If there is one Spanish city that makes my heart beat faster, it is Valencia. Valencia is the third largest city in Spain and the friendly little brother of Barcelona. This is because Valencia is also located on a kilometer-long sandy beach. The old town of Valencia is somewhat smaller and is full of sights, all of which can be reached on foot. Are you curious about the sights of Valencia and what there is to do? Read our best tips and tricks below!
- Top 15 things to do:
- #1 Ciudad de las Artes y Sciencias
- #2 Mercado Central
- #3 Go to the Beach
- #4 La Lonja de la Seda
- #5 El Carmen Neighborhood
- #6 Festival City Valencia (Las Fallas Festival)
- #7 El Micalet (tower)
- #8 Plaza de la Virgen
- #9 Trendy area, Ruzafa
- #10 Torres de Serranos
- #11 Valencia Aquarium Oceanografic
- #12 Take the bike
- #13 Jardin del Turia
- #14 Valencia Cathedral
- #15 Parc Natural de l’Albufera
- Top 4 Restaurants
- Top places to stay
Top 15 things to do:
#1 Ciudad de las Artes y Sciencias
The architectural highlight of Valencia is Ciudad de las Artes y Sciencias. A futuristic complex in the south of Jardín del Turia. It is a dazzling park and the buildings are covered with millions of small white tiles. Ciudad de las Artes y Ciencias means ‘the city of art and science’ and art and culture lovers are in the right place here. In addition to a science museum, concert hall and 3D cinema, you will also find Oceanogàphic Valencia, the largest aquarium in Europe. In the summer months, the open-air disco is also open. You can visit all buildings in the park, but it is advisable to buy a ticket online in advance.
#2 Mercado Central
The most delicious place in the city is the central market: Mercado Central. This beautiful market hall is located in the center of the city and is a sight in itself. Here you have stalls full of dried hams, Spanish delicacies and local products. Due to its popularity among locals and tourists, Mercado Central is almost always busy, but still a must if you are in Valencia! Visit the market hall before 2:00 PM. The market is open until 3 p.m., but most market vendors start clearing up an hour in advance.
Tip! Get some food at Central bar! Or buy something tasty for a picnic in Jardin del Turia.
#3 Go to the Beach
Valencia is right on the sea and even though it looks like one big long beach. The long beach is divided into 3 beaches where you can sunbathe: Las Arenas, La Malvarrosa and La Patacona. Las Arenas is by far the most popular, but if you go a little further (even by bike), you arrive at the quiet La Patacone. Here you can rent sunbeds and umbrellas and there are several restaurants. Extremely popular is Marina Beachclub, next to the port of Valencia.
#4 La Lonja de la Seda
La Lonja is the old silk exchange of Valencia and is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The building was built in the 15th century, when the silk and fabric trade flourished in the city. It is one of the most beautiful buildings in Valencia.
#5 El Carmen Neighborhood
El Carmen is the historic city center of Valencia and consists of many atmospheric streets and sights. This part of the city is best explored on foot, because the narrow alleys are perfect for an afternoon wandering. The Carme neighbourhood in the old town is full of off-beat boutiques, cafés and bars with an underground vibe.
#6 Festival City Valencia (Las Fallas Festival)
Do you like a festival? Then definitely visit Las Fallas. This festival takes place every year between 15 and 19 March. This traditional festival is by far the most famous festival in the city. This tradition is grandly celebrated with parades of beautiful puppets, music, fireworks and drink and other festivities. At the end of Las Fallas, the dolls are set on fire and there is an exuberant fire procession.
#7 El Micalet (tower)
One of the most striking buildings in the center of Valencia is El Miguelette. It is known as El Miguelete in Castilian Spanish or Torre del Micalet in the Valencian language. Construction of the tower began in 1381 and was completed in 1429. The cathedral’s octagonal bell tower is 51 meters high, making it a prominent landmark. From the top floor after walking up 207 steps, you have a great view of the city.
#8 Plaza de la Virgen
The best place to have a drink is Plaza de La Virgen. This square is located in the middle of the historic center and is perhaps the nicest place to stroll around. Around the Plaza de La Virgen there is something to admire on every street corner. Just think of the cathedral, the basilica de la Virgen de los Desamparados and the Torros de Quart.
