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Sightseeing in Valencia

Valencia Beach

Valencia's beaches are without a doubt among the best in Spain. Valencia has four beaches distinguished with the "blue flag" rating by the European Federation of Environmental Education for exceptional environmental conditions and services. There are also three beaches specially adapted for accessibility for the disabled. Valencia also has a nude beach, just the thing for those who loathe tan lines.

Valencia's beaches instill the qualities that you would expect only from the very best: a cool wind compliments of the Mediterranean, clear blue sea and the luxury of your choice. Tailor your trip to the beach that is right for you. There are two main groups, these being city beaches and those just on the outskirts of town. Whichever beach you choose, there are many transport options to make your journey care and, more importantly, stress free.

First on the list is Playa Les Arenes, if you feel you have earned your sunbathing quota for the day then here you can get up and get involved with all that Arenas has to offer with activities right on the beach. Also, if you're there at the right time you'll get the chance to see the Desembarco nocturno de los moros ("Nighttime Landing of the Moors"). This thrilling historical reenactment of the battle between the Moors and Christians shows the Moors losing control of Valencia and their attempt to take it back. So far earning its appeal as one of the elite beaches available, you also have the option of visiting the America's Cup Port, a small city in itself boasting several shops and restaurants for you to quench your curiousity. Travelling by bus you can get here with lines 1, 2, 19 and 20 and the Les Arenes line on the Metro

Valencia Beach

If that didn't sound right for you, your second option is the very popular playa de la Malvarrossa. You'll find it quite similar to Les Arenes as there is always something to do for those with an energetic personality. If you are looking for somewhere to make the most of valuable summer days then look no further. This beach hosts modern clubs and lounge bars for you show off your newly acquired tan. Among these is Akuarela Playa; with its large terrace, two floors and VIP section, it has everything you need to party into the early hours. Jump on the 21, 22 or 23 busses or the Eugenia Vines line on the metro to head for this beach.

There are those who consider the beach to be a place for relaxation and tranquility and this is exactly what you will find when visiting playa de Patacona, the fine quality of which has merited it as one of Valencia's top beaches. Though the walk can be a bit longer, as the saying goes, "good things come to those who wait" and Patacona is certainly worth the wait. You can get to Patacona on bus lines 21, 22 and 23.

Valencia Golf

The Comunitat Valenciana is home to more than twenty top class courses meticulously laid out by the world's most prestigious golf designers. Valencia is known internationally for its top-quality golf courses which, along with the tranquil Mediterranean climate of the region, makes this one of the most sought after golfing destinations in the world.

Golf courses always have a cult following and are consistently popular. If you can't bear to be without your clubs while abroad then bring them along to test your newly acquired handicap. Golfers will usually have a preference between inland and seaside courses and Valencia has succeeded in providing a little bit of everything. The first club to mention is the Campo de Golf El Saler. As with many things from the 1960's, it was created with a classic style by top designer Javier Arana. This lovely seaside course flawlessly flows from hole to hole with no repetition making each moment unique and rewardingly challenging. There's no better way to start the day than with a round of 18 by the seaside, though be warned that packing a few extra golf balls is advised as holes 7 and 8 will catch you out if you're not careful. Another fun extra is the Scottish-like winds which can turn the game upside down. Voted 4th best in Spain and 29th in Europe, El Saler is a strong course that provides worthwhile rewards.

Valencia Golf

When travelling abroad, you want your trip to be as relaxed as possible and this is the vibe you get from this next club, campo de golf El Manises. A 9 hole course built in 1954 and designed by the renowned Javier Arana, it effortlessly caters to young and elderly golfers alike, and anyone looking for a challenge to test their skills. You wont have to wait long before your tee'd up on the 1st and when you're done you will find a luxury swimming pool waiting to commend your efforts.

The entusiastic player will be pleased to know another excellent choice can be made in Beach and Golf Hotel Oliva Nova. Seve Ballesteros designed this famous course which sits just on the doorstep of the hotel, looking out onto the beach. It has been the host of several prestigious tours (for example, the Peugeot Golf Tour and part of the EPD season). With that being said, with Oliva Nova you get the complete package. What better way to complement a first-rate visit?

Valencia Water Sports

Valencia is well known for its predilection for water sports of all kinds. In particular, it is known for its regattas, sailing and windsurfing. Valencia's ultramodern harbours and sporting installations are a truly impressive part of the city. The popularity of water sports is continually growing and an immaculate, clear sea beckons visitors to get involved and explore.

Regattas, or sail-boat races, typically feature sail-powered boats some of which can hold groups as large as 200, so invite your family and friends as it is the perfect way to spend a day cruising across the crystal clear Mediterranean Sea. Whether you prefer to kick back and relax or take the driving seat is up to you but you're guaranteed a enjoyable environment that caters to all. Regattas are also a popular event with businesses looking to create a fun environment. Professional skippers will supervise you every step of the way even if you're totally clueless, so don't worry about capsizing your boat or unwittingly engaging your passengers in an impromptu reenactment of Titanic. With that in mind, it goes without saying that a day's experience on a regatta is a recipe for success.

