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What is the most common thing between the Holy Grail, la paella and the best oranges in the whole World? Right – the city of Valencia! But in order to get the list complete, we should also include the new symbol of Valencia – The City of Arts and Sciences.
I am pretty sure you have already heard or at least you have seen some emblematic photos from this place on the Internet. The City of Arts and Sciences, also known in Spanish as la Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, is one of the most visited places in Valencia and there are many reasons for that!
The City of Arts and Sciences was designed by the Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava in the ’90. Nowadays it is still the largest complex in Europe. Located in the end of the former bed of the Turia River (read more about Turia River here) The City of Arts and Sciences combines an ensemble of six areas: El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía (Opera house), El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe (Science Museum), Oceanographic (the biggest aquarium in Europe), L’Hemisfèric (Imax Cinema and Planetarium), Ágora (a modern place for events), and L’Umbracle (a fashionable garden and disco).
All buildings in the City of Arts and Sciences are ultra-modern and have similar characteristics. They are all covered with white mosaic tiles and surrounded by attractive streams and pools of water. The scientific and cultural leisure complex covers around two kilometres of the former riverbed of Turia. My favourite thing to do was to walk around the futuristic buildings. The water pools with nice shallow water guarantee the paradise for photographers… Especially at night!
During the day or night, you can enjoy its surrounding areas for free as they are typically used as a relaxing place. There’s a lot to see and do inside as the complex comprises a number of different attractions. You will need tickets (you can buy them separately or combined) to enter the Hemisfèric, the Science Museum, and the Oceanogràfic or to attend some of the events in the Ágora or El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía.
Opening Hours: The City of Arts and Sciences is open 365 days of the year. The tickets offices remain open from 10:00 until 1 hour before the park closes
Ticket to the Entire Complex: Adults 37,90 €; Children between 0 and 3 enter for free
Palau De Les Arts Reina Sofia
The opera house Palau De Les Arts Reina Sofia is considered one of the best in Europe! From October to November you can enjoy all kinds of opera, musical and theatrical performances in one of its four highly modern halls.
L’Hemisfèric is a splendid Laserium, Planetarium and the coolest 3D IMAX cinema I have ever been to! Its construction reminds me of a dragon eye, especially in the evening when all lights are turned on! You can choose between several movies and educational documentaries that are screened daily. Each movie is about 45 minutes and they are suitable for all audiences.
Museo De Las Ciencias Príncipe Felipe
Príncipe Felipe Museum is like no other science museum I have visited before. The long, rectangular building that reminds a whale skeleton is home to many different interactive exhibitions about science and technology. The Museum also hosts major cultural and scientific events.
Museo De Las Ciencias Príncipe Felipe is the perfect place for kids because you are not only allowed to see the expositions, but you can also play with the science yourself. The Museum is structured in two levels: Level 1 hosts the “Science on Stage” and “TV Studio”, and Level 2 hosts the exhibition “The Legacy of Science”.
Welcome to the largest aquarium in Europe! Oceanografic Valencia is home to more than 45.000 examples of 500 marine species coming from all over the World, such as dolphins, manta rays, belugas, walruses, sea lions, seals, penguins and sharks. Oceanographic Valencia recreates the marine ecosystem of the Mediterranean, the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans, Islands, Tropical Seas, Temperate Seas and the Red Sea. Oceanographic Valencia hosts eleven underwater buildings filled with 42 million litres of water.
Don’t miss the dolphin show which takes place in the dolphinarium two times daily: at 12:00 and 16:30.
The most recent building in this ultra-modern scientific and cultural complex is called Agora. Back in the days, the Agora was hosting some Tennis Open tournaments but nowadays it is used as a place for wide variety of events. It is still not open to the public and cannot be visited without having a ticket for an event.
The Umbracle is probably one of the most Instagrammed places in Valencia. The huge sculpture garden and landscape walk cover more than 17.0000 m². The Umbracle is 320 metres long and 60 metres wide and you can visit it for free!
L’umbracle is a nice garden with great variety of Mediterranean plants and palm trees, perfect for taking some pictures! It is full of plants and there is a permanent exposition of sculptures by contemporary artists such as Miquel Navarro and Yoko Ono.
In the wintertime, a disco named “Mya” is located under the Umbracle. During the summertime, you can visit another disco, which is located outside and is without a ceiling.
If you’re traveling by car, it is good to know that the public car park of the City of Arts and Sciences is located just below the Umbracle.
The Assut D’or Bridge
Don’t forget to take a photo of the incredible suspension bridge in the middle of the complex! The Assut D’or Bridge crosses the former riverbed of the River Turia, between the Science Museum and the Ágora. The bridge was also designed by the Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava and was completed in 2008.
Have you been to Valencia? What is your favourite place in the city of oranges? My favourite place is definitely the City of Arts and Sciences!
Enjoy the day!
Continue reading this series:
Interesting Facts about Valencia