You'll find Valencia in the middle of Spain's east coast, facing the Mediterranean. It's a historic city, popular tourist destination and busy port. Ferries leave here for the Balearic Islands and beyond. Valencia's international airport is six miles to the west. Car hire in Valencia is available from several branches, including at the airport, and you'll find that Spain's third biggest city is a major hub for road links. It's easy to explore the rolling farmland of La Huerta region inland and the seaside resorts in either direction. To the south are the wild sand dunes and nature trails of the Albufera Natural Park, and to the north, the wooden hills of the Sierra Calderona Natural Park.
Drive along the impressive palm-lined promenade behind the golden beaches if you're renting a car in Valencia. The two-mile Paseo Maritimo is the lively centre of the city's beach-life, with cafes, stalls and buskers. Alongside is the Royal Marina, a chance to spot celebrities' super-yachts berthed in front of renovated 19th-century warehouses now housing restaurants and shops. Inland, tour the old quarter's beautifully restored historic streets and buildings. The important sights here include the cathedral, art museums, covered market and the Llotja de la Seda, Valencia's landmark 15th-century silk market building. Try to peep inside to see the impressive stone carvings. Don't miss the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, an iconic triangular central point to the city surrounded by grand old buildings. Then head for modern Valencia –local modern architect Santiago Calatrava's futuristic glass and steel City of Arts and Sciences has become one of Spain's major attractions. Inside are dozens of museums, cultural venues, an iMax cinema and a huge aquarium. And while you're exploring the city, look out for Valencia's culinary specialty – paella. This colorful seafood, meat and rice dish is usually cooked and served sizzling in a huge pan.
Opening hours:Mo-Fr 0900-1300 1600-1900, Sa-Su closed
Address:Dr. Ferran 157