Although Valencia encouraged the growth of new restaurants since hosting America’s Cup in 2007, it still remains small in comparison to other Spanish cities. It has some nice museums, a good beach, and is most famous for its festivals, like the world-famous Las Fallas and La Tomatina.
The most interesting area for wandering is the maze-like Barrio del Carmen, with an artistic underground atmosphere. The Palacio del Marques de Dos Aguas is an excellent example of Valencian architecture and definitely worth a visit. Inside is the Museo Nacional de Ceramica, with a vast collection of ceramics from all over Spain. Nearby in the Plaza Patriarca is the Neoclassical former university, with beautiful cloisters that play host to a series of classical concerts in July. The Plaza de la Reina leads to the Catedral, an impressive 13th century building whose bell tower, the Miguelete, offers amazing views of the city. The enormous Mercado Central is a glass and iron structure housing over 1,000 stalls selling local fruits and vegetables that is open every day.
The real highlight of the city’s museums is the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencas, which sits in a huge landscaped park that was built in the old riverbed of the Rio Turia. This museum is actually a complex of five buildings made of futuristic concrete, steel, and glass, and includes an IMAX cinema, large science museum, arts center, and oceanographic park where you can view beluga whales, sharks, and turtles.