Valencia Offers The Best Of Catalonia & Spain
09/12/2007 09:09 a.m.
The finest blend of the two coexisting cultures of Catalonia and Spain can only be found in the magnificent beach city of Valencia. Where Barcelona is much more strident in its celebration of its Catalonian heritage almost to the point where it shuns the surrounding Spanish culture, Valencia embraces both and through that unique synthesis has been able to forge an unique and appealing milieu which allows the visitor to experience the best of both, and your travel agent can advise you on how best to do just that.
During the long decades of Generalissimo Franco's rule, Catalonian culture and heritage were suppressed. It was a crime to even speak the Catalonian language. Once the dictatorial shackles were thrown off. Catalonia which constitutes virtually the entire eastern coast of the Iberian peninsula, bloomed with an unexpected vigor and power to the point where today Catalonia is for all intents and purposes a nation of its own, virtually autonomous from the Spanish state.
Valencia is located on the southern end of Catalonia proper and the Comunidad Valenciana, or the Valencian State is a rainbow of intermingling Spanish and Catalonian influences. The northern part of the state is fully and irrepressibly Catalonian yet by the time you get to the southern end where the port city of Alicante lies, Catalonian influence is at a minimum and you are aware that you are definitely back in Spain!
Valencia is a strikingly beautiful city with just a balmy climate that can be enjoyed in shirtsleeves 9 months of the year, amazing sugar sand endless and spotlessly clean beaches and awe inspiring mountainous landscapes. Your travel agent can easily book you into hotels that will suit both your budget and your preferences.
This modern and forward-looking city hosts the Terra Mitica which is justifiably considered to be the best theme park in Europe (sorry, Paris Disneyland!) and the L'Oceanografic which holds the title for the largest, most extensive marine park in Europe. A visit to Valencia is not complete without taking in the spectacular Ciudad De Las Artes Y De Las Ciencias (City of Arts and Sciences), where you have the opportunity to tour the Reina Sofia Arts Palace which combines an outstanding opera house, a planetarium and a modern science museum.
The historical aspects of Valencia can be experienced at the La Lonja de la Seda which translates to Silk Exchange. This is a group of buildings where silk was once traded in the 15th century and was a major point of cultural and commercial interchange between East and West. Other "must sees" include the grand Museo de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Museum) and the La Seu Catedral. Tackling the Mercado Central with over a thousand stalls definitely takes stamina and perseverance, but you are assured to find just the perfect souvenir of your vacation.
The one word to describe the nights in Valencia is enthralling. In the typical Iberian manner, dinner is served around 11 pm and then practically everyone heads over to Barrio del Carmen's Calle Caballeros to spend the remainder of the night at a variety of clubs and pubs to dance and party the night away. If you want to discover the surprisingly varied charms of what many travellers call the finest Iberian city, your travel agent can certainly make all the arrangements for you.
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