“Valencia lives with its back to the sea” is a phrase that we sometimes hear but, what exactly is its meaning? We will explain it to you. Although it is difficult to believe, the relationship between Valencia and the sea has always been quite distant. Keep in mind that Roman Valencia was founded on a fluvial island located very far from the sea, about four kilometers. So, the origin of Valencia was not linked to the sea but to its river.
Two thousand years after its foundation, us Valencians continue to have a very special relationship with our river Turia, which we still call a river although we know perfectly it no longer has any waterin it.
So, what happened to this river? The answer is the “Riada del 57” (“The flood of 1957” in English) when the river overflowed after several days of torrential rains. After that, to avoid future floods, the river course was diverted tothe south part of the city with a new estuary and the old riverbed became a beautiful park. Who was going to imagine that after that terrible catastrophe, this ancient river would today be one of the jewels of Valencia, our green lung.
At this point,I would like to emphasize the significance of the Valencian people with this project, because thanks to them we enjoy the park today. During the 1970s a massmobilisation was developed with the motto “The river is ours and we want it green”. This public pressure meant the river became a park and not a highway. I do not want to imagine how different Valencia would be with a horrible asphalt road.
So thanks to them, today we have a park of almost 10 kilometers in length. But it is not just a park, it is also a place for sports, for children and for culture.
Now I would like to give you some recommendations on how and when you can visit it and some of the options it offers you.
Undoubtedly,one of the best options is to explore the Turia Park on a bike. Valencia is a flat city, so do not panic if you have not been cycling for a while because theit is very easy and you just have to worry about enjoying the wonderful atmosphere. You can rent a bike in manybike shops in Valencia. One of my trusted partnersis Do You Bike , who have shops in different parts of the city. Another very fun optionis to do it with cyclobikes with capacity for up to 6 people. You can find them at Cyclo Bikes Valencia, located inside of the Turia, close to Gulliver´s Park.
And talking about Gulliver… If you come to Valencia with children, Gulliver´s Park is a mandatory stop. It is a monumental sculpture of Gulliver which is 70 meters long in which his entire body consists of slides, ramps and stairs for children and they feel like the Lilliputians of the story of Gulliver’s Travels, written by Jonathan Swift. It is open every day and admission is free.
Nevertheless, the Turia Park is not just for sports and children, there are also places for culture, such as the City of Arts and Sciences or the Palau de la Musica, a place dedicated to music and other cultural events made by the Sevillian architect Jose María García de Paredes and where its outer columns remind us of two staves.
So do not hesitate, if you come to Valencia, you have to dedicate at least a morning to our green lung called the Jardines del Túria!