Welcome to Valencia (City)
Valencia is the capital of the Valencian community. A port city established where the Turia estuary meets the Gulf of Valencia along the Costa del Azahar (the orange blossom coast).
Subtropical weather, sublime open, outdoor shared spaces (from beaches and parks to buildings and plazas) and a lively events schedules make Valencia an exciting city to live in.
Valencia is a city served sunny side up; with all the bustle of Barcelona and none of the overcrowding. La Malvarrosa, the city beach is clutter-free, clean, safe and popular with the locals. Spain’s third largest city was built around the port at the mouth of the river Turia. In 1957, Valencia experienced a devastating flood, so the city embraced a plan to divert the river’s path. The remnants of the old riverbed became today’s Jardín del Turia — a five-mile green swath of parks and public event spaces to rival New York’s High Line.
In the last 30 years investment from the tourism industry has enabled city leaders to renovate many historical landmarks. Medieval towers, the Torres Serran and Torres Quarts, La Lonja silk exchange and the Cathedral of Valencia encapsulate the robust Valencian Gothic style. Whereas the City of Arts and Sciences is a fantastically modern ensemble of six public arenas (from an aquarium to an opera house) designed by home-grown architect Santiago Calatrava.
Valencia is a bilingual city and many street signs read in both Spanish and Valencian — part of the same root language as Catalan. The tradition of the Fallas festival began here; a fiesta of flowers and fireworks where giant Fallas models are burnt so the city can be reborn from their ashes. Paella also originates in Valencia: this rice dish has ancient roots, but its modern form was created in the area around Albufera lagoon, a large freshwater lake now protected as part of the Parc Natural de L’Aburela. From mid-March through summer’s end, Valencians of all ages enjoy horchata — a refreshing, white, nutty drink — which they can be spotted quaffing outside local horchaterias.
The centre of Valencia city has around 800,000 inhabitants, with a further 1 million people living in the urban sprawl beyond the city limits. It offers historic old properties ripe for renovation, duplexes and apartments around the lively beachfront area and villas and bungalows in the more community-oriented suburbs. Right now, its competitive property prices give it the edge over such more prominent Spanish cities.
Valencia airport is just south of the city boundary with regular trains running to and from it. There is a Metro and overground rail network connecting the city and suburbs, with Estacio del Nord being the main station terminus. AVE run high-speed trains to major cities in both Spain and France. Passage Maritim is a 4-kilometre palm tree-lined promenade connecting the city’s shorelines that is closed to cars but used by pedestrians, bikes, buses and trams.
Valencia is well stocked with hospitals, eleven at the time of counting, one being the respected University hospital, Hospital Universitari i Politècnic La Fe (or La Fe for short). Every neighbourhood hosts a medical centre or GP surgery and much like most of Europe, pharmacies can be a good place to start if you’re unsure who to see.