It’s that time of the year when the garden is getting cut, the outdoor table is getting hosed down and the pool’s starting to be eyed longingly. It’s also the most likely time you’ll be getting those guests knocking on your door. So, here are a few places and things to do over the coming months, whether it’s with friends and family or just for a different day out.
While I was looking for luxury villas in Javea for sale, I used to enjoy going to Valencia for a day out. It is only about an hour and a half from Valencia; all the following places can be easily found on the net, and are well within shouting distance of Valencia. Well, let’s start in Valencia itself, and save you all driving further than you need to!
- Bio Parc Valencia
(www.bioparcvalencia.es) First minus point to BioParc for not having their site in English yet, but anyway, it’s the new (2008) zoo in Valencia, with a more ‘environmentally friendly’ set-up than your usual run of the mill gaff. Allegedly massive, and from what I hear, well worth a visit. Haven’t been yet, but must do this year.
2 L’Oceanográfic Valencia
This has been mentioned before, but it’s still the biggest aquarium in Europe, and again, worth the visit. From what I hear, it’s even more highly populated with our underwater friends than when I visited it a few years back.
While there, you could do the whole shebang and visit all the ‘City of Arts & Sciences’ if you fancy it. You’ll get all the info at www.cac.es.
- Lladro Museum in Valencia
For something completely different, you could visit the Lladro Museum in Valencia. You can visit the actual birthplace of Lladro, as well as going on a full factory tour (free and in English to boot). Based in Tavernes Blanques in Valencia, see the site here; www.lladro.com
4 . The Turia Gardens
I think quite possibly the best excursion in Valencia City, most notably because it’s so relaxing and free, are the Turia Gardens. You’ve no doubt seen them, if you’ve been in the city, they’re the old Turia riverbed, turned into beautiful gardens, walkways and play areas. We have to thank the City Governor of 1957 for this beauty. Bring the bikes down in the car and cycle for hours.
- Caves of San Jose (Gruta de San José)
Just north of Valencia (about 40km) are the Caves of San Jose (Gruta de San José) is just outside the town of Vall D’Uixó and the tour includes a boat journey as well as a walking section.
- Terra Mitica is Valencia’s Theme Park
It’s had its problems, with major management cock-ups, and still losing money, but seriously, if you’re feeling like a drive down towards Benidorm, it’s really worth going to if you like theme parks. I think we’ve been 5 times, and enjoy it every time. One thing I like, is that it never appears to be ‘overly busy’ – yes, it’s busy, but not in the ’45 minute queue’ way that happens at so many theme parks. In fact, I think we got on Inferno 3 times in a row last time. Class. And for you, dear readers, even more joy as they’ve finally sorted their new website! www.terramiticapark.com
- Terra Natura
While down Benidorm way, there are plenty more places to see, but my fave is Terra Natura. Maybe if you’ve already been to BioParc this may be a different one to try. The term it as a ‘Wildlife Park’, I think it’s a bit of a cross with a zoo. There are animals (safe ones!) that you can go into the pens with, plus there are the big beasties, and you’ll be pleased to know they are in much bigger surroundings than the old zoo places of yore. They have over 50 endangered species included, and the structures make you really feel like you’re in a different part of the world. Thumbs up (especially the poisonous greebly section!)
Aqua Natura is right next door, for all your water park needs – water chutes, wave pool, aquarium, swimming with sharks (sharks?? – yep, apparently the only place in Europe, no thanks!. If you buy tickets to both, you get a big discount. Check it out at www.terranatura.com