Valencia is a beautiful port city on Spain’s southeastern coast and the third-largest city in Spain. Romans founded Valencia in 138 BC. While this city may not have as many ancient treasures as Seville or Grenada, remnants of its Roman history can be seen behind the cathedral and in the museum. There are plenty of things to do in Valencia, which was recently selected as the World Design Capital 2022 for its incredible architecture and design for public buildings and infrastructure.
For the best examples of the city’s architecture, head to the City of Arts and Sciences for stunning buildings surrounded by a tranquil park. For those interested in religious history, Valencia is recognised by the Vatican as the city where the Holy Grail lies. The infamous cup is housed in the cathedral and has been used in ceremonies by the papacy.
Valencia is an ideal city break location for foodies. The city is the home of paella, and it is served using various ingredients across the city’s restaurants and markets. The dish dates back to the Moorish rule of the 10th century. As the city is well placed to grow rice and a variety of vegetables, paella soon became a staple for the community. Traditional Valencian paella consists of a rice base with chicken and rabbit, flavoured with sweet paprika and saffron. Vegetables such as broad beans are also added to the mix. Valencia is also the home of many delicious sweet treats, drinks and pastries. The best places to try all the foodie delights offered by the city are its markets. Keen to go? Here are the best things to do in Valencia.
- Valencia, Spain
- Top Tours
- 20 Things To Do In Valencia
- 1- Go On A Historical Walking Tour
- 2- Learn To Cook Traditional Paella
- 3- Explore The City of the Arts and Sciences
- 4- See The Marinelife At L’Oceanografic
- 5- Learn About Silk At La Lonja de la Seda
- 6- See The Holy Grail In Valencia Cathedral
- 7- Admire The View From Torre del Micalet
- 8- Walk Through History In Barrio del Carmen
- 9- Explore Jardin del Turia
- 10- Shop And Eat At Mercat Central
- 11- Soak Up The Sun On Malvarrosa Beach
- 12- See The Frescoes At San Nicolas Church
- 13- Climb Serranos Towers
- 14- Wander Around Bioparc Valencia
- 15- Soak Up The Vibe At Plaza de la Virgen
- 16- Try Horcata And Farton
- 17- Grab A Bite At Mercado de Colón
- 18- See Plaza de Toros de Valencia
- 19- Catch A Game At Mestalla Stadium
- 20- Relax In Jardines del Real o Viveros
Looking for a quick pick of the most popular tours? Check out these:
- World Heritage Sites Walking Tour – explore historic gems.
- Traditional Paella Cooking Class and Dinner – learn to cook the traditional way.
- City of Arts & Sciences Tour with Rooftop Wine & Tapas – explore a contemporary marvel.
- Valencia: Oceanogràfic Entry Ticket – one of the most popular attractions.
- Valencia: 24, 48, or 72-Hour Valencia Tourist Card – see the sights at your own pace.
20 Things To Do In Valencia
1- Go On A Historical Walking Tour
One of the best things to do when arriving in any new city is to explore on foot and join a historical walking tour to get the most out of your first foray in Valencia.
Your knowledgeable guide will take you around the city, identifying some of the most important sites and landmarks like the beautiful Valencia North train station and central market.
You’ll learn the secrets of the Old Town and after discovering a range of must-visit destinations with your guide, you can explore them independently.
Check out this World Heritage Sites walking tour.
2- Learn To Cook Traditional Paella
Valencia is the home of paella and was originally a dish cooked over a wood fire for farm labourers.
What better way to immerse yourself in the paella-making history of Valencia than by trying it yourself?
Learn the secrets of making the perfect paella with the help of a knowledgeable local chef.
During your class, you will discover how to select the ideal produce for your paella and transform the ingredients into a delicious dish.
The best part about joining a cooking class is you will get to enjoy the paella you have produced and dine on a specially-made starter and dessert course washed down with sangria.
The Traditional Paella Cooking Class meets at Carrer del Músic Peydró, 3, 46001, Valencia.
3- Explore The City of the Arts and Sciences
The City of Arts and Sciences is an architectural masterpiece in Valencia and one of the 12 treasures of Spain.
The complex is formed from several buildings, pathways, ponds and outdoor spaces.
L’Hemisfèric was designed to resemble an eye and is the home of an IMAX cinema and planetarium.
Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe is the complex’s science museum and was designed to look like the skeleton of a whale.
L’Umbracle is an open arched structure covering the carpark below housing a garden that is planted with species indigenous to the area.
Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía is the complex’s opera house and is surrounded by water features.
The final building in the complex is L’Oceanogràfic, an open-air aquarium. This is a very popular attraction, so you’ll want to book your tickets online to skip the line.
Take some time to explore the complex before venturing inside some of the buildings to uncover more about the arts and sciences.
City of the Arts and Sciences is at Ciudad de la rAtes y de las Ciencias, Av. del Professor López Piñero, 7, 46013, Valencia. You may like to explore with a guide on the City of Arts & Sciences Tour with Rooftop Wine & Tapas.
4- See The Marinelife At L’Oceanografic
L’Oceanografic is located inside the City of Arts and Sciences. Félix Candela designed the main building to resemble a water lily.
