Valencia where the food is first-rate, the weather is wonderful and there’s a beach thrown in for free.

Thanks to a decade of development, Valencia boasts some of Spain most impressive 21st century architecture, alongside traditional barrios and age-old churches. We soak up the atmosphere, and the sun, where ancient meets modern and discover the best things to see and do in Valencia.

  1. La Playa de la Malvarrosa

Marvellous by name and by nature, if you’re more a beach bum than a city slicker you could easily spend your whole trip here, baking in the Valencian sun. Take a break from the rays and visit one of the shoreline restaurants serving up traditional Valencian paella. Try La Pepica, La Marcelina or Casa Carmela, Valencian institutions, frequented by tourists and locals alike.

  1. Valencia Cathedral

Valencia Cathedral’s controversial claim to fame is that it is the supposed home of the Holy Grail. Millions flock to see the chalice, but the church itself is well worth a visit to see its frescoes, ornate relics and Goya paintings. A climb up the Miguelete tower will also reward you some of the best views in the city.

  1. Las Fallas

See the city at its most animated, quite literally, during Las Fallas festival in March. Each of the city’s neighbourhoods builds giant statues of satirical caricatures that are judged and then set alight in the last day of the festival. Throughout the week there are parades, firecracker and firework displays, lively fiestas, food competitions and all other things quintessentially Spanish: your eardrums and liver will seriously be put to the test.

  1. Ciudad de las artes y las ciencias

In sharp contrast to the city’s old town, the series of architectural wonders that makes up the City of Arts & Sciences are a symbol of the city’s fast and furious rejuvenation. Explore and admire Valencia architect Santiago Calatrav’s curiously-shaped white buildings, surrounded by clear blue reflecting pools. Attractions include an opera house, a planetarium and an aquarium where you can dine in its restaurant surrounded by marine life. Maybe just avoid ordering the fish…

  1. Central Market

Housed in a beautiful art nouveau building, Valencia’s central market is buzzing with locals stocking up on fresh produce from its 1000-odd stalls. Even if you’re not doing the week’s food shop, just marvel at its produce, from the piles of staring tuna fish to the punnets of ripe cherries stacked to the glass mosaics above.

  1. Tapas

What’s a trip to Spain without filling yourself up with plates of authentic tapas? Although not as integral to Valencian culture as other areas of Spain, the city still has its fair share of renowned joints such as Botega Casa Motaña in the Cabanyal quarter. Being one of the oldest in the city, it has garnered quite a reputation and is always packed with people filling up with plates of jamon washed down with a cerveza.

  1. Horchata

This simple and delicious drink made from tiger nuts is a speciality in the region. It is particularly refreshing on a hot day when served in a traditional horchateria with light pastries called fartones (don’t laugh) to dip.

  1. Torres de Serranos

Built in the 14th century, Torres de Serranos boasts the claim to fame as the largest Gothic gateway in Europe. It’s certainly one of the best preserved monuments in the city.