Valencia Water Sports

Those who want to trade their relaxation for a sense of adventure can start by checking out the activities offered by Avensport with a score of exhilarating sports taking place around the Cabriel River such as rafting, riverboarding, kayaking and canyoning. Adrenaline junkies will be pleased to know that Avensport offers the rush provided by risky sports with the risk removed by way of high quality, ultra-modern security. So the cotton wool can be left at home as you dive right into some of the best water sports out there, in surroundings blessed by nature. In regards to prices, spending your day rafting will set you back around 40€, though children will get a slightly cheaper rate so there's incentive right there! Riverboarding will also be a set cost of 40€ while canyoning will start at 35€, though this depends on which location you choose. Kayaking starts at 25€, or 50€ if you're taking a specific class, and it may vary slightly.

Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències - City of the Arts and Sciences

This triple museum is housed in three emblematic, futuristic dome-like structures designed by Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava and two designed by Félix Candela; taken together they are known as the Ciutat de les arts i les ciències (City of the Arts and Sciences). The Hemisfèric is the largest IMAX dome in Spain and, aside from films, features astronomical projections and other exciting shows. The Museo de las Ciencias hosts 26,000 square metres of fun and educational science exhibits spread across three floors and dedicated to nature, science and technology. The Aquarium of the Ciutat is the largest of its kind in Europe and all the main marine ecosystems of the planet are recreated here: Mediterranean, Swamp, Temperate and Tropical Seas, Oceans, Antarctic, Arctic, Island and Red Sea. El Palau de Les Arts is dedicated to art and culture. The Umbracle treats visitors to a beautiful, scenic view of the whole complex as well as an open air art gallery.

Terra Mítica

Arguably Spain's most famous theme park, Terra Mítica opened in 2000 and is located in Alicante, on the outskirts of the skyscraper city of Benidorm. Its theme is ancient Mediterranean civilisations and so it is divided into five thematic zones: Egypt, Greece, Rome, Iberia and the Isles. The park features numerous attractions and shows of all kinds and for all ages as well as places to eat and relax. The latest incorporation to the park is the fourth generation roller coaster Inferno with free-rotating vertical cars, one of only two of its kind in the world. Terra Mítica is easily accessible. It has its own Cercanías rail stop. You can also get here by bus from Benidorm (lines 21 and 22) or by car. It is about 140 kilometres from Valencia.

With a combination of great live shows and historically themed rides, it is no wonder Terra Mítica had a staggering 1.1 million visitors in 2007. Certain to please, a day at Terra Mítica is a day for the entire family to enjoy. Terra Mítica offers both one and two-day passes, just in case you find yourself not wanting to leave. Prices are as follows: small children up to age 5 get in for free, 25€ for children aged 5-10, 35€ for adults and 22€ for the disabled. Enjoy!

Les Falles

Throughout Spain, the first thing that comes to people's minds when you mention Valencia are les Falles (las Fallas in Spanish). Ages ago it was simply the burning of waste from carpentry workshops, but Valencians progressively added unique celebratory touches that eventually became traditions and morphed into the modern spectacle that it has become. This quintessentially Valencian festival was at one point made to coincide with the festival of Sant Josep (San José in Spanish), patron saint of carpenters, through the Catholic Church's pressure. There is a Casal Faller (Fallas House) for practically every street in Valencia and every year they look for funds to build their cadafal (monument). The cadafals are organised according to budget and each Casal spends many months constructing theirs. The sculptures in these monuments, called ninots, are satirical in nature and generally lampoon pop culture figures or, increasingly, politicians. All of the sculptures are ultimately burned on the nit de la cremà (Burning Night) except for the winning sculpture, called the ninot indultat, which is "pardoned". The name fallas is derived from the Latin facula, meaning little torches.

Las Fallas

The Falles officially start on the night of March 15th with the plantà, when the completed cadafals are brought out onto the street, though lately, given the sheer magnitude that this festival has acquired, the plantà begins several weeks or even a month in advance and cranes are used. Each cadafal includes a sign explaining of the meaning of the scene represented. The sculptures used to be made of paper maché, but these days more modern and mouldable polystyrene tends to be used. On the 16th the children's cadafals are judged and the winning prize is awarded. On the 17th and 18th l'ofrena is held, in which offerings are made to the patron saint of Valencia, la Virgen de los Desamparados.

Fire is an integral part of this tradition, and Valencian tradition in general. Pyrotechnics were brought over by the Arabs during the Caliphate of Cordoba period. From the 18th to the 19th of March the nit del foc (fire night) is held, a fireworks spectacle over half an hour long. On the 19th, the nit de la cremá (Burning Night), all the ninots except the winning sculpture are burned. It is believed that all the previous year's troubles and worries are burned along with them. The winner is spared and joins the pantheon of winning ninots.

Moors and Christians

These festivals, commemorating the Desembarco nocturno de los moros (Nighttime Disembarkment of the Moors) used to be celebrated all over the Iberian peninsula but today survive principally in southern Valencia. They commemorate the battles between Muslims and Christians during the Reconquest (from the 8th century to the 15th century). The festivals reenact the conquest of the city by the Moorish legions and the later "reconquest" (reconquista) by the Christian legions. In the city of Valencia two such festivals are held each year, one on the first weekend of July commemorating the "nighttime disembarkment" (desembarco nocturno) and another on October 9th commemorating the takeover.

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