Over the past decade or so, the port city of Valencia in Spain has reinvigorated itself. Once upon a time this was a place that had all the trappings of an industrial port; not so today, however. Thanks in part to the local governments program of improvement, and in part to the city's natural blessings, Valencia is now one of Spain's top destinations.
Backpackers traveling here will be pleased to learn that enjoying Valencia without breaking the bank is fairly straightforward. Life in general is cheaper here than in other destinations such as Barcelona and Madrid; there's also a glut of exception Valencia hostels that help keep accommodation costs down by offering affordable beds for the night.
Here's a quick rundown of 10 places to visit while backpacking in Valencia:
1. City of Arts and Science.
In a manner of speaking, this is Valencia's answer to the Sydney Opera House. A flowing riverside structure, it's worth visiting even if just to catch a glimpse of the exterior. Inside, the City of Arts and Science is a cultural center of renowned repute, featuring an excellent Science Museum, an Aquarium, and IMAX cinema, and a Planetarium. One for all the family.
2. The Seu.
Valencia's cathedral is a curious affair that mixes architectural styles from various periods and genres. Make sure to climb its tower for a great view out over the city.
3. The Mercat Central.
With any Spanish destination, the central market is always a must-see destination. And Valencia is no different. Its Mercat Central teems with life and color.
4. Barri del Carme.
Valencia's Old Town is a heady mix of fading, crumbling buildings, newer modernist constructs, charming cafes and inviting boutique shops. Very much the 'inverted cool' part of town.
5. Nova Tabarca.
Catch a boat and travel the three miles to the Island of Nova Tabarca, which perches just off the coast of Valencia. There's an 18th Century fortress and a beautiful old church to be seen on the island.
6. Campanil de la Iglesia de Santa Catalina.
This iconic bellow tower is to be found next to the Iglesia de los Santos Juanes in the area of La Lonja.
7. The Bridges Over the Turia.
There are three charming bridges that cross the Turia - the river that runs through the heart of Valencia. Each offer great views of the city, making for great photo opportunities.
Valencia's local football team Valencia CF play their home matches in the imposing Mestalla stadium. When matches aren't taking place, tours for visitors are on offer.
9. The Beach.
Catch a city bus and ride for 15 minutes to the beaches of Las Arenas and La Malvarrosa, which blend into each other, forming one long sandy stretch of paradise.
This wine-producing town is only an hour or so in the car from Valencia. A red named Utiel Requena is the town's famous produce; you'll find plenty of chances to savor it in the many bars and cafes here.