Valencia is as pleasing to the eyes as it is to the wallet. The green hues found in the Old Turía River Bed Gardens contrast the shimmering golden sand and sparkling cerulean waves of the beaches. And the color of its oranges is as rich as the taste. Those who say this Spanish coastal city lacks any sense of charm may have never walked under the citrus trees as they drop blossoms onto the cobblestone streets or listened to the hum of the Valencian dialect amidst the produce stands of the Mercado Central. Although it has spent years hiding in the shadows of larger cities, Valencia now offers a mixture of Madrid's history and Barcelona's contemporary atmosphere for a fraction of the cost.
The best time Valencia is in April and May, the sweet spot full of warm weather and void of crazy crowds. In general, the city boasts a Mediterranean climate with consistently pleasant weather. Average high temps range from 59 degrees in the wintertime to 85 degrees in the height of summer. Wintertime is also pretty comfortable -- between the mid 40s to mid 60s -- and the city is more or less tourist-free. The downside is certain attractions shorten their hours of operation.
Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center
The best Spanish cuisine in located on the winding streets of Center City (especially in the Mercado Central), while another top option are the cafés and tapas bars along la Avenida del Puerto. Many restaurants offer prix-fixe lunch menus, which are a good way of experiencing Spanish cuisine without spending too many euros. Remember that the Spanish do not normally sit down to dinner until 9 p.m. at the earliest. If you find that your stomach is rumbling before it's time to eat, follow the Valencians to one of the many tapas bars located throughout the city.
Valencia is the birthplace of one of Spain's most popular dishes, paella. The paella valenciana of this city is a mixture of rice, seafood, meat and vegetables flavored with saffron.
Valencia is also known for its orange groves. Don't miss your chance to sample this juicy fruit the way Valencians do. If you're looking for some refreshment after a long day of sightseeing, order an Agua de Valencia -- a cocktail made from gin, vodka, cava (Spanish champagne), sugar and freshly squeezed orange juice -- at a sidewalk café.
Visitors should relax while in Valencia: Although the city sees its fair share of petty theft, for the most part it's very safe. Guard against any petty theft by keeping an eye on your possessions, especially on the beaches.
You should also exercise common sense at night: Solo travelers should stray from walking through unfamiliar neighborhoods at night, and all should refrain from strolling the Turia gardens after dark.
The best way to get around Valencia is by the metro, which reaches as far as the Valencia Airport (VLC). Public buses help supplement the metro coverage, but these are a rather unreliable and confusing. Instead, consider walking or renting a bike to the closest sites and activities. We recommend forgoing the rental car: parking is near impossible to find, and the city's narrow streets can make driving difficult for visitors.See details for Getting Around
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You'll need your U.S. passport to enter Spain, and remember that it must be valid for at least three months after your return trip home. To stay longer than three months, you'll need to obtain a visa before you arrive in Spain. Families should be prepared to show proof of relationship if they are traveling with children, since the Spanish government is working hard to prevent international child abduction. For more information on entry and exit requirements, visit the U.S. Department of State's website.
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