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Things to do in Valencia

Things to do in  Valencia

Welcome to Valencia

In trademark Spanish style, Valencia combines Moorish treasures and fabulous food with fiery flamenco, a gorgeous beach, and a museum scene to rival Madrid. Historic highlights come in the form of Torres de Serranos, Valencia Cathedral—home to an agate chalice, which some believe is the Holy Grail and the mummified arm of a saint—and the Silk Exchange (La Lonja de la Seda). First-time visitors can orientate themselves on a walking, bike, Segway, or hop-on hop-off bus tour, to see places such as Plaza de la Virgen, Bioparc Valencia, and the old town. As the birthplace of paella, Valencia offers no shortage of culinary opportunities, with food tours of every kind, including tapas, horchata, wine and—of course—paella, and cooking classes for those who want to get hands-on. Combine a sightseeing tour of Valencia’s historic center with a visit to Central Market (Mercado Central). In the City of the Arts and Sciences complex (Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias), buildings reminiscent of science-fiction movies house the Valencia Oceanografic (L’Oceanografic) and Valencia Hemisferic, home to an Imax cinema. Other Valencia must-dos include a flamenco show, a day trip to Albufera Natural Park, and a guided visit of the Lladró Museum, which must be booked in advance. Plus, with fast trains departing for Barcelona, Madrid, and major cities in Andalucia, Valencia serves at a great gateway to the rest of Spain.

Top 10 attractions in Valencia

#1
Serranos Towers (Torres de Serranos)

Serranos Towers (Torres de Serranos)

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The twin stone Serranos Towers (Torres de Serranos), built in the 14th century as Valencia’s main exit toward Barcelona and Northern Spain, are one of only two remaining portions of the original city walls. What once served as prison cells and a triumphal arch are now thought to be the largest Gothic city gateway in Europe.More
#2
Valencia City of the Arts & Sciences (Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias)

Valencia City of the Arts & Sciences (Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias)

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Situated along Valencia’s old Turia riverbed, the visually striking City of Arts and Sciences (Ciudad de las Artes y Ciencias) was the work of Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. The spectacular architecture is just part of the appeal of this futuristic complex though, which is also home to a science museum, planetarium, and more—all popular with families.More
#3
Turia Riverbed Gardens (Jardí del Túria)

Turia Riverbed Gardens (Jardí del Túria)

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Just beyond the borders of Valencia’s old town, bridges cross over a river’s canal. But you won’t find water flowing below those bridges – not anymore, that is -- and instead the Turia Riverbed Gardens (Jardí del Túria).Indeed, until 1957, the River Turia gushed through Valencia. But then a devastating flood prompted citizens to shift the river’s course, diverting the waterway just west of the city. Though this several-kilometer long swath of land was at one time destined for use as a motorway, it was ultimately turned into a garden, making it Spain’s largest urban getaway, and Valencia’s beloved green haven.Along its meandering course, you’ll find all sorts of park paradise. There are fountains and ponds, cafes and climbing walls, and loads of paths for walkers, runners and bikers. Kids will find their bliss at Gulliver Park, a giant playground inspired by its namesake children’s tale. Along the way, centuries-old bridges cross over the slithering greenery, just as they did when this channel filled with water.Perhaps the most famous of the Turia Riverbed Gardens’ sites is the City of Arts and Sciences, which sits at the eastern end of the park, near where the original river arrived at the Mediterranean Sea. Here’s where you’ll come upon a complex featuring a collection of buildings with futuristic architecture, and serving both educational and entertainment purposes. Among them are Europe’s largest Aquarium, and L'Hemisfèric, home to a planetarium, laserium and IMAX theater.More
#4
Albufera Natural Park (Parque Natural de la Albufera)

Albufera Natural Park (Parque Natural de la Albufera)

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Albufera, south of Valencia, is home to Spain’s largest lake and some of the country’s most scenic wetlands and lagoons. The park’s natural biodiversity features hundreds of native plants and 340 bird species, including rare and endangered ones. Locally grown rice is featured in many regional dishes, such as paella.More
#5
Valencia Central Market (Mercado Central de Valencia)

Valencia Central Market (Mercado Central de Valencia)

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A highlight of Valencia’s Old Town, the Valencia Central Market (Mercado Central, or Mercat Central in Valencian) is also one of the city’s quintessential culinary destinations. Built in 1928 and celebrated for its Art Nouveau architecture, the covered market is one of the largest in Europe, housing hundreds of fragrant food stalls.More
#6
Valencia Cathedral (Seu)

