Valencia City Trip – Valencia’s popularity as a destination for a city trip has increased enormously over recent years, and there is a reason for this. Valencia is the ideal city for a city trip! It is a city full of sights. A city where the sun always shines, where paellas taste heavenly and where the beaches are fantastic. So, what else do you wish? Add to this the beautiful sights in the historic centre. Valencia is best known for the Ciudad de las Artes y Ciencias, or the City of Arts and Sciences, a complex with dazzling and spectacular buildings.
Valencia is located on the east coast of Spain on the Mediterranean Sea and is the third largest city in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona. The city itself has more than 800,000 inhabitants; including the agglomeration of Valencia the city has almost 2 million inhabitants. Valencia is a wonderful city to stay for a several days. Valencia has it all: a beautiful historic centre where you can wander for hours, a beautiful elongated park in a dried up river bed, go on a bike ride or for a walk. The beaches are delightful and the best spot to relax. The bustling centre is the perfect place to go shopping or eat delicious tapas and other delicacies. Did you know that Valencia is the birthplace of the paella? The city is also famous for Las Fallas, a bustling street party, the biggest in Spain. This festival of noise and fire is held March: long parades with large papier-mâché dolls, pageants, beauty shows, paella competitions and bullfights all over the city. During this festive week, each day ends with a fireworks display.
Valencia City Passes
Purchase a city pass, if you want to enjoy Valencia to the fullest. City passes allow you free entry to the main sights and museums in Valencia. You will save time and money during your city trip because day passes are often cheaper than buying single tickets. What’s more, you need not wait in the long queues at popular attractions. You can go straight to the skip-the-line entrance. Public transport and/or the hop-on hop-off bus are often included in a city pass. There are two Valencia City Passes: Valencia City Pass and the Valencia Tourist Card. Select the one that suits you best and purchase it online in advance.
Valencia City Passes compared:
The Valencia City Pass is ideal for visitors to Valencia who do not need see all the museums and sights. This pass allows free and fast-track entry to L’Oceanografic, the largest aquarium in Europe. It also allows you free use of the metro and the Hop-on Hop-off bus and also free transfer from Valencia Airport. What’s more, you will get discounts at other attractions, museums and tours in Valencia.
The Valencia Tourist Card allows you free entry to 20 attractions and museums in Valencia. What’s more, public transport is free and unlimited (bus, metro, tram). Furthermore, you enjoy discounts on attractions. A city map and information booklet with discounts for tours, excursions, restaurants and shops are also included.
Compare Valencia City Passes:
To Valencia by plane
Valencia Airport is about 10 kilometres from the city centre. Quite a number of low-cost companies such as Transavia, Ryanair, Vueling, Iberia and Wizzair connect several European cities with Valencia.
To Valencia Centre from the airport
Valencia centre is easily reached by public transport. Two underground metro lines link the airport to the city centre. The station is on the ground floor of the regional flights terminal. The price of a single ticket is €4.90 and the journey time is 20 minutes. A taxi to Valencia city centre costs about €25. Make sure that the taxi driver starts the taximeter at the beginning of the journey.
Hotel or B&B in Valencia
Valencia has a wide range of accommodation from hotels to apartments and from B&Bs to hostels. Finding a hotel to your liking is no problem. Do you want to stay in the historic centre, near the Turia or near the beach? There is something for everyone’s taste and budget. If you want to splash out Hotel Las Arenas is your best choice (Calle Eugenia Vines 22). The hotel resembles a palace, has a spectacular sea view and a luxurious spa. It goes without saying that room rates reflect the luxury. Other five-star hotels in Valencia are Caro Hotel (Carrer de l’Almirall 14), in a beautiful palace near the Cathedral of Valencia, Hospes Palau de La Mar in the L’Eixample district (Avinguda Navarro Reverter 14) and Hotel Zenit (Calle Bailén 8).
