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Why CNN thinks Valencia is one of 'the best destinations' for 2022
Tuesday, January 11, 2022 @ 11:40 AM

A GLOBAL television channel based in the USA has recommended 21 international destinations for travel in 2022, including a Spanish city which it claims is 'better than Barcelona'.

CNN thinks tourists should swap bustling Barcelona for Valencia's comparatively more peaceful streets in 2022 - but direct train links between the cities mean you can comfortably see both on the same trip (photo: CNN Travel)

CNN advises those planning holidays across the pond to 'give the thronging streets' of Spain's second-largest metropolis a 'rest', and head a few hours' further south along the coast to 'the port city of Valencia', which the channel recalls has been nominated World Design Capital 2022.

In practice, despite what CNN says, it does not have to be a straight choice between the two – about four hours apart by car, two hours by fast train or three by slow train, a trip to Spain's east coast could easily involve taking in Barcelona and Valencia together.

The former, as lively, fun and colourful as a European capital – even though it is not, in fact, a capital – includes must-see attractions that resemble nothing else on earth, such as the wonderfully-weird Sagrada Família 'unfinished' cathedral, the psychedelic Parc Güell, both designed by Antoni Gaudí, the hectic 'tourist boulevard' known as the Ramblas, the Montjuïc mountain and cable-car up to the old Olympic stadium, and street upon street of excellent shopping and an eclectic array of restaurants and cafés.


'Futuristic' museum complex: So beautiful you'll forget to visit the inside parts

Valencia, the third-largest city in Spain with around 775,000 inhabitants, attractive and cosmopolitan with classical architecture and a very compact centre that makes sightseeing comfortable and simple, is flagged up by CNN in Where to travel in 2022: The best destinations to visit for its plans to become an 'emission-neutral destination by 2025', and reveals that its name in Roman times was Valentia Edetanorum.

The first of its visitor sites mentioned is the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, or City of Arts and Sciences (CAC).

“Designed by Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava, [it's] a vast, futuristic complex featuring a planetarium, science museum and Europe's largest aquarium,” the article reads.

These are, in order, the Hemisfèric – which shows half-hour documentary films on fascinating phenomena on planet earth and beyond, costing just a few euros per showing – the Prince Felipe Science Museum, which was used to house the international Harry Potter exhibition when it reached Spain, and the Oceanogràfic, home to over 45,000 living sea species from all the world's oceans.

The Oceanogràfic is humanely and carefully designed to reflect the natural habitats of all its creatures, so they are unaware they are in 'captivity', and is the east coast's key marine veterinary hospital, attending to lost, sick and injured sharks, whales and dolphins who get close to the region's shores, and taking in rescued turtles to nurse them back to health before releasing them back into the wild.

These are the main visitor magnets of the CAC, although the complex also includes the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía, an asymmetric 'ball' serving as an élite operatic and classical music concert venue, the Umbracle semi-covered 'garden tunnel', the Ágora sports stadium, and what looks like a massive outdoor swimming pool but is in fact a boating lake, where you can hire a craft and row yourself around the grounds.



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