Looking for the top things to do in Valencia? I am here to help you create your Valencia Bucket list and plan an amazing trip.
Valencia is a popular tourist destination located on the southeastern coast of Spain. It is the place where tradition meets modernity and you don’t want to miss out. Valencia is not as busy as Madrid or Barcelona, so it can be a great place to visit in Spain during the peak season.
If you are wondering “is Valencia worth visiting?”, keep in mind that this city has something to offer for any kind of traveler. It welcomes art addicts, history geeks, hungry foodies, beach lovers, and even digital nomads to settle down permanently.
In this article, we will discover the top things to do in Valencia and put together your Valencia bucket list. I will share some useful travel tips and things that you should know before visiting Valencia. So let’s dive into and discover the best of this Spanish city.
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What is Valencia best known for?
Valencia is known as the birthplace of Paella, the home of futuristic architecture and persistent sun all year around. Besides that, Valencia is a perfect destination for nightlife, fun festivals, and quirky events. And it might be known for its modern designs, but you can surely find a lot of culture and history in the Old Town of Valencia. Also, Valencia has some great beaches nearby to enjoy the warm weather and freshen up on those hot summer days.
For example, here you can find the narrowest building in Europe and one of the largest aquariums in the world. Keep on reading to discover more about these top attractions in Valencia.
How many days to spend in Valencia?
Valencia is a popular weekend getaway and I suggest you plan at least 2 nights in Valencia. 2 days will give you enough time to see the main attractions of Valencia, visit some cool museums, eat local food, and even discover hidden gems. You can also tick off most of the top things to do in Valencia in 3 days.
If you want to do some day trips and relax on the beach, I suggest you stay in Valencia for anywhere between 5-7 days. Trust me, you won’t get bored as there is always something fun to do in Valencia.
Where to stay in Valencia?
Choosing the right accommodation for your trip is essential. I suggest you stick to the central areas within walking distance away from the top attractions. Here is the list of the best hotels in Valencia for any budget. The choice is yours.
LUXURY: Palacio Vallier 5*
Conveniently situated in the Ciutat Vella (City Center) part of València, this property puts you close to attractions and interesting dining options. This 5-star property is packed with in-house facilities to improve the quality and joy of your stay. It doesn’t need an introduction.
BOUTIQUE: Hotel Puerta Serranos 4 sup
If you are looking for a unique hotel in Valencia, Hotel Puerta Serranos 4 sup should be your number one choice. This boutique hotel is one of a kind and offers a fantastic design for aesthetics. Some rooms have balconies and offer great city views.
MID-RANGE: YOURS boutique stay
YOURS boutique stay is one of the best-rated hotels in Valencia, yet it will not break your budget. It has an outdoor swimming pool, and a great variety of breakfasts, and some rooms have city views right from your balcony.
AFFORDABLE: Hotel 19-30 Valencia
And if you need something affordable, Hotel 19-30 Valencia is a great price-value ratio. You can still benefit from the central location and keep it within the budget. Rooms are simple, well isolated, and have comfortable beds to offer you the rest that you need after a long day of exploring.
Top things to do in Valencia
Try the best churros in Valencia
For those of you who don’t know, the churro is fried-dough pastry and you will find it everywhere in Spain. It is usually accompanied by hot chocolate, but calories don’t count when traveling, right?
I already have tried churros in Seville and Cadiz, so I was on a mission to find the best churros in Valencia. Horchatería Santa Catalina is the most famous place and you don’t want to miss it during your trip to Valencia. It has been in business for more than 200 years, so the recipe is traditional and authentic.
The lovely design and ceramics inside make it one of the best cafes in Valencia and it is a perfect breakfast spot to fuel up for the rest of the day.
Keep your head up at Basílica de la Mare de Déu dels Desamparats
Basílica de la Mare de Déu dels Desamparats is located in the main square and I am sure every traveler has seen this pink building surrounded by other top attractions in Valencia.
