WELCOME TO VALENCIA
Valencia is Spain's third largest city and has experienced a cultural renaissance in recent years. Located on the Mediterranean coast, it has everything from pristine beaches to fascinating architecture, a world-class soccer team and a nightlife that lasts 'til dawn. It's a wonderful place to learn Spanish because although it's a big city, it still has a small town feel that makes foreigners feel at home.
Valencia is also the home of paella and boasts a mouth-watering cuisine of seafood and other delicacies. Even more important is Las Fallas, the most riotous festival in Spain, and just one of Valencia's year-round fiestas that travelers the world over come to experience. During Fallas, every neighborhood ("barrio") constructs a satirical papier-maché caricature, each of which is judged and awarded prizes. The madness culminates in the burning of all the caricatures, a truly amazing sight.
Romans, Visigoths, Moors and Christians have all left their mark in Valencia, but the city has been revitalized in recent years by Santiago Calatrava's futuristic "City of Arts and Sciences." This compound of intriguing structures is one of Europe's most imaginative millennial projects and has brought slews of new visitors to the city. Calatrava's buildings and a handful of pending cutting-edge projects have made Valencia a new hot-spot and one of the top desirable places to live in Spain.
The City of Arts & Sciences
Santiago Calatrava, among the world's most sought-after architects, constructed this project for his hometown. It's a spectacular, hemispheric complex with a glimmering reflection pool. Don't miss the chance to see an outdoor concert here at night while the whole "city" is perfectly lit. There are 5 different sections: an arts pavillion, Europe's largest aquarium, an interactive science center, a planearium/ IMAX dome and a botanical garden.
Barrio del Carmen
This neighborhood, the city's historic quarter, is made up of winding, maze-like streets perfect for exploring and strolling. Around here you'll find the sights typical to any ancient Spanish city: the cathedral, city hall, and numerous plazas now set up with outdoor cafes.
One of the best parts of studying Spanish in Valencia is you're right on the beach! The most lively city beaches, Las Arenas and Malvarrosa, are connected by a busy boardwalk full of restaurants and cafes. If you prefer a more secluded experience, you can also hop on a bus to arrive at any number of local shores.