The Spanish city of Valencia can be reached by train from the UK using a combination of Eurostar, French sleeper services and Spanish RENFE trains. Eurostar services from London to Paris require an interchange in the French capital from Gare du Nord to the Gare D'Austerlitz where sleeper trains depart for Perpignan on the south coast. From here, one RENFE train a day follows the Mediterranean coast south to Valencia. Trains to Valencia from London take around 21 hours. An alternative option involves taking the same route as far as Catalunya and changing to the new high-speed Euromed train which takes just three hours to complete the journey to Valencia from Barcelona. Most trains arrive at the elegant, central Valencia Nord station, with high-speed services arriving at the modern Joaquin Sorolla terminus. The stations are linked by shuttle bus and are close to a metro stop.
The third largest city in Spain, Valencia was founded as a Roman colony in the second century BC. After occupation by the Visigoths, Byzantines and Moors, Valencia emerged into its Renaissance Golden Age as one of the most influential port cities on the Mediterranean. Traces of its medieval wealth remain in the old town, around the 13th-century cathedral. By way of contrast, the playful space-age architecture of Santiago Calatrava is showcased in the gleaming edifices of the Ciudad de las Artes y Ciencias museum and gallery complex on the dry riverbed of the Turia. Valencia is also the birthplace of Spain's iconic dish, paella, traditionally only eaten in daytime, the Sunday lunch speciality of most of the city's beachside restaurants. Valencia's famous fiesta of Las Fallas takes place in March, when lavish caricature creations go up in flames amidst spectacular firework displays.
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