Spain's third largest city basks in a self-assured glow of its very own - not least because of the glorious sunshine that illuminates striking architecture and sweeping beaches. In this city of contrasts, you can discover the Holy Grail in the confines of the cathedral, before heading out to the City of Arts and Sciences' sci-fi vision of architectural ambition. The city crackles with energy all year round, but reaches a cacophonous fever pitch during Las Fallas festival - which welcomes spring with an almighty bang, and a riotous celebration of flame, firework and fiesta. A glorious belt of green parkway also snakes through the city, having flourished in the former river bed left behind when the Turia was redirected to spare the city from history's devastating floods. Perfect for cycling, it winds towards Valencia's contemporary showpiece, an unapologetically futuristic complex of structures - which rise like gleaming white rib cages from the shimmering pools surrounding them.The food is no less thrilling, with experimentation complementing rich tradition. Jewelled with succulent ingredients from the surrounding fields - you may be surprised that Valencia's famous paella contains rabbit and chicken meat rather than seafood. Do your self a favour, while also impressing the locals, by scraping off the 'socarrat' - the prized crunchy crust that sweetens as it forms at the bottom of the pan.