There is a MUST TO DO list in every city of the world. Valencia is not an exception. The biggest attraction in this beautiful city is the famous City of Arts and Science. It is a huge complex of modern and organic buildings with various attractions. I prefer to call this place a mini town of miracles because there you can watch an unusual dolphin show aimed to teach children about global issues, walk through the glass tunnel and take a selfie with a shark, watch a movie in a huge cinema with a semi spherical screen and many more things. If you decide to visit this place, keep in mind that it will take more than few hours. Me and my friends expected a rainy weekend (which seems almost impossible in Valencia) and decided to dedicate our first weekend in Valencia to explore this town’s treasure. To be honest, it was one of the best place that I have ever visited and I would like to give you a closer glance at it.
The most spacious area of the whole magnificent complex City of Arts and Science belongs to the largest aquarium in Europe, called Oceanographic. Despite the fact that the tickets to Oceanographic are the most expensive in the whole complex it definitely WORTH IT ! We spent there some unforgettable hours, of seeing parts of nature what I wouldn’t ever expect to see in real. The complex of Oceanographic is built on 2 levels. The upper floor is outdoors, surrounded by a freshwater lakes inhabited by pelicans, cormorants, flamingos, turtles and wide scale of other animals and the lower level belongs to already mentioned largest aquarium in Europe.
Very interesting part of the Oceanographic exhibition is the dolphin show, which you cannot miss! But pay attention because it is held only 3 times a day so don’t miss your chance to see fascinating and amazing dolphin show. For me the most impressing was to see how nice could people get on well with dolphins. During the show you can really feel the pure relationship between an animal and human, the trust and happiness when dolphins look like they are really enjoying showing all creatures they are able to do to people.
The most important part of Oceanographic, the aquarium, is huge and shows various types of all sea creatures: from small fishes, reminding of famous movie characters Dory and Nemo, to enormous walruses, jellyfishes, sea lions and the most fascinating and terrifying sharks! Honestly, it was a very impressing moment to feel the danger when only a glass separates you from this murderous hunter .
Principe Filipe Science Museum
When strolling around the City of Arts and Science, don’t forget to visit the Principe Filipe Science Museum. The museum is a place where you will not only be a viewer but also a player! With many activities of scientific experiences and interactive high-technology machines, you will have a very busy day so don’t wait a minute to visit it!
The 40,000 m2 museum, that looks like a whale's skeleton, has been designed by the famous architect Santiago Calatrava and consist of three floors. It is both educative and entertaining for science-lovers and students in search of an exciting place to spend the weekend!
The first floor offers the possibility to learn science through diverse experiences in the “exploratorium” and invites visitors to touch screens, push sticks and buttons, listen to various sounds and look at themselves in a very strange mirrors. It is the perfect place for kids and for those, who like to have fun.
Besides, it also encourages to learn more about science as the explanation of every scientific and technological experiences is given for people to understand what is happening during the experience. We had a lot of fun in this exploratorium as we could participate and discover many breathtaking scientific facts by seeing, touching, or hearing and it is even more enjoyable when you go with your friends as some experiments require two or more people.
The second floor is dedicated to the exhibition called the“ Legacy of Science” that gathers documentation about famous Nobel-prize winners: Jean Dausset, Santiago Ramón y Cajal and Severo Ochoa. The exhibition reveals the chronology of their research on evolution and demonstrates official documents such as books, diplomas, photos, and writings that highly contributed to the progress on physiology, transplantation, neuroscience, and biochemistry. This floor is not only for students of science who want to broaden their field of expertise but also for those who have zero knowledge about it and are keen to learn. I read most of the documents and now can tell more about these great scientific researchers!
And finally, when going to the third floor, you can visit the 2,600 square meters “chromosome forest”, that was aimed at reproducing the sequencing of human DNA with 46 large-scale chromosomes. On this floor the public can also experience the “zero-gravity” and “space academy” activities, implemented by the European Space Agency. There you will be able to experience a simulation of the space launch preparation, and you will never forget this experience!
If you once decided to visit the city of Arts and Science don't even think about skipping Hemispheric. It is an eye-shape planetarium, laserium, and IMAX Cinema at the same time. The spectacular building has an amazing screen over 900 square meters. There you can choose to watch one of 10 educative movies about nature, universe, animals, etc. As I am passionate for butterflies ( Mariposas in Spanish ) you will easily guess which movie I have chosen :) It was 45mins of relaxation in comfortable chairs, beautiful images of butterflies, and heart touching story about a couple who dedicated their life for these marvelous creatures. I will not tell you more about the movie, you have to come and watch it! The great thing is that you can choose the preferred language and listen by using a funny shape, intergalactic headsets :) The last but not least thing to mention about Hemispheric is that around it is a huge pool and you can have sailing in transparent canoes. Isn't it cool?!
This spaceship looking building was actually the first thing I saw when coming to the City of Arts and Science as it got my attention by its smooth forms. The only angle that I noticed in this building was at the rooftop, which looked like a tree leaf to me. The building is bright white so it really reflects under the sunlight making me squint.
Inside this 70-meter building there are four different music halls, where during the concert season all most famous and important performances are held. However, if you don’t want to spend 40-100€ on a ticket to watch one of the performances, you can still take a look at the impressive interior of the opera house by taking one of the guided tours organized there. The entrance fee is 8 € and for seniors, students and pupils it is only 6€.
Agora is another building that is considered a part of the City of Arts and Science. It is located just next to the Oceanographic and its shape reminded me of a big blue seashell that was thrown on the shore and it accidentally landed vertically. As other buildings in the City of Arts and Science, Agora was also designed by Santiago Calatrava. It is very impressive and majestically rises in the sky and during the sunny days even fusing with it. Agora is the perfect place for holding various events, congresses and conferences. It also can be transformed into a spacious exhibition place. Such a shame that it is closed for the public visiting and we couldn’t even get a glimpse of its inside interior.
The Agora building is also surrounded by a small and shoal lake which a little but distracts the eye from all the steel and concrete. Behind Agora another construction slots the blueness of the sky this is the futuristic bridge of AssutD’or that crosses the former riverbed of the River Turia. The architectural concept of the bridge with its metal threads stretching along the arch is outstanding and quite fascination as well as the other constructions of the City of Arts and Science.
The City of Arts and Science is one of the main attractions in Valencia. We recommend to all Erasmus students staying in Valencia not to miss the chance to visit this amazing place. If you came to Valencia for Erasmus check out the website for more information about the City of Arts and Science and other useful information about Valencia, including accommodation, parties, and bike rentals: