April 24, 2009

A 9-Day Road Trip in Spain; Valencia in One Day

Crazy. You think?

Doable? Hell, yes!

But only because once the beach season is over, Valencia looses much of the appeal in the fall, winter and early spring. Not completely, though. There is still Christopher Columbus' tomb to see.

My plan was to leave Barcelona in the morning and reach Valencia by night. It took us 480 miles, 8 hours, and about 5 tolls. On our way, we experienced the east side of the country, which didn’t impress us as much as French or Italian countryside. The vegetation looked monotonous, with a small village here and there, and a few strips of orange trees.

Must-Do Things in Valencia

Valencia has a long and diverse history, which includes Roman conquest, Visigothic invasion, and Moorish occupation. The city also claims to hold the Holy Grail, that one and only. And unless it’s beach season, I’d suggest leaving beaches out of your itinerary.

1. Major points of interest include: Plaza de la Virgen, the Palace of Marques de Dos Aguas, the Old University, Glorieta Gardens, and the City of Arts and Sciences. This is how it reads in one of the Expedia’s city tours.
However, if you choose to see the city by foot, and in just one day – eliminations should be made.
2. Start with the Cathedral, which took more than 500 years to complete, Valencia's Cathedral reflects a diversity of architectural styles, including Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, and Neoclassical.
3. See the Roman remains of the city and Plaza de la Virgen – the centre of Old Valencia. Get a map at a city’s tourist center, which agents would map out routes that efficiently take you around the city’s main attractions.
4. Valencia’s Central Food Market is not as impressive as Barcelona’s, but it does have diverse seafood selection as well.
5. If one day is more than enough for you, check out Alicante. Alicante with its beautiful boulevard and pleasant shopping street, is one of the most well-known towns on the Costa Blanca. The coast of Alicante and the Costa Blanca owes its name to the beaches stretching for several kilometers and attracts many sun worshippers and pleasure seekers.

And never assume that those peanuts you get with your beer are for free. The bartenders will give them to you, but they will not tell you that it will be included in your bill (I will talk about things to look after in Spain in my future articles; stay tuned in.)

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