In many ways, the best way to enjoy the city is to walk through it and just keep stopping to enjoy a coffee, a drink, some tapas or a meal.
Once you are in Valencia city centre, then you can mostly walk freely thanks to the pedestrianised area and every corner has something unique to offer.
Still, here are our ‘picks’ of things to do – some in the old city centre, some a little further out – but all within each reach of Spanish Villa Valencia and Los Monasterios.
1. Plaza La Reina
This key plaza lies at the heart of old Valencia – it is the point where Calle de La Paz with its expensive boutiques and pricey nearby restaurants meets the great Calle San Vicente Mártir which runs from the south of Valencia past the mainline railway station and Plaza de la Ayuntamiento (City Hall Square) .
It’s where the roads stop and the walking begins. From this point, most central attractions are just a matter of minutes away and as you begin to walk away from the commercial and political centre of the city, so you delve deep into the hip and bohemian Barrio de Carmen quarter.
But, before you go, take time to enjoy a drink or a visit to the famous Valencian Valor Chocolate shop.
2. Valencia Cathedral
The home of the ‘real’ Holy Grail? The grand cathedral of Valencia is thought to hold the ‘real’ holy grail – the one used by Christ at the last supper. Who knows whether it is true, but it is a great story and is usually accompanied by a few twittering British tourists muttering Monty Python jokes.
Apart form the holy grail, look up to see the incredible ceilings, or better still, climb the cathedral tower for a view over the city of Valencia. If that doesn’t get the heart racing, then head over to view the two Goya paintings on display in the Borgia Chapel.
(Credit: Photos by Diego Delso)
3. Plaza de La Virgen
Walk around the back of the Cathedral of Valencia and you will come to the delightful Plaza de la Virgen square. This is where the great processions of Fallas end – when traditionally dressed people bring flowers (as an offering) and an artist builds a huge floral statue in honour of the virgin Mary.
On other days it bring people from across the city or people who just want to feed the pigeons or grab a drink and sit and watch. Take care here, the prices in this area are sometime ‘special’ tourist prices.
(Credit: Photo by Michael-Buze)
4. Valencia Central Market / Mercado Central, Valencia
Look up! Yes, I know the incredible range of wonderful fresh food is hard to resist – but look up! From the inside, look up at the dome. And, from the outside, look up at the bird that tops the roof.
(Credit: Photo by Diego Delso)
5. Lonja de Seda / Silk Exchange
Valencia has always been a great sea trading city and the medieval Lonja de Seda (Silk Exchange) is evidence of how a key trading commodity of the medieval era left its mark on the city.
The exchange hall is, of course, beautiful from both outside and within, but equally, the approaches are filled with restuartants and tables on the wide pedestrian avenues.
Give yourself enough time to sample the food and soak up the atmosphere.
6. Puerta de Serranos
Once, Valencia was protected by a great city wall. Now, there are a few remains but the most impressive monument is that of the Puerta de Serranos, which used to guard the Turia river (before it was drain and diverted away from the city centre after a great flood in 1957).
(Credit: Photo by Diego Delso)
7. Barrio Carmen
Barrio Carmen is the bohemian quarter of central Valencia – now the home to many artists, hostels and creative restaurants. Take a turn, explore an alley way, you never know what you might find – perhaps a home just for cats?
Don’t forget to look up and enjoy not only the balconies but also ‘city gardens’ cultivated in front of shuttered widows.
Follow the alleys and the twists and turns of this fascinating part of town – sample the food as you go, enjoy the journey and take the chance to stop and people watch every now and then
(Photo by Luzmoba)
Take the time to find La Torre Micalet – an old bell tower and to climb its 207 steps. You’ll be rewarded with a slew of interesting shops around the base at ground level but, once up the tower, you’ll be able to enjoy a view over the blue domes of the basilica as you look into the city’s old cathedral quarter.
(Photo by Mihael Grmek)
9. Plaza Redonda
As you turn back from the Plaza de La Renia and head back down Calle San Vicente Mártir, be sure to dart off and find the Plaza Redonda. ‘Redonda’ means round in Spanish, which explains the very beautiful shape of the houses which border this unique square.
The plaza has been a protected monument for a number of years and there have been various attempts to renew and repair the plaza. Nevertheless, it retains a feel of ‘old Spain’ before everything was brand new and perfect.
Some years ago, this is where you would go to buy a puppy.
Photo by Dorieo
10. Palace of Marques de Dos Aguas
An exceptional stop – across the road from the Plaza Redondo, but in a well heeled part of town, you will find the remarkable home (or palace) of the Marques de Dos Aguas.
It is worth a few minutes to look inside, but even so, it is such a remarkable baroque building that ordering a coffee in the Hotel Ingles opposite, allows you the best views of the facade.