However, the real beauty is hidden inside the Basilica, so head inside and take a look at the ceiling. It took almost 200 years to build the Basilica, therefore, it has a unique blend of architectural styles including Baroque, Renaissance, Rococo, and Neoclassicism.
The entrance is free and it is open every day from 7 am to 2 pm and from 4.30 pm to 9 pm.
Try paella in the authentic Valencian restaurant La Riuá
Paella, paella, paella. You will see this all around Spain and especially in Valencia since it is the birthplace of paella. However, where to find the best paella in Valencia? Knowing the popularity of this, I had to do my research to find the place to get the most authentic experience.
La Riuá was my choice and it didn’t disappoint. Typical Spanish restaurant that serves late dinner and requires a reservation at least one day in advance. And, they have a lot of options – original Paella, vegetarian dishes, and fish. Just don’t forget to book your table!
Walk under Portale della Valldigna and enjoy Barrio del Carmen
Walking around and getting lost is the best way to explore a new city. So I suggest you head to Portale della Valldigna and get lost in the old town of Valencia.
Portale della Valldigna used to separate the Christian city from Moorish back in 1400 and it is one of the top attractions in Valencia. And the rest of the area is full of cute narrow streets, tapas bars, local shops, and street art. You can catch some cool Spanish vibes here and it is one of the best free things to do in Valencia.
Smell the history at La Lonja de la Seda
Visiting La Lonja de la Seda is one of the top things to do in Valencia. It has been called a World Heritage site, the land of silk and money, and the best example of late Gothic architecture in Europe.
It is a place where you should get a guide (or audio tour) because it is so full of history. Most of the silk coming into Europe was actually being transported through North Africa, so Valencia was in the perfect location to become the distributor to the rest of the continent. And this is the place where the trading was performed.
Recommended tour: Valencia, art, and architecture.
Find the narrowest building in Europe
Giving you the name of the square is simply not enough. House is so tiny that you actually might miss it. Look up La Estrecha on Google maps and carefully follow the instructions.
Legend says that the girl who used to live in this building often had to dress on the street because her Fandango dress simply was bigger than the door. It is 107cm wide, so you can imagine.
Even though this is a tourist attraction in Valencia, it is not very well known. Especially between locals. The owner of the house says that he is very popular among foreigners but not among Valencians. Well, I couldn’t imagine visiting Valencia and missing out to see the narrowest building in Europe and the second narrowest in the world.
See the majestic entrance of Valencia National Ceramics Museum (and not only)
Even if you are not a fan of ceramics, you still need to visit Valencia National Ceramics Museum. This top attraction in Valencia is famous for its majestic entrance, however, it deserves to be visited inside as well. You can easily spend a couple of hours in this museum and appreciate the beautiful details
The entrance fee is 3 euros and it is closed on Mondays. You can visit this museum from Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm and from 4 pm and 8 pm. On Sundays from 10 am to 2 pm.
Buy a souvenir in Plaza Redonda
Plaza Redonda is the place to be if you want to bring a piece of Valencia with you back home. You can find a lot of souvenir stalls and it is a nice, round square that should be added to your Valencia itinerary.
However, I have to say that this square looks the best from the top and Torre de Santa Catalina is where you need to go to find this view. It is open from 11 am until 1 pm, so make sure you plan accordingly. Unfortunately, I missed it, but from what I have seen – the view is worth the climb.
Get lost in the residential area of El Cabanyal
Located away from central Valencia, El Cabanyal is a residential area where you will not meet many tourists. Admire tiled facades, get to know old fisherman’s quarter, or grab a bike to get an authentic experience. And go for a low-key drink at La Paca or have a Michelin-rated dinner at Casa Montaña. A true hidden gem in Valencia.
Catch the sunset at Jardins de Neptú
After a long walk around El Cabanyal and a glass of wine (or a couple), connect with your inner spirit at the best sunset spot ever – the Mediterranean beach. You get a bunch of palm trees, live music, and a lot of other great minds who came to enjoy the moment. Moreover, you have some fabulous restaurants nearby in case you feel like having the best seafood of your life.
