Nicole Davis is a student at Xavier University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She studied abroad with ISA in Valencia, Spain.
1. Architecture – Valencia has the best of both worlds with lots of ancient history accompanied by modern architecture. The Plaza de la Reina is the historical center of Valencia where people are welcomed by the Serranos Towers, part of the medieval wall of Valencia. Here there is Almonia, a museum that houses the Roman ruins, and two gothic churches: the Valencia Cathedral and Basilica of the Virgin. Within walking distance is the Central Market and Museum of Fine Arts. Valencian born and world renowned architect Santiago Calatrava designed many modern structures in the city including the City of Arts and Sciences, a collection of buildings that include a science museum, art museum, IMAX theatre and oceanographic park just to name a few. All of these modern buildings follow a nautical theme and give the city a beautiful landscape.
2. Food – Valencia is on the coast, so the food here follows the Mediterranean diet. This diet is based on lots of fruits and vegetables with seafood, grains and olive oil; dairy products, meats and refined grains are consumed in moderation. Some typical Mediterranean foods include chickpea salad, sandwiches with tomato, artichoke and egg, or any fish entrée with a side of fresh vegetables. Of course don’t forget paella, a rice dish made famous in Valencia. This diet is very popular and super healthy; no wonder everyone here is so thin!
3. Beach – Valencia is a great city because who doesn’t like the beach? The words “beach” and “summer” are synonymous, but it is the beach life style that makes Valencia so enjoyable. Everyone here is laid back and values social interaction and conversation. Valencia is a very populous, but is much less touristy compared to Barcelona or Madrid. Here, you can get the whole Spanish experience of culture, food and activities with less tourists so you feel like you get a more “authentic” Spanish city.
4. Nightlife – There are numerous activities to do during the summer in Valencia! In July, there are “Ferias de Julio”–concerts, shows and events throughout the city. Since people here eat dinner around 9pm, the events start around 9 or 10 and last until 1 or 2 in the morning (believe it or not, that is pretty early to go home in Spain!). Events occur every night and include children’s theater, classical concerts, flamenco shows, tribute bands (Beatles, ABBA, Elvis), and much more. Every Saturday along the river park, there is a fireworks show at midnight.
5. Transportation – One convenience of traveling is the easy, accessible method of transportation. Valencia has an amazing transportation system; you can get to any part of the city by bus, metro, biking or walking in less than 30 minutes. The ValenbiSí is the bike exchange system that runs 24/7 where you can exchange bikes between over 250 stations throughout the city, and an annual pass costs only 30 euro! According to my Fitbit, I biked an average of ten miles a day. Valencia’s train station and airport have many flights and trains that go to other cities in Europe that are very affordable also.
When choosing your city abroad, consider Valencia and you won’t regret it!
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