10 reasons to travel to Valencia in 2023
| 09.11.2022 | 10:32
Valencia never stops. The city is increasingly accessible and sustainable, and it improves its cultural and leisure activities year after year. That's why there are always new reasons to visit.
1. Valencia celebrates the year of Sorolla
2023 marks the hundred-year anniversary of the death of Joaquín Sorolla, the painter who so masterfully captured the light of the Mediterranean in his paintings. There's no better time to admire his work and follow in his footsteps in the city of his birth. The Valencia Museum of Fine Arts has a permanent collection by the artist, with works such as "Grupa valenciana" and "Figuras de casacas jugando en un jardín". This year it will also host the immersive exhibition "Sorolla through light". You can also take a tour of the places associated with the painter, including his birthplace, next to the church of Santa Catalina where he was baptized; the Centro del Carmen, former school of Fine Arts where he was trained; the Centro Cultural Bancaja, which usually dedicates temporary exhibitions to him; and Malvarrosa Beach, which inspired some of his most famous scenes. The company Turiart offers guided tours of Sorolla's Valencia on the first Sunday of each month, and you can taste dishes inspired by his work in the Vertical restaurant. It's time to discover the light and places that inspired the artist.
2. European Green Capital 2024
Valencia's commitment to sustainability has already earned it several international awards. The most recent was the European Commission's designation as Green Capital for 2024, for having implemented projects to reduce the environmental impact and improve the quality of life. The creation and protection of green spaces, such as the Albufera Natural Park, the peri-urban farmland and the Turia Garden, combine with sustainable mobility initiatives, proper urban waste management and the pedestrianization of public spaces.
One of the best ways to explore Valencia is on foot or by bike, getting lost in the narrow streets of the historic center or strolling through its parks and boulevards. This year, visitors can enjoy more than 30,000 m2 of new pedestrian areas, with Plaza de la Reina joining the existing areas in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento and the Plaza del Mercado, between the Central Market and La Lonja. These are ideal spaces to enjoy the atmosphere and the nearby historic monuments and buildings.
Cycling is another healthy and sustainable option for exploring Valencia and its surroundings. And now it's easier than ever thanks to the extensive network of cycle paths and the construction of a new green ring for cyclists and pedestrians around the city. Half of this 56-kilometer circular route connecting the farmland with the sea is already open, and new sections will be added in 2023. It lets visitors tour many natural parks, including the Turia and the Albufera.
3. Gulliver the giant returns to the Turia Garden
Kids are in luck as the popular Gulliver Park is back and fully restored in the Turia Garden. Once again, they will be able to slide down the jacket of the giant Gulliver, climb up his beard and run between his legs. In addition to improving the lighting and safety of the facilities, a ramp system has also been installed to make the playground accessible to everyone, as well as new garden areas. And inside the space of the figure, a new play area has been built so that children who are not yet able to climb on Gulliver can also enjoy this unique experience. A short distance away is the City of Arts and Sciences, which in 2023 celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Oceanográfic and the 25th anniversary of the Hemisferic, to round out a perfect day with the family.
4. New Contemporary Art Center at Palacio Valeriola
Valencia will have a new collection of modern art at the Hortensia Herrero Art Center, scheduled to open in the second half of 2023. The center, housed in a former palace, will bring together works by artists such as Andreas Gursky, Anselm Kiefer, Georg Baselitz and Anish Kapoor, as well as temporary exhibitions by other internationally renowned artists. If you like modern art, don't miss the IVAM and Bombas Gens Centre d'Art, two examples of the city's extensive line-up of museums, from large art galleries to niche collections like the lead soldiers of the L'Iber Museum, or the ninots of the Fallero Museum, as well as the recently opened CaixaForum Valencia. With so many varied, quality museums, it's no surprise that Valencia was chosen as the venue for the Congress of the International Council of Museums, ICOM-CC, to be held in September.
5. Valencia, host of the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championship
Valencia is passionate about sports. Whether you're the active type or you just like to watch, you'll find something to your liking. This year, in addition to La Liga (in 2023, Valencia CF is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the legendary Mestalla stadium) and basketball, and the motorcycle races in the Ricardo Tormo circuit, you can also see the best gymnasts in the world in Valencia. From August 23 to 27, the World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championship will be held at the facilities of Feria Valencia. In addition, running enthusiasts can take part in more than 50 races in the city, including the Trinidad Alfonso marathon and half marathon, while the beaches and marina attract those who want to partake in SUP (stand up paddle), kayaking and many other water sports.
