Discover The Valencia History Museum
One of the most fascinating things about the Valencia History Museum is the building. Constructed in the 19th century, this former water station once supplied the whole city. Today its a striking example of industrial architecture, with 250 columns to admire.
The exhibits themselves tell the story of the regions history, with archaeological pieces, old documents, and photographs bringing the tales to life.
Witness The Craziness Of Las Fallas
From the 1st to the 19th of March, Valencia celebrates Las Fallas festival. Attending it is one of the most fun, crazy and unusual things to do in Valencia.
Las Fallas is possibly the largest street party in Europe. Its also a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. It combines tradition, satire, music, creativity, and a whole lot o food.
During Las Fallas, time is measured in cups of hot chocolate, cones of churros and other traditional Las Fallas foods. There are firecracker shows, fire parades, huge cardboard puppets, and a sea of locals in traditional attire.
Yeah, I know, thats a lot to wrap your head around. Thats why I wrote a separate post about Las Fallas festival. But seriously, the best you can do is just hop on a flight and see it for yourself.
If you visit Valencia any other time of the year, you can check out the Fallas Museum and see some of the cardboard puppets that were spared throughout the years. This museum is close to the City of Arts and Sciences and while its not the same as living Las Fallas, it will still give you an idea of the mastery involved.
And if youd like to attend other fiestas as well, check out my list of the best festivals in Valencia.
Explore Valencias Old Town Streets Squares And Cathedral
Theres something magical about old towns, that usually, they are my most favorite part to explore in a city. Of course, Valencias old town is no exception.
Apart from roaming the cobbled streets, you should visit famous squares like Plaza de la Reina, Plaza Redonda, and Plaza de la Virgen.
While Plaza Redonda houses tapas bars, restaurants, and a Sunday flea market, Plaza de la Virgen is home to several important landmarks. The top one is Valencia Cathedral, a 13th-century historical monument where youll supposedly find the real Holy Grail.
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Climb The Torres Del Serrano
Old Valencia is sandwiched in between two towers: Torres del Serrano and Torres de Quart, both of which were part of the original city walls. I only visited Torres del Serrano, located at the edge of the El Carmen neighborhood and known as the largest Gothic city gateway in Europe. Fun fact: Torres del Serrano operated as a prison for nobles and knights for 300 years. It has amazing architecture and for 2, you can huff and puff your way up the stairs for some spectacular views of El Carmen, Turia, and the rest of Valencia.
Learn About Historic Trade At The Silk Museum
Silk has played an important part in Valencias economy over the centuries. Visit the Silk Museum and discover how this prized fabric first came to Spain all those years ago.
Dont miss the ancient looms and the shelves where the silkworms were bred. There are enough historical documents, tools, and garments to keep you enthralled for a couple of hours.
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Street Art In Valencia
As Valencia is evolving as a city and becoming more metropolitan each day, the streets are changing. They are busting with creativity, filling the streets with politically charged graffiti and murals.
If you are curious about the Valencian street art, I do recommend you to join a street art tour.
There, you will hear about the street art evolution and sample not only information but also some traditional drink.
Lego Fun Factory At Aqua Shopping Center
This exclusive place, located in the Aqua Shopping Center, has a 250 square meter exhibition of LEGO®.
The space is divided into two different areas: LEGO® DUPLO, aimed for the enjoyment of the little ones, and LEGO® CLASSIC, designed for older children.
Your kids will be able to construct with LEGO® city, play LEGO® official videogames, swim in the giant LEGO® brick pool, and sing with LEGO® friends karaoke.
If you are looking for a fun day for your kids in Valencia, this is definitely one I recommend!
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Top Tourist Attractions In Valencia
Valencia, Spains third largest city, sits on the East coast of the Iberian Peninsula along the Mediterranean. While the larger Spanish cities have a distinctly urban, high-energy feel, this port city has a more laid-back atmosphere and a commitment to celebrating its natural attractions. Old meets new here, as you can find remnants of a 100BC Roman colony and ultra-modern architecture.
Every March, Valencia hosts the Fallas Festival where each neighborhood displays papier-mâché figures of all sizes and colors for a whole week. At the end of the week, the fallas are ceremoniously burned, and the communities party into the night. However, March isnt the only time to party in Valencia. Every night, the city vibrates with lively bars and nightclubs in every neighborhood. Additionally, it is home of the famed Spanish paella, intricate ceramics and several world-renowned music schools. Here is a look at some of the must-see attractions in Valencia:
Taste The World At Mercato Central
Did you know that the biggest European market for fresh products is situated in the city of Valencia? Well, now you know and you better hurry to have a bite of all the delicacies offered at Mercato Central, or the Central Market.
