Valencia and Spain
Valencia (la Comunidad Valenciana) is situated in the east of Spain. It has borders with Catalonia in the northeast, Aragon in the northwest, Castile-La Mancha in the west, and Murcia in the south. Valencia’s eastern side is lapped by the Mediterranean Sea (el Mar Mediterráneo).
The surface area of Valencia equates to some 23,200 km², making it around 4.5% of the total mass of Spain. With a population of 4.5 million, Valencia has the fourth largest in the country. The population is mostly concentrated on the coastal areas.
The Valencian region has three provinces: Alicante, Castellón and Valencia. Its capital city is also called Valencia. Other important cities in this region are:
- Alicante – one of the most important tourist destinations on the east coast of Spain
- Benidorm – another important destination for tourists on the Costa Blanca
- Castellón de la Plana – home to the el Fadri belltower
- Sagunto – a major attraction is a Roman amphitheatre built in the 1st century
- Gandía – has a number of historic buildings from the 13th century onwards
The landscape of Valencia is characterised by inland mountains and beautiful coastal beaches. The most notable mountains inland are the sierras of Maestrazgo, Martes, Espina and Espadan and in the south of the region is the Sistema Penibético mountain range. The coastal area is flat comprising low sandy beaches. Some of the best beaches are:
- and Santa Pola.
By and large, Valencia’s weather has a mediterranean slant. The summers are warm and dry and the winters very mild. Spring an autumn are generally the wettest as with other coastal regions such as Murcia. The region is generally temperate throughout the year: temperatures rarely drop below 15ºC, apart from in the more mountainous areas which can be sub-zero.
The economy of Valencia has been boosted in recent years by tourism and the subsequent knock on to the construction industry.
The two co-official languages of Valencia, as with Catalonia, are Castilian Spanish and Català (Valencià). Valencià is considered by linguists to be a variation of Català (Catalan). This is a view that many Valencià speaking valencianos disagree with: they argue that it is a language in its own right.