What to do in Valencia
19 Best places and things to do in Valencia
Thanks to our free guide, below you will find the best places and things to do in the third largest city of Spain.
1 - City of the Arts and Sciences
The City of Arts and Sciences is situated at the end of the ancient riverbed of the river Turia “El Rio” park.
It’s the most important scientific and cultural complex of Valencia and is naturally one of the Best Things to Do in Valencia.
It is made up of impressive buildings such as the Hemisfèric and Oceanogràfic, and stands out because of its avant-garde architecture, designed by renowned architects Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela.
It is made up of six large elements:
Prince Felipe Science Museum, It is a unique museum as it is devoted to making science educacional as well as fun.
Hemisfèric, is a digital 3D cinema with a huge 900 metre concave screen, which almost envelops spectators. Several films are screened daily, mainly educational documentaries of no more than 45 minutes which are suitable for all audiences. Several films are screened daily, mainly educational documentaries of no more than 45 minutes which are suitable for all audiences.
Palau de les Arts, dedicated to promoting the performing arts (opera, musical and theatrical performances).
Oceanografic, the largest aquarium in Europe. Each building represents different aquatic environments including Mediterranean, Tropical Seas, Antarctica, and the Tundra.
Agorà, is a multifunctional space holding various events and sports activities.
Umbracle, is a huge, open-access garden covering more than 17,000 m2 where you can stroll around and take in the typical Mediterranean plants and contemporary sculptures.
2 - Turia Park
The Turia Park is located in the former riverbed of the River Turia.
The river used to flood regularly, and after a particularly bad flood in 1957 approval was given for the river to be diverted away from the city centre thus leaving free an important strip of land that crosses the city from West to East, surrounding the historic center.
Inaugurated in 1986, various urban planners and landscapers designed the different sections of the riverbed, reproducing the old fluvial landscape and creating a unique route populated by palm trees, orange trees, fountains, pines, aromatic plants and ponds, as well as sports courts and rose bushes.
Now the Parque del Turia is one of the largest urban parks in Spain; on your visit to valencia don't miss the opportunity to ride a bike from one end to the other, crossing the city through its nine kilometers of green spaces!
3 - Colon Market
The Colon Market is another of the wonderful examples of Valencian modernism, featuring a wealth of mosaics and ornaments that commemorate local culture, cuisine and landscapes.
Constructed in 1914 by Francisco de Mora y Berenguer, this semi open-air market was once a food market.
Recent refurbishments have converted Colon Market into a small, boutique, shopping centre with cafes, shops, bars and restaurants.
It is an unmissable destination on any stroll through Valencia and it is the perfect place to soak up the valencian atmosphere and explore the local cuisine.
4 - Plaza del Ayuntamiento
Before leaving Valencia make sure to visit Plaza del Ayuntamiento,
the heart of the city!
Council Square, in Spanish “Plaza del Ayuntamiento”, is the main plaza in the center of Valencia. It was built on the gardens of an old monastery and has suffered many changes up until the beginning of the 20th Century. The last major reform of Plaza del Ayuntamiento was led by the architect Javier Goerlich between 1931 and 1934. During the construction, the neobaroque underground market of trading and selling flowers was removed. Nowadays, there are flower shops in the south open space of Plaza del Ayuntamiento and are a remembrance of the once flourishing market.
This square is also dominated by an attractive fountain and is surrounded by beautiful sights and several modernist buildings.
The largest building is the town hall (Ayuntamiento), which has a modern look but with Spanish and typical Valencian details. The back is part of a former Catholic school in Baroque style. Don't be put off by the armed guard in front of the entrance and visit the town hall to see the impressive halls. . In the central hall and in the Sala de Cristal you can see beautifully decorated ceilings and large chandeliers. A small museum exhibits historical objects.
Opposite the town hall is the neoclassical main post office (Edificio de Correos). Walk inside and look at the beautiful glass dome.
The other buildings on this square are also worth a visit, such as the headquarters of the Banco de Valencia. In the evening, the Plaza de Ayuntamiento is attractively lit (like many other squares, fountains and historic buildings in Valencia).
5 - Plaza de Toros
The Bullring, in Spanish “Plaza de Toros“, is located next to the Valencia North Station and close to Plaza del Ayuntamiento.
Plaza de Toros, besides the fact that it’s a bullring, it’s also one of the oldest and most important historical buildings in Valencia. With its 48-side polygonal shape, it measures more than 52 meters in diameter and 17 meters high and it is one of the biggest bullrings in Spain.
