Pick up your hire car at Valencia airport and head for fiesta, not siesta, in this hot Spanish city.
"Looking for a bona-fide Spanish city that knows how to feed its guests and combine cultural and historical heritage with a stunning beach? Look no further than Valencia.”
Yes, Valencia really does have it all, and while it's northerly neighbour Barcelona might steal some of its thunder, there's no shortage of tourists who leave the city smitten with its spirit.
Valencia is renowned for its nightlife, but if you don't want to partake you'll find peace and quiet around the airy plazas and palm-fringed streets.
The locals are open, friendly and proud of Valencia, they will make you feel very welcome.
Valencia gets 300 days of sunshine a year, which is almost greedy. Even in winter daytime temperatures rarely drop below 15 degrees.
Valencia claims to be the birthplace of the paella and locals swear by the quality of the local rice. Other dishes to try include arroz a banda (rice, fish and sweet potato) and arroz al forn (rice baked in the oven with sausages and potato).
Former world number one tennis player and winner of the 2003 French Open Juan Carlos Ferrero hails from Valencia.
After the city flooded in 1957 the Turia River was re-routed through the western and southern suburbs. Hence the river-shaped park that now runs through the centre of Valencia.
"Valencia is not another Spanish city." - www.valenciavalencia.com
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A beautiful square awash with big shiny buildings and a fountain, this is a decent spot to sit back and people watch.
You can to park in the metered bays on nearby streets for €1.30 for two hours.
Another square, defined by the Iglesia de Santos Juanes, a big old Gothic church.
There is an underground car park just under the market. Come in from Plaza Ciudad de Brujas - it will cost you €2.50 an hour.
Once the main entrance to the city, this looks like something you'd see in Monty Python and The Holy Grail. With big impressive towers, it has a 14th century vibe.
The Carmen area is old and not easy to park at all, so it's better to leave you hire car in Plaza de Tetuan for €2.65 an hour. Torres de Serranos is just a stroll away.
This impressively modern complex is home to a world of fun, including a planetarium and an activity-packed science museum for the kids.
The leisure complex has its own huge car park. It will cost you €1.80 for one hour or €20 for the whole day.
Would you believe it, this wonderful monastery dares to mix a sumptuous Renaissance facade with Baroque columns! See this architectural recklessness for yourself.
The monastery has got its own car park where you can leave your hire car.
Here you can have fun at the Segobriga Water Park or take in some culture at the Segorbe cathedral. It still has the old executioner tower - the cathedral, that is, not the water park.
It should take around 50 minutes to drive to Segorbe. Head north on the V-21 and branch north-west onto the A-23.
Head for the pretty town of Requena and take a stroll through its narrow streets and historic squares before heading a little further out of town to the Fuente Podrida natural springs.
Take the A3/E901 west out of Valencia. It should take just under an hour to get to Requena.
The smell of history is in the air in this ancient city that's dominated by an imposing hilltop castle.
Take the V-23 north towards Sagunto. It should only take half an hour to get there.
With year-round sunshine it'd be criminal not to enjoy the beaches of Valencia. El Saler, with its white sand and clear blue water, is regarded as the best.
It's a 15-minute drive south to El Saler beach. Take the CV-500 out of Valencia.
" It's great to have a hire car if you want to visit some areas around the city, or you want to go to the beach or the countryside. If you're on the highways, though, keep to the speed limit because they are full of radars. The traffic in this city is quite calm; you'll find it easy to drive in. There are underground car parks situated in Plaza de la Reina and El Corte Ingles, both good places to leave your hire car and go for a walk. Just one more tip: if you come for the Las Fallas festival in March be aware that around 300 streets are closed! "