"The pearl of the Mediterranean" Comunidad Valenciana by jorgejuansanchez
Comunidad Valenciana Travel Guide: 3,464 reviews and 7,992 photos
Valencia history is very rich, as well as the gastronomy and fiestas. Furthermore, Valencia people have, apart from the spanish, another language, the valenciano, which they do not like to be confused with the catalan or the balear languages.
Valencia is compossed of three provinces: Castellon, in the north, Valencia, in the center, and Alicante, in the south.
Inside the Valencia cathedral you can admire the Holy Grial and two Goya paintings, and just in front of it, in the square, you can taste the typical Valencia drink: horchata, specially in summer.
For beaches everybody go to Benidorm, in Alicante, although they are very crowded, mainly with people from Madrid, but if you go with childrem, then Benidorm is perfect because of the Terra Mitica attraction park (a spanish Disneyland). For the tourists without children I suggest you the beaches around the historic and beautiful medieval village of Peniscola, in Castellon province.
You should try to go to Valencia capital around 19th march, during the Fallas, one of the three most important fiestas in Spain (the other two being San Fermin in Pamplona, the seventh of july, when we let the bulls running in the streets, and Feria de Sevilla, in april, when everybody participates dancing flamenco and drinking fino wines). If not, then go to the enchanting Fallas museum, in Valencia capital, to get a glimpse of these incredible and original fiestas.
Elche, in Alicante, one of the oldest spanish towns, also deserves attention, specially its Huerto del Cura (another UNESCO monument), a fantastic garden full with exotic plants and palms unique in the whole of Europe. In Elche, to damage a palm tree is considered a crime.
Valencia is very conveniently situated; from there you can get regular ferries to the Balearic islands, to Italy and Palermo, or from Alicante there are boats to Argel, or you can reach Madrid in train or bus in about three hours.
I was with a group of friends driving from Andalucia to Barcelona, when we stopped in Elche. We had three reasons to rest there for a few hours: buy shoes, buy turrón, and eat a special local dish called Arroz con costra (a kind of paella with rabbit meat, chorizo, and covered with an egg).
When we were having our arroz con costra the waiter asked us if we had already visited the Huerto del Cura, which was just in front of the restaurant.
We did not know about its existence, so after lunch we paid the ticket to get there. It was not expensive; about 300 pesetas (we had not yet Euro).
The Palmeral of Elche is the greatest in Europe, with about 300.000 palm trees, while the Huerto del Cura shelters over 1000 palm trees.
We read that the origin of those palm trees in Elche is Phoenician, but the Arabs implanted a system of irrigation and cultivation, used until our days.
The main star of the Huerto del Cura was the Palmera Imperial. Many palm trees were dedictad to personages that hade visited the Huerto del Cura. We read the names of our king Alfonso XIII, the present kings Juan Carlos I and his wife, king Humberto II from Italy, etc. Among many relevant foreign personages having visited that Huerto was Arthur Rubinstein.
Some statues scattered in the Huerto showed the Dama of Elche, and our Aragon king Jaime I, who freed Elche from the Muslim invaders in the XIII century.
We enjoyed the visit and at the shop of the exit we bought some dates as souvenir.
- Pros:they prepare the best paella in Spain (they invented it !)
- Cons:hard to get a hotel during Fallas fiestas
- In a nutshell:pleasant and clean autonomy
I visited quite by chance this Lonja in Valencia, called Lonja de la Seda (Silk Exchange). I was with a group of friends... more travel advice
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