Mara is a born and bred Valencian and it’s always best to have someone from the city to show us around. This is what the woman behind @seaflowersandplants tells us:

Valencia always manages to surprise me, and in these weird times, it has taught me to appreciate what we have near us, discover new places close to home and fully enjoy them.

Since I was little I have enjoyed walking all around town, but I have a special relationship with the neighbourhood of Ruzafa. Little shops, eclectic architecture and the amount of different restaurants, so varied and inventive. There is a lot of places yet for us to discover.

If Japanese cuisine is your thing Nozomi Sushi Bar is the place for you, with exquisite decor and a wide range of typical Japanese dishes. Also, Kamon offers a different style of sushi, with a fresh mix of ingredients that accentuate the flavours. Without a doubt, both are a must!

Any Italian food lovers? Near the cathedral, around the streets that shape the area called Carmen we find San Tomasso, a precious little place with an unusual decoration. It’s the place to visit if you are looking for authentic Italian pasta or pizza in a candlelit setting.

If you enjoy breakfast time, Blue Bell Coffee is without a doubt one of my favourite spots in town. They have organic foods cooked with care, it’s one of my favourite things! Avocado on toast, grapefruit, orange or strawberry freshly squeezed juices while you read a good book, that’s the perfect morning plan when you are off work :)

Another good place to read whilst drinking a coffee is Ubik Café. A special bookshop in the cosmopolitan district of Ruzafa. You can enjoy your coffee while you look through the wide range of books on their shelves. You can even have a quick chat with other readers hanging out. Let’s not forget to mention the vintage and quaint atmosphere, it’s really something!

I was taking a stroll around the streets near the Virgen Square, and I found a Spanish craft shop that I cannot fail to mention: Simple tienda. Among the many handmade things in this shop, we can find esparto straw baskets made by an 89 year old artisan in Ciudad Real and also simple beautiful ceramic cups. These items always help me reflect on the importance of handmade work and the beauty of simple traditional crafts.

La Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias Ciencias it’s already an icon of the city of Valencia. The cluster of buildings with its modern architecture by renowned Santiago Calatrava, offers a wide range of environments to enjoy exhibitions, 3D documentaries, the Oceanographic and even an opera at the Palacio de las Artes Reina Sofía… it’s dreamy.

I love to ride my bike through the ancient banks of the river Turia and enjoy a picnic in the gardens. There are loads of parks to choose from, but my favourites are the “Parque de Cabecera” or the “Jardines del Real”. If you enjoy flowers you can’t miss the Jardín Botánico of the University of Valencia.

There is no better way to end the day than to enjoy an idyllic sunset on a boat in the “Parque Natural de la Albufera”. That is, after enjoying an authentic Paella Valenciana at El Palmar. This is something I always recommend to anyone visiting. There are no words to describe its beauty, worth seeing on a clear day with calm waters. It’s magical!

I am really grateful of having been born here and of being able to enjoy the beauty of the Mediterranean shore everyday.

MARA BOLÚMAR