Valencia Cathedral (Seu)

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Known for its jumble of architectural styles, Valencia Cathedral (also known as the "Seu") is also famous worldwide as the home of the Holy Chalice. While the cathedral’s dome and tower are Gothic, the main entrance is Baroque and some of the chapels date from the Renaissance.Take a tour to learn more about the cathedral’s architectural history and treasures, or just pop in to pay your respects to the Holy Grail in the flamboyant Capilla del Santo Caliz near the main entrance. It’s claimed to be the chalice from the Last Supper.The de Borja chapel boasts some lovely frescoes by Goya and the museum reveals a rich collection of vestments and statues.More
#7
Silk Exchange (La Lonja de la Seda)

Silk Exchange (La Lonja de la Seda)

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One of Valencia’s best-known landmarks, the Silk Exchange (La Lonja de la Seda) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a symbol of the city. Built in the 15th and 16th centuries as a hub for the city’s silk and commodities traders, the exchange is a marvel of Gothic architecture.More
#8
Barrio del Carmen

Barrio del Carmen

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Situated in the ciutat vella, or old town, Valencia’s Barrio del Carmen is in many ways where you’ll encounter the soul of the Spanish coastal city. Once sandwiched between the 11th-century Muslim wall and the 14th-century Christian one, it’s a neighborhood packed with history, dating back over 1,000 years.You can still see remnants of its distant past among El Carmen’s streets. The most impressive of these sights certainly includes the medieval towers, Torres de Quart and Torres de Serrano, both of which once belonged to the now-destroyed Christian wall. Then there’s the Portal de Valldigna (located on the street of the same name) that once served as the gate through the former Muslim wall to the Moorish and Jewish quarter. And the past also lives on in the district’s name, derived from the 13th-century Convent of Carmen, which is now a museum dedicated to the 19th century.These days, El Carmen is hardly just about the past, though, as this barrio makes up arguably the most hip, trendy and bohemian in town. It’s home to a diverse population of people, and of course the mix of establishments that they frequent. As such, expect to find a healthy concentration of eclectic restaurants, shops, and especially bars since El Carmen is quite noted for its nightlife. The neighborhood is also blanketed by street art, ranging from colorful graffiti to wood installations, and message-filled murals that cover the sides of entire buildings.More
#9
Plaza de la Reina

Plaza de la Reina

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Plaza de la Reina isn’t particularly old: it dates back to only 1878, when a triangular block of buildings was destroyed to make room for a large main square. Now the plaza – considered the city’s Kilometer 0 -- fills with cars, flower beds and pedestrians, and is lined by a host of cafes and outdoor terrazas (seating areas). In fact, this is where you’ll find one of the city’s oldest restaurants, Horchatería Santa Catalina, the ideal place to try Valencia’s signature beverage, the nutty-flavored and refreshing horchata.Perhaps more intriguing than the actual plaza itself are the sites that surround it, most notable of which is surely the Valencia Cathedral. Built on the site of a former mosque, the 13th-century church is a mixture of architectural styles, but predominantly Gothic. What makes the basilica particularly special, though, is that many believe it to be the most plausible home of the Holy Grail.A few other sites also skirt Plaza de la Reina, including the neighboring Plaza de Santa Catalina and its small church of the same name. Then, just a few steps farther away, you’ll find the Plaza Redonda, a circular-shaped plaza that usually fills with kiosks, and even a Sunday market.More
#10
Institut Valencià d'Art Modern (IVAM)

Institut Valencià d'Art Modern (IVAM)

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Contemporary international and Spanish art are showcased at Valencia’s renowned Institut Valencià d'Art Modern (IVAM).Educational courses, workshops and concerts accompany the gallery’s permanent collection, and temporary exhibits are also displayed here.The Centre Julio Gonzalez houses the exhibitions, while the underground Sala de la Muralla hosts temporary shows and highlights the medieval ramparts unearthed during the building’s construction. Central to the collection is the gallery’s display of sculptures and drawings by Miguel Navarro.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 1 Day in Valencia

