New venues, key anniversaries and easier access make Spain’s third largest city THE place to discover in 2018
Move over Madrid and Barcelona… with a series of new openings, key anniversaries, fascinating events and more flight options than ever before, Valencia is now one of the most exciting short break destinations in the Mediterranean. If you are after fresh holiday ideas, here are the top ten reasons to visit Spain’s third largest city in 2018:
2018 marks the 20th anniversary of the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences
The striking City of Arts and Sciences, the work of Valencian starchitect Santiago Calatrava, was officially inaugurated in April 1998. L’Hemisfèric, home to the city’s planetarium, was the first building to open its doors at the colossal complex, which today also includes the Oceanogràfic, Europe’s largest aquarium, the avant-garde opera house of Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía and the impressive gardens of L’Umbracle. The 20th anniversary of Valencia’s icon will be celebrated throughout 2018 with a series of special events.
An iconic cocktail finds its home at a chic new hotel
The city centre of Valencia will soon welcome a new luxury hotel, Marques House, which is scheduled for completion in April 2018. Featuring 32 elegant suites and a rooftop pool, the boutique property will also be the new home of the historic Café Madrid, a true Valencian institution where the celebrated Agua de Valencia cocktail, a concoction of cava, orange juice, vodka and gin, was reputedly created in 1959.
The latest arts hub comes complete with a Michelin-starred restaurant
A former hydraulic pumps factory houses Valencia’s brand new cultural centre. Bombas Gens is a striking example of 1930s architecture that has now been restored to its former glory. The modern art centre, which is also the new home of Ricard Camarena’s flagship Michelin starred restaurant, opened its doors to the public in July 2017; a second phase is scheduled to be completed by February 2018, which will include a medieval ‘bodega’ (cellar) and a new open-air sculpture exhibition in the gardens.
Take in 360-degree views of the city’s skyline from a new ‘mirador’
Ateneo’s Viewpoint, a new, 50-metre high ‘mirador’, offers guests spectacular, 360-degree views of Valencia. With vistas extending from the peaks of Sierra de La Calderona to the blue of the Mediterranean Sea, it is located at the top of the historic Ateneo Mercantil building, in the heart of the city. Open daily, the ‘mirador’ does not close until 20:30, allowing for beautiful shots of the skyline as it bursts with colour.
New Michelin-starred restaurant for Valencia
Valencia’s list of Michelin-starred establishments has a newcomer, as Sucede restaurant, managed by former elBulli chef Miguel Ángel Mayor, and located in the five-star Caro Hotel, receives its first star. The just released ‘2018 MICHELIN Guide Spain & Portugal’ praises its cuisine its cuisine as “highly balanced and based around refined techniques, fine textures and flavours” and highlighting its “particularly interesting wine list”. The ambience of the restaurant also receives a special mention, as it “combines modernity and minimalism alongside highly impressive archaeological remains, including the foundations of the city's Moorish walls”.
More luxury hotels are in the pipeline
Besides the recent renovations of SH Valencia Palace and SH Ingles boutique hotel, the city will welcome its first NH Collection property in the spring, featuring an enviable rooftop terrace and the signature work of acclaimed interior designer Lorenzo Castillo throughout. Work is currently underway on a new beachfront, five-star hotel, while MyR Hotels will expand its portfolio with a new luxury aparthotel (in January) and the five-star Hotel Palacio Valier (in September), both located in the city centre.
A new exhibition puts Miró in the limelight
Calling all art lovers: with 2018 marking 125 years since the birth of Joan Miró, a new exhibition at IVAM will put a spotlight on one of the greatest Spanish painters of the 20th century. Bringing together more than 100 works by the artist from 15 museums and institutions, ‘Miró. Orden y desorden’ will run from 15 February to 17 June 2018.
Experience the explosive Fallas Festival – now protected by UNESCO – all year round on a new tour
Rio is famous for its Carnival, New Orleans comes together for Mardi Gras… and Valencia has the Fallas, which last year was inscribed on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Huge papier-mâché sculptures take over the city every March before getting burned in a dramatic way – but you can get a taste of it any time of the year on a new Fallas tour that meets local artists and visits the now-renovated Fallas Museum.
A new lease of life for the ‘floating’ Veles e Vents building
Originally designed by prestigious architects David Chipperfield and Fermín Vázquez for the 32nd America’s Cup in 2007, a decade later the award-winning building reinvented itself as Valencia’s new gastro-cultural hub. Located at the city’s marina, it features three restaurants, including La Sucursal, a catering school, and a dedicated space for events and exhibitions.
Your holiday will get off to a running start
You can enjoy running on any given day in Valencia thanks to the new, free-to-download Valencia Ciudad del Running phone app – but sport fans have an extra reason to visit in 2018: the IAAF World Half Marathon Championship, which will take place on 24 March. Open to everyone, it is one of the top fixtures in the running world calendar, drawing thousands of professional athletes and amateur runners.