The Spanish Language Blog

Citytrip Valencia

Arriving early in the morning at the airport of Valencia, I can't wait to start my day with a freshly squeezed zumo de naranja á la Valencia. Instead of a hotel in Valencia, we opted for a hostal right in the center. Drop your bags and then quickly into town! From the airport you can very easily take the metro to the center of Valencia. So we did. The subway takes us straight to our hostal. This hostal is located at the "Plaza Ayuntamiento" from where you can easily walk to the other two squares of Valencia (Plaza de la Reina and Plaza de la Virgen). The temperature gauge in the square reads 34 degrees. Fortunately, there is a constant wind blowing through Valencia, so it is perfectly bearable. Valencia is the3rd largest city in Spain, but this does not feel like it at all. It has a quiet center with not too much traffic, where you can stroll through the many narrow streets.

Thinking about tasty snacks for tonight, the so-called pinchos, we first have breakfast. As we walk towards the first square we see that you can sit on the terrace of Horchatería El Siglo in the sun. This is definitely the place where we want to have breakfast and catch the first rays of the Spanish sun. On the menu is horchata de chufa (almond drink). According to the camarero, this is something typically Valencian you must have tried. You drink this local thirst quencher ice cold and eat fartons (stems of croissant dough) with it. The waiter manages to seduce me anyway so, in addition to the zumo de naranja, I order the horchata with fartons. The horchata tastes like a slightly sweet milky drink and is wonderfully refreshing. The combination with the fartons completes it!

To explore Valencia properly we´all Dutch´re going to explore the city by bike. Everywhere you can rent bikes, but on the recommendation of our hostal we rent them at ´Solution Bike rental´ at a great price. Very nice is to cycle through the 10 kilometer(!) long city park ´Jardines del Turia´ in the old river bed of the Turia. This park runs right through the city like a green strip. I have never seen such a versatile park with playgrounds, work-out machines, playing fields and beautiful picnic areas!

After an active bike ride through Valencia, our stomachs begin to growl again and we look for a restaurant where locals enjoy the almuerzo. We plop down at restaurant ´Taberna Española Pasodoble´. Like the valencianos do, we order the daily menu. This is a complete 3-course meal for about 10.00 euros. Very tasty and a cheap solution that can fill you up well.

What you must have tasted when in Valencia is the paella. This cocina típica de Valencia, is available everywhere. Just outside Valencia, in Albufera, you can visit the rice fields. We decide to eat paella on the beach of Valencia in the evening. It is easily accessible by metro from the city center. We were told that the most famous restaurant is "La Pepica", but that "L'Estimat" serves the best paella and that it is surrounded by Valencians. That is the best tip: eat where the locals are sitting.

We end the evening at the ´Café de las Horas´ with Valencia´s most famous cocktail, Agua de Valencia. The alcoholic version of Valencian oranges, mixed with cava brut (Spanish champagne) and cointreau.

Before we go home again, I go to the Central Market in the morning to buy something for home. This market with its food stalls of fresh vegetables, fruit, fish and meat makes your mouth water. This is also where all the restaurants in Valencia get their fresh produce. On the side of the ´Mercado Central´ I quickly buy paella rice and a paella pan so that later I can try to make the real paella Valenciana at home.

Valencia, with about 1500 restaurants, is a delight for culinary lovers. It is a versatile city where you can fully enjoy Spanish life in all its facets. I will definitely come back here!

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