Halfway between Valencia’s city centre and the sea, at the eastern end of the Túria Gardens, the City of Arts and Sciences is a vast cultural complex nestled in the old bed of the Túria river.
The City of Arts and Sciences includes: the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía, the Oceanogràfic, the Agora, the Hemisfèric, the Umbracle and the Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe. Follow the guide!
👍 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!
Want more info about Valencia’s top landmarks, activities & museums? Why don’t you check out the Captain’s detailed article on the best things to do in the city: Guide to Valencia.
The City of Arts and Sciences of Valencia in a few words
Inspired by Paris’ Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie, the project to build the City of Arts and Sciences (Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències in Valencian, Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias in Castilian) began to take shape in the late 1990s.
Construction work began 5 years later, in 1994, and was entrusted for the most part to theSpanish architect Santiago Calatrava – with the exception of the Oceanogràfic designed by Mexican architect Félix Candela.
The first building of the future Valencian cultural complex, the Hemisfèric, was inaugurated in 1998. It took a total of 10 years for the City of Arts and Sciences to be completed.
Spreading over 350,000 m2, the cultural complex now comprises 7 monuments scattered around bodies of water in which the buildings’ futuristic silhouettes are reflected:
- 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 of Valencia: a vast covered square
Visiting the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia
⌛ How long does it take to visit the City of Arts and Sciences? ⌛
If you’re planning on visiting all the museums and monuments of the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, you will need a good full day. If you’d rather simply stroll through this futuristic district, 2 hours should be enough!
The Hemisfèric of Valencia
First building of the City of Arts and Sciences, the Hemisfèric is an astonishing monument in the shape of an eye. Its surprising silhouette is said to symbolize openness to the world, knowledge or even the gaze of the public.
Spreading over an area of 14,000 m2, the Hemisfèric houses a planetarium as well as an IMAX cinema with a 900 m2 screen. The IMAX cinema projects hourly documentaries devoted to nature, astronomy and world history for all audiences.
💡 Practical info 💡
€8 full price | open every hour from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
👉 Book your tickets : tickets for the Hemisfèric in Valencia
The Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe
Nestled in an impressive building in the shape of a dinosaur skeleton, the Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe offers interactive and fun experiences and discoveries. Spread over 42,000 m2, it is the largest museum in Spain.
The motto of the museum? “Forbidden not to touch, not to think, not to feel”. This sets the tone!
Biology, chemistry, electricity, astronomy… The museum explores various subjects ranging from climate change to space research.
💡 Practical info 💡
€8 full price | open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. in winter, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. in summer
👉 Book your tickets: tickets to the Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe
The Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía
With its silhouette in the shape of a boat and its monumental dimensions (40,000 m2 for a height of 75 meters), the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía does not go unnoticed! The building is surmounted by a huge metallic feather which seems suspended in the air.
This huge opera house comprises no fewer than 3 concert halls – the largest of which can accommodate up to 1,400 spectators – as well as a 1,490-seat auditorium.
If you are not planning to attend a performance at the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía, you can also take a guided tour of the building (available in English or Spanish).
The Oceanogràfic of Valencia
Designed by Mexican architect Félix Candela, the Oceanogràfic of Valencia is hosued in a surprising set of buildings in the shape of water lilies. Surprising, to say the least!
- The largest aquarium in Europe
- 7 different marine habitats
- Nearly 45,000 specimens of 500 different species (fish, mammals, reptiles and even birds)
- 42 million liters of water
⚠️ Controversy ⚠️: while the Oceanogràfic is involved in several projects for the protection of marine animals, it is also under strong criticism from animal defense associations, denouncing in particular the living conditions of dolphins and belugas.
💡 Practical info 💡
€29.70 full price | open from mid-June to mid-July and the first two weeks of September: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. / from mid-July to the end of August, 10 a.m. – midnight / from mid-September to mid-June: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on weekdays and Sundays and 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Saturdays
Located opposite the Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe, the Umbracle is designed as the entrance to the City of Arts and Sciences. This 320 meter-long planted promenade surmounted by 18 meter-high white arches, is home to some fifty species of local plants: palm trees, bougainvillea, honeysuckle, rosemary, lavender, orange trees…
The Umbracle also comprises an open-air art gallery exhibiting sculptures by contemporary artists such as Miquel de Navarre, Francesc Abbot and Yoko Ono.
💡 Practical info 💡
free of charge | open: 8 a.m. – midnight
The Agora of Valencia
The Agora is a large covered square hosting sporting and cultural events (such as the 500 Tennis Open), exhibitions and congresses.
Inaugurated in 2009, it is the most recent building of the City of Arts and Sciences. This 80 meter-high building is also the highest monument of the cultural complex. The Agora’s mysterious silhouette (which some say represents two entwined hands) is covered with blue trencadís (a mosaic made of ceramic shards).
💡 Practical info 💡
Unfortunately, the Àgora of Valencia is not open to visitors unless they’re attending one of the events that are regularly organized in the complex.
The Assut de l’Or Bridge
A stone’s throw from the Agora, the Assut de l’Or Bridge is also the work of Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, who designed most of Valencia’s City of Arts and Sciences.
It’s the highest building in Valencia! This immense 123 meter-high harp-shaped bridge spans the old bed of the Túria River. The Valencians quickly nicknamed it “Jamonero” (ham display)!
💡 Practical info 💡
The bridge comprises a pedestrian footbridge.
Getting to the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia
The City of Arts and Sciences is located east of the historic center of Valencia, 1 kilometer from the sea.
From the city centre, you can either walk through the Turia Gardens or rent bikes. The nearest public transports are:
- Metro: Alameda station (line 5)
- Bus: lines 13, 14,15, 19, 35, 95 and 40
Hop-on hop-off tourist buses also stop near the City of Arts and Sciences.
Tickets for the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia
👉 Skip the lines: 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
🎫 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.