Get to the sunny heart of old Valencia

Old Valencia
I am travelling to Valencia in July with my husband and three-year old. It is our first family holiday and I would love some advice on what to see and do, and where to stay to make this experience all the more memorable.

I am travelling to Valencia in July with my husband and three-year old. It is our first family holiday and I would love some advice on what to see and do, and where to stay to make this experience all the more memorable.

Valencia is Spain’s third largest city and is a wonderful mix of ancient and new flanked by glorious beaches and green fields. Mid-summer is an ideal time to go to Valencia, a city that offers everything from futuristic architecture to great food, wine and culture.

The bull ring at Calle Xativa is a 19th century amphitheatre and should be one of the first sights to see during your visit. The heart of the city is said to be here so I recommend you use this as your base and explore the surroundings.

The old city is tucked away in an area that was once part of the River Turia and is home to Valencia’s main square, the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. From here you can admire the town hall, the area of Rococo and the Spanish colonial and Moorish areas.

A great spot to experience is the Plaza del Mercado, a giant delicatessen of 1,000 stalls where you will find anything and everything. Items such as red eel, chorizo and saffron are much sought after and worth trying. Calle Poeta Querol and Calle Colon are the two main shopping streets specialising in luxury leather brands at great prices. Fans of the famous Spanish department store, El Corte Ingles, can spend time here which is on Calle Colon.

For culture vultures, The Museum of Enlightenment and Modernity is one not to be missed with an exquisite exhibition space showcasing historical artifacts and work by local artists in addition to work by world famous artists. Entry is free on Sundays but best to get there early to avoid the queues.

The Cathedral de Santa Maria is a key religious landmark and stands on the site where a mosque once stood. Sundays are a good time to visit however tourists are asked to confine their visits between 2pm-6.30pm. Visitors can view the chalice that has a fair claim to being the Holy Grail and experience amazing sights of the city from 207-step tower.

If you like the idea of taking some time out, the Jardines Del Turia is Valencia’s main city park. Somewhat of a playground for children and adults alike, the park features a cycle path, orange groves, fountains, football pitches, slides and swings, and is a wonderful place to relax in the afternoon sun.

Where to stay:

Hotel Las Arena Balnearo Resort (*****)

Complete with an outdoor pool, children’s pool and fitness club, this hotel is the perfect choice if you like the idea of both exploring and relaxing. The Prince Felipe Museum of Sciences is just a stones throw away whilst the Queen Sofia Palace of the Arts is close by.

Hotel Silken Puerta de Valencia (****)

Complete with a bar, lounge, fitness facility and restaurant the Hotel Silken Puerta de Valencia is family friendly and close to all the main attractions.

Vincci Lys Hotel (****)

Situated in the old town, this intimate hotel is just 700m from the Cathedral and just 4kms to the beach. Guestrooms are complete with satellite TVs, period style furnishings and luxury bathrooms.

For more information and travel tips on planning your holiday visit www.hotels.com call 1800 55 3338 to wake up happy on your holiday!