Insider's Guide: Valencia

 

For this week's Insider's Guide, Ted Wake, director of sales and marketing at short-break specialist Kirker Holidays (kirkerholidays .com), offers his 10 tips for a holiday in the Spanish region of Valencia.

1. There's no better time to head to Valencia. Prepare to pinch yourself as you step out into a surprisingly sunny day, and reward yourself after a successful sightseeing session with a plate of paella and the feel of the sand between your toes on the beach. Even in winter, temperatures are mild.

2. The region is spectacularly diverse, with lots to do from an evening of opera at Valencia's spectacular City of Arts & Sciences to an al-fresco lunch alongside the marina in Alicante. Pick up porcelain collectables in Lladro or revel in baby-boomer bliss in Calpe, a tourist destination developed in the 1970s that has managed to retain some authentic charm.

3. The city of Valencia has one of the most magnificent sandy beaches. It was impressively redeveloped in 2007 to welcome the beautiful people of the America's Cup, and you can benefit from this investment. Try the many watersports available or simply enjoy watching energetic young locals as they surf, windsurf, kitesurf and sail, year-round.

4. If white wine is your tipple, be sure to sample the region's moscatel, a deliciously sweet glass of heaven that blends perfectly with the local cuisine. Valencia is less renowned for wine than other parts of Spain, but its reputation is growing.

5. No visit would be complete without sampling paella, which originated in this region. The hackneyed 21st-century version of this famous dish is not for the locals, however. Join the aficionados in eschewing tourist-trap restaurant fodder and try a paella made with conejo (rabbit), caracoles (snail) and judias blancas (a large white bean). Absolutely delicious.

6. Another gastronomic must-do is a visit to Valencia city's Mercado Central, one of Europe's oldest food markets. Don't let the locals-only ambience deter you. Plunge in and enjoy delicacies including habas – peeled baby broad beans that taste incredible cooked with jamon (Spanish ham) and a touch of garlic. Nowhere in the UK would you find farmers picking broad beans when they are so small, sweet and delicious, let alone finding the time to peel them. Valencia's growers are justifiably proud of their produce.

7. Most of Spain enjoys a breakfast of churros (sweet doughnuts), but in the Valencia region it's traditional to have fartons (sponge fingers).

8. Among the impressive architecture of Valencia is the city's cathedral, a stupendous structure that like so many of the religious buildings here was once a mosque. Sit discreetly at the back during a Sunday afternoon service to enjoy the setting at its finest. Or you can pull up a chair at a café in the cathedral square to marvel at the scale and beauty of its exterior.

9. Architect Santiago Calatrava hails from Benimamet, a small village not far from Valencia. He is noted, locally, for his design of the city's spectacular Arts & Sciences building.

10. The Parque Natural de la Albufera, with its beautiful freshwater lagoon and rice fields, is a delight at any time, but particularly in the early morning. Invest in the services of a private guide. There are wonderful wildlife encounters to be had all year round but bird lovers will feel blessed in autumn and spring when migratory species abound.

For more information on holidays in Spain and elsewhere, visit the website of Aito (Association of Independent Tour Operators) at aito.com

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Suggested Topics
Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmWhat makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes hobby look 'dysfunctional'
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week