Valencia: Sunshine & Sailing pedigree
On the banks of the Turia River overlooking the gulf, Valencia is an ancient city and harbour, with a strong sailing game. Now a pit stop for the Volvo Ocean race and host to an annual sailing week, yachting enthusiasts flock to this beautiful port.
Stroll Paseo Marítimo, a 4 km long palm-tree lined promenade, to get your bearings. The port itself was completely remodelled for the 32nd America's Cup in 2007, while the medieval architecture of the old city is retained in pockets of the city. Highlights include the San Miguel de los Reyes monastery and the ancient Towers of the medieval city, which afford stunning views across the city out to sea. Don’t miss Las Fallas festival in March, which begins with deafening fireworks. The Holy Week celebrations held in Valencia are also considered to be among the most intensely colourful in Spain and in August crowds are drawn to the nearby town of Buñol by “La Tomatina”: the annual tomato fight makes a fascinating spectacle. Visit Albufera, a freshwater lagoon and estuary – a natural park perfect for bird watching and hiking. Golfers should hit the greens at El Saler, El Bosque, Manises and the Club Escorpión.
Visit IVAM, The Valencian Museum of Modern Art (C/Guillem de Castro 118 and C/Museo 2) is across two adjacent sites and hosts contemporary shows, as well as a permanent exhibit by sculptor Julio González
Have lunch at Ca’n Bermell (Calle de Santo Tomás 18) set in a 17th-century building in the heart of the Barrio del Carmen. Run by Emili Bermell, just take whatever daily special is recommended, you can’t lose
Valencia is known for using hyper-local ingredients and is the birthplace of Paella.