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Travel: How to spend 48 hours in the stylish Spanish city Valencia

Square of Saint Mary and fountain Rio Turia in Valencia
Square of Saint Mary and fountain Rio Turia in Valencia

Perched on the Mediterranean coast, like Barcelona, and drenched in as much style as Madrid, Valencia may be Spain’s “third” city but it boasts the qualities of either of its larger rivals.

Stay

Over the summer months it can double as a exciting and cultured city break, as well as a relaxing weekend destination away for two.

You might want to check out the larger hotels but for travellers on a budget, the city is packed full of trendy apartments which can be available to rent on AirBnB for as little as £30 a night.

Eat

Take your pick from classic Spanish dishes to classic Mediterranean fare and other more familiar international options.

At the sea front and beach you should be able to find a cafe to serve you delicious, sprawling paella you’re supposed to share – although no one could blame you for not.

Of course, this is Spain where often people don’t start eating until midnight or so. Don’t be surprised if you wander into a restaurant at 7.30pm to slightly baffled looks.

There’s nothing quite like delicious tapas and a glass of rioja in a bustling Valencian eatery at 11pm, though.

Drink

Bars and cafes are on every street corner, serving beers like Estrella, Mahou or Cruzcampo. It’s Spain so the red wine is plentiful, too.

You might want to give the Agua del Valencia – Valencian Water – a try.

It’s made from a nuclear mix of champagne, vodka, gin and orange juice.

See

The Central Market is a bustling haven of stalls selling all sorts – from tourist trinkets and fresh fish to delicious oranges imported from the surrounding countryside.

If you fancy getting up close and personal with a giraffe – and who wouldn’t – there’s also the BioParc, an open zoo with very well treated animals.

A huge park, created by diverting the river running through the middle of the city, leads to the City of Arts and Sciences. This contains an aquarium, cinema, opera house, museum and then some.