The construction of the Plaza de Toros de Valencia was led by the Valencian architect Sebastián Monleón Estellés. The project took over 10 years, from 1850 to 1860, and was built over a previous unfinished square. It was inspired the same civil roman architecture that we can find in buildings such as Nimes Amphitheater (France) or the Coliseum in Rome.
To this day the bullring remains active with bull shows and hosting different events within its structure.
We highly recommend visiting Plaza de Toros not only to experience a traditional Spanish custom but also because it is a beautiful building that you cannot miss when you visit Valencia.
6 - Ruzafa Neighborhood
Ruzafa was a formerly run-down neighbourhood next to the train station, it’s now a colourful hotspot for food, culture and the arts. Fast becoming popular with hipsters, artists and hippies, Ruzafa has a unique vibe to the rest of the city and offers tourists something different to discover.
Home to some of Valencia’s best tapas joints, bars and restaurants, it’s also filled with independent art galleries and vintage boutiques.
Ruzafa is also a great place to visit during the city’s annual Las Fallas festival, held each March, where giant papier-mâché sculptures are created and placed around the city before being burnt on the final day.
If you come to Ruzafa a visit to the local market is a must! Inside, you’ll find the great produce and a traditional feel. You’ll find the same top-quality meats, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and seafood as at the Central Market, but on a smaller scale, and without the tourists.
In ruzafa you can visit our shop and rent a bike from our wide range so that you can quickly and easily reach the many points of interest in Valencia!
7 - Carmen Neighborhood
Why should you visit Barrio del Carmen? Because it is the most popular and most charming neighborhood in Valencia!
The Barrio del Carmen is located in the heart of the City of Valencia, in the center of the old town. It is one of the largest medieval quarters in Europe. A very charming place that has become one of the main centers of leisure and culture of the city.
It is a neighborhood that grew enclosed between two walls, one Muslim and another Christian, in order to better defend the city.
At first, Monasterio de Nuestra Señora del Carmen was built outside the Muslim walls in 1281. It was not until 1356 that the new Christian wall was built, leaving the monastery within the city limits and creating what we now know as Barrio del Carmen.
This is a place to get lost, to go slowly discovering its nooks and secrets, its narrow alleys, beautiful squares, beautiful historic buildings and bohemian and multicultural environment. During the day, it is a lively area where you breathe the true essence of Valencia. By the evening, it is an ideal place to go for dinner, tapas and go out for a drink at any of the many local music bars and discos.
The highlights of this legendary district monuments are: Torres de Serranos, Torres de Quart, both are emblems of the city, la Catedral de Valencia, Lonja de la Seda and Mercado Central. As for the museums, we can find museo del siglo XIX, Museo Valenciano de Arte Moderno, Museo de la Prehistoria and Museo de Etnología.
8 - Central Market
The Central Market is situated in the heart of Ciutat Vella, the historic city centre of Valencia, which is very close to several tourist attractions and numerous shops, bars and restaurants.
It’s a Modernista covered market constructed in 1928 full of colors, aromas and flavours.
It's a popular spot among tourists as well as locals, as it’s the perfect location to immerse yourself in the heart of local culture and to get lost in its numerous aisles filled with local products.
The Central market is a gastronomic temple with many different types of food; you'll find seasonal fruit and vegetables, plenty of fresh fish, cold meats, cheeses, baked goods, olives and lots of wine.
9 - Plaza de la Virgen
A visit to the Plaza de la Virgen is central to Valencia.
While always busy, this plaza is a little oasis of quiet open space without any traffic. A must for all guided tours in the historic centre, and also a great starting point for dinner or drinks in the Barrio del Carmen.
In the centre of Plaza de la Virgen lays a beautiful fountain named Fuente Del Agua de la Acequia. This fountain was built in 1976 and was made by the sculptor Manuel Silvestre Montesinos. The lying figure in the fountain represents the Río Turia, a Spanish river that has its origin in the Montes Universales. Around the figure representing the Turia river lie eight naked women. They represent the eight main irrigation channels flowing from the Turia river.
The Plaza de la Virgen is also central to the festival of Las Fallas where the Virgin is entirely decorated with offering flowers.
10 - Church of San Nicolás de Bari
The Church of San Nicolás de Bari is one of the most fascinating jewels of the Valencian Community.
