Erasmus exchange: Przemek's tips for places to visit and things to do in Valencia

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What's the third largest city in Spain? You got it, it's in the title! I'm going to spend six months here as an Erasmus student from Oxford Brookes. After my first two months here, I've found some great places that I recommend you check out if you choose this city as your Erasmus destination or if you find a cheap flight to come here for holidays.

Here are some of my favourite spots in Valencia.

The Museum of Fine Arts in Valencia

Museo de Bellas Artes de València (Carrer de Sant Pius V, 9) is one of the finest in Spain. It houses some 2,000 works including a Self-portrait of Diego Velázquez and some of the remarkable works by Joaquin Sorolla who was born in Valencia.

Plaza de la Reina

This beautiful square in the city centre is surrounded by some of the most important historical buildings of Valencia. With all the Spanish Zara, Pull&Bear and other international brands, this will be your favourite spot if you are a shopping lover.

Valencia Cathedral

Founded in the 13th century on the site of a mosque, this unusual cathedral incorporates a number of architectural styles and artistic treasures – including the Holy Grail.

The Mercado Central

One of the oldest markets still in use in Europe where you can find exotic fruits, traditional Spanish ham and fresh seafood. I have had there my first guayaba and baby mango. It’s worth mentioning that there are lots of small grocery shops in Valencia. They seem alright, but actually most of them offer low-quality fruit and vegetables.

The Turia Gardens

The Turia Gardens is one of the largest urban parks in Spain. It runs through the city along nine kilometres of green space. This is a very popular path for runners and a haven of relaxation and leisure activities. If you go there around midnight, you’ll see groups of youngsters practicing Botellón. Botellón (’big bottle’) is a Spanish activity of people congregating in public areas to socialise while drinking alcohol. It’s a great way to meet new people – locals and Erasmus students – and have fun along the way.

La Malvarrosa beach

It's a great spot where you can relax after classes and play volleyball or frisbee with other Erasmus students.

El Carmen

El Carmen is my favourite district in Valencia thanks to the street art, extraordinary restaurants, bars, vintage shops, cafes, and buskers. The area gets really bustling at nights, but you need to watch out for one thing: El Agua de Valencia. If you order it, you will not get a glass of cold Valencian water but a cocktail made from a base of cava or champagne, orange juice, vodka and gin.

The City of Arts and Sciences

This cultural and architectural complex includes an amazing Sea World (L’Oceanogràfic), elegant opera house, exhibition space, sports arena, L’Umbracle sculpture garden and landscaped walk, and The Prince Felipe Museum of Science. Its uniqueness and unconventionality makes Valencia stand out from other Spanish cities thanks to its modern and alternative construction.

Mestalla Stadium

A football stadium where I watched with my flatmates Valencia draw 1:1 with Celta Vigo...

The only positive aspect of the score was that we had made a bet in which I won four euros for guessing the exact score.

Blog by Przemyslaw Kurlandt, BA Applied Languages at Oxford Brookes University.
Watch Przemyslaw's videos on Instagram:@brookeslanguages