A JOURNEY TO VALENCIA, SPAIN HOMETOWN OF PAELLA
In every single city in Spain, you will see restaurants serving this dish. Its name is paella, considered the national dish of Spain. However, not many people know that paella comes from right here in Valencia.
This time, I am with Viexplore's Khoi Nguyen in Spain's third largest city, and we know for sure, that no visit to this city would be completed without tasting the real paella here...
Valencia is a vibrant and wonderfully livable place, a destination of art, culture and food. It is the third largest city in Spain and has a heritage, culture, eating and nightlife to rival either Madrid or Barcelona. They have their own language here too, Valencian, which is quite similar to Catalan.
You can spend much of your time in Valencia in the old town – El Carmen. This area is where the important buildings locate, such as the art deco food market where I’m heading. And of course this market is where I must visit when in Valencia, because I love markets, especially for a person from Vietnam, public market is always an important part of our culture.
Valencia Central Market (Mercado Central)
Valencia Central Market is an art nouveau building that looks more like a tourist attraction than a public market, where inside, is a foodie paradise with many colorful stalls. The market is a perfect place for people watching and connecting yourself with the city. After exploring the market, we headed to the main attraction of the city: Valencia Cathedral to see the Holy Grail. Yes, the actual Holy Grail that Jesus Christ used in the last supper.
This beautiful thirteenth-century building is famous as a structure of different architecture styles – Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassic that reflect Valencia’s rich history.
It's hard to enter this cathedral without getting a special feeling, also because the interior is extraordinary. Whether you are religious or not, it’s worth to visit Valencia cathedral to see its beauty and then find a small chapel here called Santo Caliz. This is where you will see what is believed to be the Holy Grail, the cup used by Jesus Christ during the Last Supper.
Spanish weather is one of the reasons to keep tourists from coming here, and the climate here in Valencia is perfect for growing rice. Thanks to the nice weather, we could easily walk and enjoy the city with a good mood, but walking a lot makes us feel hungry quickly, or more like an excuse as we could not wait to enjoy Spain national dish, right here in Valencia where it comes from.
The word paella comes from the old Valencian language and means the cooking pan. Yes, paella actually refers to the pan, not the dish. The real paella, which is served with chicken, rabbit and vegetables, sometimes with snails too but definitely not with peas is something you cannot miss when in Valencia.
The City of Art and Sciences
Just like most Spanish cities, Valencia is charming, old and classical, but one of the city’s most iconic attractions: The City of Art and Science is an impressive example of modern architecture.
The City of Arts and Sciences is a collection of 6 futuristic structures with variety of entertainment complexes and cultural venues. There’s a lot to see and do inside, but strolling around and enjoy the outdoor activities is also worth it. A visit to the botanical garden and also the surrounding gardens to watch the locals exercise will make you feel like having a good life while exploring Valencia.