Some call it the most beautiful city in Spain, saying it surpasses his famous city Gaudi to beauty. We say you have to see for yourself if it's true. Because it has an extraordinary positioning, the best time to visit Valencia it is spring or autumn for 3 reasons: better prices for accommodation and plane, perfect weather even for the beach and lower number of tourists.
At the same time, Valencia, like other cities in Spain, is also very suitable for a holiday with children. In addition to the fact that there are many activities available to delight the little ones, Valencia is a city well protected by the competent authorities, they are found throughout the city 24/7 to be at your disposal in case of need.
Transport and how to get from the airport to the city
The airport is not far from the city, it is at a distance of about 8 km, but before we tell you how to get to the city, we recommend the tourist card Valencia Tourist Card - valid for 1, 2 or 3 days, specially designed for tourists. It is ideal for moving around the city, the price being very good - 15, 20, 25 euros respectively. With Valencia Tourist Card you can travel for free with public transport (bus, metro, tram or suburban trains), plus some discounts at tourist attractions. Valencia Tourist Card can be bought at the airport.
Now that you have the Valencia Tourist Card, you are ready to get to the city, by metro of course! You can take any of lines 3 or 5, both lead to the center of Valencia. To orient yourself better, you can check the complete map of the metro lines in Valencia here.
When it comes to accommodation, the options are even more numerous. Depending on the preferences of the type of accommodation, our recommendation is AIRBNB if you opt for an apartment and BOOKING if you prefer the comfort of a hotel. For groups larger than 3 people, the best choice would be the apartments, they usually have many facilities so that tourists feel at home (coffee machines, washing machine, iron, etc. )
We, because we were 2 couples, chose to rent this apartment Flats Friends Soho Suites, through Airbnb, being extremely central and with a more than decent price, approximately 1500 lei for 3 nights.
Valencia is the place where you can treat yourself to Spanish delicacies without spending money in restaurants. There are markets and supermarkets with many types of exotic fruits and specific foods. If you know Boqueria from Barcelona, you will definitely like it Mercado Central, the central market in Valencia, which is much freer and cleaner than the one in Barcelona.
The boulevards are also full of tapas or street food terraces. Of course, there are also well-known fast food restaurants. If you still have a bigger budget, next to the port or on the beach there are many restaurants specializing in fish that will delight your taste buds.
The main traditional Spanish dishes that you should not miss in Valencia are Paella (the most famous Spanish dish, prepared from rice in combination with chicken or seafood, invented right here, in Valencia. The specificity of Valencia is Paella with chicken, rabbit and snails), Asturian fabada (beans with meat), Gazpacho (cold soup) or Potato tortilla (a version of an omelette with potatoes). As drinks we recommend Sangria and Tinto de verano, 2 wine-based drinks combined with fruit, soda or lemonade.
Valencia Travel Guide - Tourist attractions and day activities in Valencia
Valencia offers to the delight of tourists numerous options in terms of tourist attractions, being the perfect destination for all ages. This is how we organized our vacation in Valencia, structured by days.
- Accommodation and leisurely walk to take the pulse of the city
Arrival in Valencia, accommodation and leisurely walk through the city center to take the pulse of the city. We arrived quite late, at ~ 22:00, so we took a short walk through the city center, in Valencia Town Hall Square(Plaza del Ayuntamiento), very close to the accommodation, being the largest central square in Valencia, where you can admire the city hall, an impressive building.
The square was built on the gardens of an old monastery and you probably won't be able to miss it when you visit the center of Valencia, a square surrounded by some truly amazing architecture, lined with trees with a huge fountain at its heart. The market is a great place to start to explore this wonderful city, with lots of shops and restaurants nearby!
The market is spread over a large area, very open, lively and always busy, full of tourists, so we walked along it until Bullring in Valencia(Plaza de Toros), the arena built in 1850, being the traditional host of bullfights and concerts.
- Mercado Central
- Santa Maria Cathedral
- Horchateria de Santa Catalina
- The narrowest building in Europe
- Plaza de la Reina – Santa Maria Cathedral and Plaza de la Virgen
- El Carmen neighborhood – Saint Nicholas Church
- Serranos Towers
- Malvarossa beach
I started the day with a short visit to Mercado Central, about which I also wrote above in the section Food, a place that is definitely worth a visit, very clean, in a superb building Art Nouveau from the beginning of the 1900s with the modernist architecture, the locals will welcome you with a wonderful freshness and variety of food. It is one of the largest in Europe, worth visiting even if you don't buy anything!
Afterwards, we walked to the historic center of Valencia, a place full of old buildings with impressive architecture.
Our route was through City Hall Square, Main Station, Valencia Bullring as far as Plaza de la Reina, where is it Santa Maria Cathedral, the main cathedral of Valencia where the real one is supposed to be kept Holy Grail, the cup from which Jesus would have drunk at the last supper.
Arriving at the cathedral, I also climbed its tower, Miguelete Tower, a Gothic-style structure built in the 15th century, from where we admired the beauty of the city of Valencia, a special view from where the entire city can be seen. However, the view of the city is limited by a high protective barrier made of wire mesh.
Careful! In order to reach the top, you must know that you have to go through the 207 spiral stairs of the Tower that narrow as you go up. Luckily, I was at the front of the line when I went up, so I had a bit of a head start on the spiral staircase, which feels like it never ends. It is a challenge though, so I would caution those who might struggle with the challenge. If you want to move and don't get dizzy from these spiral stairs, you will really enjoy the 360 view of the city. I would not recommend you to try this ladder if you are claustrophobic or do not have an acceptable physical condition.
Then I visited Horchateria de Santa Catalina, the most popular orchestra, located in the heart of the historic city, near the tower of the Santa Catalina Church. A mandatory stop in Valencia, being the ideal traditional Spanish place to try Horchata and Fartons authentic.
