Valencia isn't known for its shopping, but there are still plentiful stores and flea markets to keep you busy, whether you're out for take-home gifts or treats for yourself. For departments stores, boutiques and wine outlets, head for the streets around Plaza del Ayuntamiento or hunt for popular souvenirs like colourful azulejo tiles, hand-painted ceramics, Manises stoneware and glassware at the city's bustling street markets, especially the souvenir market at Plaza Redonda. And don't miss Valencia's spectacular indoor market, the colourful Mercado Central, which is packed with fresh fruit, veg, meat and fish stalls - it's a real experience.
No one comes to Valencia without sampling its signature dish - paella. Settle at one of the hundreds of traditional restaurants and tuck into its unique version - steaming saffron rice mixed with tender rabbit, chicken and sometimes snails rather than seafood. Other tasty favourites include fresh fish like red mullet or grilled eels seasoned with ali-pebre, a garlic, olive oil and paprika sauce, and el pato a la naranja, succulent duck in orange sauce. Washed down with light, dry Valencian red and white wines, they're all irresistible.
Famed for its nightlife, Valencia offers a mesmerising collection of bars, clubs and music venues. All around the city, you'll find tapas bar serving pre-dinner nibbles like olives and mini-paellas and later, plenty of bohemian bars to relax in. In the summer, the hub of the action is along the beach, where lively open-air music bars fill with young and older crowds. If you're up to party, many have dancefloors to keep you going till the early hours or head for the nearby nightclubs, where DJs play everything from house to R&B.