Valencia by bike
Our cosy and clean AirBnB apartment was located right at the end of the 5km long beach. So that added another 10 mins to our trip to the inner city. Every day, we cycled along the beach on the beautiful boulevard which had several bike-paths as well. A nice treat, considering the mild temperature and blue skies.
Upon arrival, we had to pick up our keys for the apartment at what ended up being my favorite restaurant ever, La Mas Bonita. Located right at the beach, I felt at home immediately in this beautifully styled restaurant resembling my own place. I just couldn’t resist the fusion food style menu with a Spanish touch, so we had some lovely food there a couple of times.
(if you are reading this on your mobile, please scroll for more pics underneath the picture below)
On the second day we decided to go by bus and metro to the inner city as we had some shopping to do. However, on our way back it wasn’t as easy to return to our apartment by metro and bus as we thought it’d be. So, we went by bike again the next day and parked them near Mercat Central. We explored a couple of museums and had some lovely tapas at a little bar called Senia (and as desert some delicious ice-cream at lanocciola!).
Our first stop on Sunday was Museo Nacional de Cerámica Gonazales Marti. This museum is housed in a palace that dates from the 15th century. Aside from the overwhelming rococo style furnished rooms, you can find horse carriages, medieval, prehistoric, Roman, Greek and Arab ceramics and ceramic tiles made in the Royal Ceramics Factory in Alcora. The main entrance is highly remarkable with Virgin Mary placed in the center above the door. As we walked through the tiny rooms, we passed by a lovely dressed ‘princess’ wearing an original costume of Valencia. My girls should have been there…
Surrounded by Jugendstil architecture, this food experience couldn’t have been better (even though the crowd was elbowing their way for seats at the small bar).
On our way from Mercat Central to El Carme (one of the oldest districts of Valencia) we encountered colorful Jugendstil buildings with lovely balconies decorated with ceramic tiles at the bottom. As we tend to go of the main tourist route we saw a lot of urban street art against the background of the ancient city, which I quite liked actually.
Friday evening, we decided to cycle to the trendy multicultural district ‘Ruzafa’, also located around a central food market ‘El Mercat’. We didn’t get to see the inside, but just a little bit further down the street we had some dinner at Bodega El Mercat. One of the best restaurants according to some locals, who were kind enough to show us the way by bike.
That’s what I liked most about Valencia, the locals are very cordial. It’s truly part of their human nature. Whenever we asked for assistance, the locals went the extra mile each and every time. Even the bus drivers were concerned if we’d got off at the right stop. This great vibe reaches from the beach to the inner city.
Even though it was low season, on Friday Night the boulevard was full of people and some bars were open till late. The ‘Beach Club’ is gorgeous, but wasn’t busy enough for proper clubbing.
And last but not least, we went to see the amazing buildings in the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias City of Arts and Sciences) as designed by Santiago Calatrava, a Spanish architect, structural engineer, sculptor and painter, particularly known for his bridges supported by single leaning pylons, and his railway stations, stadiums, and museums, whose sculptural forms often resemble living organisms. I can highly recommend visiting this ‘city’ at night, the buildings and the surrounding sculptures (and the sculptures itself) are lit up beautifully. This city consists of an ensemble of six areas in the dry river bed of the now diverted River Turia (followed by a 9 km stretch of parkland including bike paths on each side, a 'must bike' as well!)
I fell in love with this city straight away, similar to Sydney, Australia. The mixture of waking up in the morning looking over the beach, the great city vibe combined with friendly locals is inspiring. A city that never sleeps, but that doesn’t feel stressed out. I’ll be back as there’s still plenty to see, also for my kids!
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