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Valencia

One of Spain's most celebrated and influential cities, Valencia delivers historic neighborhoods and luxurious beach resorts. It manages to keep these two worlds separate, so that some tourists enjoying resort accommodation in Valencia rarely set foot in the city center. That aside, there's a great deal to see and do and both sides of the divide, and tourists owe it to themselves to enjoy all Valencia has to offer.

The historic city center is full of sightseeing potential, especially in the Barrio del Carmen. Valencia was ruled by the Moors for hundreds of years, but circumstances changed 900 years ago when El Cid drove them out and established a more European-minded kingdom. Today, influences from both sides are evident in the art, architecture and cuisine of Valencia.

While much of the accommodation in Valencia city center lines the Camins al Grau, most of the resorts in Valencia are farther away from the city center. The best beaches are a short drive from the central districts, and the only tourists who need to arrange transportation are those staying in these exclusive beach hotels.

Fallas Festival in March is Valencia's defining event, and it's an exciting time to visit. Bonfires are central, consuming enormous paper-maché effigies of celebrities and politicians. It's a lighthearted event, but it all serves to remind would-be power-mongers to tread lightly in Valencia.

The metro connects the city center with Valencia Airport, so getting back and forth couldn't be simpler. Flights and hotels are busiest during Las Fallas spring festival, but tourist numbers drop sharply in the summer, when discounts are available.

For more information on hotels and landmarks in the different areas of Valencia, click on the interactive Valencia map on the left-hand side of the page.