Cheaper options include Sweet Hotel Continental (Calle Correos 8). The rooms look neat and tidy and especially its location, right in the city centre, is perfect! Hotel Malcom and Barret (Avenida Ausias March 59) and MD Modern Hotel – Jardines del Turia (Carrer del Mestre Racional 23) are also excellent options.
If you are on a tight budget, hostels are a good alternative. Recommended in Valencia city centre are: The River Hostel (Placa del Temple 6), Home Youth Hostel (Calle de la Lonja 4) and Rooms DeLuxe Hostel (Avinguda Instituto Obrero 20). B&B accommodation is ideal for travellers who like to stay in small hotels with comfortable beds and a delicious breakfast and appreciate personal contact with the owner. The proprietor is often a fount of knowledge and can give useful tips about events, city walks and other activities in Valencia. Very affordable options are B&B Hi Valencia Canovas (Carrer de Cirilo Amoros 82), ABCyou B&B (Calle Taquigrafo Marti 10) and B&B Zalamera (Carrer de Pelai 44).
Things to see and do in Valencia
Valencia is a charming city with many attractions, sights and museums. The city centre is compact and much smaller than Madrid and Barcelona. This is to your advantage because the various attractions are close to each other and within walking distance. The beaches are slightly further away but easily reached by public transport (bus, metro) or by bike.
The oldest district of Valencia is El Carmen. You will find here the cathedral, the Torre Serannos and the Mercado Central. The L’Eixample district is a trendy district where you will find the Mercato Colon and Calle de Colon shopping street. An oasis of peace is park Jardin de Turia, laid out in a dried up river bed. The most photographed attraction of Valencia is the City of Arts and Sciences, a spectacular complex of modern architecture designed by architect Santiago Calatrava.
Tip: A good start to your Valencia city trip is a ride on the Hop-on Hop-off bus. Relax and lean back while you pass most of the city’s highlights. You decide where to get off, which attraction or museum you are going to visit and then you hop on again to see even more highlights.
Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciencies
How to get there
Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències is situated at the end of the Turia Park. The best way to reach Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències is by bus, by bike or on foot. There is no metro station close to Ciutat de les Arts and Ciències, the nearest metro station is Alameda and Colon, a thirty-minute walk.
Valencia’s most important landmark is Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències, also known as the City of Arts and Sciences. The Ciutat de l ‘Arts i les Ciències, a cultural and scientific complex ,is made up of seven remarkable buildings and is situated at the far end of the park in the dried up Turia river bed. The Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava designed six of the seven avant-garde buildings. Félix Candela was the architect of the seventh building the L’Oceanogràfic aquarium. The construction of the complex started in 1989, the buildings were opened one after another. L’Àgora being the last was completed in 2009. Walking in this park among beautiful buildings is an experience not to be missed! The pond makes walking here extra attractive. The complex consists of El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía building, opera house and performing arts centre, El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe, an interactive science museum, L’Hemisfèric, planetarium and 3D IMAX theater, L’Umbracle; pedestrian promenade with botanical palm garden, L’Àgora, hall for concerts and exhibitions and L’Oceanogràfic, Europe’s largest sea aquarium.
How to get there
Turia Park (Jardin del Turia) is 9 kilometers long and runs through the centre of Valencia, from Bioparc Valencia Zoo to Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències.
Several metro stations are located along the park, such as Turia and Alameda. Which station you go to depends on what part of the park you want to visit. City buses also have stops near the park.
Jardines del Turia is built in the former river bed of the Turia River. After the floods of 1957, the course of the river was diverted and a 9 kilometre long and 150 metre wide green zone arose in the heart of Valencia. Landscape architects designed a magnificent park comprising public gardens, sports fields, rose gardens, ponds, fountains, playgrounds, botanical gardens, etc. The place-to-be for children is the Gulliver, a climbing frame in the shape of the giant Gulliver who is pinned down by the inhabitants of Lilliput. The children climb, scramble and slide all over this 70-metre long giant. Go for a walk or a bicycle ride through the park crossed by 18 bridges. The park stretches from Bioparc Valencia zoo to Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències. Museo de Bellas Artes, the Royal Gardens, the IVAM (museum of modern art), the Torres de Serranos and the concert hall Palau de la Música de València are all attractions in or near the park.
