Swansea fans' guide to Valencia

While our International Ground Guide is undergoing some maintenance, we thought we'd provide our usual service of advice and information for travelling supporters in brief blog form.

Once up and running again our ground guide will cover all manner of information from travel options to hotel advice, eating and drinking suggestions to practical tips on getting around, along with safety and security advice and anything else we think will be of use to travelling supporters. 

In the meantime, while the below might not necessarily have all the information you'll be after if you're heading out to Spain this week, we're always available to help - just drop us an email if you have any questions.

We'll do our best to find out what you need to know, either from our own vast experience in covering England and Wales games abroad, or from our friends at Football Supporters Europe.

The Ground

The Mestalla is conveniently located in the centre of Valencia, just to the east of the old centre, and north west of the port. Although from 2011 the club are scheduled to move into the Nou Mestalla, which is in the north-west of the city. 

The address of the Mestalla stadium is Avenida Suecia, s/n 46010, and it's pretty easy to reach being in close proximity to the city centre. If you fancy a stroll, be our guest (it's around a 20 minute walk from most central locations), but the two easiest ways to get to the ground are by public transport. Either get a number 10 bus from Plaza del Ayuntamiento or number 80 from the main coach station which both pass straight by the ground, or alternatively use the city's subway system and get off at Aragon station.

If you're lazy, there's always a taxi, too, but matchday traffic (as you'd expect) can be a killer, so that's likely to involve a bit of a walk at the end of your journey unless you get there early enough ahead of kick-off.

The Team

Arguably the biggest club in Spain behind Real Madrid and Barcelona (at least in terms of titles and trophies), Valencia have a mean domestic and European pedigree: a record of 6 La Ligas, 7 Copa del Reys alongside 7 major European final appearances (1 UEFA Cup, 1 Cup Winners Cup and 2 Fairs Cup titles) speaks volumes of the club's pedigree.

Founded in 1919, and having found their home at the Mestalla in 1923, Valencia's main period of dominance came at the turn of the century, as they racked up domestic titles in 2002 and 2004, alongside back-to-back appearances in Champions League finals in 2000 and 2001 (losing to Real Madrid and Bayern Munich respectively).

Recently, however, money troubles have hit the Spanish side, necessitating the sale of superstars such as David Villa and David Silva.

The City

Valencia is Spain's third largest city, and is roughly equidistant from the country's largest two (Madrid and Barcelona) on the Balearic coast. The waterfront has undergone a good deal of renovation in recent years, and the city has even attracted a grand prix circuit throughout the city's streets. Despite its coastal location, the major areas of the city are very much focussed inland and not around the port. The main water feature in the city used to be the river Turia which ran through the old town, however the flow of water has been redirected and the river's route has been replaced with a park.

Despite being the third largest city in Spain, Valencia hasn't always offered much to the tourist, although the recent redevelopments have seen a concerted effort to put the city on the map.

To get a feel for your way around the city, why not check out our handy Google Map of Valencia - picking out the main points of interest, bars and restaurants, transport hubs etc.

The Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències (City of Arts and Science, below) is famous for its striking architecture, and is home to the city's Science Museum, Planetarium, IMAX cinema, Aquarium and Arts Museum. Head along to Alameda metro to find the complex, located where the river Turia used to flow. The Seu is the city's cathedral, and a trip up the Micalet tower (formerly Moorish although now somewhat Christianised) offers splendid views over the old town. The cathedral itself is somewhat unusual in that it has three major doors that each date to three separate architectural periods/styles. The Llotja is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and was home to the city's ancient silk trade.

The Turia river bed is a pleasant place for a stroll, now that it's been renovated into a park. There are also a number of cycle routes here if you fancied something a bit more energetic. We'd also recommend just walking around the old town, in particular the Barri del Carme neighbourhood, which is littered with cafés, shops and distractions for the idle tourist. Also worth checking out is the Torres de Quart - a medieval tower that was once part of the old city walls.

If you want to head to the beach, then Playa de Malvarrosa and Playa e Levante o de la arenas are the most popular city beaches, located just north of the port. To get there either take the metro or tram to Eugenia Vines or Arenas station, or take the metro to Maritim Serreria and continue by tram on to Neptu.

Eating and Drinking

There are any number of areas for Valencian nightlife, depending on what you're after. If you just fancy stumbling across a café, bar or restaurant, then a walk through the old town will never see you very far away from something good.

Barrio del Carmen is one of the major nightlife neighbourhoods in the city centre, which caters to a generally young and trendy crowd. There are a number of bars and clubs here, including Café Infanta, Johnny Maracas and Blue Iguana. Drinks tend to be on the pricier side, but then these are some of the places to be seen in the city.

Slightly further away you'll find the more relaxed district of Plaza del Cedro and its surrounding streets. Plenty of tapas bars and restaurants where can enjoy a pint and a bite to eat at slightly more reasonable prices - look out for the offers in the early evening (6-8pm ish) where a lot of places will offer Tercio y Tapas for as little as 1 or 2 Euros. The more famous bars/pubs in this area are El Tornillo, Velvet Underground, Wah Wahs and Matisse.

Increasingly there are more bars popping up around the port and beach areas, which while some distance away from the typical nightlife spots in the city centre offer a certain distraction.

For an excellent listing of all Valencia's many nightlife distractions, we'd recommend ValenciaValencia.com.

Thanks to flickr user kotaro1981 for the image used in this blog, reproduced under creative commons licence