This aquarium is the largest in Europe and houses 42 million litres of water.
The aquarium is divided into several aquatic habitats to ensure that marine life is happy in the wetlands, Antarctic and Arctic areas, and tropical waters.
Spend some time exploring the aquarium and learn about its many species.
You will find calming jellyfish tanks, aviaries with ponds filled with colourful fish and turtles, and even a specially chilled spacious tank for the aquarium’s beluga whales.
L’Oceanografic is at Carrer d’Eduardo Primo Yúfera, 1B, 46013, Valencia. Skip the line and reserve your tickets here.
5- Learn About Silk At La Lonja de la Seda
La Lonja de la Seda is the silk exchange of Valencia and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The city council had La Lonja de la Seda built in 1483 to encourage the silk trade to flourish within the city.
The silk exchange is an excellent example of carefully preserved gothic architecture within Valencia.
The main trading hall’s ceiling is vaulted with spiralled columns and ornate candelabras.
Throughout the building are more examples of its gothic nature.
From the gargoyles looking out over the rooftops to the ornamental frames of the doors and windows, there are many intricate details waiting to be uncovered.
La Lonja de la Seda is at Carrer de la Llotja, 2, 46001, Valencia. Save money with a 24, 48, or 72-Hour Valencia Tourist Card that gets you access to many of the city’s attractions.
6- See The Holy Grail In Valencia Cathedral
One of the most impressive historical buildings to visit in Valencia is its cathedral, which has a unique history that dates back to Roman times.
The cathedral is built on the ruins of an ancient Roman temple that was then converted into a mosque.
It stands today is Gothic in style, with elements of both Romanesque and Baroque architecture included.
Inside the cathedral are many important historical paintings and religious treasures.
The most significant religious treasure in Christianity, the Holy Grail, is believed to be housed at the cathedral.
The cup, formed from a polished agate, is recognised as the Holy Grail by the Vatican, with two former Popes using the cup in religious ceremonies.
Valencia Cathedral is at Pl. de l’Almoina, s/n, 46003, Valencia. Save money with a 24, 48 or 72-Hour Valencia Tourist Card that will give you access to many of the city’s attractions.
7- Admire The View From Torre del Micalet
For some of the best views across Valencia, climb Torre del Micalet, the bell tower of Valencia Cathedral.
Andrés Juliá built the tower in the late 14th century, with construction ending in 1424.
The 50.85m (166.83ft) high tower is accessed through the cathedral and up 207 steps.
The staircase is spiral and, in some places, narrow and steep, however, there are small areas where you can move to one side to catch your breath.
From the top, the central platform offers 360-degree views of the city and its architecture.
On match days, you can even hear the crowds from Mestalla and see the scoreboard!
Torre del Micalet Is at Pça. De la Reina, s/n, 46001, Valencia.
8- Walk Through History In Barrio del Carmen
Barrio del Carmen is a great place to explore on foot.
The district is packed with thousands of years of history, reflected in its architecture and structure.
Within the district are ruins of the old 11th-century Arab wall and further remnants of Valencia’s history can be found at Portal de la Valldigna, the ancient entrance to the Moorish quarter.
Both Lonja de la Seda and Mercat Central are within Barrio del Carmen, so visit both to round off your time in the district.
9- Explore Jardin del Turia
Jardin del Turia is the largest in Valencia and one of the largest public parks in Spain.
The garden follows the old bed of the Turia River before its course was diverted and packed with various things to do in Valencia.
There are numerous tennis courts, skate parks, playgrounds and outdoor physical equipment.
If you are visiting Valencia with children, visit Gulliver Park, which features a giant model of Gulliver that can be climbed.
Plenty of beautiful trees offer welcoming shade, streams and water features, and beautiful and colourful flowerbeds.
Jardin del Turia is the perfect place to explore after visiting Bioparc, at the upper end of the gardens, or the City of Arts and Sciences towards the lower end.
Jardin del Turia is at San Pío V, y San Pío V, y Paseos de la Ciudadela y de la Alameda, C. del Pintor López, 46003 Valencia. A 3 Parks Green Segway Tour will get you around the gardens.
Recommended tour: Palosanto Flamenco Show (ticket and drink)
10- Shop And Eat At Mercat Central
Mercat Central is the largest fresh produce market in Europe and cannot be missed during your time in Valencia.
The market dates back to the early 1900s and is an excellent example of Art Nouveau architecture.
The building features brightly coloured tiles and ornate stained glass windows.
Inside are more than 1200 stalls, selling everything from fresh seafood and meats to colourful vegetables, fruits and spices.
Ready-to-eat food is also served here. Try tapas at the market’s traditional bar or purchase sandwiches and pastries to go.
The centre of the market is an open space below a brightly coloured stained glass roof.
This area at Christmas features a large nativity scene.
Mercat Central is at Plaça de la Ciutat de Bruges, s/n, 46001, Valencia.
11- Soak Up The Sun On Malvarrosa Beach
A Spanish coastal and port town trip would not be complete without spending time by the beach.