Imagine endless rows of stalls covered with juicy oranges, appealing strawberries, papayas, and many more colorful fruits and veggies. Make your way through the crowds and surrender to the smell of the freshly baked bread stuffed with walnuts, olives, and other indulgent fillings. Dont miss on all the fish and seafood that have been brought straight from the sea. Plus, the Spanish cheese varieties and the world-famous Iberian ham will be available for a free tasting. But beware: one bite is never enough!
Mercato Central in Valencia, Spain
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General Sightseeing In Valencia
Visit Valencia Cathedral and El Miguelete
Valencias impressive cathedral is the most prominent landmark in the old town. Its origins go back to the 13th Century, but youll find an interesting mix of architecture added at various times in history, mostly between 13th 15th Centuries.
The Cathedrals interior is interesting too, and features a famous painting by Goya and a chalice known as the Santo Caliz, which is said to be the famous Holy Grail. Tickets to enter inside Valencia Cathedral cost 7 but you do get a discount with the Valencia Tourist Card.
The highlight for me was the climb up the 167 ft baroque bell tower known as El Miguelete. It costs 2 for a ticket, and isnt for the faint hearted as youll need to climb 207 steps to reach the top. The views are well worth it though, and along with Torres De Serranos, Id rate this as the place with best view in Valencia.
Explore Jardín del Turia
A lot of people recommended I visit the Turia Gardens during my trip to Valencia, and when I saw how vast they were, I could see that wouldnt be a problem! They stretch a whopping 9 km through the city, and include lots of areas of green space, sports pitches, footpaths and landscaped gardens.
If youre happy on two wheels, Id recommend going on a bike tour, or hiring a bike to explore the gardens. From palm trees and ponds to fountains, playgrounds and exquisite bridges, theres plenty to see!
Take your kids to Parque Gulliver
Check out Valencias street art
Feel The Thrills On A Jet Ski Ride
Bounce around the ocean as you zoom along Valencias coastline on a spine-tingling jet ski adventure. Ride tandem or solo, its your choice.
Hang on tight as you skim the waves, watching as the city skyline flashes by. Then stop for a swim to cool off along the way. Dont worry if its your first time full instruction is provided.
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Be Impressed By The Valencia Cathedral And Climb The Micalet Tower
The Metropolitan CathedralBasilica of the Assumption of Our Lady of Valencia, also known as Saint Marys Cathedral or simply Valencia Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic church.
It is an impressive building that spans a variety of architectural styles, including baroque, Romanesque and gothic.
Built on the site of a Roman temple, which later became a mosque, the origins of the cathedral date back to the 13th century.
One reason why many people visit the cathedral is because there is a chapel here in which the Holy Chalice, a cup made of ancient gemstone, can be found. Some believe this is the Holy Grail.
Next to the main entrance you will find a baroque style bell tower, the Torre del Micalet . This 13th-century bell tower takes its name from the main clock bell, el Micalet. 207 steps lead you up to a terrace area from where you have a lovely view over Valencia.
Valencia Cathedral admission: 7.00
The Cathedral links two of El Carmens most iconic plazas Plaza de la Reina and Plaza de la Virgen.
Both plazas are worth checking out and are good, albeit touristy, places for lunch or a drink. Dont order a paella here though because you will be disappointed. Instead, check out these places for the best paella in Valencia.
Attend An Opera Or Concert
Located in the old river bed of the Turia, you will find the Music Palace. The building was built specifically to promote culture, and it hosts concerts, operas, ballets and even educational activities.
The most distinguished features of this building is the glass enclosure that looks out on the Turia Gardens.
From there, you can watch the Turia fountains.
These fountains were designed to spout to the beat of the music plaid at the Music palace. More information at Palau Valencia.
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See The Water Court In Action
The Tribunal de las Aguas de la Vega is one of Valencias top UNESCO sites. Each Thursday, the court meets outside the ornate Door of Apostles to continue a 1000-year-old tradition.
Established to control water distribution for farming, the court still functions today. Discussions are carried out in the Valencian language and rulings cannot be appealed. Its quite a sight to behold!
Be Entertained At The Palau De Les Arts Reina Sofia
Check out the performance schedule for the Palau de Les Arts to see whats on during your visit. Whether you enjoy musicals, ballets, or flamenco, youll be in for a treat.
As with many of Valencias venues, the building itself is a work of art. The other-worldly design is packed with symbolism and looks rather like a floating ship.
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Santa Clarita Philharmonic Orchestra
Despite their relatively small sizes, Valencia and Santa Clarita are home to an amazingly well-rounded group of attractions.
The Santa Clarita Philharmonic Orchestra is a community-based organization that features musicians that range from professionals to students.
Its dedicated to providing residents of the area with high-quality musical and cultural opportunities that they probably wouldnt have access to otherwise. For visiting lovers of traditional music, its a great place to spend a few evening hours.
