top 10 valencia is my attempt to include the highlights of my recent trip.

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valencia is the 3rd biggest city in spain and it has a population of 2 million.

10. gulliver. i loved the idea of an over-sized statue that kids can climb on and play with.

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9. museums and gardens. i liked the 25 year old ivam, the cat-inhabited jardi botanic and the muvim. i missed the visiting hours of the museo de ceramica but try to see it. even its baroque facade is breath taking.

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8. in an effort to create their own guggenheim effect, the municipality hired architect santiago calatrava to raise the ciudad de artes y ciencias. the project cost a round billion, 100 million of which were the architect’s fee. the complex is complete now and it does indeed attract tourists and even hollywood. while we visited, tomorrowland used the science museum as a futuristic backdrop. but, as many other of calatrava’s projects, it has problems and the architect was sued as a consequence.

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7. the harbour. beside lots of boats and yachts, there’s a covered skate spot, but also sailing teams’ headquarters, such as the prada powered luna rossa. but i liked most the new veles e vents by david chipperfield architects.

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6. llotja de la seda. the silk exchange building is a world heritage monument and we’d have missed it if our friends didn’t insist that we visit it. the interiors are beautiful.

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5. albufera is  a natural park south of the city. it’s a big lake and a wet land area that house many birds and animals. we took a boat tour and were lucky to have a mind blowing sun set.

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4. valencian food. the most famous local dish is paella, made with locally grown rice and marisco or chicken.

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also, do not miss the delicious horchata. it’s tigernuts milk (which makes it vegan) and it is usually served with fartons, sweet pastry. find a horchateria and drink up!

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3. there’s no denying, the beaches greatly improve the quality of life in a city. if you choose the main beach, la malvarossa, don’t miss taking a stroll in nearby cabanyal. it’s a former fishermen village, actually quite derelict but very appealing and full of pictures to be taken. the beach is super wide and the sand is very fine.

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el saler beach is a wild beach, with dunes and all. you can walk or cycle along the paved path, or have a meal in a restaurant or simply lounge on the beach, watching the boats go by.

but there are more beaches. just take your pick and enjoy the wonderfully stable valencian sun!

2. mercados are a must. we stayed close to the local mercado de ruzafa so it was our go to place for cherries or sandwiches with jamon iberico or chorizo.

we had an enjoyable plate of cold cuts and some tinto at the beautiful mercado colon.

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and we spent quite some time exploring the huge mercado central and didn’t miss the opportunity to try the central bar of michelin-star chef ricard camarena. i had a consistent sopa de ajo – garlic soup. my bf got a coffee for which he paid with a tweet. cool, huh?

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in conclusion: do not miss the opportunity to sample the real local atmosphere and visit any of the markets. you’ll love it, i promise!

1. street art. i didn’t see this one coming but, for me, the best time i had in valencia was chasing awesome pieces. i walked for hours on the streets of bario del carmen in a vain attempt of finding all the pieces. i stopped at nothing: lack of light, corners smelling of piss, crawling under fences and climbing on stuff to get the best angle. the awesome street art of valencia will be featured on several posts here on because it’s worth it!

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i hope my top 10 valencia was interesting and useful. if i missed anything, please let me know. i’m hoping this post will help future travelers enjoy this wonderful place.

photo credits: little aesthete, copyright owners