Valencia is the third largest city in all of Spain and home to some of Europe’s most beautiful and unique attractions. The breathtaking metropolis is definitely one of the highlights of Spain, and once you get into touring the city, you might not want to leave.
The World Design Capital of 2022 is a cultural, historical, and pleasantly weird wonderland. Here are a few facts we found that you may not have known about the city.
Interesting Facts About Valencia
Valencia is one of the oldest cities in Spain, so you can imagine all the interesting facts the city has gathered over the years.
Valencia Basically Doesn’t Have Winter Days
The city has roughly 320 days of pure sunshine in a year. In other words, Valencia was made for summer vacationing.
The longest day of the year reportedly has 15 hours of sunlight. This is especially perfect considering that Valencia has numerous blue-flag beaches (and let’s be honest, even the ones without blue-flag status are gorgeous).
Valencia Has the Biggest Market in Spain
The Mercado Central de Valencia (or simply The Central Market of Valencia) is a must-see location when visiting Valencia. The market covers over 86,000 sq ft (8,000 m2) and has hundreds of stalls.
You could spend hours (it’s true) at the market and still come back for more. The market is known for its charming and intricate architecture but also for having a variety of fresh produce. Can you imagine all the trinkets and souvenirs that will fill your suitcase by the time you’re done browsing the market?
The City of the Arts and Sciences Is Magnificent and Multipurpose
The City of the Arts and Sciences is located in the old river bed of what once was the Turia River and serves as an educational facility, tourist attraction, entertainment center, and even a filming location. Did you know that the famous architect Santiago Calatrava designed the out-of-this-world complex?
The complex is made up of six different attractions (the Hemisfèric Cinema, the Príncipe Felipe Science Museum, the Ágora multipurpose area, the Oceanogràfic Aquarium, the Reina Sofia Palace of the Arts and the Umbracle Walkway).
Valencia Is the Birthplace of the Master of Light
Joaquín Sorolla Bastida was born in Valencia in February of 1863. The impressionist painter was known for creating luminous and vibrant artworks showcasing Valencia’s vast beauty and landscapes. He painted more than 2,000 pieces in his lifetime, and with them, he made an invaluable contribution to the impressionist art movement.
Fun Facts About Valencia
There are so many ways to enjoy your stay in Valencia, and there are some super fun facts you have to see to believe.
You Can Tour Valencia on a Segway
Did you know that you can do a segway tour of the city of Valencia? Imagine how fun it would be to cruise through the city, feel the breeze through your hair and the sun on your skin, and be laser-focused to stay balanced on the segway. It’s a totally fun and unique tour experience.
Valencia Has a Popular Filming Location
The already mentioned City of Arts and Sciences is a popular filming location. The futuristic architectural masterpiece might be easily recognized by Sci-fi film and series buffs. Are you ready for the big reveal?
Productions like Westworld, Tomorrowland, and Doctor Who have used the structure as a filming location. You can book a guided tour of the complex and have a proper fan moment seeing it all in the flesh.
You Could Get Into a Tomato Fight In Valencia
Yes, you read correctly. Tomato fights in Valencia are real. The Tomatina is a tomato battle celebrated on the last Wednesday of August every year, and it is precisely what you think it is.
Eager participants gather in the street and pelt each other with tomatoes for an hour. The playful battle dates back to 1945 and has been celebrated ever since. It’s definitely one of the weirdest festivals in the world, but it’s such an unforgettable experience.
Valencia Is the Orange Kingdom of Spain
Valencia and Andalusia are the biggest producers of oranges in all of Europe. The Moors brought oranges to Valencia in the 10th century as a decorative piece. It was only in the 18th century that oranges became a lucrative source of business and income.
Cultural Facts About Valencia
What makes a city special and unique? It’s culture, of course. Most places have traditions and celebrations exclusive to their city, and Valencia is no different.
The Fiery Fallas Festival Burns Giant Effigies
Did you know that the famous Fallas festival is celebrated in the name of St. Joseph? The patron saint of carpenters is celebrated yearly with an event that brings communities together to share their gifts, culture, and appreciation for their city.
