Move over Madrid! Go beyond Barcelona! - check out some of Spain's other city gems.

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Valencia - Sailing, Motor Racing & Partying!

Perhaps once best known for its oranges, Valencia seems to have grown into a booming Spanish city. We started at Plaza del Ayuntamiento in the city centre where it's worth wondering around and taking in the impressive old buildings such as the Old Post Office (Correos) and the Town Hall. Also here are several flower stalls that display the most amazing blooms and yet more flowers surrounding a pretty fountain.

Carry on up Calle de San Vicente Martir and you arrive at another attractive square... Plaza de la Reina. The highlight here is the cathedral which features a mishmash of architectures including Moorish domes, baroque carvings & gothic arches. If you are feeling fit and it's not too hot we'd recommend climbing the 200+ steps to the top of the cathedral to take in the fantastic views of Valencia plus the beaches and countryside beyond.

By now you might need some food and drink. Head to the Central Market and enjoy the spectacle of the magnificent domed building and the hundreds of food stalls. Outside you'll find a selection of bars and cafes selling chilled beers and wines plus the freshest possible tapas... perfect!

Art lovers should now head towards the Barrio el Carmen and the magnificent Valencian Institute of Modern Art (IVAM). If you'd rather stay outdoors then head northwest towards the dry bed of the River Turia. The river was rerouted in the Fifties following a severe flood in the city. Various proposals for the dry river bed were put forward but rejected in favour of a magnificent park which now runs through the city.

Also worth seeing the nearby Jardines del Real if you have time... possibly the prettiest Valencia park, popular with toursits and locals alike. For a really long walk, continue down the Turia river bed and you'll arrive at the recently built City of Arts and Sciences, a spectacular & futuristic development. Further still towards the coast and you'll find the regenerated port area which now hosts America's Cup sailing plus a Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit.

End the day with a chillout on the wide expanses of sand at the city's Arenas and Malvarrosa beaches. Then it's off to Barrio del Carmen or the Canovas area for some of the best nightlife you will find on the Spanish mainland.

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