Tourism in Valencia's City of Arts & Sciences

Highlights:

  • Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía (Queen Sofía Center of the Arts)
  • L'Umbracle (Promenade & Car Park)
  • L'Oceanògrafic (Aquarium)
  • L'Hemisfèric (Planetarium)
  • Museo de Ciencias Príncipe Felipe (Prince Felipe Museum of Sciences)
Principally designed by local architect turned international sensation Santiago Calatrava, the magnificent buildings- Palacio de las Artes Reina Sofía, L'Umbracle, L'Oceanògraifc, L'Hemisfèric, Museo de Ciencias Príncipe Felipe- of the City of Arts and Sciences are enough to attract hoards of picture-snapping tourists. The giant, futuristic structures rise dramatically out of a crystalline infinity pool and hold the various facets of an ultra-modern cultural and scientific complex- the first of its kind in Spain. The City of Arts and Sciences was thought up as an effort to boost tourism to Valencia- outside of Las Fallas time, that is! Today, it's the second most visited attraction in Spain, beat out only by Madrid's art museum, El Prado.

L'Umbracle, a 7000 square meter green zone covering the complex's car park, is likely to be the first stop on your whirlwind tour of the City of Arts and Sciences. L'Umbracle is a paradisaical celebration of Valencia's stunning array of local flora, through which runs a landscaped walk shaped by series of fixed and floating arches. Providing shade, color and quite the delightful smell are large and small palm trees, orange tres, climbing plants, hanging vines, thousands of aromatic flowers and a vast array of blooming plants- trust us, it's a sight to see. Plus, it's the only part of the City of Arts and Sciences that's absolutely and positively free!

With its reflection in the sprawling pool completing its shape, looking at L'Hemisfèric will make you feel like someone is watching you. Shaped like a giant eye, the structure is both architecturally stunning and acutely representative of what lies within. L'Hemisfèric asks you to open your eyes and set them upon its huge, concave screen for a variety of IMAX films, laser shows and planetarium displays.

You're sure to have a swimmingly good time exploring the various installations that comprise L'Oceanogràfic, Europe's biggest aquarium. Featuring a wide range of structures and exhibits divided amongst eight main sections, get up close and personal with belugas, walruses, tropical fish, sharks, sea lions and penguins- and that's just to name a few! L'Oceanogràfic also features a submerged restaurant and two underwater tunnels, one of which is 70 meters long! With sharks and fish swimming all around you, there's no better way to get a taste of life under the sea.