2013 FORMULA 1™ Grand Prix of Europe

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Valencia Street Circuit

Having only joined the Formula One calendar in 2008, Valencia retains a novelty factor for drivers, teams and spectators alike. The city’s 5.4 kilometre (3.4 mile) street track winds its way around the recently reconstructed America’s Cup marina and, as is the case at Monaco, the Mediterranean provides a spectacular backdrop.

"Only five years ago," says local hero Fernando Alonso, "there wasn’t any television coverage in Spain and now we have two Grands Prix in the country. I am very happy for Spanish motorsport."

Despite the Monte Carlo comparisons, average speeds through Valencia's streets are high, and certainly faster than at Monaco. At one point on the lap, the cars reach a top speed of around 320km/h (200mph).

"It is a very special event,” says Alonso. “Street circuits are a great challenge because you can’t make a single mistake; they allow the better drivers to make a difference, so I welcome another street track on the calendar."

While Valencia is Spain’s third largest city, it covers only 23 square kilometres (nine square miles). As a result, it is chock full of race-goers over the Grand Prix weekend, so expect a party atmosphere.

Did you know? Valencia is the home of one of Spain’s most famous dishes, paella.

Valencia, destination guide

The Moorish conquerors in medieval times are responsible for much of the architecture in the city’s Old Town, known as El Carmen. One of the most spectacular buildings in the city is the Palacio del Marques de Dos Aguas, with its extravagantly sculpted exterior.

To get a 360-degree view of the city, you can climb up the 207 steps of the octagonal Miguelete bell tower. From there, you can see all of the city’s most famous tourist attractions, including the Modernista market, which, with its 900 food stalls, is a food lover’s heaven.

While on the subject of food, you might want to try an authentic version of the local dish, paella. For those on a budget, try eating at Chust Godoy (6 Calle Boix); for those looking for something more exclusive, Alejandro (15 Calle Amadeo de Saboya) is the place to go.

The city has a full range of hotels, from the major chains where the sport's big wigs will reside over the race weekend, to the many mid-range hotels. However, do not expect bargain rates as demand for rooms is sure to exceed supply. As an alternative, you could do worse than stay in one of the surrounding towns - Torrent, for example - and catch the train into the city each day. As a rough guide, Valencia’s most expensive hotels are in the Old Town and along the coast.

Published 2013-06-10 by Kris Locksey | Edit