Valencia has been my new home for a while now, and I've written plenty about history in Valencia, Asian food in Valencia and some stunning natural areas in the Valencia community. But sometimes when you actually live in a city, it can be hard to find the time to get involved in some of the fun tourist activities that make visiting a new city for a weekend break so good. Being a tourist means trying to make the most of every minute of a trip, and packing loads of different things, places and tastes into every day. And so before the Xmas break I decided it would be a good idea to be a tourist in Valencia for a day...
I found an amazing company here that gives expert locally guided tours for FREE! The disclaimer is that if you want to pay the tour guide you can/should (they don't get paid by the company) - this is not a trick to make you feel guilty, as the tour really was fantastic, fun and interesting. Our guide was incredibly knowledgeable and managed to explain everything about some of the most famous monuments,whilst keeping the tour light and exciting.
The company is unsurprisingly, called Free Tour Valencia, and you can find them at the link below. The beginning of the tour (and meet-up place) is in the Plaza de la Virgen, and it's an energetic and packed place right next to the cathedral of Valencia. It's an ideal place to begin a tour, as it really feels like the heart of the city, with the modern city to one side and the old part on the other.
The tour took us to the Roman underpinnings of the city, on to the most important medieval towers and castles...
One of the most exciting parts of wandering around Valencia is the sheer amount of stunning graffiti. It's not the 'dirty and messy' type but instead the 'how on earth did they do that' type. Sprawling tall artwork that is both modern and talent-packed. The tour walks past some of the best-known pieces, as well as some commentary about by who, and why they were done.
The tour winds its way through the old town and ends up at the Central Market, which many locals would consider to be the heart of the city, It's the perfect way to end the tour, as there you can find every kind of food and drink that are typical to the city. One of the interesting things about the market is that although at first it looks a bit touristy, with flags and random trinkets to buy outside, inside it's really a proper market. Meat, cheese and wine are all on offer, as well as artisan chocolate and every part from every animal you could imagine eating!
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