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We were lucky enough to have been booked into a great little hotel which was centrally situated for everything. Somehow Valencia did not feel like the third largest city in Spain.
After our early afternoon arrival there was just time for a quick lunch or tapas before meeting our guide Michael back at the hotel. We set of for a guided tour of the Historical centre starting in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento; the largest plaza in the city, home to many magnificent buildings including the Ayuntamiento and the Edificio de Correos with a beautiful fountain at the northern end. We were told how the plaza is the focal point during the Les Fallas when the fireworks of the Mascletà can be heard every afternoon.
We made our way through the winding streets to Plaça de la Mare de Déu containing the Basilica of the Virgin and the Turia fountain, and then around the corner to the Plaça de la Reina, with the Cathedral, orange trees, and many bars and restaurants.
We finished our walk at the old Turia River which was diverted in the 1960s, after severe flooding, the old riverbed is now the Turia gardens, which contain children’s playgrounds, fountains, walks and sports fields.
The next two days were free for exploration and many people headed to the striking futuristic buildings of the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, designed by local architect Santiago Calatrava, to visit either, the Science Museum, the Aquarium, the IMAX or all three.
The highlights for me were the magnificent Jardin Botanico (Botanical Gardens) and the Museum de Fallas. But the city has so many sights and enough attractions for us only to have scratched the surface and we will certainly want to return again in the future.