An article is due on the practicalities of attending the 32nd America’s Cup in Valencia, which will draw huge international crowds this summer of 2007. Here is the vital info and insider tips.
All of the action will take place in the America’s Cup Port, a magnificently designed complex built specifically for this occasion by the local government of Valencia. The central ultre-modern Veles I Vents building, a sort of command tower for the press coverage, is surrounded by large entertainment and leisure areas, which line the waters all the way into the sea. The teams are based in the depth of the port, very accessible for the cheers of the public on their exit and entrance to / from the racing courses.
The Port is a city within a city. Elegant modernist designs, lush green spaces and Mediterranean waters all around make it a luxury scene to relax. There are plenty of activities, both for adults and for kids. Playgrounds, a concert stage, open-air cinema, bars and restaurants, plus a number of fascinating America’s Cup related entertainment provided by the sponsors of the event: from remote-controlled America’s Cup boat models and sail-driven go-carts to guided tours on futuristic electric two-wheelers and an almost authentic America’s Cup sailing experience on a replica of a boat. In addition, the Port holds a hi-tech museum of America’s Cup history and a collection of models. The Cup itself is displayed in the central Veles I Vents building, alongside the Luis Vuitton Cup.
Watching America’s Cup itself is also very accommodating. A number of spectator boats are available for bookings throughout the Port and on the official website. However, most people opt for watching the giant screen on one of the Port’s ample lawns, where you get a comprehensive commentary supplemented by CG animation. The official site also has a number of media applications for those at a distance.
The Port is also very vibrant by night, when amazing light shows turn it into a spectacular fairground even when there are no concerts or events. There are a number of top-end restaurants, offering exquisite international cuisine around the clock, as well as a selection of upmarket bars. The most prominent are Loaded Hog – a Kiwi pub chain that has become a cosmopolitan meeting point, and Estrella Damm Lounge – a funky open-air bar where the party goes at full volume until late. The Valencians with a taste for the affluent have come to like the Port’s nightlife as much as the foreigners, so you are assured a perfect cultural blend of the local and the cosmopolitan.
All this may make you think that there is never any need to come out of the Port during the America’s Cup. Indeed, the Port has everything to be self-contained, but don’t miss out on what’s around it also. You will have plenty of time between the races, so make the most of it.
The area adjacent to the Port is a very atmospheric and charismatic part of Valencia, a former fisherman’s district named Cabanyal. It hosts spectacular typically Spanish summer architecture, with some very unique use of Valencian ceramics. The district is very charming in the sunny Spanish afternoon. There are also some good sights to see: Gothic Royal Shipyards, Museum of Semana Santa (the Holy Week in Valencia is a spectacular and unique festivity), Iglesia Santa Maria del Mar – the best preserved Rennaisance church in Valencia and a few other very peculiar charming churches.
You could also go to the beach, which is adjacent right next to the Port. Valencia’s beach is as good as a city beach can ever get.
The area also has a huge luxury night-club (Las Dockas) with open-air terraces an unforgettable experience in the Mediterranean night – and a string of vibrant cocktail bars. Ten minutes down the beach is another cluster of nightlife with such big Valencian names as Akuarela Playa and Luna Rossa. The party here is genuinely local and loud, spilling out onto the beachfront in the summer.
For lover of good food the sting of restaurants on the beach adjacent to the Port is a must. Names like Pepica are known throughout Spain for the best paella (paella was born in Valencia) and have even been visited by the Spanish Royal family. In the streets of Cabanyal you will also find two legendary tapas bars – Casa Guillermo (Rey de Anchoa – the King of Anchovy) and Casa Montana. Another legendary restaurant is Ca Sento, nationally famous for exclusive state-of-the-art seafood. You will find it at a 5-7 minute walk from the Port.
And, naturally, don’t forget the rest of Valencia when you have a couple of hours to spare. It is an incredibly rich city, with lots of stunning things to see, fascinating things to do and great people to meet. Particularly in June-July, when Valencia truly wakes up to the summer with a packed programme of cultural events and festivals.
The accommodation can be easily found at a distance. All of the hotels, as well as short-term flat rental companies and some private landlords, have presence on the internet. If you come with your own yacht, you can book a place in the Port marinas on the official website of America’s Cup
Getting to the Port is very straightforward. There are direct metro links from the airport and the train station. Coming by car is also easy as the Port is extensively and clearly sign-posted throughout Valencia. A large number of car rental companies will be in full readiness for the event, although, considering how compact all of the America’s Cup infrastructure is and how difficult the driving in Valencia will be on those dates, you might well want to avoid that option.