Tag Archives: valencia

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Valencia Eating Out

Valencia Eating Out? Eating Late is the Norm

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For our 4-day trip to Valencia, we selected in advance a number of interesting restaurants with good reviews. The only problem was these restaurants were dotted around the outskirts of the city and not particularly easy to get to. Our Valencia eating out plans therefore had to be revised to fit in easily with the locations of our planned activities.

Valencia Eating Out

Valencia Eating Out – Turia Gardens

Valencia Eating Out – Tapas Early Evening

If you’re expecting to eat out in restaurants at ‘standard’ mealtimes, you’ll need to revise your plans in Valencia.

On our first evening, after much searching we could find only a couple of cafes and pubs serving tapas. Many restaurants only stay open until 4:00 in the afternoon… and the ones which open in the evening often don’t start business until 8:30 or 9:00 pm.

The Kram Bar

If you want to eat at a civilized hour – around 6:00 or 7:00 pm – you’ll end up eating an assortment of tapas at one of the many small cafes.

The ones we tried were actually quite good – notably the Kram Bar, adjacent to the Kram Hotel on Avda Campanar.

Valencia Eating Out

Valencia Eating Out – Tapas at the Kram Bar

Here we ate a tasty selection of tapas including croquetas ibéricos, goats cheese with tomato jam, dates with bacon, crujiente de gamba and fried chicken wings.

Together with a couple of glasses of wine this cost just €29 for two.

Valencia Eating Out – Shahi Restaurante

We went well out of our way to find the Shahi Indian restaurant, which had good traveler reviews. The actual meal we had was OK, with pappadams, okra, meat samosas, paneer, roti, lamb chops and a spicy chicken madras.

Together with a bottle of wine our bill came to €49.

Shahi Restaurante

Valencia Eating Out – Shahi Restaurante

Valencia Eating Out – Turangalila

One of the culinary highlights of our trip to Valencia was a visit to the (in)famous Turangalila. Decorated in a capricious maximalist-style, the Turangalila is a late-night restaurant and show combined. Its theatrical decoration, Gothic furnishings, mythological figures, and exuberant ‘hostesses’ create an unforgettable atmosphere.

I’d called the place a week earlier to book a table for the Saturday night, but they were fully booked. Instead, I was able to book a table for the following Tuesday, our last night – which co-incidentally was also Halloween.

In line with Spanish traditions, the restaurant didn’t open until 9:30 pm, and we arrived shortly after 10 pm. We were extravagantly greeted by Lisa Dust, our host(ess), and led to our table in the colorful and kitsch salon.

Turangalila

Valencia Eating Out – Turangalila main salon

It felt like we’d entered the set of Liza Minelli’s Cabaret.

Our table was immaculately set, and 2 of our hostesses went to pains to explain the menu to us in English (we were the only foreigners in the place). It being Halloween, many of the other guests were sporting pointy hats and gruesome face paint. However, they couldn’t compete with the lavish makeup and costumes of our ‘lady’ hosts.

For starters we were offered a tasty selection of tapas to share, including pate, croquettes, cappaccio of meats and cheese and pasta. The main course was a choice of meat, fish and vegetarian, and there was a large choice of deserts.

All of the food was impeccably presented and very tasty.

Valencia Eating Out

Valencia Eating Out – One of the deserts at Turangalila

To accompany our food we were offered complimentary drinks throughout the evening, as well as coffee and mixed cocktails during the show. As for the show itself, this started around a quarter past midnight after the dinner dishes had been cleared away.

The ‘girls’, who had so far been working hard serving food and drink, changed into their even more audacious cabaret gear for the nights entertainment.

The songs of course included such classics as ‘New York, New York’ and Shirley Bassey’sI Am What I am’. The music interludes were punctuated by sections of stand-up comedy, most of which was lost on us.

The locals were in uproar, so if your Spanish is up to it, it must be hilarious.

Turangalila - Valencia

Valencia Eating Out – Turangalila hostesses: They’re not as scary as they look…

The fun ended at around 2:00 am with everyone getting up to dance to the salsa.

All in all an unbeatable evening of food, drink and entertainment – and all for just €35 per person.

Valencia Eating Out – Carrefour (no joke…)

If you’re self-catering in Valencia, don’t miss out on Carrefour. They have a few hypermarkets dotted around the city, and offer some good and inexpensive meal deals. Great for preparing a picnic in the park or the odd meal or breakfast back in the apartment.

