Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias Photo by Gabriella Ranelli

Valencia, the birth place of paella

Valencia, Spain’s third largest city is best known for its star dish: paella. 
It has been put on the radar in the last decade when Santiago Calatrava’s futuristic museum complex, the City of Arts and Sciences was built. Valencia’s neighborhoods have been filling up with boutiques, restaurants and night spots, and has been connected to Madrid through Spain’s high-speed rail service, making it even easier for travelers to visit this seaside city, which is cooking up a lot more than rice.

Day 1
Arrival and MIchelin starred dinner
In hilly Barrio del Carmen, tour the oldest part of the city and its creative center, bearded students and elegant urbanites trek over graffitied passageways where cafes and galleries spill onto medieval squares stroll through the Carmen shopping area and visit the stellar collection at the National Ceramics Museum. This evening dine at a hotspot run by a Spanish star chef.

Day 2
History and tradition
Valencia is the birthplace of horchata, a drink made from the juice of chufas, or tiger nuts, and said to date from the city’s Islamic period, the 8th to 13th centuries, try this beverage and prepared to see the sights—the Gothic Lonja/Stock Market, indicator of Valencia’s important trading history on the Mediterranean and the Central Market one of Spain’s largest and most impressive covered markets. Stop into the 13th c Cathedral home to the only Holy Grail recognized by the Vatican.  Later visit the Center of Arts & Sciences complex, a symbol of the city built by great Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. Enjoy some evening tapas. 

Day 3
Port and Farewell!
Head to the port, revamped for America’s Cup a decade ago and boasting a state of the art complex for competitive sailing. The shore is lined with large restaurants that have made paella their specialty, the place fills up on Sundays with the after-church crowd chowing down on paella Valenciana (made with chicken and rabbit) enjoy a traditional Sunday paella lunch at the beach.