Located in the historic centre, it is an excellent example of the coexistence of a 15th century Gothic building with 17th century Baroque decoration. The Church of San Nicolás de Bari and San Pedro Mártir has recently been restored, revealing a pictorial display that experts have called the Valencian "Sistine Chapel".
It is amongst the first twelve Christian parish churches in the city of Valencia following the reconquest of Jaume I in 1238. Erected as a parish church around 1242, it was remodelled at the initiative of the Borja family in the Gothic style between 1419 and 1455, with the Gothic rib vault contracting in the central nave. Between 1690 and 1693, the interior was recoated with Baroque decoration and fresco paintings of scenes of the life of San Nicolás de Bari (Saint Nicholas) and San Pedro Mártir (Saint Peter Martyr), designed by Antonio Palomino and painted by Dionis Vidal.
Every Monday the Church of San Nicolás de Bari receives hundreds of visitors who make the “Walks of Saint Nicholas” or Devotion to San Judas Tadeo (Saint Jude Thaddaeus), patron of impossible causes.
Its restoration has been classified as "the most important architectural and pictorial-ornamental work ever carried out anywhere in the world due to the scale of the work and the techniques used", and you can now visit the church with or without a guided tour.
11 - Torres de Serranos
Serranos Towers, with a Valencian Gothic origin, are a symbol of Valencia and one of the best preserved monuments of the city.
The Towers were built at the end of the 14th century by Pere Balaguer as a defense against sieges and attacks on the city, although very often the towers were used for ceremonies and official influxes of kings and ambassadors.
After the fire of 1586, the construction was used as a prison and during the Spanish Civil War they became a deposit for the art works coming from Prado Museum.
The towers currently serve the city in official ceremonies, such as ‘La Crida’ which is celebrated in the major Valencian holiday Las Fallas.
You can enjoy splendid views of the city and the river Turia from its terraces!
12 - Torres de Quart
The Torres de Quart are a pair of twin towers, which were part of the medieval wall that surrounded the old town of Valencia.
They owe their name to the fact that they were located on the road leading from the center of the city, from the Plaza de la Virgen where the Cathedral of Valencia is, to the village of Quart de Poblet.
Built a little later than the Serranos Towers, they display an example of late Gothic military architecture.
The Quart Towers were a part of this old Christian city wall build in the 14th century but the towers are from the 15th century. The exterior of the monument still shows signs of the bombardments suffered during France's siege of the city in 1808.
The building has been used through the centuries for different purposes, from a womans prison to a military prison.
Located in the vicinity of La Beneficencia you’ll find the towers at the end of busy Quart Street in the centre of Valencia.
The towers are now the site of an intriguing collection of locks.
13 - Lonja (The Silk Exchange)
The Lonja de la Seda is a Mediaeval trading centre and one of the key examples of Valencian Gothic civil buildings, declared by
as part of Humanity's Heritage.
The construction of La Lonja started in the 15th century, was originally used for trading in silk (hence its name, the Silk Exchange).
From the outside, La Lonja looks like a medieval castle, complete with a tower and battlements.
The building like the rest of the ensemble, is crenellated and contains three main parts, each one for a different use:
Sala de Contratación (Contract or Trading Hall) , A large space divided with five rows of slender spiral-shaped columns which break up the room into three naves showing the elegant vaulting of the roof. Around the walls there are Latin inscriptions in Gothic characters which proclaims the principles upon which trade within the hall is based:
honesty of its traders and justice of its syndics.
The main tower (including the chapel, dedicated to the Conception of the Virgin) and the Consulat del Mar (Consulate Sea).
The central tower which has a ground floor and two storeys, served in old times as the prison for those merchants who could not pay their bills.
A large and cozy garden complete de emsemble where is possible to appreciate the beauty of the windows and the interior façade.
The Old City behind La Lonja complements a delightful walk, an area full of charm and magic.
14 - Patacona Beach
With more than 300 sunny days Valencia is perfect to have a beach day during your holidays!
Patacona Beach is one of the best options for those looking to enjoy a great beach without having to move so much of Valencia.
It is a sand beach which is more than one kilometre long and very wide; Its promenade has a great atmosphere all year round, especially at weekends; it is common to see people walking, riding or playing sports.
And don't worry if you get hungry, because the beach also offers a very interesting gastronomic and leisure offer around you.
Just five minutes from this beach you can visit one of the best-preserved sections of L'Horta in Valencia, one of the most outstanding places in the region and the origin of the important fruit and vegetable production in the area.
