Valencia, is the third largest city in Spain with a population of around 740,000. It is situated on the banks of the Turia, on the east coast of the Iberian Peninsula, fronting the Gulf of Valencia on the Mediterranean Sea. With almost 3,000 hours of sunny weather each year - around eight hours of sunshine per day, Valencia is known for its glorious weather and appealing climate. Its historic centre is one of the largest in Spain. The major tourist attraction in Valencia is the City of Arts and Sciences which attracts 4 million annual visitors and is equally fascinating to adults and children alike.
The city is now firmly established on the European art circuit with galleries containing works by El Greco, Francisco Goya and Diego Velázquez.Of more historical interest are the Cathedral which has reputedly been home of the mythical Holy Grail for the past 500 years and the Miguelete bell tower next to it. The city's silk exchange, covered market and bullring are other major attractions. Art enthusiasts are in for a treat at the 'Museo de Bellas Artes' and the 'Instituto Valencia de Arte Moderno' which are two of Spain's finest art museums putting the city up there behind Madrid and Barcelona on the Spanish art scene.
Life in the city spreads down to the seafront with the harbour and the beaches of Las Arenas and La Malvarrosa.Valencia is known internationally for the Falles (Las Fallas), a local festival held in March, traditional Valencian ceramics, and intricate traditional dress. Valencia is famous for its gastronomic culture; typical features of its cuisine include paella, a simmered rice dish with seafood or meat, the spanish omelette and squid (calamares). Valencia's heritage of ancient monuments, views and cultural attractions makes Valencia one of the country's most popular tourist destinations.