11. Turia Gardens
The old river bed of the Turia River has been turned into a wonder city park. You can walk, stroll, run, sleep and snooze your way through this park.
At one end, you have La Cuidad de las Artes y las Ciencias, and at the other end you have football and sports pitches.
In between you have music palaces – a huge kids climbing activity – Gulliver and parks and woods – just like the ones in the photo.
You can even rent a bike – and then cycle from the Biopark all the way down the Turia Gardens to Malvarrosa beach for lunch.
Photo by Joanbanjo
12. Malvarrosa Beach – Valencia’s Blue Flag City Beach
Malvarrosa beach is easy to reach from Valencia city centre by metro – or, alternatively, by car (or even bike).
Once here, you have everything! Valencia’s finest paella restaurants, a broad promenade and a deep sandy beach!
Wait until the wind blows mid to late afternoon and you’ll find the kite surfers kitting up and heading out onto the sea.
Or, finish your afternoon on the beach and head back to one of the many bars to quench your thirst.
Young people, old people, professionals and families all enjoy the beach, the lengthy promenade and, of course, the food!
13. Valencia’s America’s Cup Port
As you head to the lower end of Malvarrosa, you’ll find the America’s Cup port extension – now the home to visiting super
yachts. You can head out on the port wall to the panoramic restaurant aptly named ‘Restaurante Panorama) or check out the cool bars – such as Bar Aduana.
In the summer, night clubs open on roof tops – check out Las Animas Del Puerto – roof terrace night club.
Check out the google map below for a few of the attractions in the area and to help find your way around.
14. Opera House – Palau de las Arts Reina Sofia
The new Valencian opera house, plus the Hemisferic and Oceanographic (listed below) form the Cuidad de las Artes y las Ciencias – an incredible and futuristic complex developed by local Valencian arquitech Santiago Calatrava.
The Opera house is shaped like a swan and the pools and gardens that sound it provide a wonderful oportunity to marvel at the incredible shape and form of the building.
Equally, you can enjoy this building from the inside too – by booking tickets to a show or just taking a wander around the entrance halls.
(Credit: Photo by Diliff)
15. Hemisferic and Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias
The hemisferic is an IMAX cinema where you can watch suitably futuristic and space age movies as well as wildlife and deep water movies too. Check out what’s showing here…
You don’t have to have tickets to view and experience the atmosphere of the Hemisferic – just turn up, walk through the partially covered palm gardens of the Umbracle or drop into the Science Museum.
(Credit: Photo by Diliff)
16. Les Belles Artes – Valencia’s Fine Art Museum
For visitors from out of Spain the artwork is incredible, but then so too is this wonderful building, which was originally built as a monastery and became a fine art museum in 1910.
The art museum of Valencia houses 2,000 paintings of artists mainly from the 14th to 17th Century, but one or two contemporary 20th Century artists too.
Artists include El Greco, Goya and Velazquez.
And, best of all, it is free to enter. Find out more information here.
17. Albufera and El Saler
10 minutes to the south of Valencia lies the Albufera (and area where rice was first grown and the key ingredient for Paella) and the nearby beach of El Saler.
As you can see, the Albufera is a low lying section of water – behind the dunes that form the El Saler
The beaches are pure sand and, equally, have a selection of paella resturants (such as La Duna). A little further down you can find the Valencia’s Parador as well as the accompanying gold course.
18. Valencia Biopark / Bioparc
Valencia’s Biopark creates a natural habitat for many large animals.
From Ardvarks to Apes, the Biopark is a part of conservation of hundreds of animals worldwide.
Find out more and book your tickets here.
19. The Oceanographic Park / Oceanografic
If you love the ocean, then you’ll love the Oceanographic water park. Underground tunnels allow you to walk beneath huge aquariums containing all kinds of fish and sea life.
You can experience sharks swimming just above your head (if you like that kind of thing).
(Credit: Photo by Diliff)
20. Valencia Football Club – La Mestalla
No tour of Valencia would be complete without a visit to VCF (Valencia Club de Futbol)’s home at La Mestalla on the northern edge of the city.
Surprisingly easy to get to, this compact but steeply terraced ground provides an intense spectacle of one of Spain and La Liga’s top clubs.
Tickets can normally be bought even a few days ahead of a game – just head to the ticket offices on the corner of the stadium.
21. Sierra Calderona
The Sierra Calderona are know as the ‘lungs of Valencia’ and is the first national park and mountain range that you come to as you travel north.
These mountains deserve a day trip. Pack plenty of water, good shoes and a hat. Oh, and don’t forget to book a lunch at a local mountain bar / restaurant.
Grab a Valencia Deal
If you are going to be doing the sights in Valencia – then the Valencia Tourist Card could save you a lot of money, especially if you are taking a family or two. Check out the discounts available here.