Spain’s third biggest city, Valencia offers a visitor a fantastic mix of beach and city break. There is of course the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences, which Valencia is best known for. The Turia Gardens also provide another unique feature to Valencia. Once a river that run through the city, the Turia Gardens is now a park. And beyond both of these two special attractions, there’s lots more sightseeing in Valencia to do.
Here’s some more of our favourite things to see and do in Valencia…
The Old Town (Ciutat Vella)
A maze of atmospheric streets and beautiful architecture fill the city’s old town. I found it all too easy to lose my bearings wandering around the maze-like streets. Thankfully, however, it’s small and compact enough that you’ll soon find yourself back somewhere familiar! There are plenty of lovely little squares and cafe spots to watch life go by too. My advice: lose yourself in it – it’s a fab way to discover the city. There’s some great street art and I loved spotting the centuries old blue domes that feature on many of the churches here.
If you can, it’s also well worth the climb up the 200-plus spiral stone steps to see the views from the Cathedral’s Miguelete Tower. The cathedral is free to visit but tickets to go up the tower are €2.
The Lonja de la Seda (Silk Exchange in English) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Standard admission is €2 but is free on Sundays and public holidays. For more info, go to: visitvalencia.com
You can’t visit Spain without enjoying the regional produce. The Central Market in the heart of the old town is a must! Pick up food to go or eat on-site. There’s no way you’ll be leaving the market without doing one or both of those things! The market building, like many of the older buildings in Valencia, is also just quite beautiful.
Valencia is a great city for foodies. The region is the birthplace of paella so trying it out here is a must. Apparently, there’s something in the waters where they grow the rice that makes it that extra bit delicious. You should also try horchata and fartons, which is another typical Valencian dish. It’s not hard to find as there are numerous horchaterias serving it (including inside the Central Market).
Like Barcelona, Valencia is a beach city. And Valencia has two fantastic sandy beaches that sit side-by-side: Las Arenas and La Malvarrosa. Altogether, they stretch to over 3kms long. Both are also really quite wide so there’s a lot of lovely sandy beach to enjoy. There is a promenade, which spans the length of both beaches and low-level buildings line that so the beach area feels largely undeveloped. The nearest road running parallel to the beaches is also another block away, which adds to the unspoilt nature of them. However, you’ll still find it has a good range of facilities either on the beach or very near. They include a number of restaurants, cafes and chiringuitas (beach barbecues) available for when you’re hungry or thirsty.
It was winter when we visited so not quite warm enough for a swim but the beaches were lovely for walking along and taking in the fresh sea air.
Beyond even all of this… museums and wildlife
Yes, there’s still more that deserves a mention! Valencia has several fab museums including the free Museo de Bellas Artes and it’s worth checking out what’s on at the Fundación de Chirivella Soriano, which is housed in a historic palace. There’s lots for wildlife lovers to enjoy too. The City of Arts and Sciences features the largest aquarium in Europe. And Valencia Bioparc has been designed to be more than your typical zoo. The Bioparc recreates natural habitats and different species that would naturally be found sharing the same habitat do so here too. Nearby Lake Albufera (about 30 minutes drive south of the city centre) is also a good place for a spot of birdwatching.
Finally if you’re interested in seeing more of Valencia’s eclectic architecture, it’s worth a visit to Estacio del Nord (Valencia North Station). You can learn more about it on our sister site: TrainSpain.com.
You can find more of our posts on the city by visiting our Valencia page.
Still need to book your Valencia car hire?
If you know when you’re going, what are you waiting for? It’s generally best to book in advance for the best deals but that’s even more the case if you’re looking to book over the holidays when cars (especially the bigger ones!) get booked up more quickly. At DriveSpain, you can find and compare prices from top suppliers at Valencia Airport.