The Museo De Bellas Artes is a great free museum. Tucked away in the 19th century suburbs of the city, it costs nothing to gawp at 2,000 paintings by artists such as Goya, Velazquez and several other important Valencian artists from the 14th-19th centuries.
The building itself, a former seminary built between 1683 and 1744, is also pretty spectacular.
Calle de San Pío X 9
46017 Valencia, Spain
+34 963 870 300
If you enjoy street art, then take a walk around the area of the old town known as Barrio del Carmen.
The area is a well lived in and slightly scruffy old quarter of the city and the centre of the nightlife in Valencia. There is a lot of development going on and round each building plot you find cement walls, usually covered by some great street art. Take your time to wander round the area in the day, you'll find some nice street art round every corner.
You can see my review and photos on my blog;
There are lots of photos of Valencia street art on the Flickr Valencia graffiti pool.
Museum of Valencia History reminds me a bit of the Museum of London, one of my favourite UK museums.
50 display areas taking visitors chronologically through 22 centuries of Valencia history.
However, beware the school groups, there were three in while I was there, which made it hard to concentrate.
Valencia’s modern art museum, the Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno (IVAM), will surprise many visitors expecting something rather more parochial from Spain’s hitherto-modest third city. However, Valencia is unknown no longer and IVAM is one of the city’s many recipients of America’s Cup-driven investment. It is eagerly awaiting a multi-million euro expansion and makeover, by Japanese architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, which will swing round its entrance to face the Carmen and put in on the map of world-class modern art galleries. Even now IVAM is impressive. Permanent collections are by Julio González and Ignacio Pinazo, and recent exhibitions have included Robert Rauschenburg, Anthony Caro and Salvador Dalí.
Calle Guillem de Castro, 118; Admission: 2 euros, free on Sundays; Buses: 95, 5; www.ivam.es
Finally getting wise to Valencia’s burgeoning tourist potential, the city council has recently imposed charges on all of the formerly free monuments in the town centre. However, there are still no charges on Sundays. Take advantage of this and take your pick from IVAM (the modern art museum), the Botanical Gardens, the cathedral and more. But my favourite is the Torres de Serranos (Serrano Towers). Formerly a prison for noblemen, these squat, crenellated towers form one of the gates in the old city walls (the only other surviving portal is the Torres de Quart) and are one of Valencia’s most emblematic symbols. A short climb to the top of the battlements gives refreshing views of the snaking green river park in one direction, and the rooftops, tiled domes and spires of the old town in the other.
Calle Serranos / Calle Conde de Trenor
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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