How to Spend 1 Day in Valencia

How to Spend 2 Days in Valencia

How to Spend 2 Days in Valencia

How to Spend 3 Days in Valencia

How to Spend 3 Days in Valencia

Recent reviews from experiences in Valencia

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History Lesson
Mark_M, Sep 2020
Private City Kickstart Tour: Valencia
He took the time to answer all of our questions, sometimes in both English and Spanish, and even recommended places we could try Valencia’s signature cuisine.
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excellent walking tour
salvatore gioac... v, Dec 2019
Essentials of Valencia and its World Heritage sites
Anais was an excellent guide and she even adapted the tour to allow the group to see a special event that was going on that day: the "Tribunal de las aguas".
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Excellent guide
ldavey2012, Sep 2019
All of Valencia Private Bike Tour
This was a perfect way to see Valencia.
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The best wine tour I've ever been on!
hisarai24, Aug 2019
Private Wine Tour with Wine Tasting and Full Lunch
I learned so much about wine and it was amazing to see how the beautiful wine I tried was made.
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Amazing valencia
GabbiSoyer, Jun 2019
Valencia City of Arts & Sciences Tour with Rooftop Wine Tasting and Tapas
The views were amazing and to see the sunset was spectacular .
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Great way to see the city
Manisha J, Oct 2018
Grand Valencia Segway Tour
The Segway tour was so much fun We had a very short time in Valencia hence this was the perfect way to see the main sites in one morning Miriam was lovely and very knowledgeable A must do when visiting Valencia
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We were almost ready to skip...
loislfu, Jun 2017
Valencia Private Walking Tour
Not only did she give us terrific insight into the history of Valencia, she helped us find and book a new hotel and gave us great tips on what to do, where to eat, and how to enjoy the city.
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Very nice tour. Quick as Valencia...
alex, Nov 2017
Valencia Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
Quick as Valencia is not that big but a great start to visiting this beautiful city.
star-5
We had an incredible time and I...
Zoltan S, May 2017
Valencia City of Arts & Sciences Tour with Rooftop Wine Tasting and Tapas
We had an incredible time and I would highly recommend this tour to anyone who would like to see Valencia from a different perspective.
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My friend and I loved this...
Megan G, Apr 2017
Authentic Valencian Paella Cooking Class
It was so nice to get out of the city to see the orange fields and cook pallea.
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First off we want to say we found...
Harold M, Jul 2013
Valencia Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
First off we want to say we found Valencia a very interesting city not only because of the history but the many other attractions in the city.
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The park and opera house
Sam_B, Mar 2020
E-Bike Grand Valencia Private Tour
This is recommended if you want to see the palace of arts along with some gems that may go unnoticed if you were to view the city sans tour.
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Gastro, history & Cuiture
V4980ONdavidt, Sep 2019
The 10 Tastings of Valencia With Locals: Private Food Tour
Great guide Josephine - although local she was born in Wales & speaks good English.
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Fantastic experience!
fd172019, Jul 2019
Valencian Paella cooking class, Tapas and Market Visit
I really enjoyed that it was in the Ruzafa area - so you get to see a totally different area.
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A MUST TOUR when in Valencia!
8surf, Jun 2019
Private City Kickstart Tour: Valencia
MARCO is so informative, knowledgeable, friendly and communicates in English to perfection.
star-5
FAR more wonderful than the humble description
Stephanie P, May 2019
Valencia Shore Excursion: Highlights Tour, Tapas & Wine in 11th Century Monument
The city of arts and sciences is quite spectacular to see as well, and the highest point (literally and figuratively) of this tour was the absolute tapas FEAST that is served to you in the rooftop penthouse of an apartment across the street from the
star-5
Excellent introduction to Valencia
andrewhK3454NA, Dec 2018
Valencia Private Walking Tour with Official Valencian Tourist Guide
Sonia spoke excellent English and I would recommend this tour as a start to your visit to the city as you can miss so much with out the information given.
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This was a highlight of our trip to...
Lynn T, Aug 2017
Authentic Valencian Paella Cooking Class
Our translator/driver spoke English very well, and provided much information about the area as we drove to the home.
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My partner and I enjoyed Valencia so...
Brandon C, Jun 2017
Architecture and History Tour of Valencia
He also gave us some excellent suggestions on other areas to visit while we were in town that we certainly did.
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Elena was a very knowledgeable tour...
Gurmeet S, Mar 2018
Valencia Private Walking Tour
The walking tour was very interesting specially since we were there during the festival of FALLAS!!

All about Valencia

When to visit

Valencia’s Mediterranean climate means it’s warm enough for the beach even in spring, with the added benefits of fewer crowds and cheaper hotels. Travelers visiting close to Easter should look for the Holy Week (Semana Santa) processions, which are part of the city’s unique maritime-themed celebrations that pair religious pomp with fishing-village culture.

Frequently Asked Questions