens and parks and the new Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias with its museums and exhibitions.

Except the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, which is located closer to the Port and a little farther from the centre, all the other major tourist attractions are situated in the centre of the city or just a few minute walk from it.

During our consecutive visits from March, April and June we managed to see most of the local tourist attractions and had the privilege to admire some of them at different times and seasons.

When we first came into the city, the big square in front of the City Hall was preparing for Feria de Falles, so we couldn’t have a walk inside the park situated in the middle of the streets facing the City Hall Building because this park was the scene for the big firecracker show and it was enclosed by big wire fences. I took a photo of the beautiful City Hall, but due to its size and because my restrict position, I could hardly catch the whole building in one photograph.

Valencia - Placa del Ajuntamiento

Valencia - Feria de Falles - Mascleta (1)

After few more weeks, when we came again into the city, the park was wide open and it was  hosting an Art Exhibition – with some futurist and interesting statues which were admired and photographed by lots of tourists from different angles.

Valencia - Placa del Ajuntamiento exhibition

Placa del Ajuntamiento

Only 3 minute walk from Plaça del Ayuntamiento, there are two very interesting and famous landmarks of the city – Estacio del Nord (Central Railway Station) and the Bullfight Arena.

Valencia - Bullfight Arena

Valencia - Bullfight Arena (2)

We discovered them on our first visit and we admired them many times after that, under different lights. The Arena is hosting many Bullfight shows throughout the year, but also some other celebrations – like Fiesta de la Cerveza (the story here).

Valencia - Fiesta de la Cerveza (9)

Estacio del Nord is the most beautiful Train Station I have ever seen. Built in 1917, the building has a wonderful architecture, with a very colorful façade, decorated with valencian motifs representing flowers and oranges.

Valencia - Railway Station

Estacio del Nord

The interior is also very beautifully decorated with mosaics depicting flowers and rural scenes and the pillars are covered in colorful mosaics. The ‘bon voyage’ greeting was translated in different languages and placed on the walls of the building, designed also with some small pieces of mosaic.

Valencia - Estacio del Nord (2)

Valencia - Estacio del Nord (3)

On the right side, there was a big exhibition room – where the story of the building was presented with the help of some old photos and documents. The walls of this room were covered with big mosaics – depicting some very colorful scenes – made by local artisans.

Valencia - Estacio del Nord (1)

Following the same boulevard, passing in front of the City Hall, we arrived in Plaça de la Reina.

Valencia Placa de la Reina (2)

Valencia Placa de la Reina

This is a very popular place for locals and tourists alike because it offers a very diverse display of restaurants, shops and kiosks and it is also one of the most important stops on the double decker (tourist bus) route. We visited this Plaça few times during a four month period and it was always full with people of different ages and nationalities. Most of them were tourists who were starting or just finishing their tours of the city in the red tourist busses. In the afternoon, Plaça de la Reina was filled up with young locals – pupils and students finishing their classes and gathering together for a snack or just an ice cream. They were sitting in circles on the grass, in big groups, sharing funny stories and laughing or just relaxing in the sun.

Valencia - sightseeing bus

Valencia - Placa de la Reina

From this colorful square, we continued our walk towards a different square, nevertheless important and famous among the tourists and locals. After only two minute walk from Plaça de la Reina, we arrived in Plaça de la Virgen – a very wide and beautiful square, surrounded on two sides by the walls of two Cathedrals. Plaça de la Virgen is the place where religious ceremonies take place year round and where locals and tourist gather every day. Santa Iglesia Cathedral and Basilica de los Desamparados are the two beautiful churches that are placed in Plaça de la Virgen. Both of them can be visited for free, only a small fee is required for those who want to climb into the Tower and have a panoramic view over the city.

Valencia - Placa de la Reina (1)

Valencia - Placa de la Reina (3)

Valencia - Placa de la Reina - Basilica de los Desampadores– Basilica de los Desamparados –

Valencia Santa Iglesia Cathedral– Santa Iglesia Cathedral –

Valencia is also famous for its green areas and the Turia Gardens are the perfect proof. Situated very close to the centre, this park is very colorful throughout the year and it also hosts some Ferias and celebrations, like ‘Feria de Andalusia’ or ‘ Feria de Mariscos’. We had the chance of visiting the garden while it was preparing for the big Feria de Andalusia and we made an idea about what this celebration was about – good food, music and dancing. During the early hours of the afternoon, we saw girls and boys – dressed in beautiful traditional costumes – practicing their moves for a dance show which was about to take place that same night, but we were not lucky enough to witness the actual Feria, as we had to return to our ship few hours before its start.

Valencia - Turia Gardens - Feria andaluza (1)

Valencia - Feria andaluza

Valencia - Turia Gardens - Feria andaluza (2)

Turia Gardens are crossed by two bridges – Pont de l’Esposicio and Pont des Flores. The bridge of flowers is flanked on both sides by a wonderful display of colorful pelargonium, offering  a captivating image that enchants tourists and locals between the months of March and October. We could admire the ‘flowering’ bridge during few consecutive visits – in April, May and June – and we found it very joyful each time.

Valencia - Pont des Flores

Ponte de Flores, Valencia

Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias is probably one of the most important landmarks of the city and it attracts millions of tourists every year. The great majority of visitors find this very futurist architectural district a real splendor and tend to admire it more from the outside. Only some of them actually take the time to visit the museums, exhibitions, Planetarium and the Aquarium. Unfortunately, our status as only ‘few hour visitors’ didn’t allow us to visit any of the above mentioned museums, but we really enjoyed the view and admired the interesting buildings from different angles.

Valencia - Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (1)

Valencia - Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (2)

Valencia - Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (1)

Valencia - Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (2)

Valencia - Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (3)

We hope we’ll have the opportunity of visiting the city of Valencia as real tourists in the future and pick up from where we left.

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