After a great stay in Bilbao, we pressed on with a visit to Valencia and Granada. After packing the van with all of our luggage and backpacks, we drove 3.5 hours to Valencia. Valencia is Spain’s third largest city and is known for its excellent paella (which of course we feasted on). Soon after we arrived we unloaded, changed, and set our sights on walking through town.
A Quick Spree through Valencia’s Top Spots
The first location on our list was Valencia’s central market. But, when we got there it was closed for the day. So, we decided to grab a late lunch before we explored the rest of the places on our list.
After lunch, we walked towards the old town, taking note of the medieval buildings and the old cathedral. Later, we made our way to the Torres de Serranos, the only remaining part of the city walls. Then, we took a walk through Jardin del Turia park, and we headed back to the hotel.
Immersing Ourselves in Valencia’s Science Museum
The next day we went to the City of the Arts and Sciences, which is a huge complex consisting of five different areas. It includes an opera house and event space, an IMAX theater and planetarium, a walkway and garden, an open air oceanographic park (home to Europe’s largest aquarium), and a science museum.
This place is a city of its own, with very futuristic buildings and beautiful grounds. Unfortunately, we only had time for one activity so we spent our time at the science museum. The great part about the science museum is that you are encouraged to try (and touch) everything! With that in mind, it wasn’t a hard decision to choose this particular place. (If you have kids, this should be a top spot on your list!)
This museum is geared towards learning science through hands-on experiences and we were very excited to try it out! We were practically running throughout the museum, excited to explore the exhibits and touch and play with as much as possible.
Some of the cool things we discovered were how many centimeters high we can jump, how hard we can kick a soccer ball, how well we can balance, and how many decibels loud our screams are.
It was truly an immersive experience, and we were so glad we went there! We spent a good two hours inside, but soon had to leave.
Granada was calling our names, and it was a five-hour drive away.
Soon after leaving Valencia, we were again driving through the countryside of Spain. The drive from Valencia to Grenada is gorgeous, with flat land around us and mountains from the Sierra Nevada in the distance.
During our drive, we passed beautiful sunflower fields. Plus, we saw metal bulls on top of nearby hills that seemed to show us our way…
Royalty Like None Other in Granada
Grenada is located in the south in the region of Andalucia. We first noticed that, while the city is big, it still had a quaint feeling to it. Grenada also seems to be a young and vibrant city, with many people dressed nicely, sitting outside having sangria with some tapas before dinner. You can really relax and enjoy yourself here, completely undisturbed.
Our hotel was located down a very narrow, car-free street with restaurants and small boutique shops around the corner. A shop filled with new and fresh spices and teas caught my eyes, and I purchased some excellent products!
The day after we arrived, we went to the Alhambra, an Islamic palace and fortress built in the 9th century. It sits on top of a large hill named La Sabika. It has gardens, streams, fountains, a mosque, and a palace, all within a fortress wall and bordered by 13 towers.
Jon and I have been to our fair share of palaces, castles, and fortresses in Europe, but this was so very different from all of the others we’ve visited. The decoration of the Alhambra was particularly distinct, consisting of Arabic inscriptions, colorful geometric patterns, and many columns and arches. We were truly impressed with the palace’s intricate designs and decor. We can’t begin to fathom all of the man-hours it must have taken to complete the beautiful details, let alone the sheer scale of the grounds.
Later, after our tour of the Alhambra, we strolled down the long winding path to the city center. There, we stopped for a delicious lunch, topped off by incredible sangria, to fill our stomachs for the drive to our next destination.
Our 10 Day Trip to Spain Is on a Roll! Next Stop…
As always, we were sad to leave. Our visit to Valencia and Granada gave us such a wonderful experience! But once again we found ourselves on a beautiful drive through the countryside, making our trip to Spain even more memorable!
Next stop: Cordoba and Seville!