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Valencia Travel Guide | Spain

Valencia Travel Guide | Spain
Reading Time: 8 minutes

Updated: 7/7/2024 | Valencia Travel Guide

El Miguelete Tower Valencia Spain

El Miguelete Tower

About Valencia

Valencia is a coastal town located on the Mediterranean side of Spain. It’s a laidback town that has a picturesque Old Town that’s easy to get lost in. 

While it’s a beach town lined with palm trees, it’s not entirely known for its pristine beaches. What shines is the Old Town which is a hub of culture, activity, and food. 

Valencia is smaller compared to other Spanish cities. We think 2-3 days would be enough time to spend here. 

Below we’ll share our favorite things to see, do, eat, and drink in this beautiful destination.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Best Time to Go to Valencia

  • March 19 – Fallas is a celebration of burning gigantic ‘cardboard sculptures’ similar to Burning Man. Valencia’s Mediterranean climate and the collective fire will make your visit worthwhile.
  • June – Pride (or Orgullo in Spanish) is a big deal in Valencia. Many people travel to partake in their Pride parade. 
  • July – Feria Julio is the bullfighting fair. It’s worth a visit to view this spectacle. 

Where to Stay in Valencia

  • Palacio Santa Clara  – This is an Autograph Collection hotel by Marriott. Their rooms are luxurious, and staff members are very professional and attentive. But the one thing we love most is the rooftop pool and city views from above. The only drawback we found was the lack of fitness amenities and the inability to access our balconies.
palacio santa clara marriott hotel dome pool TA3

Palacio Santa Clara rooftop pool with dome view

How to Get to Valencia

Getting around Valencia is easy! The city is very walkable and they have a very efficient metro that takes you to most of the important destinations in the area.

Metro lines 3 and 5 run between the airport and the city from the metro station on the ground floor of the regional flight terminal. The trip takes around 20 minutes each way and drops you off right next to the Plaça de Bous (bullfighting stadium).

You can also use Uber or Bolt rideshare services. The airport is 8 kilometers from the city, about a 15-minute drive on the V-11 motorway.

Bus 150 takes you into the city center in about 35 minutes. The bus runs from Monday to Saturday.

Best Things to See and Do in Valencia

#1 Visit Mercado Central

Mercado Central Valencia Spain

Mercat Central (Mercado Central) is the most impressive and bustling market in Valencia. The design is spacious and a huge glass-paneled dome illuminates the interior.

Here you’ll find vendors selling produce, meats, seafood, beans, herbs, and more. The prices are also very reasonable. 

Their hours of operation are from 7:30 AM to 3 PM every day. It’s a great place to buy groceries and take lunch.

interior Mercado Central Valencia Spain

Beans frijoles at a vendor stand in Mercado Central Valencia Spain

Mercado Central food market valencia spain

#2 See the Holy Grail at the Catedral de Valencia

Catedral de Valencia Spain

Catedral de Valencia

We saw the supposed Holy Grail at the Valencia Cathedral. The green chalice is decorated with gold and is housed in a glass display within the church.

The church is designed in the Gothic Style similar to Paris’ Notre Dame.

Entry is 9 Euros but includes an audio tour guide which is well worth it! You can also ascend the Micguelete (Micalet) Tower for only 2.50 Euros (cash only). 

El Micalet tower and Catedral de Valencia Spain

El Miguelet Tower

The Holy Grail inside the Valencia Cathedral

The Holy Grail inside the Valencia Cathedral

El Miguelete Tower Valencia Spain

El Miguelete Tower

#3 Walk Along the Turia River

bridge Puente del Real Valencia Spain

Puente del Real

We highly recommend walking along the Turia River. Nowadays it’s mostly dried up and a park with some ponds. 

There are many attractions and bridges along the river that we highly recommend checking out. It’s also fairly shaded with trees, but we recommend bringing a hat, sunscreen, water, and comfy shoes. It can be a bit of a hike.

And if you’re ambitious, as we were, we recommend hiking along the river until you get to the beach strip in Valencia. 

palm tree lined beach in Valencia Spain

Palm tree lined beach in Valencia, Spain

#4 See a Bullfight at Valencia’s Bullring (Plaça de Bous de València)

plaza de toros de valencia bullring show

Plaza de Toros de Valencia

Valencia’s Bullring, also known as the Plaza de Toros de Valencia, is a sight to see. Their bullfights run throughout the year but the best time is during their July fair (Feria Julio).

Check for tickets and events on their official website.

#5 Check out the City of the Arts and Sciences (Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències)

This futuristic playground is located east of Old Town and is a great stop on your way to the beach. It’s known for its unique architecture and is a cultural center that has been deemed one of the 12 treasures of Spain.

Designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela, the project began the first stages of construction in July 1996 and was inaugurated on 16 April 1998 with the opening of L’Hemisfèric.