Torres de Serranos
How to get there
Torres de Serranos is close to the historic city centre of Valencia and next to Turia Park. Torres de Serranos is easy to reach on foot or on bicycle from the city centre.
Bus and metro
Several bus lines (115 and others) stop near Torres de Serranos. The Pont de Fusta Metro stop is just across the road from Jardin del Turia, a 6-minute walk from the city gate.
Be sure to go to Torres de Serranos, an attraction that you must see when you are in Valencia. Up to the mid-nineteenth century, a city wall surrounded the city. The wall has disappeared but two gates remain. Torres de Quart is the other gate. Built by Pere Balaguer in the 14th century in Valencian Gothic style, this gate served as a prison for the nobility until 1887. Climbing Torres de Serranos is very rewarding. Pay a small entrance fee of €2 and climb up to the top for a sweeping view of Valencia. The tower is also home to a small museum about the history of the city. An interesting detail is that, during the civil war, Torres de Serranos was the hiding place for a number of important paintings of the Prada Museum in Madrid.
Cathedral of Valencia
How to get there
Valencia Cathedral is located in historic centre of Valencia. The cathedral is at Plaza de la Reina and borders the back of Plaza de la Virgen. The cathedral is easily accessible on foot or by bike.
Get off at the Colon metro station to get to the Cathedral of Valencia. It is a 10-minute walk to the cathedral from here.
The Cathedral of Valencia, Catedral de Santa Maria de Valencia in Spanish, is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and an absolute must-see. It was built between 1262 and 1356 and different architectural styles were used: Romanesque, Baroque and Gothic. The outside is impressive; the interior is even more imposing. Several paintings of Francisco Goya grace the walls but the cathedral is most famous for the resting place of the ‘Holy Grail’. Since the fifteenth century this stone chalice, from which Jesus supposedly drank at the last supper, has been in one of the side chapels of the cathedral. The main entrance is at the Plaza de la Reina. The entrance to the museum is on the other side on Plaza de la Virgin. The bell tower next to the cathedral offers a beautiful panorama of the city. Climb 207 steps to reach the top of this 51-metre high tower.
La Lonje de la Seda
How to get there
La Lonja de la Seda is located in the historic center of Valencia on Plaza del Mercado.
One of the most striking buildings in Valencia is the Lonja de la Seda, the silk exchange market. It was the financial centre of the city where silk merchants traded and signed deals. It was also the Tribunal del Mar, the marine merchant tribunal which imprisoned merchants for debts in the central tower of La Lonja. La Lonje de la Seda was also the first commercial bank of that time. It was built in 1482 and shows the importance of the silk merchants. In 1996 it was added to the World Heritage List of Unesco. Silk is no longer traded here, but you can visit the imposing trading hall, the Sala de Contratacion (Contract Hall) with its imposing with its twenty metres tall columns. All the buildings are set around a beautiful courtyard, the Patio de los Naranjos (oranges).
How to get there
The Mercado Central is located in the historic centre of Valencia close to the Cathedral and Plaza del Ayuntamiento. It is easy to get to the market hall on foot.
Go to metro station Angel Guimerà or Colón. It is a 10-minute walk to the market hall from these stations.
Mercado Central is a covered fresh produce market in the historic centre of Valencia and one of the most popular attractions in Valencia. Built in Art Nouveau style and opened in 1928, the market is one of the oldest and largest indoor markets in Europe still in use. The eye catcher is the imposing 30-metre high dome. The interior is decorated with wooden materials, ceramics and multicoloured tiles. The market vendors sell fresh produce such as fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, cheese, nuts and herbs many of which are local products. The market is open from Monday to Saturday from 8 in the morning. At about 2.30 pm vendors start closing their stalls. The market is closed on Sunday. Entrance is free.
