Valencia is a lively city situated on Spain's eastern Mediterranean coast. Third only to Barcelona and Madrid in terms of size, it has enough vibrancy, character and a decent enough football team to rival its noisy counterparts. Now regarded as one of Spain's top city break destinations, it's a city with a lot to give and is also the gateway to the beautiful beaches and rustic rural towns of the surrounding Valencia region.
Valencia's old town, the Barrio del Carmen, should be your first stop. Calm and shaded during the day and bursting with life at night, the area's bohemian bars and cultured cafes are well worth exploring - and many of the city's best boutique shops and galleries are to be found among its narrow streets.
One of Valencia's newest acquisitions is the Ciudad de las Artes y Ciencias, a grand and futuristically designed cultural complex, situated on an old bed of the Turia River. It hosts opera, musical performances and other cultural events throughout the year and is especially exciting around the springtime during the Las Fallas festival, one of Spain's most extraordinary and memorable festivals - in which huge paper and wooden effigies called ninos are created, paraded in the streets and then burned.