The beaches and ports of the Valencian coast - comprising the Costa Blanca, Costa Calida and Costa Azahar (the white coast, the warm coast and the orange blossom coast) - are one of the most important tourist attractions in Spain. In addition, the towns and lively cities of this area are full of historic charm and make up a valuable architectural heritage. The region's nature trails, the brilliance of the local fiestas, such as Las Fallas, and the cuisine, with paella in the leading role, are other excellent reasons to visit the area.
On the east of the Iberian Peninsula and washed by the Mediterranean Sea, the autonomous community of Valencia includes the provinces of Alicante, Castellon and Valencia. There are over 500 kilometres of coastline plus a number of small off-shore islands. Its territory covers approximately the stretch of coastline between the rivers Ebro and Segura, and it is bounded on the west and south by mountain ranges.
Mediterranean with hot, dry summers and mild winters, although some variations exist between the coast, inland areas and the southern part of the region.
Valencian cuisine is known internationally thanks to its star dish: paella. There are also over a hundred other recipes prepared with rice as a main ingredient. The cuisine of the interior is based around mountain ingredients and gives rise to stews, preserved pork products, hot meat pates and meat gazpacho, which contrasts with the coastal focus on fish and shellfish. The local sweet, turron, is world famous, as is horchata, a Valencian drink made with crushed tiger-nuts, water and sugar.
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