We had discovered Valencia, Spain, during our trip in our motorhome, simply because the city was on our itinerary. We fell completely under the spell of this city, even though we had no particular expectations. I went back (Floriane) a second time on a city trip with some friends to explore more of this incredible city.
It is the third largest city in Spain, behind Madrid and Barcelona, which overshadow it a little. However, it is a city to visit. Located a few kilometers from the Mediterranean Sea, it is an ideal destination to extend the summer.
We were pleasantly surprised by the beauty of its buildings, the pleasantatmosphere, its beautiful parks and gardens, the number of museums andactivities to do in Valencia. There’s a permanent vacation feeling!
We share with you, below, our 10 must-sees (don’t miss the 6th point) as well as our itinerary to visit Valencia on foot in 1 or 2 days . We have also grouped all our good addresses on our map.
- What to do in Valencia: our 10 must-sees
- The best activities
- Our walking itinerary to visit Valencia in 2 days [carte]
- What to do in 3 or 4 days?
- How to get to Valencia?
- How to get to the city center from the airport?
- How to get around Valencia ?
- In which area to sleep in Valencia ?
- Where to eat and drink in Valencia?
- Our map of Valencia
- What to do around Valencia?
What to do in Valencia: our 10 must-sees
- The park that will make you want to live in Valencia ◊
- Take in the sights at Sainte-Marie Cathedral ◊
- Explore the historic center on foot ◊
- Oceanografic: the must-see aquarium ◊
- El Carmen: street art in a lively neighborhood ◊
- Explore the coast on a catamaran ◊
- Afternoon at the beach ◊
- The museums of the cité des arts et des sciences ◊
- Discover local gastronomy at the Mercados ◊
- Enjoy the sunset ◊
We were amazed by the sheer number of things to do and see in Valencia, so after our two visits to the city and our many discoveries, here are our 10 must-sees (in our opinion)!
1. ◊ The park that will make you want to live in Valencia ◊
We love cities with large and beautiful green spaces, we completely fell in love with Valencia when we discovered this huge urban park, the largest in Europe.
If we settle down, it’s in Valencia for sure. If you arrive by plane you can observe this immense green corridor from the sky.
This huge park crossing the city, was built in the old bed of the river Turia. This river was diverted following the frequent floods that the city knew and then transformed into a park, but what a good idea!
This park is the meeting place of Valencian sportsmen, families for picnics or birthdays, walkers, dancers… In short, the weekend is lively and it’s the place to be!
We advise you to leave from the metro station“Alameda” and then go to Arenas beach (about 7km), on foot or by taking the bicycle paths present in the park.
You will cross forests of trees, forests of palm trees, you will pass under the old stone bridges and obviously do not miss the impressive city of sciences! In short, a must-see during your stay.
➡️Pour explorer la ville et le parc du Turia à vélo (classique ou électrique), nous vous conseillons de réserver vos billets pour cette excursion de 3h. Vous n’aurez plus qu’à vous laisser guider et à écouter les anecdotes de votre guide, Valence n’aura plus de secret pour vous !
➡️ Location vélo à la journée, nous vous conseillons Lowcostbikerental (8€/ jour) 2 agences en plein centre ville, location très simple, pensez à bien attacher vos vélos car il y a beaucoup de vols comme dans toutes les grandes villes, n’attachez pas que la roue 😉
Bref vous ne regretterez pas cette balade à vélo !
2. ◊ Taking the high road at St. Mary’s Cathedral ◊
Located in the heart of the historic district (casco antiguo) you can’t miss the impressive Saint Mary’s Cathedral of Valencia between the place de la Reine and the Plaza de la VirgenIts Gothic style interior with some Romanesque and Baroque elements is interesting to observe, we just find its price a bit high. (price 8 €, audio-guide included)
Our advice: come before 9:30 am the visit of the cathedral is free! So we advise you to set your alarm clock or to have a child who will take care of it very well 🙂
We recommend you to climb the Micalet, the campanile of the cathedral.
This tower, 63 meters high, will allow you to reach a footbridge from which you will be able to observe all of Valencia after climbing a spiral staircase of 207 very narrow steps (price 2€).
It’s a sporty climb, but once at the top you can rest and enjoy a 360° view of the whole city. It is certainly one of the most beautiful viewpoints in Valencia.
Our advice: go up to the halfway point to hear and see the bell ringing at the top!
3. ◊ Explore the historic center on foot ◊
The historic center of Valencia is a must, we recommend you to stroll through the old streets, to walk around, to admire the numerous gothic facades, the blue dome roofs, the impressive buildings and the lovely little squares.
The buildings not to be missed (see our map with our itinerary below):
- Plaza de la Virgen where the impressive Santa Maria Cathedral is located
- Lonja de Seda (Silk Lodge), a Unesco heritage building dating from the late 15th century for the silk trade. We strongly recommend you visit the interior, it is one of the most beautiful buildings in Valencia composed of 3 distinct rooms including a magnificent room with twisted columns and a patio of orange trees. (free entrance + 2,5€ audioguide)
- Palace of Marqués De Los Dos Aguas, you can not miss its exterior Rococo style facade
- Central station, early 20th century architecture, it has a little Disney land style (according to us)
- The Arena is another impressive building located right next to the train station
- La Estrecha 107, THE narrowest house in the world, 107cm wide façade (pink building)
➡️ Pour ceux qui nous suivent depuis notre tour du monde, vous savez que nous sommes des grands fans de free walking tour, nous avons déjà du en faire une trentaine, nous n’avons jamais été déçus.
Mais qu’est ce que c’est ? avec votre guide et votre groupe vous allez parcourir la ville et en apprendre davantage sur son histoire, l’architecture, faire le plein d’anecdotes…
Ce que nous préférons surtout c’est que généralement le guide est un vrai local, il vous donnera ses meilleurs adresses, restaurants, bars… Et à la fin vous donner le montant que vous souhaitez. Pensez à réserver vos places gratuitement en choisissant votre jour et votre heure à la Plaza de la Virgen.
➡️ En bus : Comme Valence est une ville immense, si vous préférez, vous pouvez opter pour visiter la ville en bus à arrêts multiples (hop on and hop off).
Le système est simple vous pouvez descendre pour visiter un monument qui vous intéresse et ensuite monter dans le bus suivant pour poursuivre votre visite, le bus vous déposera aux 17 principaux sites à visiter à Valence. Pour réservez vos billets c’est par ici.
Vous pouvez réserver vos billets, en sélectionnant votre jour de visite (audio guide en Français inclus)
➡️ A vélo : une dernière option tout aussi agréable vous pouvez visiter la ville à vélo (classique ou électrique). Ce tour de 3h vous permettra de découvrir le centre ville, ainsi que les cité des sciences. Nous vous conseillons de réserver vos billets à l’avance.
4. ◊ The Oceanografic: the must-see aquarium ◊
It is one of the main attractions of Valencia (for young and old), this huge aquarium, the largest in Europe, includes many aquatic animals (sharks, turtles, belugas, rays …) sorted by type of water (oceans, tropical waters, sea …).
We are not usually fans of aquariums and zoos, but here the spaces are so large, we spent a pleasant time watching the animals go about their business.
It’s an ideal activity for families and even more so when it rains in Valencia!
It is very large, the site includes 7 spaces, count about 3-4 hours to be able to make the tour of the basins and attend the dolphin show.
We advise you to book your tickets online to avoid queuing at the ticket office(€33.70 per person – €25 for children aged 4 to 12).
How to get there, the aquarium is located next to the city of arts and sciences:
- by car: a large parking lot is located right in front of the building 2.30€/hour
- by metro: line 10 stop Oceanogràfic
- by bike : about 5km from the center of Valencia
5. ◊ El Carmen: street art in a vibrant neighborhood ◊
For lovers of street art (graffiti on the walls), the El Carmen neighborhood is the place to be!
Located in the north of Valencia, between the historical center and the park of the “Turia”, this district gathers an impressive number of frescos more different the ones than the others. There is for all tastes (geometric, black and white, colored …) you will necessarily find your happiness.
It is a lively and animated district, it is here that the locals come to have a drink or to eat tapas (obviously) in terrace the evening and the weekend.
This neighborhood is bounded by the two towers of Serranos, which were part of the old wall that went around the city.
6. ◊ Catamaran sailing to explore the coast ◊
A great idea for an activity is to embark on a catamaran from the port of Valencia to sail along the coast, sunbathe on the boat’s suspended net and swim away from the crowds.
In short, a moment that will make you forget everything without ruining you!
➡️Book your tickets to have anaperitif at suns et on a catamaran(22€ per person for 1h30 of sailing)
➡️Book your tickets for a day cruise on a catamaran with several swimming stops (20€ per person for 1h30 of navigation)
7. ◊ Lazy afternoon at the beach ◊
Of course, how could you not go to the huge beach of Cabanyal located at only 4km from the city center.
You can either laze on the beach almost all year round (water temperature 23 degrees in October for example), take a walk along the avenue of palm trees that runs along the beach or eat an excellent paella with a sea view at El Trompo Restaurante. The choice is not going to be easy!
How to get to the beach from the center:
- On foot after visiting the typical colorful fishermen’s quarter Cabanal, or the City of Science
- By bike from the center crossing the Turia garden (about 7km)
- By metro line 5, to the Maritim Serreria terminus, then walk to the beach through the Cabanal neighborhood
8. ◊ The museums of the city of arts and sciences ◊
It is the work of the Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava, the site (unmissable) is composed of several buildings with futuristic and surprising design, which have become symbols of the city of Valencia.
The most, the big basins all around, with the architecture which is reflected in it is of any beauty!
To help you find your way around, here are the different spaces and a map below:
- Oceanogràfic: it is the biggest aquarium in Europe (we talk about it in detail in point 4), a must-see, remember to book your tickets in advance
- Prince Philipe Science Museum: it’s an interactive and modern museum, with lots of screens and activities to handle for once, a good time guaranteed with friends, couple or family, book your tickets here
- Hemisfèric: it is a 3D cinema in the shape of a sphere, you can book your tickets by selecting your date and time to watch a movie under the dome
- Palace of Arts: it is a hall for operas, concerts and shows.
- Umbracle: it is a huge garden of palm trees and other plants typical of the region all in length
- The Golden Assut: it is a hyper modernist bridge
Our advice: during a weekend you will obviously not be able to visit all the museums, we advise you to go at least on the spot to walk or bike in this immense space and to cross theUmbracle. If you have to visit only one museum, you should go to theOceanografic.
How to get to the City of Arts and Sciences :
- by metro: line 10 stop City of Arts and Sciences (Ciutat Arts i Ciences-Justicia)
- by bike : about 5km from the center of Valencia
It is obviously “the place to be” if it rains in Valencia and the main activity to do with the family
9. ◊ Discover the local gastronomy at the “Mercados” ◊
The most famous market is the Mercado Central, located in the center of the city, (a fresh produce market) it is the largest European fresh produce center with 400 small traders. You can try one of the many Valencian specialties.
We also recommend the Mercado de Colon, a little less touristy, to sit in one of the many cafes or restaurants and observe the atmosphere.
We were surprised by the number of culinary specialties, paella,Agua de Valencia (champagne soup native to the region with sparkling wine, vodka, gin and orange juice) andHorchata de Chufa tiger nut drink. It is a tuber that looks like a round and crumpled almond with a thicker skin, Spain is the only European producer and the first world producer.
Matthieu found the taste interesting, but I couldn’t finish my glass! Tell us in comments what you thought of this drink! Team Horchata or not, we are curious 😉
10. ◊ Enjoying the sunset ◊
You have several options to enjoy the sunset in Valencia:
- At the beach, it’s always a good idea, even if the Valencian beaches are facing east, you will still enjoy the beautiful lights during the famous “Golden hours”.
- From the Albufera park, you can also go to the Albufera nature park to enjoy the sunset over the lake (15 minutes by car and 45 minutes by bus line 24).
The best activities
Before your departure, you can book your activities to leave in all serenity and not lose time once on the spot. We have selected for you 3 activities, the most interesting in our opinion, below. The city tour by bus (hop on and hop off), theOceanografic, the largest aquarium in Europe and a Valencian evening with a flamenco show.
You’ll find plenty of ideas on the GetyourGuide website, which we recommend you take a look at!
Don’t forget to read the description carefully to know what is really included in order to fully enjoy your excursion.
Our walking itinerary to visit Valencia in 2 days [carte]
D1 Historical city center and El Carmen district
Start from the Plaça de la Reina (A) where the Cathedral of Santa Maria is located ( B ) (if you arrive before 9:30 am the entrance is free), then climb the 207 steps of the Micalet (C), to enjoy a 360 degree view of Valencia.
Then head to the Silk Lodge (D) (free entrance) and for lunch explore theCentral Market (E) for lunch located right next door. Then explore the El Carmen neighborhood, admire the different graffiti up to the Sarranos Towers (F).
Then you can book your tickets to have an aperitif at sunset, at the end of the day, on a catamaran (22€ per person for 1h30 of navigation, meeting at the port of Valencia).
D2 Turia & City of Science
Go to the Tùria garden (A) (on foot from the Alameda station or by bike) towards the sea. Once at the City of Arts and Sciences (B): you can walk through the different spaces, then visit theOceanogràfic (C) (the largest aquarium in Europe) or you can continue your escapade to the sea front (D).
➡️For the Oceanografic (the aquarium) we advise you to book your ticket, cut line, online to avoid the line at the ticket office.
What to do in 3 or 4 days?
If you have more than one weekend, you still have plenty of things to visit, we recommend you :
- Day 3: devote a day to El Cabanal, the old fishing district, then laze on the beach or along the seafront and finally leave by catamaran to explore the coast.
- Day 4: devote a day to explore the different museums in the city of arts, you can visit the Prince Philip Science Museum, book your tickets here and attend a movie at the Hemisfèric, you can book your tickets by selecting your date and time to watch a movie under the dome
How to get to Valencia?
There is only one airport located west of Valencia. The tickets are more affordable than for Barcelona because the destination is less popular while the city is just as nice, we advise you to compare the prices on the Skyscanner website.
To give you an idea we paid 35€ round trip (in October) from Bordeaux with Ryanair.
How to get to the city center from the airport?
Valencia airport is located 8km from the city center, several options are available to you
- Cab: 20 minutes 20€ approximately, if you are several it is an option which offers a good quality/price ratio. I even paid only 16€ at 4:30 am, yes there was nobody on the road, because my Ryanair flight was leaving Valencia at 6:45 am (it stings), I preferred to take the cab because the subway works only from 5 am.
- Metro: L3 or L5, 20 minutes 5,80€ per trip
- Bus: 45 minutes, 1,45€ per trip
How to get around Valencia ?
- Metro: with 8 metro lines you can go absolutely anywhere in Valencia (ticket price 1.50 euros for one zone, 2.80 euros for two zones, 4.80 euros for three zones).
- Bus: you can visit the city by bus with multiple stops (hop on and hop off). The system is simple: you can get off to visit a monument that interests you and then get on the next bus to continue your visit.
The bus will take you to the 17 main sites to visit in Valencia. We advise you to book your tickets in advance. To reserve your tickets, click here.
- Bicycle: it is an ideal city to visit by bicycle, and thus to be able to easily connect the various points of interest. Either in total autonomy Lowcostbikerental (8€/day) or by means of an organized 3-hour cycling activity (classic or electric) remember to book your tickets
In which area to sleep in Valencia ?
No hesitation to stay in Valencia, choose an accommodation in the historic center near the cathedral square of Saint Mary and the central market, a lively area during the day and quiet at night!
This will allow you to visit the main squares, monuments, the historic center and the El Carmen neighborhood on foot.
If you want to focus on the city of arts and sciences and the beaches, we recommend that you stay outside the center of Valencia, as the prices will be more interesting.
– Coup de coeur ♥♥♥ : Mon Suites San Nicolas, quartier centre historique : La situation géographique de l’appartement est parfaite pour visiter le centre historique de Valence à pieds. Dans un beau bâtiment entièrement rénové, notre logement était spacieux avec clim, cuisine et avec une décoration soignée, un excellent rapport qualité prix ou vous vous sentirez comme chez vous. Nous y retournerons sans hésitation.
– Avec piscine : The Valentia Cabillers, quartier centre historique, l’été les températures peuvent atteindre plus de 40 degrés. Nous avions repéré cet hôtel, au coeur du centre historique, offrant de belles prestations et avec une piscine sur le toit, allez y faire un plouf sans hésiter !
– En famille : Macflats Ayuntamiento, Si vous venez en groupe ou en famille, nous avons réservé cet immense hébergement pour 6 personnes avec 3 chambres (il y a aussi des hébergements pour 4 personnes), idéalement situé, à coté de la gare centrale et du quartier historique, avec une équipe sympa (nous avons pu entrer dans le logement plus tôt) et surtout avec un excellent rapport qualité prix
– Bon marché € : Home Youth Hostel by Feetup Hostels, c’est une auberge de jeunesse joliment décoré certainement le meilleur rapport qualité / prix de Valence, en plein centre historique.
Where to eat and drink in Valencia?
The city is full of restaurants and bars, so you’re sure to find something you like! We love going to Spain because the cafes and restaurants are always packed, at all hours of the day.
- El Trompo: to eat an excellent paella and moreover in front of the sea, in short the perfect place, think of reserving!
- Rincon 33: a Spanish restaurant to eat excellent paella this time in the historic center, remember to book!
- Jijonenca (next to the beach) : to try the famous horchata with doughnuts like the locals (tell us in comments what you thought of this drink!)
- Burritos: a Mexican restaurant (or felt like a change from Spanish food) with good quality products, located right next to the City of Arts and Sciences.
- Malila Coffee & Restaurant: vegan brunch in a nice place in the historical center
- Jockey València: to dance on Spanish music !
Our map of Valencia
We have grouped all our best addresses on a map to facilitate your visit to Valencia:
What to do around Valencia?
If you’d like to visit the surrounding area, you can rent a car at . To compare rental prices, we recommend the RentalCars website.
- Chulilla and the road of the suspension bridges, located in the park natural Chera-Sot of Chera. A 5 km hike along and across 2 suspension bridges over the Turia river gorge.
The first part to go down in the cayon is complicated because very steep. Once in the cayon the path is almost flat (beware of mosquitoes)! (about 40 minutes west of Valencia)
- Chelva, the water route, the lovely village of Chelva is the starting point for a beautiful hike, an 11km loop that passes through the village and its many fountains, then follows the river. (about 50 minutes to the west)
- Xàtiva Castle, one of the most impressive, located on top of a hill, cradle of the Borgia family, one of the most important families in Spain (1h drive south)
- Détroit de l’Ebre is the Spanish Camargue, with a flat surface area of 320km2, ideal for observing rice fields, salt flats and numerous birds. (about 2 hours drive north, it’s a bit far but it’s really beautiful)
We thank you for having read us to the end, you have understood that we love this elegant and wooded city, still preserved from mass tourism, and we are already looking forward to returning.
Feel free to leave us a note below to let us know if you are planning this trip, ask any questions or share on social networks(our Instagram) we will answer you with great pleasure!