15 Best things to do in Valencia (Spain)

Valencia has a lot to offer visitors to Spain: the city has a vibrant old center with many small streets and splendid medieval buildings such as the UNESCO-listed Lonja de la Seda.

TIP – Get the Valencia Tourist Card for free entry to public museums, many discounts and free public transport

Valencia is also located on the Mediterranean Sea, so you can laze on the wide sandy beach and enjoy delicacies made from the sea. This is the home of paella, undoubtedly the most famous Spanish dish. The City of Arts and Sciences also has ultra-modern tourist attractions, all of which make Valencoa one of the most complete destinations in Spain.

Let’s explore the best things to do in Valencia:

1. City of Arts and Sciences

City of Arts and Sciences

You might have a hard time getting around the City of Arts and Sciences. The attraction is a stunning ultra-modern complex, and the surrounding reflecting pools give them an ethereal quality.

The entire project started in the mid-1990s and was finished in 2005. Among these monumental buildings are cultural venues and great family attractions such as L’Hemisfèric, the Planetarium and the IMAX Cinema, or the breathtaking L’Umbracle, a botanical collection of Valencia’s native flora. Book in advance to avoid queues.

Top Rated Tour: City of Arts and Sciences Tour, Rooftop Wine & Snacks

2. Oceanography

oceanography

The star of the City of Arts and Sciences is this cutting-edge aquarium that opened in 2003. With 45,000 individual animals from 500 different species, you won’t find another attraction on this scale in Europe.

The aquarium consists of ten areas, each of which is synthesized into a unique environment and uses real sea water drawn from the Valencia seafront. So in arctic aquariums you will see beluga whales swimming in spacious and well-designed aquariums.

Elsewhere, you can spot sand tiger sharks, penguins, walruses, dolphins and sea lions. It all adds up to a day that adults and little ones won’t soon forget.

Tickets can be purchased online: Oceanogràfic Entrance Ticket

3. La Lonja de la Seda

la lonja de la ceda

This magnificent late 15th century building is a UNESCO site and is a masterpiece of Valencian Gothic architecture. La Lonja de la Seda is the finest monument of Valencia’s golden age, when the city was one of Europe’s major trade and cultural centers.

The name means “Silk Exchange”, where traders from remote parts of the Mediterranean meet and trade. Inside, you can marvel at the exquisitely twisted columns of the main hall (sala de contratación) and look up at the incredible detail of the vaulted ceiling. Its tough, jagged profile sits right in front of the city’s central market.

Related Tours: Jeep City Highlights Tour with Snacks and Drinks

4. Valencia Cathedral

Valencia Cathedral

The city’s stately Gothic cathedral dates back to the 13th and 14th centuries, with Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical makeovers over the next few centuries. Go inside and see 15th-century Renaissance paintings by artists such as Valencia, Yacomat, and several paintings commissioned by Pope Alexander VI in Rome.

But the most fascinating part, perhaps arguably, is the Chapel of the Holy Grail. The altar holds one of several chalices, allegedly used by Jesus to institute the Eucharist at the Last Supper. The onyx vessel has been determined by archaeologists to be between the 4th century BC and the 1st century AD, but no scientific analysis has yet been carried out.

CONTAINED IN: Medieval Valencia 1-Hour Segway Tour

5. Miglette

Miglette

The cathedral’s octagonal bell tower graces the many postcards sent home from the city. This is a Valencian Gothic building, started in 1381 and completed less than 50 years later. Originally it was completely independent of the cathedral, but an extension in the late 1400s brought the two structures together.

If you’re feeling refreshed, you can climb the 207 steps, a slightly unstable staircase to the top, for a breathtaking view 50 meters above the city. The big view at the top is Miguel, the famous bell cast in 1432 and weighing more than 10 tons.

6. Casco Historico

History of Casco

Like most historic centers in Spanish cities, the center of Valencia was made for wanderlust. All of the city’s must-see attractions are minutes away.

Between each landmark is a maze of small streets with cafés, restaurants and local amenities or craft shops.

To cool off in the summer, stop in squares like Piazza di Virgen for a cool horchata, a drink made from ground almonds, tiger nuts and various grains and flavored with cinnamon and vanilla.

On the south side of the old town, you can reach the Neo-Mudéjar Plaza de Toros (bull ring) and the impressive Estació del Nord ticket hall.

Recommended Itinerary: Essence and World Heritage Site Walking Tour

7. Barrio del Carmen

Café Sant Jaume - Barrio del Carmen

The northeast side of the old town is the youngest and most bohemian part of the city. El Carmen was formed in the Middle Ages, outside the Moorish walls of the 11th century, but within the Christian walls that emerged in the 14th century.

