Valencia is famous for its green open spaces but one garden is particularly meaningful to the city.
The Garden of the Turia was created in the dry riverbed of the Turia after a catastrophic flood in 1957 caused the authorities to split the river and send it on a new course. It still runs from the mountains to the sea but where it meets the city of Valencia, it skirts around the livelihoods it threatened almost sixty years ago.
In place of 120 hectares of dry riverbed, the city centre has a lush green garden split into twelve parts and full of native and non-native plants and Spanish wildlife, ponds and a zen garden, all developed by the Catalan architect Ricardo Bofill. As a real park for the people, it is also home to an athletics track, artworks, climbing walls, football pitches, cafes, ponds and flowers. Traffic is diverted over the top of the 11km-long park via bridges at several intervals.
Children can explore the Gulliver Park (pictured right); an adventure playground featuring a large fibre glass model of Gulliver tied to the ground with ropes. Children can climb on the ropes, retelling the story. Gulliver’s clothes make a network of slides and ladders.
The City of Arts and Sciences and Valencian Music Palace can be found at the easternmost end of the garden. The latter – the Palau de la Musica – has a more traditional garden to be enjoyed alongside the architecture of the building.
With part of the Garden of Turia dedicated to cycling, why not see it by bike? Bicycle hire is a popular way to get around the city. More information is available here.