The annual Fallas Festival takes place in March and is celebrated by the locals and tourists. This cultural activity in Spain consists of giant wax and paper mache figures being crafted and eventually burned. A bullfighting ring is usually set up as well and is one of the many attractions the festival offers.
Valencia Is Home to the OG Paella
The world-famous dish was first crafted in El Palmar, Valencia. While the dish has since evolved, it is said that the most authentic version can be found in the tucked-away village. The original paella is said to have been prepared with chicken, rabbit, and snails.
Valencia Is the City of the Holy Grail
While there are multiple places rumored to be home to the religious relic, Spain houses one that led to the Vatican declaring Valencia the “City of the Holy Grail”. The Valencia Cathedral displays the Holy Chalice, believed to have been used by Jesus Christ himself during the Last Supper.
UNESCO Loves Valencia
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization chooses sacred historical (physical and intangible) sites in different countries. Valencia has appeared thrice on the UNESCO list between 1996 and 2016.
- La Lonja de la Seda de Valencia (declared a World Heritage site in 1996)
- El Tribunal de las Aguas (made an Intangible Cultural Heritage site in 2009)
- Las Fallas Festival (announced as an Intangible Cultural Heritage site in 2016)
Unusual Facts About Valencia
Valencia is as pleasantly peculiar as it is beautiful. Here are a few unusual and unexpected facts about Valencia that we think you’d love.
Valencia Has One of the World’s Most Narrow Homes
Valencia has the world’s second most narrow home. So, the story behind this is that property tax used to be calculated based on the width of a home’s facade. With that in mind, the house was built and stands a mere 42.13 inches (107cm) wide.
Rivers Become Parks in Valencia
The famous Turia Gardens used to be a river back in the day. The river was beautiful but caused too much of a mess when it flooded the surrounding land.
As a result, the river was diverted south of the city, and the park was born. You could make your stroll through the Turia Gardens romantic with a picnic for two or make it a family affair.
Valencia Has Been the Capital of Spain
Well, no, technically it isn’t anymore. But Valencia was for a brief moment during the Spanish War of Independence in 1812. Valencia was once again made the capital during the Spanish Civil War, which occurred from 1936 to 1937.
October Is the Month of Love
While Valentine’s Day is known to be on February 14th, Valencia has its own local Valentine’s Day called Saint Dionis Day, which actually falls on October 9th. On this local lover’s day, it is customary for men to gift women fruit-shaped marzipan sweets in a cloth called a mocadorá.
History Facts About Valencia
Do you ever wonder what’s the story behind how Valencia came to be the amazing city we know it to be? Here are some historical facts to help paint the picture of the past.
When in Valencia, Do As the Romans
Did you know that the Romans actually founded the Spanish city? The history of Valencia is as rich as it is random. All the way back in 138 BC, Consul Decimus Junius Brutus reportedly founded the city for the veterans who fought in the Lusitarian Wars against Viriatus.
The First Book Printed in Spain Was in Valencia
The very first printing press was set up in 1474 in Valencia. The first book published was a collection of 45 poems that you can still see in the Valencia Public Library.
Valencia Had the First Psychiatric Hospital
A friar named Padre Jofré had the idea to create a psychiatric hospital after seeing the treatment of the mentally ill in the community. In 1410, the Hospital de los Pobres was opened and served the community for many years. It has since been repurposed to be a public library.
La Lonja de la Seda de Valencia: The Silk Exchange
Primarily built between 1482 and 1492, the Silk Exchange is a historical and architectural wonder. Displaying Gothic and Renaissance influences, it has been a pillar of Valencia’s sacred sites for many years. The Silk Exchange was used in the trade of silk throughout history and currently hosts exhibitions for tourists and locals alike.
Conclusion on the Facts About Valencia
Have we sold you on Valencia yet? Of course, we did. It’s a wonderfully strange and breathtakingly beautiful travel spot with so much history and culture to experience.
The thing about a place like Valencia is that it would be nearly impossible not to enjoy. You could either follow the path of a tourist or live as the locals do; either way, it will be the trip of a lifetime. See you on the crimson-red tomato battlefield!
Next Read: If you’re traveling on a budget, take a look at our top free things to do in Valencia.