Valencia Checklist

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Cathedral with Miguelete (bell tower) in background_Photo credit Whitney Boland.jpg
Photo via Whitney Boland

4. Catedral de Valencia
The Ciutat Vella (old town) is the center of Valencia and still touts its medieval layout—star-shaped and fanning out in several directions with fun discoveries tucked into each square’s cozy corners. The shining light at the top of this star is the Valencia Cathedral, which was consecrated in 1238. The Cathedral is a mashup of architectural styles—gothic, baroque, Roman and Renaissance—and houses a supposed “Holy Chalice,” both revered and scrutinized as the chalice from the “Last Supper,” in one of the chapels. Admission is about $4; hours vary throughout the year so check before going.

5. La Riuà
The family-run restaurant La Riuà is the perfect place to try perfect paella. This unlikely spot is truly authentic—some even say legendary—and has countless gastronomy awards lining the walls. While La Riuà has been open since 1982, its food and service aren’t losing steam. Go big on lunch with the Paella Valenciana (made with chicken and rabbit) or pick another from one of the 15 traditional paellas and rice dishes. Call for reservations and note that if you’re visiting for lunch (2 p.m. to 4 p.m.), the two-hour lunch window is strict and packed.

6. Museo Fallero
If you can’t make March’s multiday Las Fallas celebration—an edgy festival steeped in tradition and satire—you can still experience it via Museo Fallero, which is dedicated solely to the celebration. Fallas are massive papier-mâché puppets (with a political or pop-culture reference) erected in the city squares during the festival. Each behemoth has a mini-me replica—a ninot, or “puppet”—next to it. During La Crema, all these fallas and ninots are burned except one, which is decided on by popular vote and then housed at the museum (sculptures date back to 1934) which is open daily for about $2 but free on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

7. La Lonja de la Seda
Built in the years between 1482 and 1548 and resembling a medieval castle, La Lonja de la Seda, or the Silk Exchange, is known to be one of the best examples of Gothic architecture in the Mediterranean. Once the primo silk-trading post, the structure remains an example of Valencia’s wealth during the 15th and 16th centuries. It was designated as a UNESCO site in 1996 and is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. (it closes at 3 p.m. on Sundays). Tickets cost about $2 and are free on Sundays and public holidays.

Whitney Boland is a freelance writer and climber living the simple life in New York (not the City).

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