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Valencia as A Christmas and New Year’s Destination

Valencia New Year

Valencia has had an incredible 2022 as the World Design Capital and the World Capital for Smart Tourism. As the holidays and the new year close in, Valencia transforms into a dynamic winter destination for travelers seeking culture, beauty, culinary flare, and a more relaxed ambiance than more saturated destinations in Europe.

The holiday season is a great time to visit the birthland of the paella, where sunny days are the standard, and temperatures fluctuate between 50-59 degrees Fahrenheit. Families, couples, and culture fanatics can stroll around the historic city trying delicious street food, including roasted chestnuts, traditional paella, and turron, a nougat confection traditional to Spain and Portugal and dating back to the 16thcentury. The delicious dessert consists of a mixture of egg white, honey, sugar, almond, and other nuts. It’s a preferred staple in holiday tables in the region.  

Travelers spending four to five nights in Valencia will easily encounter charming Christmas markets, larger-than-life nativity scenes, and architecture that delights the eyes. The locals are also extremely welcoming, and most speak English, so it isn’t difficult to navigate the city.

Valencia’s eclectic history and architecture have an unlikely yet magical synergy with its Mediterranean appeal and avant-garde quarters. The holiday season is an especially mesmerizing time to visit the city as locals put on charming and welcoming festivities and city streets buzz with activity. From artisans and craft shops at Christmas markets to elaborate nativity scenes and street food, Valencia is the “joya” of Spanish travel throughout December and January.

Roaming around the city from November 25 to January 8, visitors can explore the Craft Fair in Ayuntamiento Square to shop in the stunning backdrop of the historical Valencia cathedral. Shoppers can browse through booths to find jewelry, ceramic art pieces, textiles, glass sculptures, and toys – making it the perfect one-stop shop for a cultural gift. Located inside a national monument, visiting the Colon Market Craft Show is a gift in and of itself for architecture fanatics.

Open from December 13 to January 5, the Colon Market, designed by the architect Francisco Mora Berenguer in the early 20th century, is an example of Valencian art nouveau, a movement distinguished by elaborate linear patterns and slender curves inspired by nature– similar in style to Gaudi’s buildings in Barcelona. The market is a treasure chest for silkscreen printing, illustrated porcelain, ceramics, and more. 

Another necessary stop for those who appreciate architecture, the City of Arts and Sciences hosts a market every year from December 22 to January 5. The culinary offerings and artisanal products live up to its stunning setting with a selection of food trucks and demonstrations of traditional crafting trades like weaving, glass blowing, and wood carving.

During the same period, those looking for a trendier and funkier Christmas experience can stop by Tapinearia Market. Throughout the month, the market will have pop-ups by different Valencian artists and a selection of great food and wine. Inspired by Scandinavian tradition, the Jul Konstruktion Market happens every year from December 16 to January 5. Perfect for travelers who want to take a day trip without going to the airport or train station, this market is filled with Scandinavian artists, décor, and fashion.

In Valencia, the Three Kings, which symbolize the three wise men, make their stop to give children gifts. Parents looking to get some last-minute presents for this festivity can visit the Three Kings Market from January 3 – 6. A uniquely Valencian tradition is that of the nativity. During the Christmas season, artists come together to create stunning nativity scenes scattered around the city – some real-sized figurines and some made with alternative materials – perfect for a reflective nighttime promenade.

At the Salon de Cristal in the town hall, visitors can admire a nativity with 300 handmade figurines, 250 animals, and over 400 artisan accessories created by famous Valencian sculptors. The nativity at the Plaza de San Agustin is made by the Association of Fallas Artists and features real-sized figurines, while the oldest nativity can be found at the Museum of Ceramics – with figurines made from wire covered in oakum, terracotta, carved wood, and glass.

Couples looking to have a romantic evening can start with a candle-lit tapas dinner or fun tapas route in the eclectic El Carmen, and then take a romantic walk to admire the Christmas Street light decorations throughout the city and finally, catch a flamenco or comedy show at the Teatro Olimpia. Multigenerational families can enjoy the Plaza del Ayuntamiento fair, with an ice-skating rink and carousel for the little ones, delicious food, and exciting street performances to keep everyone entertained.

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