Levante – Valencia region
Levante, the literal translation for where the sun rises, refers to the eastern region of the Iberian Peninsula. The region corresponds mainly to the Spanish Mediterranean coast, running from Catalonia to eastern Andalusia. Valencia region is one of the most touristic regions in Spain, where visitors flock in to savour the sunny beaches, rural tourism and the excellent wines. Using Valencia as a starting point is an excellent way to discover the natural wonder of the region. The swiftness and comfort of the high speed train enables you to get from the centre or the north of the Iberian Peninsula to its east in less than two hours (1h40 trip from Madrid or 3h trip from Barcelona).
Valencia is a vibrant city, with two claims to fame: Paella, a simmered rice dish that originated from Valencia centuries ago, in the heyday of the Moors; and the fascinating City of Arts and Sciences (Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències), a monumental, avant-garde cultural and architectural complex designed by the world-famous architect Santiago Calatrava. It has futuristic manifestations like the Hemisfiric, Umbracle, Oceanografic, and a whale-inspired building housing El Museu de les Ciències Principe Felipe.
With the sun that does not stop shining and the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea, this destination offers much more than just sun and sea. Stroll along the quarter of El Carmen up to the City Hall’s main square and discover one of Europe’s largest markets, the Central Market. Visit one of the most representative buildings of European civil Gothic architecture, the Silk Exchange (Lonja de la Seda), a UNESCO World Heritage site located on Plaza del Mercado. Some 400 metres away, you will end up in front of the Valencia Cathedral, built from 1262-1426. Its main entrance, the Puerta de los Hierras, is of Baroque style and named for its imposing iron gate. The cathedral’s octagonal tower rises 50 metres (164 feet) above the church and is a proud city landmark.
Out tip: Valencia is also a synonym of Fallas. It is the city’s most famous festival, where giant papier mâché sculptures, gunpowder and fire offer a unique and inimitable pyrotechnic spectacle known by the peoples of Valencia as the mascletâs. The event is usually held in mid-March every year.