The last major component of the City of Arts and Sciences, Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía, was inaugurated on 9 October 2005, Valencian Community Day. The most recent building in the complex, L’Àgora, was opened in 2009.

L'Umbracle garden at the City of Arts and Sciences Valencia Spain

L’Umbracle

#6 Visit the Beach Strip

palm tree cluster on playa de la malva-rosa Valencia Spain

Valencia is a coastal town, but the beaches you’ll find in the city proper are not much to boast about. You will find lots of restaurants to try.

It’s still nice to walk along the beach, but make sure to bring sunscreen, a hat, and water. It can get pretty hot!

There’s lots to see as well! We love checking off the following attractions:

  • Tinglat – Bring your skates and rollerblades to this old warehouse.
  • Pamela Hat Sculpture
The Pamela Hat sculpture by Manolo Valdes Valencia Spain

The Pamela Hat sculpture by Manolo Valdes

#7 Try Horchata de Chufa

horchateria de santa catalina Chufa tiger nut milk horchata from

Chufa (Tiger Nut Horchata)

The horchata in Valencia is nothing like Mexican horchata. It’s made from tiger nuts (chufa), which can be eaten alone. They have a fibrous, crunchy texture and the milk tastes more like a sweet cream.

You’ll find street vendors selling chufa next to the Catedral de Valencia but the most popular spot to stop in is the Horchateria de Santa Catalina. They have a few locations near the church. 

horchateria de santa catalina chufa tiger milk horchata valencia spain

#8 Visit the Silk Exchange (La Lonja de la Seda)

A group of buildings (built between 1482 and 1533) that was originally used for trading in silk (hence its name, the Silk Exchange). It is the center for commerce and displays late Gothic architecture.

The grandiose Sala de Contratación (Contract or Trading Hall), in particular, illustrates the power and wealth of a major Mediterranean mercantile city in the 15th and 16th centuries.

#9 See Valencia’s Answer to the Sistine Chapel at Iglesia de San Nicolás de Bari y San Pedro Mártir de Valencia

Yes, the name is a mouthful and is often referred to as the Valencian Sistine Chapel. This Gothic-style church has a beautiful ceiling painting that is often compared to Italy’s Sistine Chapel.

It costs 11 Euros to enter and kids 12 and under get free entry. They’re closed on Mondays.

#10 Check out the Quartz and Serrano Towers

These two towers are the two remaining gates of the old Valencia city wall.

They were built between 1441 and 1493 and was still being used during the Peninsular War when it was touched by cannonballs and musket shots!

Today you can ascend the towers for 1 Euro. The towers are free to explore on holidays and Sundays.

Where to Eat in Valencia

best seafood paella from tasca hogan in Valencia Spain

Seafood Paella from Tasca Hogan

When in Valencia, you HAVE to try their traditional paella Valenciana. Most restaurants will require you to put your paella Valenciana orders in 1-2 days ahead of time. The term for this is encargo.

  • Café Infanta – This cozy spot is so well decorated and located next to many attractions. We loved their paella and handmade pasta dish which changes daily.
  • Grosso Napoletano – This artisanal pizza chain has over 50 locations in Spain, but they are SO GOOD. The dough has the perfect stretchy texture and the sauce is so flavorful. Come for their aperitivo hour where you can get some amazing deals!
  • Tasca Hogan – Valencia’s oldest restaurant dating back to 1807. EVERYTHING here is amazing. Come for their gazpacho, Valencian salad, and paellas. We loved their seafood paella so much that we went back twice for it. It takes approximately 20 minutes to prepare. Enjoy a glass of Agua de Valencia while you wait!

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Other dishes that you should definitely try include the following:

  • Iberico Ham
  • Valencian Salad

Restaurants to AVOID:

  • Casa Carmela – This spot was overpriced (minimum 40 Euro spend per person). Their paellas were average. We had a WAY better one at Tasca Hogan. It’s also somewhat challenging to get to unless you’re already making your way to the beach. Dress code is also required.

Where to Drink in Valencia

  • Apotheke – This is one of the coolest speakeasies in Valencia. The drinks are reimagined classics and taste amazing. You’ll need a password to get in. Find it on their website and check out our Apotheke reel.
  • Christopher Cocteles
  • Citrus This citrus-forward bar offers tasty beverages that are made with, you guessed it, some form of citrus. On Friday nights they have karaoke.
  • Finca de la Barra – This spot has THE BEST Agua de Valencia! It’s a walk-up bar that serves tasty drinks and tapas.
  • Harlow’s Bar – Serves classic prohibition cocktails. 
  • Cafe Madrid – Located in MYR hotel, this spot serves high glass cocktails.
  • The Jungle – This female-owned bar is serving craft cocktails that taste amazing!
  • Trotamundo
  • Varsovia

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Valencia Travel Guide MAP

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