The third-biggest city in the whole of Spain, Valencia is a particularly progressive city, with spectacular architecture, both old and new. In recent years, Valencia has worked hard to reinvent itself and succeeded on all levels, with the introduction of the stunning Valencia City of Arts and Science (Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias), a true cultural complex which has quickly become the city's premier tourist attraction.
Valencia is also known for its superb climate, with the vast Valencia region containing a number of stunning sandy beaches, and more than 500 km / 310 miles of appealing coastline. The city of Valencia is famous for being the home of paella, featuring many superb restaurants and fine dining throughout the city, including a host of Tapas bars in the Old Quarter, around the spacious Plaza de la Reina.
The tourism industry has never been more important in Valencia and the city is actively encouraging tourism at all levels. The main tourist information centres in Valencia include the Regional Tourist Information Office on Calle Paz, the Train Station Tourist Office on Xàtiva, the Valencia Town Hall Tourist Information Office on the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, and the Teatro Principal Tourist Office along the Calle Poetra Querol. All of Valencia's tourist information outlets offer a large selection of leaflets and general advice on how to make best use of your time in the city. The tourism bureaus also provides maps, showing how Valencia is divided into a number of notable regions and districts, which include Valencia's Old Quarter (Parte Vieja), Cánovas district, and its University district - a lively part of the city, centred around the historic Universitat de València.
n recent years, Valencia has become an extremely popular tourist destination, with many hotels throughout the city. Accommodation is particularly busy in the summer months, and during the city's most popular festivals, which include February carnivals, the Las Fallas in March, Holy Week and Easter celebrations, Corpus Christi in June, and the San Juan bonfires towards the end of June. Many of Valencia's main hotels are located close to the coastline and beaches, university campus, around the Old Quarter, in the Barrio del Carmen area, and near to the Plaza del Ayuntamiento.
The unique Valencia City of Arts and Science contains four main attractions - L'Hemisfèric Planetarium - featuring a planetarium, modern cinema and astronomy information; Palacio de las Artes Reina Sofia- a superb leisure complex promoting Valencia's arts and cultures scene; Parque Oceanográfico - full of marine life, including Beluga whales, dolphins, penguins and a host of colourful tropical fish; and Valencia's Museo de las Ciencias Principe Felipe - a vast museum and striking building, full of scientific information and interactive technology.
Other notable tourist attractions in Valencia include the Miguelete Tower - a tall cathedral belltower, standing high above the city and offering panoramic views of the Valencia area; Nicolau Primitiu Library - a 15th-century building containing a large collection of books, documents and local artefacts; Palacio de Congresos de Valencia - a major conference centre, hosting many of Valencia's most prominent events and exhibitions; Palacio de la Música - the 'Music Palace', known for its contemporary design and popular concerts; and Palacio de Justicia - a grand palace which has gained the prestigious title of 'National Historic and Artistic Monument'.