Valencia Tourist Information

Valencia is the capital of the Spanish autonomous community of Valencia and its province. It is the third largest city in Spain and the 21st largest in the European Union. It forms part of an industrial area on the Costa del Azahar. The estimated population of the city of Valencia proper was 797,654 as of 2007 official statistics. Population of the metropolitan area (urban area plus satellite towns) was 1,738,690 as of 2007.

With a coastline of more than 485 km, the area of Valencia has some of Europe’s finest beaches. In 2011, 104 beaches and 12 ports in the comunidad Valencia received the quality mark “Blue Banner”. In Spain, there are 571 beaches and ports where the “Blue Banners” wave.

Valencia City has around a million inhabitants, with 2.5 million people in the metropolitan area. Valencia has its large share of foreigners, with the largest group is Latin American, mainly from Equador, Colombia, Peru and Bolivia, as well as Cuba, Venezuala and Argentina. Valencia is not like places along Costa Blanca or Costa del Sol where ex-pats are numerous.

Historically, Valencia has been the capital of an autonomous Valencian Community within the Spanish Crown. This status was taken away in the XVIII century after the European War of Succession and not re-gained until very recently. Currently, Valencia is proud to be once again an autonomous region with the right to promote its own cultural identity.

The Valencians have their own language – Valenciano. It is quite close to Castellano (the “official” Spanish), and even closer to Catalan. If you speak Castellano you will roughly understand the former. DONT make a mistake of calling Castellano Espanol, when talking to a Valencian. Valenciano is Espanol too. Also, many linguists would call Valenciano a dialect of Catalan and you You won’t hear that much Valenciano on the streets of Valencia – it is more common in villages. However, many signs will be in both (or Valenciano only).

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Americas Cup in Valencia

Valencia was selected in 2003 to host the historic Americas Cup yacht race becoming the first European city to do so. The Americas Cup matches took place in summer 2007. Alinghi defeated Team New Zealand, and successfully defended the Americas Cup. It has been officially announced that Valencia would be the host city for the 33rd Americas Cup, to be carried out on June 2009.

Fiestas in Valencia

Valencia is known for Las Fallas, which is a famous local festival held in March.

La Tomatina, an annual tomato fight, draws crowds to the nearby town of Buñol in August.

There are also a number of Catholic fiestas throughout the year. Holy week celebrations in Valencia are considered the most colourful in Spain.

Places to visit / Sightseeing in Valencia

Another ‘not to be missed’ permanent attraction is the architecture which houses the now complete City of the Arts and Sciences. There are four main buildings:
Oceanographic – with over 45,000 samples of 500 different species of underwater life including a special tank with sharks which you can walk under.
Museum of the Sciences Prince Philip- where you can participate in all kinds of experiments and learn a lot more about biology and genetics.
The Hemispheric- where you can sit back, choose and enjoy any of the three audio-visual shows, either at the Planetarium, the Laserium or on the gigantic screen watching documentaries where you feel you are an active part.
The Queen Sophia Palace of Arts – this was just opened in October 2005 with the presence of the Queen. Here, all visitors will be honoured with performing arts in theatre, opera and all kinds of dance exhibitions.

Valencia Biopark

If you are planning to travel to Valencia for whatever holiday at the end of next year, you will find yourself with the new Valencia Zoo or BioPark situated in a new green area and housing among other animals, over 250 species from the African savannah. Its to be 14 times bigger
than the existing one and will take approximately six hours to see it all, but do not worry because the weather in Valencia is sunny and mild in winter. The young and old will be able to enjoy seeing the natural habitats of all these different animals that one usually cannot contemplate unless you actually travel there.

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