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Valencia, Spain - The Essential Guide
The city of Valencia situated on the east coast of Spain overlooking the Mediterranean Sea is a lively town, popular with tourists and beloved by the proud locals. The population of the city is just under 750,000 and the currency used is the Euro.

The history of Valencia is a troubled one. The first inhabitants were the Romans back in the first century BC and since then there have been many battles and power struggles. The Barbarians, the Visigoths and the Moors all led the city for a time in the first millennium of its existence. In 1238, Valencia was taken as part of the Christian re-conquest of Spain and over the next few hundred years, the city prospered. However, economic collapse followed the expulsion of the Moors and the Jews from the city in the early seventeenth century. The War of Spanish Succession followed one hundred years later where Valencia lost its regional autonomy and since then the politics of Valencia has reflected those of the capital of the State.

With so many different cultures having ruled in Valencia over the years, there is a rich variance in the architecture of the city. The most prominent remains are from the Roman period and there are many remains in the city which the visitor can enjoy such as the Plaza de la Virgen in the heart of the old town and once the location for the Roman Forum.

Valencia is a hectic city, and the roads can be busy and confusing. With the agreeable Mediterranean climate, it may be best to explore the city on foot, or on the efficient public transport network which includes a metro system as well as a good bus service. Perhaps a good idea on arriving is to head to Plaza de la Reina and take a tour on the bright orange double-decker bus around the city. This will help the visitor get their bearings and learn a little about Valencia's history.

It is worth heading into the old town to see The Cathedral where visitors can go up into the bell-tower which affords the best views of Valencia to be found anywhere in the city. While there, check out the Cathedral Museum where works of Goya, Jacomart and Cellini hang as well as local Valencian works.

The shopping is good in Valencia with many stores offering great clothes and merchandise including top brand names and labels. The Central Market is a great place to browse and maybe find a bargain; it is one of the largest markets in Europe. The trendiest shop in the city is Sunset where the latest clothes and chart CDs can be purchased.

Nightlife in Valencia centres around the Barrio del Carmen in the heart of the old city. This district is home to bars, restaurants and clubs to suit all ages, tastes and pockets and there is a buzz around the area as it parties on deep in to the night.

Valencia has everything with its historical streets, golden beaches and vibrant nightlife, and all under a clear blue sky - it's a great place to visit.
About the Author
Dara Ward is the Managing Director of Irish Accommodation and operates over 20 Irish Travel and Tourism websites including 3 Dublin Hotels sites. Dara operates from Ireland's oldest 2 storey thatched cottage in County Wexford, South East Ireland.
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