We picked up a full Japanese meal there, including sushi, muchi and miso soups.

They also make delicious snacks from crispy baked bread loaded with tasty Iberico de Bellota Spanish hams and cheeses. Take these into the park with a half bottle of local wine and you’ll be set for the day.

Valencia - Picnics in the Park

Valencia Eating Out – Picnics in the Park

As for activities, we were planning to visit the Museum of Illustration and Modernity, the City of Arts and Sciences, the Bioparc and the Oceanogràfic.

We wouldn’t have too much time for idling in the park, then…


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Valencia Activities

7 Must-Do Valencia Activities

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Although there’s certainly no shortage of things to do on a short trip to Valencia, the trick is to get organized in advance so that the must-do Valencia activities can be as diverse and fun-packed as possible.

We had booked a self-catering apartment in the Campanar district, north-west of the city center. As well as enjoying the highly-recommended Science and Nature venues, we also wanted to plan in some lazy downtime in and around the parks and suburbs in the afternoons and evenings.

So – on a short trip and with a modest budget – here is our shortlist of 7 must-do activities in and around Valencia.

7 Must-Do Valencia Activities

7 Must-Do Valencia Activities – Outside the Science Museum

7 Must-Do Valencia Activities – Bioparc

In the north of the city, the Biopark is well worth a half-day out.

The park houses a huge number of tropical and exotic animals. Each area of the park is beautifully landscaped, and is a joy just to walk around.

Though we’re not that keen on the idea of zoos, the Bioparc seems to have got the balance right. The park covers one square kilometer, with large segregated areas devoted to the different species.

Must-do Valencia Activities
Must-do Valencia Activities
Must-do Valencia Activities
Must-do Valencia Activities
Must-do Valencia Activities
Must-do Valencia Activities
Must-do Valencia Activities
Must-do Valencia Activities
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Boundaries are marked by rivers, waterfalls and mini-mountain ranges. The Bioparc is definitely one of the better attractions in Valencia, and well worth the €24 entrance price.

7 Must-Do Valencia Activities – Museum of Illustration and Modernity

In an effort to absorb some culture, we paid a visit to the Museum of Illustration and Modernity in the old city. There was a semi-interesting photo exposition of African kings and a very small collection of paintings by Spanish masters. Fine to while away an hour if you happen to be in the area.

The museum offers free entry on Sundays.

7 Must-Do Valencia Activities – The Science Museum

The City of Arts and Sciences is an entertainment-based cultural and architectural complex in the south of the city. It is the biggest tourist destination in Valencia and one of the 12 Treasures of Spain.

This scientific and cultural leisure complex covers a large area of the former riverbed of the river Turia.

You need tickets to enter the Hemisfèric, the Science Museum and the Oceanogràfic. You can buy them separately or combined for the areas that you would most like to visit. We paid €37 each for tickets to all 3 venues. We were advised to spread our visits over 2 days to ensure we’d have enough time to see everything.

Be sure to plan your trip well since there is a lot to see.

7 Must-Do Valencia Activities

Must-Do Valencia Activities – Inside the Science Museum

The Science Museum building resembles the skeleton of a whale. It occupies around 40,000 m² on three levels. The hotchpotch of exhibits it contains is designed more for entertainment value than for scientific education.

The building is made up of three floors of which 26,000 square meters is used for exhibitions. Much of the ground floor is taken up by a basketball court sponsored by a local team and various companies.

The Science Museum may be handy to keep the kids occupied, but we found it a bit underwhelming.

The initial promise from the magnificent exterior of the building is not really fulfilled by the dozens of displays and ‘hands-on’ scientific experiments you find inside. Unfortunately the equipment is not well maintained. Many of the set-pieces you can physically engage with are either very simplistic or no longer work properly (if at all).

Each exhibit is numbered, but in a non-sequential and completely illogical way. It’s difficult to navigate to ensure you see all there is on offer. We ended up wandering around randomly until boredom and fatigue got the better of us.

The City of Arts and Sciences is located at the end of the former riverbed of the river Turia, which was drained and rerouted after a catastrophic flood in 1957. The old riverbed is now a picturesque sunken park.

