Beaches? Check. Cathedral? Check. Tasty local food? Check. Sports, historical buildings, something a little different? Check, check and check. Whatever you want, Valencia has it covered. The only question is how long you want to go for. Whether you want to spend one day in Valencia, two, three or even a week. This guide on what to do will help you choose the best Valencia itinerary.
Best time to visit Valencia
Before you plan your Valencia itinerary, first you’ll want to know the best time to go. April and May are the ideal months. The weather is good, the heat isn’t too much and the majority of the crowds haven’t appeared yet. September and October are similar and you might also see lower prices at this time of year.
March is also a good time to visit as that’s when you can see Las Fallas festival. A five-day celebration with impressive pyrotechnic displays throughout.
Getting around Valencia
Valencia has several public transport options and the city centre is also flat and walkable. Trams, buses and metro cover most of Valencia and the outskirts, including the main beach. Another option is to rent a Valenbisi bicycle. You’ll find bike stations around Valencia as well as plenty of cycle paths. You can buy a weekly pass for €13.30 or, if you’re planning to stay longer, a one-year pass is €29.21. Definitely worth it if you’ll be in Valencia more than two weeks.
Spain’s Mediterranean Coast is famous for its glorious beaches and Valencia is no different. The main beach, Malvarrosa, is a huge stretch of sand, offering plenty of room for sunbathers, sports enthusiasts or just people who want to relax. It’s not the prettiest beach in the world, but it does its job.
For better alternatives head either north along the coast to Patacona Beach or south beyond the port to El Saler. Both beaches are much nicer and less crowded than Malvarrosa, plus at Patacona you’ll find a very cool beach bar – El Ocho.
To reach Malvarrosa Beach from the centre of Valencia take metro lines 5 or 7 to the end of the line at Marítim Serrería. You can either walk to the beach from there (15-20 minutes) or catch tram lines 6 or 8.
Port of Valencia
Just next to Malvarrosa Beach is the port area, where you’ll find plenty of expensive looking yet quality restaurants. You won’t get the enormous millionaire yachts you’d usually expect in Barcelona, but it’s a scenic area to wander around and enjoy. Heading north from the port along the main promenade at the back of the beach are more restaurants offering plenty of good quality options. Seafood is of course very popular.
For something different, the port was also the location of the city’s Formula One event between 2008 and 2012. You can still see evidence of the race if you look closely. In 2007 the city also hosted the America’s Cup sailing competition and you can visit the museum for free which includes an audio guide available in both Spanish and English.
Túria River Park
One of my favourite areas of the city is the Túria Park. What used to be the site of a river flowing around the city centre is now 9km of gardens, stylish bridges, children’s play areas, sports fields and shady tree-lined groves. It’s the ideal spot to get away from the rush of the centre, go for a bike ride or jog, or just relax with friends.
The park can be found just beyond Valencia’s old city walls. From there it’s up to you what you want to do.
City of Arts and Sciences and Oceanographic
In the Túria Park you might come across a futuristic looking complex of buildings. This is Valencia’s famous City of Arts and Sciences museum, while the large dome shaped building is the Oceanographic. Europe’s largest aquarium.
Entrance to the various centres can be bought individually or as part of a combination ticket that includes some or everything. Prices range from €8 to €31.90 for the exhibits individually, or €39.10 will get you access to the entire complex. Alternatively, you can admire the buildings and water features in the Valencian sun for free.
Shopping with the locals for fresh fruit, vegetables and meat is a real treat in any city. Valencia’s market is no different with plenty of good quality food available for lower prices than you might find in the supermarkets. It’s housed in a stylish building and one of the largest markets in Europe.
Close by is the another of Valencia’s top tourist attractions in the shape of the old silk exchange (Lonja de la Seda). It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and entrance is just €2.
You’ll find impressive cathedrals and other religious buildings in just about every place you visit in Spain. Valencia is no different. In the city centre stands the Roman Catholic cathedral (its full name one of the longest you’ve ever seen).
It’s said to be the home of the Holy Grail. Whether that’s true or not you can decide for yourself. Entrance is €8, which includes many other artifacts and a panoramic view of the city by climbing the 207 steps of El Miguelete bell tower.
Mestalla Football Stadium
Football is huge in Spain. Valencia’s team are not quite what they used to be but are still a big name in Spanish football. Valencia’s home ground is an impressive looking stadium located very close to the Túria Park.
Tickets for games are relatively easy to get hold of and aren’t too expensive. The exception comes when Barcelona or either of the two big Madrid clubs come to town. Everyone wants to see the big names. You can visit the Mestalla for €11.50 with tours (available in both English and Spanish) operating Wednesdays to Sundays. Alternatively, close by are local rivals Levante who play at the Ciudad de Valencia stadium.
The neighbourhoods of Valencia
Each part of Valencia seems to offer something different. One of the most popular areas of the city centre is the El Carmen neighbourhood. This is the old town of Valencia and where you find the city walls among other highlights. The narrow streets are home to many hidden bars and cafes, while you’ll also discover plenty of colourful street art.
Russafa, just south of the train station, is known as the hipster district. Coffee shops, bakeries, cafes and restaurants are all to be found around the neighbourhood. For a cool little pizza place with an alternative twist, check out La Finestra on Carrer dels Vivons.
Benimaclet and other surrounding areas
Outside of Valencia’s centre are many former villages that make up the outskirts of the city. Benimaclet is one of those and has the feel of a small town where you’ll find everything you need. Local markets, lively bars and great food. Make sure to check out Arepita Bar for some tasty Venezuelan style arepas.
Close to Malvarrosa Beach is Cabanyal. An area that has a growing reputation as one of the coolest spots around. Originally home to the local fishermen, many of the houses are uniquely put together in their own style. Local spot Fumiferro is one example of the change of style the neighbourhood has seen in recent years and is a good spot to grab a bite to eat.
Benicalap Water Park
If the beach isn’t your kind of thing but you still fancy a swim then head to the Benicalap neighbourhood, just north of the city centre. Tram line 4 stops just a few minutes’ walk from the water park, which is open 12pm to 6pm Monday to Friday and 11am until 7pm at the weekends. Entrance costs just €3.35 for adults and €1.70 for children under 16.
The park includes many water features and slides to enjoy (just don’t be expecting anything too amazing or heart stopping), plus an area reserved for adults only. There’s also a cafe that doesn’t charge a fortune where you can buy decent food.
House of Cats
For something a little different go in search of the Cat House on Carrer del Museu. Stray cats are everywhere in the city but this is a safe place for them to call home. It’s easy to miss the entrance, which could be mistaken for just another piece of art among Valencia’s many street exhibits.
You won’t be able to get inside (unless you happen to be the size of a cat) but you might spot some of the residents as they come and go.
Valencia Day Trips
- Albarracín – a stunningly beautiful little village with local hikes in the surrounding area
- Albufera Natural Park – one of the best places to try a truly authentic Valencia paella
- Alicante – parks, beaches, historical sites and plenty more on offer just down the coast
- Buñol – home of the famous La Tomatina festival and also a beautiful lagoon and waterfall at Cueva Turche just outside town (30 minutes walking)
- Elche – known for its palm trees the little city has plenty of history and places of interest worth checking out
- Gandia – amazing coastline, crystal clear waters and even a palace are enough reasons to visit
- Teruel – another historic city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site with some of the best ham in Spain
- Xàtiva – a historic town with a cool castle and stunning views