Valencia is perfect for budget travellers - most of the best sights and most impressive buildings are free to poke around, so you can conduct your own architectural tour, with plenty left over for some paella!
Start at Valencia Cathedral, a mix of Romanesque and Gothic styles (with the 'Holy Grail' tucked inside!), and then head to the Palau de la Generalitat, a Gothic palace used by the local government, with elaborately tiled floors and frescoed walls.
Other must-see sights include La Lonja, a grand Late Gothic hall filled with grisly gargoyles and other grotesqueries, and the Colegio del Patriarca, a 16th century seminary adorned with religious frescoes.
Valencia Cathedral, Plaza de la Reina,
Palau de la Generalitat, www.gencat.cat/generalitat/eng/guia/palau/index.htm
La Lonja, Plaza de la Virgen, Valencia
Colegio del Patriarca, Nave 1, Valencia 46002
Forget forking out for the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, this cathedral is free to visit and is just as much of an architectural jumble.
Work started on the cathedral in 1262, resulting in a building that ranges from Romanesque to Gothic, so it's a fascinating place to wander around. Take a trip up the Miguelete Bell Tower, a city landmark, or check out the a cup believed to be the Holy Grail.
The stunning 15th-century silk exchange, with its elegant stone columns carved to resemble twisted bolts of silk, is a gothic classic and the most beautiful building in Valencia. Truly uplifting, in more ways than one.
Plaza del Mercado
The blazing white, sea creature-like buildings designed by golden-boy local architect Santiago Calatrava. Housing the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (City of Arts and Sciences), these futuristic constructions rise up at the very end of the Turia river gardens, surrounded by pools of cooling turquoise water. The almost-finished Palau de les Artes (to be a state-of-the-art concert hall) is half-ship, half-sea snail, apparently in full sail/crawl down the dry Turia. Just beyond, the curved, spiky science museum squats like a nesting sea urchin. In the distance you can see the undulating blue curves of the Oceanogràfic (oceanarium).
Avenida Autopista del Saler, 1, 3, 5 y 7; Buses: Take the 95 from the Torres de Serranos or the 35 from the Plaza del Ayuntamiento; unlike nearly everything else in Valencia, there is ample on-site parking; www.cac.es
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