If you're the sort of traveller who likes to follow their nose, then the heady scent of oranges will take you straight to Valencia.
The winding streets of its Old Town boast both Roman and Arabian influences, punctuated with pristine orange gardens and open squares buzzing with outdoor cafes that stay full until the wee hours of the morning. Circling Old Town is the dried riverbed of the Turia, a beautiful green belt of attractions including the amazing Bioparc immersion zoo and La Ciudad de las Artes y Las Ciencias - one of Valencia’s most recognisable symbols. This futuristic white city was designed by avant garde local architect, Santiago Calatrava, and consists of five main buildings: the Palace of Art, the Museum of Science, the Humbracule, the largest Aquarium in Europe and the Hemisferic, a human eye-shaped building.
Valencia is one of the most dynamic and interesting cities in Europe. Tradition and a strong sense of identity come together in this gorgeous city by the sea.
The 2007 America's Cup thrust Valencia into the spotlight, highlighting its great cultural and architectural vivacity. But it still maintains an aura of authenticity, perhaps skipped over by tourists in favour of nearby Barcelona or Madrid. And it's all the better for it.