Silk Valencia is part of the wider UNESCO Silk Road Programme. This dedicated initiative celebrates the city’s past and present significance as a trading port. As a crossover project, Silk Valencia allows travellers of all types to travel the entire Silk Route from within Valencia and to enjoy a centuries-old love story.
Isabel Ma Borrego, Secretary of State for Tourism, describes the transnational tourist route as: “Weaving networks so delicate and exquisite as silk.”
Valencia was a central location in the Silk Route dating back to the 8th century and the growth of Islam in the region. The route celebrates Valencia’s achievements by exploring Velluters – the vibrant silk makers district that was established in the Middle Ages and home to more than 5000 workshops.
The route also takes in the 15th century gothic silk exchange (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the College of the High Art of Silk, as well as the palace and significant historical sights in the surrounding streets and Old City. Silk Valencia also includes a mega business fair and a large silk exhibition to demonstrate how the modern silk industry is still thriving.
For another glimpse of traditional Valencia, the El Cabanyal route traverses the fishermen’s neighbourhood. Organised by tour guides Turiart, visitors can explore a lesser-known and extremely charming area of the city on a route designed to celebrate all that is unique and wonderful about the Cabanyal.
Visitors will learn about the colourful history of the neighbourhood and the many famous figures that have walked its streets. The tour will also examine the problems that Cabanyal is currently facing, including the fight against demolition to make way for urban developments.
Another memorable tour is one designed around revered 19th-century Valencian painter Joaquin Sorolla. As a complement to the 2016 Sorolla exhibition that will travel to Paris, Munich and Madrid, the Sorolla Route in Valencia takes visitors to a series of cultural destinations around the city related to the artist’s life and work, including the neighbourhood where he was born, his first studio and museums displaying his work. The Bancaja Cultural Centre will also be holding an exhibition of Sorolla’s sketches until 18 October.
Travellers can also enjoy traditional routes that are always popular with tourists. The Hemingway trail visits places such as La Pepica restaurant that the writer frequented when he lived in the city. There’s also the chance to follow in the footsteps of the Borgia family on the Route of the Borgia, which takes visitors to cathedrals, palaces and other landmarks that show the incredible impact this Valencian family had on the city’s cultural landscape.
With a range of flights to Valencia from airports across the UK, it’s easy to access and explore this cultural centre. London Gatwick offers up to four flights a day with EasyJet or Air Europa, while Ryanair offers direct flights to Valencia from East Midlands and Manchester Airports.
East Midlands also offer flights with Air France, Air Europa and Lufthansa via a variety of destinations, and travellers from Manchester Airport can take indirect flights with British Airways, Swiss Air, Air France and Iberia. Those travelling from Bristol Airport can choose from a selection of flights via various locations with BMI and Lufthansa.