6. New alternative leisure venues next to the sea and in the farmland
Valencia is constantly renewing its range of leisure activities with more bars, restaurants and alternative cultural spaces. Gran Martínez (Avenida del Puerto, 318) is one of the most unique proposals: an old, late 19th century pharmacy in the Grau area where you can spend a pleasant evening enjoying good music and even better cocktails (and also some snacks when you're hungry). For a different experience, get away to the farmland! Easily accessible by metro, Villa Indiano in Burjassot combines a restaurant serving traditional Valencian cuisine with a 2,500 m2 cultural garden where you can enjoy workshops, concerts and talks - or a refreshing horchata in the summer months – in a relaxed atmosphere overlooking the farmland and Sierra Calderona. The Begin restaurant (Avenida Cortes Valencianas, 50) is now open in the city's business area. This restaurant features a surprising interior design and a menu that combines local and organic products with respect for animal welfare. Looking for a new place to spend the night? Try the Soho Boutique Turia (Calle Grabador Esteve, 36), a charming hotel a stone's throw away from the Turia Garden.
7. More high-speed trains
Getting to Valencia from other parts of Spain is now much easier, sustainable, faster and also cheaper, thanks to new services by low-cost, high-speed trains. On top of the connections between Madrid and Valencia already offered by Ouigo and Avlo (the Renfe subsidiary), the last few months of 2022 have seen the trains of Iryo, the new brand by Ilsa (a company owned in part by Air Nostrum and Trenitalia), also service this route. Getting around on public transportation in Valencia is also easier with the expanded metro network, including the new line 10 connecting the center with the City of Arts and Sciences, as well as the night bus network.
8. Among the best university destinations in the world
Valencia has joined the ranking of the top 100 student destinations in the world, as reflected in the latest edition of the QS Best Student Cities, which places the city on this select list, along with other cities such as London, Athens, Amsterdam, Berlin, Edinburgh, Munich, Lisbon, San Francisco, Tokyo and Sao Paulo. Valencia is, along with Madrid and Barcelona, Spain's representative in this ranking, which evaluates the opinions of students to rate the best university locations, based on factors such as affordability and convenience. Valencia's universities are also among the favorites of Erasmus students who opt for Spain. Visit Valencia recently launched a new service to make it easier for students to stay in the city, through an information portal within visitvalencia.com.
In addition, its nearly 20 kilometers of beaches, more than 2 million square meters of gardens, affordable public transport and quality health care all make Valencia the best city in the world to live, according to the InterNations ranking. This is the largest community of expats. The city already held this top spot in 2020, and it has now closed out 2022 once more leading the list and the quality of life category.
9. Valencia, international leader in innovation and technology
The city has consolidated its leadership in innovation and technology thanks to its advances in digitization - which it has made available to residents and visitors alike - and to its powerful entrepreneurial ecosystem. As a result, in March 2023 it will host The Next Web Conference, a technological event promoted by the economic daily Financial Times, which will be held in La Marina and feature a long list of conferences by prestigious international speakers. This conference has been held in Amsterdam for 16 years, with more than 10,000 visitors a year, and now it will have a new connection in the Mediterranean. In addition, in 2022, Valencia has been the Capital of Smart Tourism, together with Bordeaux, a recognition given by the European Commission and which has also led it to host the Third World Congress of Smart Tourist Destinations. It was also selected as one of the three most innovative cities in Europe thanks to its Missions Valencia innovation strategy, which provides a roadmap for achieving a city that is healthier, more sustainable, shared and entrepreneurial.
10. World capital of cuisine
In 2023, Valencia will be the venue for the presentation of The World's 50 Best Restaurants, known as the Oscars of fine dining. The city thus becomes once again, after its success hosting the Michelin Gala for Spain and Portugal 2022, a world gastronomic capital. The organizers of the 50 Best Restaurants in the World have opted for a destination with numerous gastronomic values, such as its long culinary tradition, its Mediterranean creativity, its firm commitment to sustainable gastronomy, the renown of its cooking thanks to names such as Quique Dacosta, Ricard Camarena and Begoña Rodrigo, and its dynamism, with new restaurants of all kinds opening all the time. Valencia will once again be the focus of the world's leading food connoisseurs.