Spain is the second most visited country in the world when it comes to tourism. While Madrid and Barcelona are obvious destinations, Valencia is coming on like gang busters.
Spain is absolutely a fantastic country to visit. The people are friendly, the culture is amazing and the vibe is tremendous. When most people plan a trip to the country, Madrid and Barcelona are at the top of the wish list and rightly so. If you stick to these two cities, you will have a good time. That being said, you would also miss out on some tremendous destinations. Valencia is now such a place.
Valencia is a city located on the Mediterranean. It has long been considered a less than stellar spot to visit. The reason? It came out on the wrong side of the conflict in which Dictator Francisco Franco was the victor. As a result, the city received almost no financial support from Madrid for sixty years. This resulted in the town focusing on port commerce with all that implies from a tourist point of view.
A couple years back, things changed dramatically for Valencia. The reason is rather odd. The last America’s Cup sailing competition was won by a contingent from Switzerland. While a tremendous victory, it presented a unique problem. The winners get to choose the next location for the race. Switzerland, of course, is not exactly bordered by any oceans. Some nice lakes, but the Cup has to be on an ocean. Well, you can see where this is headed. Valencia has been chosen as the European port for the races and they start this year.
The America’s Cup is undoubtedly the sport of the well off. In choosing Valencia, the host racing committee has worked with the city to spruce it up. In a big way. The old industrial port has been given the once over like you would not believe. The waterfront has had a complete facelift. There is now a 64 acre park with a giant Palm Tree promenade. Then there is the City of Arts and Science. It is a collection of museums and theatres, many created out of crystal!
Regardless of the new construction, Valencia has really always been a place to go for people in the know. It is a delightful city. The first step to take when visiting is to chuck your map and guide book. This is a city best explored by getting lost on foot. Little cafes, gothic shopping areas and so on make it a explorers paradise.
I fully admit that you can’t go wrong visiting Madrid and Barcelona if you are heading to Spain. If you want to leave the crowds behind and are looking for a unique location, Valencia is the spot.
Rick Chapo is with NomadJournals.com - makers of travel journals that make great travel gifts .