Camping Coll Vert Cat II
Sat Nav Co-ordinates: N 39° 23’47” W 0° 19’58”
Camping Coll Vert isn’t one of the best campsites we have stayed at as it was quite basic but it was adequate and was a great location for getting to the Albufera National Park, Beach and The City of Valencia.
The pitches were a bit on the small side with very little privacy. The swimming pool and bar/restaurant were closed when we visited at the end of April. We had read about the lack of a barrier and there is no security which made us more security conscious when we went out for the day but while we were around we saw nothing suspicious or worrying during our stay. There was quite a lot of road noise from the nearby road so we refused the first pitch we were offered and chose one away from the edges of the site. Not that we have a problem with noise. Funnily enough years ago when we were getting stressed with work the noise would have been much more of a problem.
There were great off-road cycle lanes running alongside the beach in both directions one into Albufera National Park and the other direction straight into Valencia. There was also a bus stop right outside the entrance to the site which we used a couple of times to take the 20-minute journey into the Old Town and Arts & Sciences complex.
Twice we went in by bus and once we cycled. One of the days we were heading for the Arts & Science complex but somehow took a wrong turning and ended up cycling towards the port and the beach area which wasn’t a problem and was a lovely area to see.
We stopped at the tourist information and I showed them a picture on my phone I had downloaded from the internet of some lovely, differently coloured houses with boats moored in-front and asked which area they were in.
We were told they were another 1.5 hr cycle ride away along the beach promenade then off onto a dirt track before picking up another beach promenade. It was a lovely ride until we got to the dirt track. On our right was, what looked like, a gipsy camp but they were really very poor living in old caravans and shacks that didn’t look habitable. It was a real shanty area. We then went over a bridge beside the motorway before coming to another area where the buildings looked like fishermen’s huts and the area really rough. I wonder now why we carried on and didn’t just turn back to the safer seaside area behind us but we continued to the next promenade and everything returned to normal again.
We came to the end of the promenade and found the houses and marina we were looking for. It was such a disappointment. We couldn’t really get near enough to take pictures because there were big wire fences up and the houses didn’t look as good as they did in the picture. By this time we needed a break and coffee but with the thought of having to cycle past the rough area again, I just wanted to get it over with. Ray who is normally really laid back and I thought would just laugh at me actually felt as uneasy about the area as I did.
On the way back we cycled to the bridge but there was a crowd of about 6 gipsy teenagers walking along so we hung back a bit by going under the bridge (we was hoping we would be able to find another way back but it didn’t really go anywhere). Anyway, we saw them enter their camp so we came out of hiding and belted across the bridge and past the camp so quickly that Ray couldn’t believe the speed I was cycling. (I can move quickly if I want to).
Eventually, we got back to the popular Valencia beach area and stopped off for coffee and a relax before facing the rest of the journey. We did a total of 20 miles that day which is the most I have ever cycled so felt quite good about that.
Wow! Wow! Wow! I wasn’t expecting that. We got off the bus at the Arts and Sciences complex which is a collection of futuristic buildings made up of six main elements including the Prince Phillip Science Museum and L’Hemispheric, which is meant to look like a human eye.
The work started on the complex in the mid-1990’s and although the buildings are all complete there still seems some empty space in some. We looked through windows and just saw a vast empty space.
This area contains 6 distinct elements and they are:
- L’Hemispheric, which was designed to look like a giant human eye.
- The El Museu de Les Ciencies Principe Felipe which is the Prince Phillip Science Museum. It has a program of changing exhibits at various times of the year. You don’t have to be a science fan to enjoy it plus it is very educational for the kids with plenty of activities to keep them entertained.
- The L’Umbracle which is completely free and is a landscaped walk of plants native to the area and various artistic and thought-provoking sculptures.
- L’Oceanografic which is basically a small version of Sea World. It was really worth visiting although not cheap at 23E each. If you buy tickets for 2 or more then the price goes down quite a bit. L’Oceanografic has the largest glass water tunnel in Europe to walk through directly underneath the massive fish tank, with sharks swimming just a few metres from our faces.
- El Palau de Les Arts Reina Sofia is the next part, which is an opera house and theatre.
- L’Agora which is a covered exhibition space and sports arena.
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Turia Park – Largest inner-city urban park in the whole of Europe
In this area is also Turia Park which has a massive variety of plants, trees and water features along the old river bed. About 50 years ago a wide and powerful river bisected the city of Valencia in the same manner as the Thames separates the two sections of London. The river Turia, which starts way up in the surrounding mountains, ran in the middle of the city and out towards the sea, but in the mid 50’s a horrendous storm and high tide saw the riverbank burst its banks and flooded the centre of Valencia to a depth of 2 metres.
After the massive clean up the authorities decided to divert the river from its present course and therefore the entire length as it nears the city was re-routed elsewhere so that it could never happen again. The advantage was that it created a beautiful park right in the centre of the city.
The park can be walked or cycled along. You can rent bikes at one end and drop them off at the other. There are cafes and bars along the way to buy refreshments.
We came across a festival in the park on a Saturday that we visitedValencia
The landscaping has been well thought out and is divided into various sections. There are sports facilities around here, including the regions cricket club. There is a playground area for the kids which is very clever as it’s a massive model of the giant from Gulliver’s Travels which has been made so it has slides and places to clamber around for the kids. Walking further along the park we found the botanical gardens just off the river bed too, plus the famous Royal Gardens, which can be found near to Alameda tube stop.
As we walked along the river bed, we passed under various bridges that connected the towpaths to the city, some being hundreds of years old. The flowers lining these bridges were glorious.
It was lovely walking through the changing scenes in the park. With the gazebos, fountains, man-made streams, bridges, and landscaping.
There is a large shopping centre just across the main road from the art and science park with a very large Carrefour, C&A and lots of shops bars and restaurants.
There is also a 3D panoramic cinema. Once you enter you are given 3D glasses which have built-in speakers, programmed to your own language, so no matter what country you are from, you can sit back and fully enjoy the movies. There are many movies which change daily. It’s best to visit their website to find out the screening dates of what you fancy seeing. https://foursquare.com/v/yelmo-cines-valencia-3d/4ca6424144a8224b07940140
The Old Town of Valencia
We spent a lovely day starting off by wandering around the maze of streets in the popular Barrio del Carmen district – the oldest and most bohemian part of the city. There was a real heady mix of colourful architecture and trendy shops.
The city is jam-packed full of culture and history. There are old lanes and streets as well as streets which are wide and tree-lined that are bordered by high rise buildings with the most beautiful architecture. We just stood looking at them in amazement.
The Historic Central Market
This was an interesting place to browse. The various stalls range from meat and local produce to the slightly more unusual. Covering more than 8,100 square metres, this huge food market is divided into two sections and housed in a spectacular building with iron, glass and ceramic domes.
Valencia is famed for its ceramics, which are housed in the Ceramics Museum. The collection is housed in a simply stunning rococo palace and the amazing entrance to the building is one of the city’s landmarks. The museum’s exhibits include a typical Valencian kitchen made entirely of ceramics.
There is a real mix of old and new buildings in Valencia from medieval castles and towers, to modernist and art deco architecture, and of course quite a few massive shopping centres and plenty of bars and restaurants.
The Cathedral is a lovely old place and well worth visiting. The grail is one of the must-see attractions for those of a religious following.
All in all, Valencia was a lovely surprise, so pleased we stopped off this time (previous visits to Spain we have passed Valencia). It’s definitely a place we would revisit.