Valencia, the 3rd largest town in Spain, is a breathtaking mixture of history and contemporary architecture. The lively town, which is the venue of the next America’s Cup, has a friendly, Mediterranean and open character. The completely restored historic centre is a shopping paradise combining the finest shops with the most amazing sights and with 300 days of sunshine every year you are sure to find a place in the sun to enjoy your shopping break!
All high street stores such as Zara, Mango, Pull & Bear, Massimo Dutti etc. are located in the pedestrian zone of Calle Juan de Austria and along the Calle Colon. The more exclusive designer boutiques have opened their shops in the small streets leading towards the Mercado de Colon, a beautiful, lightflooded market hall in the Spanish art nouveau architecture, which is a popular meeting point with a lot of trendy cafés and bars. In the neighbourhood of the market you will also find a nice selection of shops with accessories, light design, interior decoration and curiosities. The Calle de la Paz is worthwhile a visit for the beautiful buildings alone, the ground floor shops will spoil you for choice of the finest jewellery and the most exclusive designer clothes.
If you are looking for something extravagant and very trendy the quarter of El Carmen is the place to shop. Alternatively have a look around the small cobbled streets between the Mercado Central and the Plaza de la Reina and the Plaza Redonda for all kinds of quirky souveniers. If your feet are longing for a break, choose one of the cafés on the Plaza de la Reina or the Plaza de la Virgen with the beautiful cathedral. Make sure you try a glass of horchata, a cool tigernut milk and tasty local speciality.
Talking about food and specialities: if you are a more into food and wine than into the latest fashion, you can look forward to a wide choice of excellent restaurants, be it for Tapas or creative new Spanish cuisine, which serve delightful food and excellent local wine at very competitive prices. The insider location at the moment is the Calle Conde de Alteà, a whole street of fancy restaurants. Beware that most of them don’t open before 21:00 or 21:30 h at night, but will then fill up rapidly with a trendy crowd. Another area for fine food is the quarter of El Carmen, where a lot of creative young chefs celebrate the new Spanish (or Italian) cuisine. Apart from that you are sure to find a fine place to eat almost everywhere in Valencia, the only exception being the restaurants facing the Plaza de la Reina.
If shopping and dinner have left you with enough energy for more action, make sure you don’t miss the nightlife: it’s known to be one of the best in Spain. Most bars and clubs are located in the quarter of El Carmen around the Plaza de Tossal and the Calle Caballeros, just off the Plaza de la Virgen.
Tip: Use the Sunday to explore the town by bike: The beauiful, car-free park Jardines del Turia embraces the whole centre and ends at the Ciudad de las Artes y Ciencias. The splendid contemporary architecture alone is worthwhile a visit, but one thing you should not miss under any circumstances is a visit of the aquarium Oceanografic. Entrance seems to be quite costly at 22 Euros per person, but be assured that you will have an unforgettable experience in this waterworld.
Where to stay in Valencia
Palau de la Mar *****
Calle Navarro Reverter 14
Tel: +34 963 162 884
Double room at special weekend rate from 165 Euro
This exclusive boutique hotel is in walking distance to the Plaza de la Reina, Plaza Colon and the park.
Puerta Valencia ****
Avenida Cardenal Benlloch 28
Tel: +34 963 936 395
Double room at special weekend rate from 85 Euro
Ultramodern hotel with good weekend rates and only about 5 minutes away by taxi from the historic centre.
Ad Hoc Hotel ***
Calle Boix 4
Tel: +34 963 919 140
Double room 179 Euro
Charming hotel in the very centre of the old town, recenlty renovated.
Where to eat in Valencia
Calle Bordadores, 3
Tel: +34 963 922 288
Excellent Tapas & Fine Wines
Conde de Alteà 26
Tel: +34 963 440 175
Excellent Italian in the restaurant mile of Conde de Alteà
Conde de Alteà 17
Tel: +34 963 447 884
Modern Spanish Cuisine at its best
Conde Alteà 18
Tel: +34 963 335 353
Ultramodern and very trendy restaurant with excellent Spanish cuisine
What you must see in Valencia
Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias
Stunning architecture best explored by bike, if you are there don’t miss:
The largest waterworld of its kind in Europe
Museo de Bellas Artes
Ranking among Spain’s best with master pieces of El Greco, Murillo, Morales, Goya and Velazquez.
Calle San Pío V 9
Tel: +34 963 605 793
Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno
One of Europe’s finest museums for contemporary art
Calle Guillem de Castro 118
Tel: +34 963 863 000
La Llonja & Mercado Central
Plaza del Mercado
Mercado de Colon
Art Nouveau market, beautifully restored.
Calle Cirilo Amorós s/n
Shopping in Valencia:
The centre of Valencia is easily explored with the best shopping facilities close to one another. Best streets are Calle Colón, Conde Salvatierra, Jorge Juan, Sorni, Poeta Querol.
Opening hours of shops in Valencia:
Shops are open every Monday to Saturday from 10:00 h to 13:30 and from 16:30 to 20:00 h. Most of the high street stores don’t close during lunchtime.