Valencia is the 3rd biggest city in Spain and a popular place to both live in and visit. There are many universities, shops, trendy neighbourhoods and even a massive sandy beach! So is Valencia worth it? I’d say it’s an amazing city and well worth a visit if you get the chance! I lived there for a few months in 2014 and as I recently re-visited, I thought I’d share with you what I think are the most important things to see in this city! Here we go:
1.Explore the City of Arts and Sciences
Probably the most unique and famous attraction in Valencia are the amazing buildings, museums, galleries, and events halls forming the city of arts and sciences. Situated inside the Turia River bed which is a now a very long park in Valencia. There’s really something for everyone here, a concert hall often playing famous musucians, an aquarium with killer whales and dolphins, a giant science museum with many hands on attractions and an art gallery, oh and I even forgot the planetarium!
2. Cycle Along Turia River Park
Well it turns out that this river isn’t even a river at all! The Turia river park used to be a big river running right through the city but it hasn’t had water in it for hundreds of years now. The locals started planting trees there after it had run dry and eventually it became a park. It’s very unique as it runs right down the city to the port and one of the longest parks in the world! It’s a great place to go for a walk, cycle, run or simply relax. You can find exotic trees, play areas and fitness aparatus in the park so you’ll never get bored!
3. Take a day trip to Albufera Natural Park
Just a 20 minute drive or a 40 min bus ride from the city centre, you can find yourself in very different surroundings. You can also cycle to Albufera in 1/1.5 hours, it’s a flat ride, mostly along the coast so it’s really beautiful! Peaceful countryside with a giant calm, flat lake full of nature and animals in Albufera national park. A very small village nearby with some of the best paella in the country, this is where paella originates from. I’d recommdend you spend the day in Albufera, starting with a boat ride and tour along the lake (you can find many signs for boat rides on your way to El Palmar) then enjoy a short walk in the countryside and some delicious lunch in one of the restaurants in the village of El Palmar. We ate in Bon aire which had a great menu del dia with so much food, it was recommended to us by a local so we trusted it 😉
4. Climb the steps of the Miguelete Tower
In the Valencia Cathedral you will find the famous Miguelete tower which you can ascend for just 2€ and enjoy some beautiful views of the city. If you’re scared of heights maybe this one is not for you as there’s about 200 narrow winding stone steps to get up to the top. But once you’re there it’s really worth the view! We could have stayed there for hours watching the people living their lives down in the streets below.
5. Feel festive in the Las Fallas museum
If you’re lucky enough to be in Valencia when Fallas festival is going on, then you should definitely give it a visit. Maybe you won’t have a choice as it’s all over the city and the streets are full of fire crackers and general parties! Las Fallas festival is basically an event where the whole city creates beautiful papier mache sculptures for each neighbourhood gets very drunk and then burns them down after 3 days. This is supposed to burn away all their sins and bad spirits. Each year the best one in the town is kept and put into a museum. This is what you can find in the Fallas museum, the most beautiful sculptures carved from papier mache!
6. Valencia Central Market
Valencia’s Central Market was completed in 1928 and it’s one of the largest food markets in Spain. There are almost 1000 stalls inside and it’s around 8000 square metres. If you don’t feel like buying food here, you can also enjoy a coffee, tapas or beer inside in one of the stalls and enjoy the lively atmosphere!
7. Drink Cocktails in Russafa
Russafa is a neighbourhood in Valencia just south of the old town, it’s becoming really popular among young people due to it’s trendy bars vibes and young nightlife. There are so many bars and restaurants around here it will be hard to decide! Try this Mexican Restaurant La Mezcaleria which has amazing tacos or this quirky cafe Urbik which often has live music!
8. Try Agua de Valencia
Agua de Valencia is orange juice mixed with a lot of alcohol. Valencia is famous for it’s organges, the orange season is during the winter months which is when this drink will taste best. You can try it in most bars in the city and they will often give you a whole jar of it! So it’s best to share and relax for a while or you might feel a bit woozy 😉 Agua de Valencia is a really refreshing drink to enjoy after a long day walking around the city.
9. Drink Horchatta and Eat Fartons in a Cafe
This is another famous drink from Valencia which is probably enjoyed more during the winter months as it’s a hot drink made from almond milk and rice. There’s a place on the corner of Plaza de la Reina called Horchateria Santa Catalina which is really traditional but with cheap prices and amazing Horchata! Make sure you try it!
10. Stroll Around El carmen and Plaza del Virgen
The centre old town in Valencia is really beautiful. You can walk around there and enjoy the different architecture including the cathedral in Plaza del Virgen, or check out both of the old city gates which used to be the only 2 entrances into the old town. From the Torres del Quart (Old gate tower) you can still see the old cannon ball shots! El Carmen is a great place to enjoy lunch or try your Agua de Valencia on a terrace.
Have you ever been to Valencia? What’s your favourite thing to do here?
You might also want to read: