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A Guide to Valencia in Spain: the best things to do

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The top attractions in Valencia

Fine sandy beaches, grandiose architecture, tasty gastronomy: Valencia definitely has everything you could dream of for a perfect holiday in the sun!

What are the best things to do in Valencia, Spain? Captain Ulysses has drawn up a shortlist of the top attractions and tourist activities in the city. Follow the guide!

Contents – the best things to do in Valencia
👉 How to get around Valencia?
👉 The top attractions in Valencia (cathedral, markets, parks, etc.)
👉 The top activities & experiences in Valencia (gastronomy, flamenco, beaches…)
👉 The surroundings of Valencia

First of all, how to get around Valencia?

Good news, Valencian public transports are practical and easy to navigate: bus, metro, tram… you’ll have no problem going from one attraction to the next. For information, the Valencia Tourist Card includes access to public transport.

If you’d rather avoid taking public transports, here are a few alternatives: hop-on hop-off bus tour or bike rental.

👍 The Captain’s tip 👍

Want to learn more about Valencia’s history? To discover the city with a passionate tour guide, Captain Ulysses warmly recommends going on this free tour. You’re free to choose how much you wish to tip the tour guide at the end of the tour!

The top attractions & monuments in Valencia, Spain

Put on good shoes! When it comes to tourist attractions, Valencia is rather well stocked! You’ll find plenty of things to do in Spain’s 3rd biggest city! Follow the guide!

Valencia Cathedral

Nestled in the heart of Valencia’s historic center, between the emblematic Plaza de la Reina and Plaza de la Virgen, Valencia Cathedral is famous both for its eclectic architecture and for the incredible treasure it houses… the Holy Chalice which some believe to be the one and only Holy Grail!

During your visit, be sure to climb to the top of the Miguelete Tower to admire the stunning panorama of the city (unless you’re afraid of heights, in which case it may be better to abstain!)

Valencia Cathedral also counts a small museum exhibiting around religious artworks including paintings by Maella and Goya.

💡Practical info💡

Location: in the historic center of Valencia near Plaza de la Reina

Address: Plaça de l’Almoina, s/n, 46003 València, Spain

Admission rates: €8 full price and €5.50 reduced price

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. / Sundays and public holidays from 2 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. (in April, May and September, the cathedral exceptionally closes at 5.30 p.m. on weekends)

Plaza de la Virgen

Located in the heart of Valencia’s historic center, Plaza de la Virgen is undoubtedly one of the nicest squares in the city. It is home to some of Valencia’s most emblematic monuments, including Valencia Cathedral, the Basílica De Nuestra Señora De Los Desamparados and the Palacio de la Generalidad which is the seat of the regional government.

Plaza de la Virgen is also a hotspot during the Fallas, the city’s popular festival.

💡 Practical info 💡

Location: a stone’s throw from Plaza de la Reina, in the city center

Address: Plaça de la Verge, s/n, 46001 València, Spain

The Lonja de la Seda

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996, the Lonja de la Seda ( Silk Lodge in English) is a Gothic masterpiece, located a stone’s throw from the Mercado Central and a 5-minute walk from Plaza de la Reina.

Built in the 15th century, the Lonja de la Seda spreads over 2,000 m2 and once served as a stock exchange, a bank and a gathering place for silk merchants. The Orange Gardens is one of the Captain’s favourite spots in Valencia!

💡 Practical info 💡

Location: in the Plaça del Mercat, opposite the Mercado Central

Address: Carrer de la Llotja, 2, 46001 Valencia, Spain

Admission rates: €2 full price, €1 reduced price

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays and public holidays

Guided tour: If you want to learn more about the silk trade in Valencia, the Captain recommends this guided tour: Guided tour to discover the silk trade in Valencia (available in Spanish and English)

Valencia’s Mercado Central

A stone’s throw from the Lonja de la Seda, the Mercado Central is heaven on earth for foodies!

Built at the beginning of the 20th century, this stunning Art Nouveau market is one of the largest covered markets in Europe. It is well worth a visit both for its sumptuous architecture (domes, azulejos, stained glass windows, etc.) and for its delicious delicacies. The market is spread over 8,000 m2 and comprises 400 stalls.

On the menu? Cheese, charcuterie, fresh fish, fruits and vegetables, pastries, spices, local products…

💡 Practical info 💡

Location: in the heart of the Ciutat Vella, the old town, close to the Lonka de la Seda and a 5-minute walk from Valencia Cathedral

Address: Plaça de la Ciutat de Bruges, s/n, 46001 València, Spain

Admission rates: free admission

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Cooking class: foodies will love the following activity: Paella class and visit to the Mercado Central

Facade of the Mercado Central, Valencia

The Turia Gardens

Running through the city from west to east over 7 kilometers in the old bed of the Turia river, the Turia Gardens are the green lung of Valencia.

Dotted with fountains, pines and palm trees, the gardens are the perfect spot for a refreshing break away from the city’s hustle and bustle. The gardens are also home to a number of iconic monuments, including the City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia Bioparc and the Palau de la Música de València.

💡 Practical info 💡

Location: north of the historic center, between the Cabecera Park to the west and the City of Arts and Sciences to the east

Admission rates: free admission (paid admission to museums and monuments in the park)
Opening hours: 24 / 7

Biking & segway tours: bike rental / 3-hour bike ride in Valencia

The City of Arts and Sciences

Nestled between the historic center and the Mediterranean Sea, in the former bed of the Turia river, the City of Arts and Sciences is a vast futuristic complex built between the 1990s and the 2000s.

It comprises 7 monuments scattered around beautiful bodies of water:

  • the Hemispheric: an IMAX cinema
  • the Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe: an interactive, fun and entertaining science museum
  • the Umbracle: a sumptuous botanical garden
  • the Oceanogràfic: the largest aquarium in Europe
  • the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía: an opera house
  • the Assut de l’Or bridge: a 180 meter-long avant-garde bridge
  • the Ágora: a vast covered square

💡 Practical info💡

Location: at the eastern end of the Turia Gardens

Address: Av. del Professor López Piñero, 7, 46013, Valencia, Spain

Admission rates: €8 for the Hemispheric, €8 for the Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe, €11 for the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía, €29.70 for the Oceanogràfic, free entry for the Umbracle

Opening hours: variable depending on the monument – head to the Captain’s detailed article on the City of Arts and Sciences to find out more

Book your tickets: the City of Arts and Sciences ranks very high on the list of Valencia’s top tourist attractions. To avoid having to queue, the Captain recommends that booking your tickets in advance, especially during high season and school holidays
👉 Hemisfèric / Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe / Oceanogràfic

The Serranos Towers

Built in the 14th century, the Serranos Towers ( Torres de Serranos in Spanish) are a remnant of the old city walls of Valencia. The twin gothic towers marked one of the four entrances to the city. After being converted into a prison, the towers now host various events and are open to the public. From the top of the towers, you’ll have a beautiful panorama over the historic center of Valence and the Turia Gardens.

💡 Practical info 💡

Location: north of the historic center

Address: Plaça de Santa Ursula, 1, 46003, Valencia, Spain

Admission rates: €2

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. / Sundays and public holidays from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Quart Towers

Located to the west of the city center, the Quart Towers are another of the four gates of the old city wall (the San Vincente tower to the south and the Puerta del Mar to the east have now disappeared).

Built in the 15th century in late Gothic style, they were also converted into a prison (for women).

💡 Practical info 💡

Location: west of the historic center of Valence

Address: Plaça de Santa Ursula, 1, 46003, Valencia, Spain

Admission rates: €2

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. / Sundays and public holidays, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (closed on rainy days for security reasons)

Visiting Valencia - Serranos Towers

The Church of San Nicolás

Located in the heart of the city, to the west of Valencia Cathedral, the Church of San Nicolás ( Iglesia de San Nicolás de Bari y San Pedro Mártir ) is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful churches in Valencia.

Renovated several times over the centuries, the Church of San Nicolás incorporates a number of architectural styles: while the exterior of the building is undeniably Gothic, the interior is designed in the purest Baroque style. The interior design is quite over the top with gilding, monumental frescoes and rococo ornaments. A must see!

💡 Practical info 💡

Location: in the old town, between Valencia Cathedral and the Quart Towers

Address: Carrer dels Cavallers, 35, 46001, Valencia, Spain

Admission rates: €5.50

Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Colón Market

Nestled in the Eixample district, to the east of the historic center, Colón Market is well worth a visit. Built in the 1910s, this impressive modernist building now houses trendy shops and cafés.

Stretching over an entire block, Colón Market is worth a visit both for its impressive architecture (ceramics, mosaics, stained glass, etc.) and for its vibrant and relaxed atmosphere.

💡 Practical info 💡

Location: in the Eixample district, a few steps from the Turia Gardens

Address: Carrer de Jorge Juan, 19, 46004 Valencia, Spain

Opening hours: 7:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays; 7:30 a.m. to 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays

Visiting Valencia - Colon Market

Valencia Biopark

Located west of the Turia Gardens, Valencia Bioparc is a vast zoological park (8 hectares) specializing in African fauna and home to more than 800 animals from 116 different species (leopards, hyenas, lions, giraffes, gorillas, rhinos , hippos, ostriches, elephants…)

Founded in 2008, the Bioparc has the particularity of erasing the separation between visitors and animals by means of “invisible” barriers. The park also recreates the habitat of the animals as faithfully as possible.

Note : as always in the case of animal parks, it is difficult to say beyond the shadow of a doubt that the animals are properly treated. That being said, Valencia Bioparc is very committed to the preservation of endangered species and has not been the subject of any controversy to date.

💡 Practical info 💡

Location: in the Cabecera Park, at the western end of the Turia Gardens

Address: Av. Pio Baroja, 3, 46015 Valencia, Spain

Admission rates: €23.80 full price, €18 for children aged 4 to 12

Opening hours: opening hours vary depending on the time of year (closing at the earliest at 6 p.m., at the latest at 9 p.m.)

Book your tickets: to avoid queuing at the entrance to the Bioparc (especially during high season and school holidays), the Captain recommends buying your tickets online in advance
👉 skip-the-line entry to Valencia Bioparc

The district of Ruzafa

Located southeast of the historic center of Valencia, Ruzafa (also spelled Russafa or Rusafa) is a lively and cosmopolitan district that is worth visiting for its bohemian atmosphere as well as for its pretty historic and colorful facades.

You’ll find in the district countless bars and cafes, restaurants, trendy shops, art galleries and vibrant street art…

💡 Practical info 💡

Location: southeast of the historic city center

Guided Tour: Russafa Guided Tour in Spanish

Plaza de Toros de Valencia

Built in the 1850s, the Plaza de Toros de Valencia is an impressive neo-classical bullring inspired by Roman architecture. If the building’s architecture is undoubtedly impressive, Captain Ulysses must admit that he is not a big fan of bullfighting and therefore prefers not to dwell too much on the subject. But if you want to know more about the Plaza de Toros de Valencia, feel free to have a look here.

💡 Practical info 💡

Location: south of the old town, next to the Norte Railway Station

Address: Carrer de Xàtiva, 28, 46004, Valencia, Spain

Mestalla Stadium

Spain is definitely a major football nation and Valencia is no exception! The 3rd largest city in Spain can also boast of having one of the most emblematic football clubs in the country.

Football fans will not fail to visit the lair of the famous FC Valencia: the Mestalla stadium.

💡 Practical info 💡

Location: Av. de Suècia, s/n, 46010 València, Spain

Address: Av. de Suècia, s/n, 46010 Valencia, Spain

Admission rates: €11.50 full price, €9 for children aged 4 to 12 (mandatory guided tour, no self-guided tour)

Opening hours: variable

Guided tour: the guided tour of the stadium is very successful (especially during high season and school holidays), the Captain therefore recommends booking your tickets in advance
👉 guided tour of the Mestalla stadium

The top activities & experiences in Valencia, Spain

At the risk of sounding a tad cliché, Valencia is a city that should be experienced rather than simply visited! Here is the list of the top activities and experiences in Spain’s 3rd city!

Valencian gastronomy

Attention, foodies and gourmet lovers! Valence is undoubtedly a land of gastronomy! Valencian specialties are famous throughout Spain and Europe as a whole.

Here are some delicacies that you definitely have to try:

  • the famous Valencian paella, of course
  • fideua, a dish which is quite similar to paella but in which the rice is replaced by vermicelli
  • horchata, a surprising drink made from tiger nut juice
  • the turrón, a very well known dessert made with honey and almonds
  • agua de valencia, a cocktail made with cava (a Catalan sparkling wine), orange juice, vodka and gin

…among many other delicious specialties!

💡 Practical info 💡

Want to know more about Valencian gastronomy? Captain Ulysses recommends these activities:

Flamenco performance in Valencia

What would a trip to Spain be without a flamenco show? Flamenco is a type of music as well as a dance originating in Andalusia and which have conquered the whole country.

Valencia therefore counts a few flamenco clubs (including La Bulería) that the Captain definitely recommends checking out. Olé!

💡 Discovering Valencian gastronomy 💡

Book your tickets: flamenco and dinner at La Bulería

Beaches & water sports in Valencia

There’s nothing like a short getaway to the beach for a well-deserved break in the sun!