The best thing about this place is that these cool, shady alley-side palaces have been transformed into trendy boutiques, bars, restaurants and nightclubs. Calle de Caballeros starts in Piazza di Virgen and ends many nights in Valencia.

You can also see fragments of Valencia’s late medieval defenses at Torres de Quart and Torres de Serranos.

8. Jardín del Turia

Turia Garden

This stunning park brings you fresh air and relaxation in the heart of the city. It took place in the 20th century and wreaked havoc on the city after the Turia River burst its banks in 1957.

The river was diverted, and in the 1980s, the city’s riverbed was transformed into 9 kilometers of verdant green space. There are 18 bridges across the riverbed, the oldest dating back to the Middle Ages and now just another part of the park’s unusual landscape.

Several landscape architects were enlisted to build the gardens, creating a scene of pine forests, orangery, palm trees and paths leading to sports facilities, play areas and fountains.

9. Central Market

central market

Opposite the Silk Exchange is another treasured landmark, the huge and palatial Central Market Building. Even if you’re just here for sightseeing, you’ll love the building’s Art Nouveau metal and glass design.

Although dating back to the early 20th century, it blends beautifully with the historic buildings of this part of the old town. And if you do want to shop at the market, you’re in food heaven. There are 400 small vendors in the market, of which 959 sell agricultural and seafood products at the best prices in the city.

If there’s something you love about Spanish food like chorizo, Iberian ham or Manchego cheese, this will be your Eldorado.

10. Malvarrosa Beach

Malvarrosa Beach

Within minutes of the old town, you can soak up the sun on a Mediterranean beach. Malvarrosa is a wide, golden sandy beach that stretches for a kilometer along the city’s seafront.

The beach was awarded a Blue Flag for all the amenities it offers, from lifeguard towers, medical stations, drinking fountains and showers, to easy-to-navigate ramps and walkways.

The good news is that you don’t have to travel long distances to get a cold drink or something to eat, as there are permanent restaurants on the promenade next to the beach.

11. El Salle Beach

El Salle Beach

Mavarrosa is a beautiful urban beach, but you may wish to enjoy a more natural setting next to the Mediterranean Sea. In this case, El Saler is the best option: the beach starts somewhere south of the port of Valencia and you can see it in the distance.

This 2.6 km long beach means tranquility and privacy as you relax on the white sands of the coast of La Albufera Nature Reserve.

Behind you will be sand dunes and pines, and in front of you will be gentle waves and scouring gently into the sea.

Suggested Tour: Valencia: Albufeira Jeep and Boat Tour

12. Rent a bike

bicycle rental

Cycling on Spanish roads may seem like a creepy experience, but in Valencia’s network of narrow streets, pedestrian squares, parks and seafront promenades, it’s perfectly safe.

You’re free to roam Valencia’s top sights, head to the beach or traverse the Jardín del Turia with ease.

In 2012, the city implemented the Valenbisi bike-sharing network, a subscription-based network aimed primarily at residents of Valencia. Still, there are many rental companies throughout the city, such as PassionBike in Carrer de Serrans.

13. Paella

Spanish seafood paella

If you want the best paella in Valencia, look off the beaten track and go to restaurants frequented by Valencians. There are a lot of places around Malvarrosa and bookings always come at a price if possible.

Paella is probably the most famous dish in Spain, and it was originally created here. Everything in it is local, from the rice grown in the sprawling fields north and south of the city to even the saffron that flavors the rice.

If you didn’t already know, this dish gets its name from the large iron pot in which it is cooked and served. You can choose the traditional meat variety with rabbit and snails, or choose the seafood version with shrimp and squid.

14. Gulliver Park

Gulliver Park

If you’re strolling through the Jardín del Turia with young children, stop by this imaginative spot near the City of Arts and Sciences. It is inspired by the 18th century classic Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift.

In the park, you’ll feel like a Lilliputian while the kids scramble over the giant figure of Gulliver lying on the ground on a whale of an era.

There are slides, ramps, stairs and various small interactive features. Another attraction is an ice skating area, giant chess board and a mini golf course.

15. Las Faras

las falas

This celebration in Valencia on the eve of St. Joseph’s Day on March 19 is probably the busiest and most colourful of all festivals in Spain.

Las Fallas marks the beginning of spring, and the city’s carpenters used to hold a bonfire the night before the 19th in honor of their patron saint. Slowly, it developed into the awesome spectacle you can see today, with something special to see every day.

For example, every day at two o’clock in the town square you can see the refreshing fireworks display La Mascletá. Throughout the week “Ninots,” giant cardboard sculptures with satirical themes, traversed the city’s streets and were eventually destroyed in a fire on the night of the 19th.

Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Valencia, Spain
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