I lived in Valencia for two years. Rat and rabbit may have been used by few but was never used by a majority -- and I emphasize a few very strongly. Seafood paella is used by everyone in Valencia. But most of the time it's not just seafood -- they will combine chicken as well.
Valencia's such a awesome place -- very laidback and relaxed, it's perfect for the slacker-party people because they have late lunches, long siestas, and great well-into-the-night nightlife. Notice that on the way to the city area from the airport it's all very urban, but once you get to the Plaza de L'Ajuntament area it's all distinctively Spanish architecture. Check out the beach. I'm from an island country (Singapore), yet i was so totally blown by the Mediterranean Sea -- clear blue and endless horizon! Best trip of my life!
I had a wonderfull experience there. Restaurants, bars, discos, tourism, everything was excellent during my trip. A bit difficult to find accomodation there for my short-stay but finally did the job. Great! Have fun.
Valencia is a beautiful city - if you're a contemporary art fan, a must-visit is the IVAM (Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno) - also, don't be put off by the colour of 'arroz negro' (black paella - it's squid ink), it's delicious.
I'm an American student who lives in Valencia this Spring. The best area to get a taste of the city is the old part, called Barrio Carmen. Nightlife is strong here, and so is the local spirit. Paella is a favorite of the locals, but Italian food is the most popular with our crowd. Definitely hit up a creperia for a chocolate crepe and a cafe con leche, or an horno for a napoleatana con chocolate.
You know... the traditional paella was made with rat and chicken -vomitive- now is done with rabbit and chicken, in Spain the rabbits are not pets. Seafood paella is only for tourists and in Valencia usually eat the paella at lunch.
Valencia is an amazing city! There are beaches, mountains, and historic sites (all of which are gorgeous)! There is always plenty to do around this great city and the weather always tends to be mild! There are loads of restaurants, shops, shopping malls, and food stands (don't miss out on churros!). Spain has a lot of delicacies that you can find in Valencia (paella, balls of pork in blood, and calamari).
Valencia hostels can be found all throughout the city -- there is at least one about a ten-minute walk from the train station. However, don't confuse "hostel" ("albergue" in Spanish) with the Spanish word "hostal" (a hostal is a family run cheap hotel with dorms, where you won't find the same social environment as a hostel ("albergue").
The city can be reached by pretty much any kind of transportation (airplane, train, bus, car, and bus-ferry-bus). Generally the city is easier to get around by foot if you are staying in the historic center, while the beach is easily reached by metro. The transportation is fairly good in Valencia and not too pricey (although the metro does not go through the city center). If you are driving a vehicle and go to the beach, beware -- some of the beaches have parking spots monitored by children you pay to "protect" your car (we were with locals when this occurred, so it was not foreigners getting duped). The city is really safe (so long as you are not completely clueless about walking around a large city).
The people are very friendly in Valencia, but don't wear other football teams' jerseys here, as the Spanish are very passionate about their soccer/football teams -- a shouting match may ensue, but nothing more. They speak Catalan (a Spanish-French mix), however, they all know Castilian Spanish (the Spanish that is taught in schools).
The best time to visit Valencia is during Las Fallas (they display painted paper mache sculptures throughout the city center, and eventually burn all of them; although not as well known internationally as other festivals in Spain, it is the largest festival in Spain). Las Fallas occurs the week before Semana Santa (Easter week) in March. During the festival they have the gorgeous sculptures they've worked on for an entire year, astonishing fireworks, street food, parades, pageants. It is also a week of repentance (you will see people dressed in garb similar to the KKK, but they are NOT part of the KKK/anything like it, it is a costume they have used for much longer than the KKK; it is simply to hide the identity of the repenter as the repentance is between the repenter and God). While Las Fallas is an amazing festival, Semana Santa is a tad scary (they run a fake Jesus on an open sedan chair through the streets of the city center while people throw things at him and shout).
Hi, I'm Kari,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Valencia hostels. Welcome.