It is also a step away from the orchestra the narrowest building in Europe(107cm). Whether it's true or not, remains to be seen, but the truth is that it's the most sought after and photographed building in Valencia by tourists 🙂 So, we couldn't miss it either.
We admire the architecture of the neighborhood and arrive in Plaza de la Virgen, right behind the Santa Maria cathedral, a square built entirely of marble, with a beautiful fountain in the middle, Neptune's fountain, surrounded by several terraces and restaurants. There are also in the market Church of the Virgen de los Desamparados, the Virgin of the Disadvantaged which is dedicated to the patroness of the city of Valencia, La Virgen.
Then, we took it in stride again and walked through the streets of the neighborhood El Carmen. I've rarely seen so much original street art as in this old neighborhood. Take the time to walk through its streets, a beautiful area worth visiting! I also visited this neighborhood Saint Nicholas Church, also called The Sistine Chapel in Valencia.
From the church we went to another historical objective that should not be missed, just a few streets away, Serranos Towers. It is one of the symbols of Valencia. The Serranos Towers are an old gate of the old city and remind of the times when the city was surrounded by defensive walls.
Here we caught our breath a little, and then we continued on the bridge that crosses the Turia park to take the metro to our last stop for the day, more specifically, Malvarossa beach 🙂 A gorgeous beach where it is worth spending your time, very easy to reach from the city. We spent some excellent hours walking and listening to the sea. The beach is clean, extremely spacious, one of the longest beaches in Europe, the sand is fine, and the promenade is wonderful. Take a walk on the promenade! <3
On the way back to the accommodation, we stopped at a restaurant in the city center, in the City Square, close to the accommodation to have dinner and serve a Cerveza :).. and that's how our first full day in Valencia ends.
- The City of Arts and Sciences
- Turia Gardens
The City of Arts and Sciences
This day I dedicated mainly to the highlight of the vacation in Valencia, City of Arts and Sciences. So, the first thing in the morning, after lunch, was to go to the most famous, modern and futuristic attraction of Valencia, The City of Arts and Sciences. This is rather a complex of attractions built at the end of the Turia garden, the most loved ones being Oceanographic and Prince Felipe Science Museum, but the complex is also part of Hemispherical(an IMAX cinema hall) and Reina Sofia Palace of Arts, a superb construction.
Construction began in 1996, and in 1998, it was inaugurated with the opening of the first body of the complex, Hemispherical. The complex was designed by Santiago Calatrava, an extremely well-known Spanish architect.
Hemispherical – which hosts a 3D digital cinema, with a 900m concave screen in the shape of a hemisphere where several films are projected, generally educational documentaries of maximum 45 minutes. You will receive some special 3D glasses that give you the opportunity to choose your projection language, and in the distance Queen Sofia Palace of Arts - dedicated to music and performing arts
Visiting the attractions in the complex will take up a large part of your day, but you will certainly not be bored. We chose to visit only Oceanographic and Prince Felipe Science Museum, but with all that, it took us about 6 hours, so "be prepared to enjoy it". 🙂
I started with the Oceanographic one, being the most important in the complex. Oceanographic in Valencia is also the largest aquarium in Europe, with an area of 111,000 m2 and a volume of 42 million liters of water, which hosts over 45,000 animals and 500 different species. Its main attraction is the 70m long tunnel, in which sharks and sea cats walk overhead. Don't miss the area dedicated to penguins, walruses and belugas. We also witnessed a small show with dolphins, which was included in the price.
After Oceanographic, I visited Prince Felipe Science Museum. Designed to resemble the skeleton of a whale, it wowed us with its imposing size and unique design. The museum has lots of interesting exhibits with lots of hands-on activities. It shows the evolution of human beings and the latest challenges and successes of Science and Technology.
Perhaps the most interesting story of the city of Valencia. If you look at the city map, you will notice how a green strip crosses the city, more precisely, over a distance of 9km.
But, before this park, more than 50 years ago, it crossed a river with the same name, the Turia river. After flooding the city several times, in 1957 following a strong storm, Turia caused major damage to the city in which dozens of people lost their lives and hundreds of buildings were destroyed. Thus, the river was diverted and this 9 km strip was transformed into what we see today, in a green oasis, Turia Park, the largest park in the world, which connects The City of Arts and Sciences of Valencia Biopark having a variety of trees, bike path, places for sports activities, etc.
Turia Park being one of the main attractions of the city, therefore, you must not miss a walk through the Turia Gardens, an oasis of greenery and peace, an extraordinary opportunity for a relaxing walk during your vacation in Valencia. We took it in stride starting from The City of Arts and Sciences, reaching the stadium area Mestalla.
- The way back home
This is an idea of a day program for visiting Valencia in 3 days. If you have several full days in Valencia, we recommend that you go on the list of places to visit Biopark of Valencia.
Valencia Biopark (Zoo)
The Valencia Biopark is a different kind of zoo, compared to the ones we are used to. Having an area of 100,000 square meters, it is divided into areas such as African Savannah, Equatorial Africa, or Madagascar.
Let's not forget about Gulliver's Park, but also by the numerous cathedrals and squares. For lovers of architecture and culture, it will be a delight to walk around the city and see a majestic building or an interesting museum at every step.
You can't leave Spain without a shopping session. The famous centers El Corte Ingles they are spread all over the city, it would be a shame not to enter at least one of them. They include brands for all tastes but also for all pockets. Other areas lined with shops are Calle Colón, Calle Don Juan Austria, Calle Jorge Juan or Calle La Paz.
In case you are thinking about a possible vacation in Valencia, we will leave you a list of links to help you organize your trip.
Tourist attractions and others