In 1957 the River Turia broke its banks and caused mass damage to the city and people of Valencia. This wasn’t the first time that the river had flooded, but it would be the last.
After a long history of flooding (an estimated 75 floods in seven centuries) the 1957 natural disaster became the catalyst for the creation of the ‘Garden of the Turia’, an 11km man-made green park space that runs through Valencia in place of the now-diverted river, providing a stunning inner-city retreat for families, cyclists, runners, residents and tourists.
The Garden of Turia
As soon as I heard of the Garden of Turia I knew I wanted to hire a bike to ride the route from the centre of the old town to the modern Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències (City of Arts and Sciences) to the South East of Valencia.
My excitement to explore the park filled with monuments, exotic plants, lakes and small rivers, and to eventually end up the evening at the beach, clearly shone through as I ended up sharing the day with two incredibly handsome German guys, Steffen and Christoph after meeting them at Red Nest Hostel.
Beginning at the Pont de Real, the thirty minute cycle ride to the City of Arts and Sciences took us almost an hour and a half as I couldn’t resist stopping to take pictures of the beautiful architecture and landscape design.
Luckily I also had some great accidental models with me to set the scene, such as Steffen the Starlord who you can see below casually refreshing his toes in the lake under Pont del Mar.
A five minute cycle ride later and we stopped again! This time to appreciate the luxurious columns at either end of the rectangular lake that lies in the gardens of the Palau de la Música de Valencia.
Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències
As we slowly wound our way through the joggers and families strolling through the park, I noticed a few beautifully blue streams beginning to flow along next to the bike path we were following.
Too concerned with the scenery below my bike tyres, I was shocked when I finally looked up to discover the destination of the crystal blue streams…
The photo above was taken (with glee!) at the entrance to the fresh, bright and funky Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències – a far cry from the old town of Valencia where we had begun our bicycle journey.
The Science Museum
The building in the left of the picture above is the Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe, an interactive science museum with exhibitions that have covered subjects from spy science to animated film.
Entrance to the science museum is €8, or €6.80 if you are a student.
The building pictured below (and to the right of the photo above) is the IMAX dome designed by Santiago Calatrava, a Spanish architect who was born and educated in Valencia. What is interesting is that despite his ties to the city, and his celebrated work within the Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències, Calatrava has come under much criticism for overcharging the city.
Whatever the arguments between Calatrava and Valencia, it has to be said that the dome is a beautiful work of art.
Entrance to the Hemisfèric is €8.80 or €7.45 for students.
With a floor space of 4,811 square metres, the Ágora serves as a multi-functional event space that holds everything from exhibitions to large sporting tournaments. It was also designed by Caltrava to a cost of €90,000!
The Ágora can be seen to the right of the picture below, with the Science Museum in the left foreground.
My only criticism of the Garden of Turia is that is does not extend as far as the beach! Whilst the cycle from the Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències to the beach takes less than ten minutes, you have to head back to the cycle paths alongside the main roads and it’s just not as pretty!
Saying that, once I arrived at the beach I didn’t really care! Myself and the two handsome Germans instantly kicked off our shoes to put our toes in the sand, and whilst I stayed back to watch our bags they went splashing in to the sea like kids!
And like kids they definitely didn’t want to get out of the water! But, thanks to Puch for coming back to land to watch the bags so I could also take a dip!
Where to rent bikes in Valencia
First stop – finding bikes! At the hostel reception we were recommended to visit Do You Bike as they have an agreement with Red Nest to offer all hostel guests a discount off a full day’s bike rental.
The staff at Do You Bike were friendly and spoke great English (although I was also thankful of Christoph’s talent with Spanish!), but best of all was that the bikes were in great condition!
Price-wise, the cost begins from €2 per hour on weekdays, but if you’re looking at renting bikes for a few days or a week the price drops dramatically. For more information on rental prices click here to visit their website.
My trip to Valencia contained so many of the factors that underpin my love for travelling. I met incredible new friends in a fun and friendly hostel, I got to spend a day cycling around a beautiful city and using up energy that I always have far too much of, and I got to complete the day with a dip in the ocean.
I would also like to point out that I was not compensated for my experience with Do You Bike and merely decided to recommend them to you based on my own awesome and independent experience with their bicycle rental service!
Valencia… I miss you!
Lots of love,