Valencia is one of the greenest cities in Europe as it possesses a great number of green areas and urban parks. Each of them is proud of its vast territories of palm trees and orange trees, pine woods and aromatic plants, fountains and ponds. Above all, these green spaces give more charm to the city as well as they encourage locals and tourists alike to do more sports because they offer huge sports areas for runners and cyclists and also alleys for those who prefer walking on foot. The “green” examples are too many and here are only some of them.
U M B R A C L E
This is an enormous open-access garden in La Ciudad de las Artes y de las Cièncias. It is situated on an area of 17 000 square metres. This is the place where you can make a nice stroll among the typical Mediterranean plants mixed up with contemporary sculptures. You may have a drink on the lovely open-spaceTerazza Maya at night, thus indulging into the Moon and numerous stars in the sky. What a nice feeling …… 🙂
T U R I A G A R D E N S
They stretch from the City of Arts and Sciences to the Cabecera Park. Actually, these gardens were created over the old course of the Turia River after the devastating Great Flood of Valencia on October 14, 1957. The river flooded greater part of the city and caused serious damages to both life and property. That’s why the river was divided into parts and a decision was reached to alter the course of the river southwards and to direct water to the Mediterranean during floods. Thus the former riverbed was turned into the Turia Gardens which pass by the city’s major attractions on each bank due to the 18th bridges full of history. Nowadays this almost 9-kimometre green space is a preferred place for both Valencians and visitors alike since it has too many alleys for walking, paths for runners, bicycle lanes, kids’ corners and places for romantic strolls at night.
B I O P A R C
The enormous Turia Gardens border the realistic-looking African savannah park of Valencia. This is a relatively new attraction for Valencia and it opened its doors on February 28, 2008. It stretches on an area of 100 000 m2 in the Parque de Cabecera and again over the former riverbed of the Turia River. Nowadays the Bioparc of Valencia aims at promoting respect for animals and the environment they live in. This is achieved through commitment to education as well as to the preservation of the various wild species.
This isn’t a traditional zoo but an incredible zoo immersion because it tries to bring its visitors totally into the habitat of the animals. And how has it been achieved. The answer is …. easily. Barriers have been removed. As a matter of fact, they are not removed entirely but to a greater extent and they are practically invisible. Thus the residents of the Bioparc co-exist and live together naturally unlike other such places.
On the other hand, visitors and admirers of wild animals also avail of the large open-spaces because this way, tourists feel closer to the natural habitat and wild Africa. Here one can walk and once they move their head up, they can be greeted by a very sweet giraffe. Gorillas and monkeys can be watched from a small distance and only one acryl window is between them and you. As to lemurs, they are free to meet you face-to-face. Last but not least, there is “zoo arena” which reminds of the ancient times that have been brought to the presence and to the natural habitat of wild animals.
Last thing here. Today the Valencian Bioparc is dedicated to African flora and fauna. However, the future ideas and plans are to expand the zoo immersion also to Southeast Asia and South America flora and fauna. What would you say? Fantastic, a?
J A R D Í N B O T Á N I C O
My last “green” stop will be at the Botanical Garden of Valencia. It was established and founded 1567. Its main purpose was provide studies on medical plants (or “hort de simples”). The exact location of this first city’s botanical garden has still been unknown. Later, more precisely in 1802, a new garden was created near la Ciutat Vella where it has been located up to now. Nowadays the Jardin Botanico is home to 3000 species of trees and plants gathered from the five continents. The collection is really vast and extremely interesting since it includes palms and tropical trees, cacti and other desert plants.
B E A C H E S O F V A L E N C I A
In the end, I will “change the colour of Valencia” to blue-yellow and will bring you to the beaches of the city. Las Arenas, Malvarrosa and El Cabañal are the closest beaches to the city centre. You just should get on one of the buses and reach them. Once on the beach you might spend the rest of your vacation there. Why?
This endless sandy paradise at the Mediterranean Sea has plenty to offer you all day long. At daytime you may enjoy various activities like diving into the refreshing waters, sunbathing on the beach, hiring a pedal boat out in the sea, making muscles in the fitness areas, enjoying coffee and ice-cream at one of the numerous cafés. Surely, your entertainment will go on at dawn and then at night till the early hours of the next day. You could start with a romantic dinner with paella and sangria gazing or tapas and beer while gazing at the setting sun. You could have a walk on the beach before going to one of the numerous beach bars where you can have a drink or dance all night long.
As to El Saler beach, it’s a little bit farther from the city centre. It’s located in the La Albufera Natural Park. This is a huge 2.6-km area of golden sand and crystal sea water. It’s not a windy beach because it’s protected by dunes and pines. This beach as well as the nearby Playa L’Arbre del Gos and La Garrofera are extremely popular in Valencia.