#9 Trendy area, Ruzafa
Ruzafa is the hippest neighborhood of Valencia and is close to the old town. It is a cheaper neighborhood, which means that many young entrepreneurs come to live there. Nowadays it is full of nice cafes and restaurants. Many of these hotspots can be found in the streets of Calle Cádiz, Calle Sueca and Calle del Litorato Azorín. The most famous sights in Ruzafa are the old bullring and the colorful market hall.
#10 Torres de Serranos
In the center of Valencia you will find the old gateway Torres de Serranos. This city gate is the largest Gothic city gate in Europe and this gateway used to be part of the city wall and served to defend the city. For a small fee you can climb to the roof and admire the view over the city.
#11 Valencia Aquarium Oceanografic
The Oceanographic Valencia, has the longest underwater tunnel and is the largest aquarium in Europe. The Oceanogràfic is the showpiece of the Cuidad de las Artes y las Ciencias. It is the only place in Europe where you can admire the Beluga. The aquarium is worth a visit for both children and adults.
#12 Take the bike
The best way to get to know Valencia is by bike. The city is mainly flat and you can make beautiful bike rides through, for example, Jardín del Turia, or along the beach.
#13 Jardin del Turia
The enormous Jardín del Turia is the most beautiful park in Valencia. Decades ago, a wide river ran through Valencia, but was drained after a devastating flood. Nowadays there are palm trees, pine trees everywhere and you can cycle for miles without encountering a car. Each part of Parque Turia is decorated differently, with different plants and flowers.
#14 Valencia Cathedral
The Valencia Cathedral is located in Plaza de la Virgen and was of great importance for Iberian sacred music and had many notable composers as mestre de capella. The Cathedral was built over a mosque in 1238. When you arrive at the entrance, you have a choice of going to the left or the right. If you go to the left, you can enter the church to get a free view of the interior
Tip! The cathedral is free to visit.
#15 Parc Natural de l’Albufera
Just outside the city is a beautiful nature reserve: Albufera. Rice is grown here for paella and you can sail through the nature reserve by boat. You can take the bus or bicycle, from the center it is about an hour by bike and you will pass through a beautiful nature reserve and beautiful beaches.
Top 4 Restaurants
#1 Casa Montaña
Traditional tapas restaurant established in 1836 and located in the old fisherman quarter of Valencia.
Lunch, Dinner, Late Night
Mediterranean, European, Spanish, Wine Bar
See more: www.emilianobodega.com
#2 La Más Bonita
Very nice location and good food, love this place especially the garden and the wines!
Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, Brunch, Late Night
Cafe, Mediterranean, European, Spanish
See more: www.reservas.lamasbonita.es
#3 Central bar
If you’ve never savoured tapas or a good bocadillo in the hustle and bustle of a thriving market, you simply have to try Central Bar by Ricard Camarena. Our bar is located in the very heart of Valencia’s busy Central Market, Europe’s biggest and most spectacular art nouveau food market. Thousands of people visit it every day to do their shopping or simply to soak up the atmosphere with its aromas, sounds, colours and tastes.
Breakfast, Lunch, Brunch
Mediterranean, European, Spanish
See more: https://m.centralbar.es/
#4 Restaurante Gordon 10
Excellent Argentine cuisine. Argentine delicious premium meats prepared on the grill, always accompanied by grilled vegetables and potatoes with a touch of house sauce, grilled fish or casserole, stroganoff or pepper steak, schnitzel Neapolitan (meat veal baked with tomato, ham and cheese), steak skewers, BBQ ribs, etc.. Tables of German sausages accompanied by sauerkraut, potatoes and salad. Try our special angus burgers 250g. Authentic beef.
Steakhouse, Barbecue, Argentinean
See more: www.gordon10.com
Top places to stay
Hotel Marqués House is a 4 stars hotel. The attention desk is available 24 hours and will give you touristic advice and any help you would need. The room has TV and private bathroom (equipped with towels and amenities).
Check the price: Hotel Marqués House