Sep 27, 2016
Valencia, Spain’s third city, provides the perfect location for business get-togethers and when the meetings stop, the option to investigate a selection of the museums, markets, restaurants and parks opens up. Take a walk with us and get a glimpse of this charming coastal city that fuses history with modernity.
NH Hotel Group proudly hosts numerous events in its various hotels around Valencia and with them perfectly situated in the city center, taking advantage of downtime is easy. The riverbed of the Turia was transformed into a luscious park in the middle of the 20th century and, as you’d probably expect, this meanders through the city giving locals and visitors alike a wonderful escape to walk, run, or cycle within its greenery. Sitting to the northern end of the park is our NH Valencia Center hotel and using this as a starting point we take a short walk across the Jardines del Turia to where you’ll find the Institut Valencia d’Art Modern. This contemporary art museum is a great way to switch off and let the mind wander, with works by artists Julio González and Ignacio Pinazo providing the permanent displays and regularly freshened temporary exhibitions for your appreciation. If modern art is not your thing then next door you’ll find an alternative escape: the Museo de Prehistoria y de las Culturas de Valencia.
Continue up Carrer de Guillem de Castro for a few minutes – give a knowing glance to Valencia’s statue dedicated to Cervantes en route – until you reach the Torres de Quart. These towers are a fine example of late Gothic military construction and, as defensive gates, were known as the Limestone Towers as this was the entry point for any mineral deliveries prior to the late 19th century. If you’re walking with a colleague or prospective client, impress them with your knowledge that this was, for some time, a women-only prison.
Just behind the towers is a fab little coffee house, Mayan Coffees, from where your walk along Carrer de Murillo begins. Follow this street until it becomes Plaça del Mercat and on your right you will be presented with Mercat Central, the main market in the city. Spread out across the 8,000 square meters you’ll find fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, nuts, meat and most of the other foodstuffs you can imagine. Not only that, there are surprises in store for you with, for example, privately brewed beer there to taste and delicious fruit juices squeezed in front of you. This art nouveau market was designed over 100 years ago and even if you’re not there to buy, it’s worth a stop if only to admire the architecture and atmosphere. It’s also a fun and informal place to grab lunch if that suits with a wide selection of tapas.
Next stop, heading eastwards, is Valencia Cathedral but on the way there are two points of interest. First, say hello to the narrowest house in Europ.e (well, so it is claimed!) at 6 Plaza Lope de Vega. It measures just 105cm wide! Along from there, continuing to the cathedral is a handily-placed square, Plaça de la Reina, which is ideal for taking the weight off your feet and catching up on anything that may have arrived on your smart phone while you’ve been out. There are cafés and shops nearby so why not grab your favorite beverage in Cappuccino Grand Café and pick a spot to soak up the atmosphere, as well as making good use of your time.
The cathedral itself is a marvel. There are various sites to experience stunning views over the city and the Micalet belltower is certainly one of those, with the added attraction of getting an insight into a truly historic building. As you gaze at the contrasting structure you may wonder why there appear to be distinct styles. And you’d be right! A mix of Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque features developed as the site swapped a Roman temple for a mosque and then the current day cathedral. Paintings by high-profile artists, including Goya, are housed here as well as a chalice that even the Vatican recognizes as potentially being the original Holy Grail.
As you work your way south, you will enter the district of Eixample, shopping heaven to those who enjoy getting their wallet out. Carrer de Colón and Gran Via del Marques del Turia both host numerous mainstream brands while lesser-traveled boutiques and local stores can be stumbled upon as you venture into the medley of narrow streets that lead off the principal thoroughfare. Where better to get a unique item for someone back home.
Assuming time permits, a trip to Valencia these days is incomplete without a look around the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias. Futuristic white buildings greet you as you arrive and along with a pristine lake can dazzle an unsuspecting guest as the sun reflects all around. It lies a little to the east of Eixample, reconnecting you with the southern part of the winding Turia park, and as well as the wonderfully interactive science museum there is also an IMAX dome if you feel the need to lose yourself in a 3D fantasy world and the largest aquarium in Europe, Oceanogràfic. Even if time doesn’t permit you to get the full experience, a walk around these eye-catching modern structures is worth it in itself. Of course, you could always stay an extra night and see it all.
From here you are just a few steps from our NH Valencia Las Artes, as exceptional base offering all that you would expect from a four star hotel as well as special packages for our guests to take in the joys of the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias. If this is where your meetings are being held then you can simply reverse our guide and enjoy the same sites in a different order. An added bonus of staying here is that we have collaborated with to offer an experience like no other, the first of its kind for the NH Hotel Group. With just an hour to escape from a locked room, you and a small group must find solutions to the puzzles and challenges presented in what is a unique and fun addition to any stopover, perfect for teambuilding or breaking the ice.
Whether you require a quick bite to eat between sessions or a formal sit-down evening meal with a client, Valencia – considered quite the ‘foodie’ destination – affords you a plethora of choices. If you really want to surprise some clients take them for lunch or dinner to Canalla Bistro which is on your walk south from the cathedral, in the trendy Ruzafa district. A stylish setting with an eclectic and imaginative menu ensures that there is always something in your surroundings to spark conversation.
As is customary in most of Spain, jumping between bars for a quick tapa is a great way to stave off hunger, and an extremely tasty way, let’s not forget. The old town is filled with small restaurants showing off their wares to tempt you in. One of our favorites is La Taberna de Marisa where the presentation is immaculate and the individual dishes run the risk of you not venturing out to try others. Their Iberico ham croquetas are to die for! Also, if you’re near there for a more substantial sit down meal then check out their impressive menu including, as you’d expect, their own paella Valenciana. A must try.
For the upmarket feeling that you get from sitting in a bodega try out Casa Montaña, just 10 minutes by taxi from our NH Valencia Las Artes hotel. Self-proclaimed dining spot of politicians, intellectuals and artists, this is an ideal venue to impress. Pick a nice wine, a selection of tapas and get down to the required discussions of the day, while the waft of sea air adds to the ambience.
Of course, starting a busy day in the right frame of mind is key and the breakfasts on offer at our NH hotels are hard to beat. Whether you fancy a personalized juice or smoothie jam-packed with vitamins to go with your cold meat and cheese platter, or a made-to-order hot dish to lift spirits on a cold morning, our professional team is there to serve.
As you can see, even from this brief guide, Valencia really is a fascinating location to extend your stay after a business trip, with so much to keep your energy levels buzzing even when the presentations are over. It may not take the headlines that Madrid and Barcelona do but, be in no doubt, Valencia has a unique place in making Spain the incredible country it is.