Valencia, the third-largest city in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona, is a city that bridges together the past and the future. From the centre of the city, you can find century-old buildings such as the Cathedral of Valencia, still bearing bullet holes from a distant war, and the Plaza de Toros de Valencia, where bullfighters still battle raging bulls in an adrenaline-filled show. As you stroll closer to the sea, you will come upon the famous futuristic City of Arts and Sciences, created by native-born architect Santiago Calatrava. This former flood-prone riverbed now bears revolutionary buildings including an opera house and performing arts centre, a science museum, an IMAX cinema and planetarium, an oceanographic park and several restaurants, floating atop a massive swimming pool.
Valencia is a bilingual city of Valencian and Spanish and a cultural hub for a few world-famous celebrations. Two of these celebrations are Las Fallas (Falles in Valencian), a festival held in March in commemoration of Saint Joseph, and La Tomatina, a massive tomato fight in August in the nearby town of Buñol.
This booming Spanish city is also widely known for its exquisite cuisine and as being the birthplace of the mouthwatering paella (a simmered rice dish with meat or seafood). Other traditional Valencian dishes include fideuà (similar to paella, but with noodles), buñuelos de calabaza (pumpkin donut holes), fartons (an elongated confectionary sweet) and orxata or horchata in Spanish (a cool drink made of ground almonds usually eaten with fartons).
Valencia’s popularity as a tourist destination has been steadily increasing in light of the not-so-distant world famous metropolitans of Barcelona and Madrid, due to its distinct architecture and one-of-a-kind festivals.