Make an early wake-up call and visit Plaza de la Virgen
Plaza de la Virgen is the oldest square in Valencia and it holds three very important attractions of the city – Valencia Cathedral, Basílica de la Mare de Déu dels Desemparats, and Passatge d’Emili Aparicio Olmos. In the center of the square, you will find an astonishing fountain that represents the irrigation of the Turia River.
Considering how busy this square gets, it feels absolutely magical to see it almost empty early in the morning! Once you come back during the day, you will get a completely different experience. And once you have visited Plaza de la Virgen, you can reward yourself with the best churros in Valencia – it is just around the corner.
Indulge the busyness in Plaza del Ayuntamiento
Visiting Plaza del Ayuntamiento is another top thing to do in Valencia. This lively square is filled with locals, kids playing around, and friends meeting up. Also, the architecture around is absolutely breathtaking and a true eye candy for detail lovers.
It hosts the Town Hall of Valencia and The Central Post Office (Edificio de Correos y Telegrafos). Instead in the middle of the square, you will find a beautiful park – a green little oasis. Taking a walk around is one of the best things to do in Valencia for free.
Discover hidden gems in Valencia – churches
Visiting churches is another way to learn about local culture. And to my surprise, Valencia was full of hidden gems. Even small churches with few locals around have some real gems inside. I also want to point out how diverse they all are – filled with Romanesque, Baroque, and Gothic details. So follow my advice and enter every church that comes along your way.
Here are some of my favorites: The Church of San Martin Obispo, Iglesia del Patriarca o del Corpus Christi, and the Church of San Nicolás.
Try the local goodies at the market
This is the best food experience in Valencia – massive Jamon, local cheeses, and a wide selection of fruits. But before you buy anything, you get to do a proper degustation to make the right choice.
If you are not hungry, you still have to visit The Central Market of Valencia. It is built in art nouveau style and dates back to the 19th century when it started as an open-air market. By the end of the century, the city of Valencia sponsored a contest for the construction of a new roofed market. Nowadays, it is one of the biggest markets in Europe and covers more than 8,000 square meters.
Visit the Cathedral of the Holy Grail
Every local will tell you that there is Holy Chalice in the Cathedral of Valencia and that is something that you should see. Documentation and archaeological studies lead us to think that the Holy Grail of Valencia is the one used by Jesus in the last supper, so the mystery still surrounds the building.
If you are not interested in religion, the Cathedral still represents a lot of history, culture, and art. You should see it at least from the outside.
Learn about the water of Valencia
You are thinking Sangria, right? Not really! The water of Valencia is a cocktail that consists of orange juice, vodka, and champagne (some people add gin). Yes, that sounds pretty heavy and alcoholic to be considered ‘water’, but it is absolutely delicious and well-balanced.
It all started in Café Madrid de Valencia, but you will see many bars offering this drink. My absolute favorite was Café de Las Horas. It’s a place of history, class, and elegance. And their cocktails were fabulous!
City of Arts and Sciences
Remember I mentioned futuristic design in Valencia? Well, the City of Arts and Sciences is the place to be if you want to see more of that. Originally budgeted at €300 million, it has cost nearly three times the initial expected cost and it is one of the 12 Treasures of Spain.
You can easily spend an entire day at the City of Arts and Sciences but it is one of the unique things to do in Valencia and must be added to your Valencia bucket list. Makes sure you read these useful tips before visiting the City of Arts and Sciences.
And eat more churros!
Because why not?
Looking for travel insurance for Spain?
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This is the end of the top things to do in Valencia and I am sure you just got even more excited to visit this unique Spanish city. Once you know what to do in Valencia, you can just hit the road and enjoy your trip.
Also, if you are planning a weekend getaway, make sure you read this itinerary for 2 days in Valencia.
I would love to hear your thoughts, so if you have any feedback or additional tips, leave a comment below. Also, check out my Instagram for regular travel videos and travel inspiration. Or explore other destinations on this travel blog.