Plaza de Toros
How to get there
The arena is located in the centre of Valencia next to Valencia Nord station.
Go to metro station Xàtiva. The bullfighting arena is right opposite. There are several bus stops near the arena.
Plaza de Toros, square of the bulls, is one of the most remarkable sights in Valencia. The square is named after the bullfighting arena which was once the largest in Spain. The building dates back to the second half of the 19th century and has a diameter of 52 metres and is 18 metres in height. The arena can be visited every day except on Sundays. The entry to the Museo Taurino also gives access to the arena. Be aware that some of the exhibits in the museum and video images can be quite shocking. Bullfighting in Valencia has always been legal whereas in Catalonia it was banned for some time. Bull fights take place several times a year in the Valenia arena, usually on feast days like Las Fallas, Feria de Julio and Virgen de los Desamparados, on the second Sunday in May. The arena is now also the venue for concerts and other events.
How to get there
L’Oceanografic is part of the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias and is located on Calle Eduardo Primo Yúfera.
Bus lines 15 and 95 stop in front of the entrance to the aquarium.
A visit to L’Ocenaogràfic is time well spent. This is Europe’s largest aquarium with over 40,000 marine animals and 500 different species, including sharks, whales, sea lions, penguins and other waterfowl and on top of that thousands of brightly coloured fish. Walk through a tunnel and get the impression of walking among the sharks, go to the dolphinarium or have meal or snack in the underwater restaurant. L’Oceanogràfic is divided into several sections, each with its own theme. The aquarium is part of the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias and was designed by Felix Candela.
Restaurants and bars in Valencia
One of the reasons to go to Spain is the local food: paella, tapas, sangria, churros and all other delicacies Spanish cuisine has to offer. There is no doubt about Paella is on top of the list. This rice-based dish is the specialty of the Valencia region. Savour it at least once during your city trip to Valencia. As most restaurants serve paella, it is almost impossible to know where you can eat the best. Recommended are Casa Carmela or Vlue Arribar.
Be sure to see where the rice for the paellas is grown. Go on a day trip to Albufera Nature Park, a freshwater lagoon surrounded by wetlands lying to the south of the city. The village of El Saler located in this nature reserve is the place to eat truly delicious paella. You will have to be a little patient because preparing a fresh paella takes at least 30 minutes (which means that if your paella is served almost immediately, it is not freshly prepared).
Spain without tapas is like going to Paris without visiting the Eiffel Tower. Valencia prides itself in many tapa bars like El Albero, La Fabrica and Casa Montana. Recommended bars for breakfast, coffee or lunch are Saona, Panaria, Federal Cafe, Bocados and La Mas Bonita.
Shopping in Valencia
When you have been on the beach, seen all the sights, eaten all the delicacies Valencia has to offer, then it is shopping time! Be sure to do some shopping (or window shopping) on Calle Colón, Valencia’s main shopping street. It is a long street that goes all the way to the train station and home to a large number of fashion stores.
You will find here Spain’s best-known department store, El Corte Inglés and many other shops like H & M, Zara, Bershka, Pull & Bear, Stradivarius, Mango, Intimissimi, Oysho, Sfera, Blanco and Brandy & Melville. Spanish fashion designers like Garcia, Alfredo Dominguez and Armand Bassi also have their stores in this street.
Shopping malls are very popular in Spain – indoor shopping in case of rain and air conditioning when it is too hot. Well-known shopping malls are Nuevo Centro, at the Turia park, Aqua Multiespacio and Centro Commercial El Saler, both large and close to the City of Arts and Sciences.
Be sure to visit Mercado Central, Europe’s largest covered market. You are welcome six days a week. Browse and buy to your heart’s content in the 400 stalls selling fresh vegetables, fruit and of course the famous Seville oranges. Mercado Colon (Columbus market), in art nouveau style, is no longer a traditional market but a paradise for foodies with trendy restaurants and cool coffee bars.