Its located less than a kilometer from Valencia. The staff offer a number of outreach and instructional programs throughout the year as well.
Spend An Afternoon At The Beach
There are several beaches within close proximity of Valencias city center you just need to decide which one to visit. La Malvarrosa Beach is considered one of the best beaches in Valencia. It sports a few restaurants and cafes along its edge and plenty of soft golden sand. For a city beach, it is one of the better ones youll find.
Connected to La Malvarrosa Beach is Las Arenas Beach, which tends to be a bit busier but is still blissfully undeveloped. Theres a promenade nearby if you want to find somewhere to eat or drink and it is easy to access the beach on foot or using public transport from the city center.
If you are willing to travel a bit further afield, there are lots of other beaches all around. It might take you a bit longer to get to these beaches, but it is always worth it. The sand is invariably powder soft and clean and there is plenty of space for everyone without it feeling crowded. El Saler, Patacona, and La Devesa are among the better known of Valencias beaches.
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See Europes Narrowest Building: La Estrecha
Only 107 cm wide, La Estrecha is the narrowest building in Europe and the second narrowest in the world.
While some argue that Europes narrowest building is actually in Amsterdam, I prefer not to be too pedantic and just enjoy this surprising cool spot that allows me to see an alternative Valencia.
Location: In the middle of Valencias city center, at Plaza Lope de Vega.
Indulge In A Glass Of Horchata At Mercado De Colon
Horchata is a refreshing local drink made with chufa aka tigernuts . It is sweet, nutritious, vegan-friendly, and the perfect pick-me-up after a long day of sightseeing.
On a hot summer afternoon, you can spot many locals sipping horchata on a terrace and its safe to say that this drink is a bit of a local obsession.
Horchata can be enjoyed in cafés, specialist horchaterias, as well as small stands around the Old Town. But my favorite place is Mercado de Colon, a magnificent iron and brick building.
In terms of relaxing things to do in Valencia, the modernist Mercado de Colon ticks all the boxes.
This lively gastro market is packed with cozy cafés, bars, elegant terraces, and fancy restaurants. At the lower level, you can still find a small fresh food market while the upper level hosts temporary craft fairs.
Here youll find Horchateria Daniel, one of the best in Valencia. Its also one of the few if not the only place where you can order your horchata with the sugar on the side.
For fine-dinning, stop by Habitual by Ricard Camarena .
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Spend A Day At Ciudad De Las Artes Y Las Ciencias
If you only have one day in the city and you’re wondering what to see in Valencia Spain in one day, I’d say the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias.
The Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, which translates as the city of arts and sciences is Valencias number one tourist attraction. It is also one of the 12 treasures of Spain, along with the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. So, yeah, its a pretty big deal.
The fun starts before youve even set foot inside the museum thanks to its incredible architecture. The futuristic building took nearly ten years to build and cost around 900 million euros three times the original budget! But, it is one of the biggest complexes of its kind in all of Europe and it makes for a spectacular day out so it was probably worth it in the end. It wont take you long to see why this is one of the best things to do in Valencia Spain.
The complex is divided into different buildings, each with its own theme. The centerpiece is known as LHemisfèric and is supposed to resemble a giant eye. It is surrounded by a pool of water and inside youll find an IMAX cinema, planetarium, and laserium. In essence, this is the visual part of the museum.
Next up you have The Príncipe Felipe Science Museum, which is housed within a building that resembles the skeleton of a whale. The museum covers a wide range of different areas, including human biology, space, and electricity.
Valencia On A Budget: The Valencia Tourist Card
If you have more than one or two days in the city and youre planning to visit A LOT of museums and monuments, consider purchasing a Valencia Tourist Card.
Apart from the unlimited use of public transportation and discounts on bike rental, restaurants, and tours, it offers free entrance to some museums such as The Silk Exchange and Fallas Museum or discount tickets to others like The City of Arts and Sciences .
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Chill Out In The Sun At Valencias Beaches
Valencia has miles upon miles of fine golden sand beaches surprisingly accessible from the city center.
The most popular urban beaches in Valencia are Playa de la Malvarrosa and Playa de Cabanyal . They are both wide stretches of sand and rarely feel crowded, which makes them perfect for getting a nice tan or going for a swim.
Along the palm tree-lined promenade youll find some really good paella restaurants as well as a street market . If youre in need of last-minute stuff like beach towels, swimsuits, or toys, this is the place to go.
The nearby port with all its posh yachts is my favorite and the clubs here are some of the best in Valencia. Whether you want to relax with a mojito on a terrace or dance the night away, it hardly gets any better.
Hot tip: The nearby Fabrica de Hielo is a hipster space in an old refurbished ice factory where you can have a drink and listen to live music. For a quick informal bite, go to Mercabanyal, an open-air gastro space. You really need to try the pizza with pumpkin from Sorsi e Morsi!