15 - Botanic Garden
This magnificent garden has one of the largest botanical collections in Valencia, with nearly three thousand different species of trees and plants from the five continents of the world.
The garden was created in the sixteenth century, is owned by the University of Valencia and has its origin in an orchard that was enabled for the teaching of botany. Two centuries later, the garden grew in size and adapted to new scientific advances.
With mature trees and plants, an extensive cactus garden and a wary colony of feral cats is a shady, tranquil place to relax.
16 - Bioparc Valencia
Opened in 2008, is a must for families and animal lovers.
At Bioparc's Valencia there are close to a thousand animals of 150 different African species, with specially designed habitats to ensure their utmost well-being and comfort for the animals. Created from the concept of a zoo immersion exhibit, this park offers the chance to immerse yourself in a range of natural habitats and to experience the sensation of being a part of your surroundings together with the animals that live there.
On your visit you'll see a vast savanna inhabited by antelopes, giraffes and rhinoceros, you'll discover hyenas' dens, walk amid buffaloes and leopards, go deep into a dense forest where gorillas roam, and follow elephants' trails.
What's more, a range of different activities are scheduled throughout the day, including bird and mammal exhibitions, films about the zoo's animals and storytelling sessions.
17 - Oceanográfic
The Oceanographic is an aquatic fantasy that houses animals and habitats from around the world. Located in the avant-garde architectural complex of the City of Arts and Sciences in València, the Oceanografic is a true tribute to the seas and oceans of the planet and contains large aquariums which faithfully reproduce the most important marine ecosystems.
This is the largest aquarium in Europe, with the capacity to house 45,000 living creatures from 500 different species.
The Oceanogràfic is made up of different buildings, housing examples of the most important ecosystems from each of the planet's seas and oceans: the Mediterranean, Wetlands, Temperate and Tropical Seas, Oceans, the Antarctic, the Arctic, Islands, and the Red Sea, as well as the Dolphinarium.
Its avant-garde architecture, the layout of the different aquaria and its scientific, recreational, and educational objectives bring the marine world to the public, raising awareness about protection of its flora and fauna. It serves, moreover, as a platform for scientific research.
It’s a perfect plan on our list of the best things to do in Valencia.
18 - Albufera Natural Park
Amazingly, just a few km from a mega city like Valencia, we can find this Natural Park, a protected area of great environmental wealth and extraordinary natural beauty. The Albufera Natural Park, located just 12 km south of Valencia, it is an area of high biological value and habitat for many species of native and migratory birds.
The landscape of the Albufera has different ecosystems that change throughout the seasons.
The park consists of a freshwater lagoon separated from the Mediterranean Sea by sand dunes of Saler. It communicates the sea by small channels, the Perello, the Perellonet and Pujol.
Anyone who reaches Parque natural de l’Albufera has to take the opportunity to taste the typical dishes of the land, such as paella (El Palmar is the ideal place to try authentic Valencian paella), arroz a banda, or “a l’all and pebre” (garlic and parsley) made with eels of the lagoon.
The visit to the Albufera can be completed by visiting a “barraca”, a typical dwelling of the farmers of the area, as well as a visit to the visitor center of the Park (subject to availability) including a walk through the forest of the Dehesa that takes us to the bird observatory.
In the afternoon, after a hearty meal, nothing is more relaxing than doing one of the most attractive activities in the park, a boat ride (with or without motor), crossing the lagoon, canals and discover the abundant wildlife.
Not to mention, its incredible views of the countryside during sunset!
19 - Port Saplaya
Very near to Valencia you can find a small harbour village called Port Saplaya.
It’s often called ‘Little Venice’, because of the coloured buildings, small boats and picturesque harbour.
Port Saplaya is a residential area in the city of Alboraya, which hosts barely 2,000 people. From the centre of Valencia it’s is only 40 minutes by bike!
It is very busy during the summer months but out of season it is wonderfully quiet, calm and peaceful.
There are 2 main squares located at each end of the town and they are surrounded by shops, bars and restaurants offering local dishes; this is one of the best place to try horchata (horchata is a drink very similar to milk but it has a distinctive nutty taste, since it’s made from “chufa”, an edible tuba with similarities to both celery and nutmeg), traditional ice cream or tasty bocadillos de calamares with alioli sauce.
Port Saplaya beach sits to the south of the marina of the same name. Known for its soft and golden sands, this urban beach is 600m long and 90m wide. It is a popular spot with its quality waters proving irresistible to swimmers looking to take a dip in the Mediterranean Sea.