Top 12 Best Things To Do in Valencia Spain
1. City of Arts and Sciences
I don’t often start with museums, but the City of Arts and Sciences blew me away. Okay, to be more specific, the futuristic design of the entire complex. I’ve never experienced anything that actually felt futuristic before, I’m not even sure I thought that was a real feeling. So in my opinion, it’s definitely worth a visit, even if you just go there to experience the atmosphere and take some photos. You’ve probably seen photos taken in the futuristic tunnel next to the science center on Instagram. I chose to visit the aquarium L’Oceanografic, which by the way is one of the largest aquariums in Europe, and I was absolutely thrilled.
Other museums and attractions to check out are: Valencia Fine Arts Museum, Bioparc Valencia.
2. Jardín del Turia & Gulliver Park
Turia Park (Jardín del Turia) is not only beautiful but also special. It is the largest public park in Spain and used to be a river. The former Turia River was diverted on the outskirts of the city because it threatened to flood repeatedly throughout its history. In Turia Park, there are many large and small attractions, such as the Art and Science Center. But also the Gulliver Park, a unique playground with a larger-than-life Gulliver figure on which kids can climb and slide.
3. Explore the old town - and its plazas
Valencia has a beautiful historic old town. Romantic architecture, fantastic restaurants and many small stores. Another thing that makes Valencia so special are its beautiful plazas. These are beautifully landscaped areas in the city.
The most popular squares are Plaza de la Virgen, Plaza de la Reina and Plaza Ayuntamiento.
If you have the chance, I would recommend visiting all of these squares as they are a great way to get a feel for the city and admire the beautiful architecture.
Plaza de la Reina (see photos) felt like the center of the city to me, as it has many places to sit and linger since it was remodeled.
4. Walk around Barrio del Carmen and Russafa
One of my favorite things to do in any city, is to walk through popular neighborhoods and let the city take effect on me.
Barrio del Carmen is part of Valencia’s old town and counts as a historic center. The image of this neighborhood is characterized by narrow streets, historic architecture, cafes but also tapas bars, fashion boutiques and souvenir stores.
Russafa is considered the hipster district of Valencia. Here, in addition to the famous nightlife, you can find many unique stores, such as Ubik Cafeteria Llibreria. Which is a mixture of library and café.
5. Go to the beach
Of course, on a list about one of the most famous beach cities in Spain, you can’t forget about a visit to the beach. The best thing about them is that they are easily accessible by public transport. In addition, you can enjoy a delicious meal or a refreshing drink in one of the many beach restaurants and bistros.
6. Eat paella and other Spanish delicacies
Another thing that should not be missed is to try the delicious Spanish food. Did you know that paella originated in Valencia? You should definitely try it here!
For more Spanish dishes, check out my post about the 15 must-eats in Spain.
7. Visit Mercat Central
Another place where you can combine your love for food and architecture is Valencia’s Central Market. It is an Art Nouveau style market hall located in the center of the city. It is one of the most popular attractions in Valencia. Since Valencia is famous for its oranges, you should not miss a freshly squeezed orange juice at the market!
8. Valencia Cathedral & The Holy Grail
Valencia Cathedral is the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Valencia. It is located in the northeastern part of the old city of Valencia and is dedicated to the Holy Mary.
A special highlight is that the Holy Grail is said to be located here since 1506.
Another beautiful church you should see is San Nicolás de Bari y San Pedro Mártir. This is known as the “Sistine Chapel of Valencia” for its ceiling painting.
9. Palace of the Marqués de Dos Aguas
The Palace of the Marquis of Dos Aguas is a historic noble rococo palace. It is a stately mansion that was the property of the Marquises of Dos Aguas and is currently owned by the Spanish State. Today, the imposing building houses the National Museum of Ceramics and Applied Arts “González Martí”.
10. Llotja de la Seda (Silk Exchange)
Today, the Lonja de la Seda is the seat of the Valencia Academy of Culture and therefore a frequent exhibition venue. But it has its origin as early as 1469, when it was founded as an oil market. It is worth a visit for its imposing architecture alone. No wonder, it is considered one of the most important buildings of the profane Gothic in Europe.
11. Go to the top of Torres De Serranos
The Torres de Serrano form a city gate in Valencia. If you go through them you will get to the historic district Barrio del Carmen. But you can also climb it and enjoy a view over this part of the city center!
“Steve Jobs en la falla del Mercat de Valencia #1” by Víctor Gutiérrez Navarro is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.
12. Visit Las Fallas Festival
The Fallas Festival is a Valencian spring festival celebrated every year on St. Joseph’s Day in March. It is part of the traditional folklore of the Valencian coast. The main attraction are sculptures made of papier-mâché and other combustible materials, some of which are as big, or even bigger, as houses. They are ceremoniously lit on the last day of the festival and accompanied by loud fireworks. They are also called fallas and have given the festival its name.
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