12 Interesting Facts About Valencia
Thinking about visiting Valencia? Here are some interesting facts you may enjoy learning about. This underrated destination has been growing popular year in year out. So get to know the most interesting facts about Valencia and start packing!
1. Largest urban park in Spain
Turia gardens is embedded in the former river Turia, which crossed the city through its heart, before it reached the sea. This beautiful park (that locals still call a “river”) is a perfect place for outdoor activities or picnic.
The City of Arts & Science complex is also located in it.
2. Paella’s Birthplace
The most famous Spanish dish originated in Valencia. And it doesn’t look or taste like what the public outside of Spain think it does. Try paella valenciana at an authentic restaurant in Valencia and then you can really say you have had a paella!
3. Silk Route
Valencia played a big part in the Silk Route.
The silk tradition in Valencia is living on in the traditional garments women and men wear during the Fallas festival and other local festivities.
4. The Famous Manises Ceramics
Valencia’s airport town of Manises used to be a huge ceramics manufacturer!
5. America’s Cup
Valencia held America’s Cup yacht racing event twice in the recent years and the gorgeous port Marina Real Juan Carlos I was built out for it.
6. Horchata Central
Horchata glasses on the left and the tigernuts in the background. Image source: webos fritos
Horchata is a refreshing drink made of the locally grown chufa or tigernut. Horchata has a lot of beneficial properties, just stay away from commerically produced horchata loaded with sugar and additives!
Locals drink horchata in the afternoon as a mid-afternoon refreshment (it’s notorious for its thirst quenching properties) or merienda (a sweet bite at about 6 pm). And never for breakfast!
Fun fact. The fartón pastries that accompany horchata are the industries marketing move to sell more of the drink, as the light pastries absorb large quantities of the drink and make one thirsty.
7. The Deceptive Name of the Valencia Oranges
Interesting fact… It may be confusing, but actually, Valencia orange breed does not come from Valencia.
In the 1800’s Valencia was famous for its sweet oranges (oranges were originally quite bitter and made sweeter through a biological selection and modifications). A Mexican entrepreneur in California came up with a sweet orange and named it after Valencia, which was famous for its sweet oranges (of other breeds). Who would have thought?!
8. The Largest Aquarium in Europe
The City of Arts & Science is a large complex of several stunning buildings, one of which – Oceanografic – is the largest aquarium in Europe!
9. The Biggest Amount of “Blue Flag” Beaches
Valencian Community has numerous “blue flag” beaches and it’s actually the leading Spanish autonomous community in this regard.
Enjoy the turquoise waters of the rocky beaches of Javea or the pebble Moncofa beaches with milky water, or the beaches with wild vegetation in El Saler.
10. The Capital of Spain
Valencia was the capital of Spain for a short period of time during Joseph Bonapart’s rule and during the Spanish Civil War.
By the way, did you know that Valencia is located only 1.5 hrs away from Madrid?
11. Where The Oldest Court Takes Place
Photo credit: Presidència Generalitat
El Tribunal de las Aguas is over 1000 years old and takes its roots in the Moorish Valencia. It’s the oldest continuously running judicial institution in the world. Learn more about this unique court on my Day Time Market & City Tour!
12. Europe’s biggest street party
Photo credit: Ben K
Valencia’s Fallas festival is the biggest street party in Europe. It takes place in March and attracts 2 million tourists! This loud and fiery craze was included into UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 2016.
If you want to learn more about interesting facts such as the Fallas festival and other cultural practices Valencia, join me on one of my carefully planned food tours. I have spent years researching and trying the best local places (where tourists are rarely spotted!) and would love to take you on a foodie adventure to show you the real Valencia!