And in Valencia, visitors are spoiled for choice! If you’re only staying in Valencia for a short time, the Captain recommends sticking to the city’s beaches (Playa de la Malvarrosa, Playa del Cabañal and Playa de la Patacona). If you have a little more time to visit Valencia, why not venture outside the city? The most beautiful beaches in the area are Playa de Pinedo, Playa de L’Arbre del Gos, Playa del Saler and Playa de la Garrofera.

As for water sports, there’s plenty to choose from: stand up paddle, windsurfing, kayaking and jetskiing.

If you’d rather just relax in the sun, you can also opt for a cruise on the Mediterranean sea.

💡 Practical info 💡

Getting to the beach: public transport, hop-on hop-off bus, bicycle, scooter or motorbike (take a look at the “How to get around Valencia?” section at the beginning of the article to find out more)

Book your sports activities: Windsurfing / Jetskiing

Book your cruise: 3-hour catamaran cruise (lunch included) / Catamaran sunset cruise (with sparkling wine) / sailboat cruise & paddle boarding

Street art in Valencia

You might not know it, but Valencia is considered the Spanish capital of street art! It’d be a shame to miss out on the many artworks that adorn the walls of the city.

You will find the vast majority of the mural paintings in the districts of El Carmen, Ruzafa, Benimaclet, Cañamelar and El Cabanyal. Escif, Julieta XLF, David de Limon and Nena Wapa Wapa are among the city’s most famous artists.

💡 Practical info 💡

Guided tour: in order not to miss the city’s most iconic artworks, the Captain recommends joining a a guided tour: free tour of Valencian urban art

Visiting the surroundings of Valencia

Albufera Natural Park

Ten kilometers south of Valencia, the Albufera Natural Park is heaven on earth for lovers of the great outdoors, with dunes, pine forests, lagoons and rice fields.

What to do in the Albufera National Park? Strolling on interpretive trails, bird watching, going on a boat trip to discover the Albufera lake… and tasting of Valencian gastronomy… yes, it the famous paella was invented here, in the Albufera National Park!

💡 Practical info 💡

Location: some ten kilometers south of Valence, on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea

Getting to the park: several options: public transport (bus lines 24 and 35) organized day trip or bike tour

👉 Skip the line: book your tickets and visits in Valencia!

👉 Find the perfect place to stay in Valencia!


👉 Looking for tips & recommendations? Here are all the Captain’s suggestions!

🛏️ Accommodation: to book your accommodation in Valence, Captain Ulysses warmly recommends Booking.com. From budget youth hostels to luxury boutique hotels, there’s plenty to choose from. The Captain recommends:
– affordable options: Quart Youth Hostel or Hôme Youth Hostel Valencia
– mid-range options: Esplai Valencia Bed and Breakfast , 7 Moons or Casa del Patriarca
– luxurious options: Vincci Mercat , Caro Hotel or Westin Valencia

🎟️ Activities: guided tours, bike rental, skip-the-line tickets, flamenco shows… Check out GetYourGuide and Civitatis to book the best things to do in Valencia.

🎫 Citypass: if you’re planning on staying in Valencia for several days, yoy should definitely consider investing in the Valencia Tourist Card. This citypass includes access to public transport (including to get to the airport), free admission to public museums, as well as many discounts or a selection of museums, attractions, shops and restaurants in the city.

🚐 Transfers: if you want to avoid taking public transport or queuing for a taxi at the airport, you can book a car transfer to your hotel or accommodation in advance.

🚌 Local transport: local public transport is relatively convenient and easy to navigate. If you decide to invest in the Valencia Tourist Card, access to public transport is included. You can also opt for a hop-on hop-off bus tour which stops at all the top tourist attractions in Valencia. If you’d rather be active, why not rent a bike?
If you’re just stopping off in Valencia and planning to explore other parts of Spain, Captain Ulysses recommends renting a car. To find the best offer, the Captain warmly recommends Rentalcars.

📍Tours: if you don’t want to organize your holidays in Spain yourself, Captain Ulysses recommends Evaneos. The first specializes in organizing tailor-made trips in partnership with local specialists, the second is perfect for sports and hiking enthusiasts.

✈️ Flights: to book your flights to Valence, Captain Ulysse warmly recommends Skyscanner. You’ll be able to compare countless offers to find the best deal. If your dates are flexible, you can also compare prices over several months to find the cheapest flights possible.

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