Why Valencia should be your first choice for an arty city break post-lockdown

A pretty old town, orange trees, proximity to golden, sandy beaches, being the birthplace of paella… Valencia has always had a lot going for it. And it can add good design to that list too, as the city gears up to be the World Design Capital (WDC) for 2022.

Every two years, the World Design Organisation bestows this title upon a city that has transformed itself through design, with previous winners including Seoul, Mexico City, Helsinki and most recently Lille. And from sci-fi architecture on the waterfront to a flood-prone river that was diverted and turned into Spain’s biggest urban park, Valencia has boundary-pushing design in spades.

The city on Spain’s east coast was gaining popularity – with visitor numbers up by 8.7 per cent in 2019 – before the pandemic put paid to travel. Now that Spain is back on the menu, with both the Foreign Office travel restrictions and the mandatory two-week quarantine for returning travellers lifted (the latter from 10 July), an arty weekend trip to see Valencia’s design hotspots could be the perfect post-lockdown city break.

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