7 Must-Do Valencia Activities – Hemisfèric

The Hemisfèric is located next to the Science Museum, and offers a more immersive experience. The building is meant to resemble a giant eye, and is also referred to as the planetarium or the “eye of knowledge”.

Inside you’ll find a digital 3D cinema with a huge 900 meter concave screen which envelops the spectators. Several films are screened daily, mainly educational documentaries of no more than 45 minutes – suitable for all audiences.

You get a snazzy futuristic-looking headset with your ticket, and can choose your language from the headset.

Valencia Activities

Valencia Activities – All plugged-in under the Hemisfèric

There are 3 different movies you can watch on the concave surround-screen. It’s definitely a unique visual experience, though after 30 minutes of staring up at the ceiling it gave me a thumping headache.

7 Must-Do Valencia Activities – Oceanogràfic

The open-air Oceanogràfic is the largest aquarium in Europe, covering 110,000 square meters and containing 42 million liters of water. It is built in the shape of a water lily by the architect Félix Candela.

Inside, the Oceanogràfic is divided into a series of areas which represent different aquatic environments. These include the Mediterranean, Wetlands, Temperate and Tropical Seas, Oceans, the Antarctic, the Arctic, Islands and the Red Sea.

7 Must-Do Valencia Activities

Must-Do Valencia Activities – The Oceanogràfic 

The aquarium is home to over 500 different marine species including belugas, sawfish, starfish, sea urchins, walruses, sea lions, seals, turtles and rays.

The main attractions of the Oceanogràfic feature dolphins, whales, penguins, sharks and jellyfish.

7 Must-Do Valencia Activities

Must-Do Valencia Activities – The Oceanogràfic – Psychedelic jellyfish

Again, the different attractions are not numbered in sequence, resulting in a certain amount of confusion for the guests. As for animations, there is an outdoor dolphin show, repeated 3 times a day.

7 Must-Do Valencia Activities

Must-Do Valencia Activities – The Oceanogràfic: Walrus behind the scenes

Though very popular with the kids, keeping large mammals like whales and dolphins in captivity and trained as a tourist attraction is not to everyone’s taste.

7 Must-Do Valencia Activities -Turangalila

A visit to Valencia isn’t complete without a night out at Turangalila. Here you can combine a late-night restaurant with a show, and enjoy the decadence of Cabaret together with some very reasonably-priced food and drink.

7 Must-Do Valencia Activities

Must-Do Valencia Activities – The androgynous idols of Turangalila

You can find Turangalila in the San Vicente district of the city, a 25-minute brisk walk from the nearest metro.

7 Must-Do Valencia Activities – Picnic in Turia Gardens

The Turia Gardens is one of the largest urban parks in Spain. It runs through the city along nine kilometers of green space boasting foot paths, leisure and sports areas, and romantic spots where you can unwind.

From Cabecera Park to the City of Arts and Sciences, the Turia Gardens is the perfect place for runners, cyclists, families … and picnic-enthusiasts.

Just pick up some ready-to-eat snacks at your local hypermarket and enjoy a picnic in the park. A variety of Spanish hams and cheeses together with a bottle of local wine will set you up for the day.

7 Must-Do Valencia Activities

Must-Do Valencia Activities – Make time for a picnic

The park is crossed by 18 bridges, and the former riverbed passes by the city’s main museums and monuments on either bank. There are lots of beautifully landscaped areas and places to sit

The gardens are built on the former riverbed of the Turia, whose course was altered after the flood in the 50s. The Turia was diverted south of the city, leaving a huge tract of land that crosses the city from West to East, bordering the historical center.

Our Final 4-Day Valencia Budget

So how did our planned budget of €350 per person measure up after 4 days in Valencia?

Our actual costs for 2 people sharing worked out as follows:

Return inter-Europe flights to Valencia€114
Plaza Picasso Apartment for 4 nights€206
Airport Metro Transfers & Buses€31
Restaurants & Cafes – 4 days€147
Biopark & City of Arts and Sciences tickets€122
Sundries (Picnics, Breakfasts, Snacks)€104
€724 

 

A total of €724 or €362 per person, all inclusive. Just a little over budget, but nothing to worry about.

If we did the trip again, we’d probably opt for accommodation in the center and spend more time in the old town. There’s certainly plenty more to see and do in Valencia, but we were happy with what we managed to cover on our first short visit.


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