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Perched between mountains, Valencia, Venezuela’s third biggest city, is a dynamic and sprawling industrial metropolis. More than red brick high rises interspersed with lush parkland, it’s a historic city with a colorful past. Older than Caracas, it was founded in 1555 and became the focal point of the War of Independence. The city´s best attractions hark back to this period, when Valencia was the capital of Venezuela and the seat of national government. Now it’s the capital of industry with an affluent population creating a buzzing nightlife scene.

Things To Do

This city is whereVenezuela’s national independence was declared, so be sure to visit the original Plaza Bolivar. Make time to see the regal Casa Paez, home to the country's first president, General José Antonio Páez. Take the shiny new metro north to the hip area of El Viñedo and a plush mall called Sambil, where you’ll find the Museo de Beisbol, dedicated to Venezuela´s most popular sport (baseball).

Restaurants and Dining

Hang out with the trendy and beautiful people by dipping into Valencia´s exciting restaurant scene. Go north along Av. Bolivar to Bambu, where you can eat seafood on an attractive wooden deck that becomes a pulsating dance floor late nights. In the trendy Kaffas Coffee Shop you can mull over which type of coffee to drink while lounging in a lush courtyard. Casa Valencia offers a little more sustenance with juicy steaks in an old-world hacienda-style grill house.

Shopping

A visit to Valencia is not complete without visiting Sambil Mall, the city´s unofficial town center and designed with a quirky, domed roof inspired by a baseball. For more conventional retail indulgences, check out Metropolis Shopping, which has a huge cinema, banks, pharmacies, and a colorful annual Karaoke festival.

Relaxation

Grab some snacks and take a walk in the expansive parkland known as Campo Carabobo, 32km southwest of the city center. Here you’ll find a mirador with commanding views of the site of Venezuela’s most famous battle against the Spanish. Monuments such as the Arco de Triunfo and Tumba del Soldado Desconcido can be viewed from peaceful meadows perfect for picnics.