In Valencia, Malvarrosa is the most popular beach in Valencia for both tourists and locals.
The golden-sand beach is 1 km (0.62 miles) long and has a pleasant boardwalk with plenty of shops and restaurants.
Sections of the beach offer rental of sun loungers and umbrellas.
The sea here is shallow and pleasant to swim in, with lifeguards present during summer, or rent paddleboards here.
Malvarrosa Beach is at Passeig de Neptú, 34, 46011, Valencia.
12- See The Frescoes At San Nicolas Church
San Nicolas is a must-visit church in Valencia, originally built in 1238 and significantly remodelled during the early to mid-1400s.
This Gothic renovation included vaulted ceilings.
During the late 1600s, the church was ornately decorated internally with frescos to depict the life of San Pedro Mártir and San Nicolás de Bari.
These paintings are ornately finished with gold. Antonio Palomino designed the fresco, with his pupil Dionis Vidal completing the works of art.
Take some time to wander through the church to marvel at its artworks, which have given the church the name of the Sistine Chapel of Valencia. Visit San Nicolas on this tour and enjoy wine and tapas.
13- Climb Serranos Towers
San Nicolas Church is at C/ dels Cavallers, 35, 46001, Valencia.
Serranos Towers are an impressive gateway leading into the city.
Pere Balaguer oversaw the construction of the towers in 1392.
Originally built as part of the city wall defences and later a prison, the towers now serve as a unique way to enter the city on foot.
The towers are octagonal in shape and are finished with elegant brickwork.
When the city walls of Valencia were destroyed, the towers were saved.
It is possible to climb to the tops of the towers, which offer some excellent views over the city and the river.
Serranos Towers is at Plaça dels Furs, s/n, 46003, Valencia.
14- Wander Around Bioparc Valencia
A visit to Bioparc Valencia at the upper end of Jardin del Turia is a great thing to do with children.
Bioparc is divided into habitats carefully designed to represent the natural landscapes its animals come from.
Explore Madagascar, wetlands and even the Savannah.
There are many animals to observe and learn about at Biopark, including elephants, rhinos and lemurs.
Bioparc aims to educate visitors through its unique zoo-immersion style about conservation and how individuals can positively impact the world around them.
Bioparc Valencia is at Av. Pío Baraja, 3, 46015, Valencia. Save your legs and explore the park on a Segway tour.
15- Soak Up The Vibe At Plaza de la Virgen
Plaza de la Virgen is a pleasant square close to the city’s centre.
The cathedral is part of the square, with La Lonja de la Seda and Mercat Central a short walk away.
In the centre of the square is la Fuente del Turia, a spectacular fountain depicting the Turia River. In the centre of the fountain is a large bronze statue of Neptune.
Take some time to explore the plaza.
Several bars and cafes surround the plaza to call into or wander around this quieter section of the city and enjoy its architecture.
Plaza de la Virgen is at Plaça de la Verge, 4, 46001, Valencia.
16- Try Horcata And Farton
Horchata is a typical Valencian drink made from tiger nuts. This drink is cool and refreshing and is served at many cafes and stalls throughout the city.
The best horchata is served at Horchatería Santa Catalina.
This beautiful and traditional cafe is off Plaça de la Reina, a beautiful square and green space close to the cathedral.
The doorway is small and unimposing but is colourfully decorated with patterned tiles and a large Art Deco-style sign.
Order a glass of horchata and a farton, a sweet and light pastry that pairs perfectly with the drink.
Horchatería Santa Catalina is at Plaça de Santa Caterina, 6, 46001, Valencia.
17- Grab A Bite At Mercado de Colón
Francisco Berenguer designed Mercado de Colón in the early 20th century. The market is Art Nouveau in style and is a National Monument in Spain.
The market is entered through an impressive stone facade and, throughout, it is colourfully decorated with patterned tiles.
The market is packed with bars and restaurants serving delicious Spanish and Valencian dishes.
Head to Daniel for the best horchata in the market, or grab a bite at Habitual or Ma Khin Café.
There are plenty of shops within the market too, from florists and wine shops to clothing and homeware.
Mercado de Colón is at Carrer de Jorge Juan, 19, 46004, Valencia. What about joining a tuk-tuk tour around the city?
18- See Plaza de Toros de Valencia
Plaza de Toros de Valencia is the city’s neoclassically designed bullring inspired by the architecture of the Colosseum in Rome.
While the sport of bullfighting is a controversial topic, a visit to the bullring and its museum is an interesting thing to do in Valencia.
The museum shows the evolution of bullfighting in Valencia from its first days in the 18th century and is filled with interactive exhibits and displays of clothing, tickets and other items from the sport.
The bullring is also used for opera and theatrical performances and for screening important sporting events.
Plaza de Toros de Valencia is at C/ de Xàtiva, 28, 46004, Valencia. See the highlights of the city on a guided bike tour.
19- Catch A Game At Mestalla Stadium
Mestalla Stadium is the home of Valencia’s La Liga football team, Valencia Club de Fútbol.
The stadium can seat 48,600 spectators and is impressive in its internal design.
Outside, the stadium is mostly black and orange, with apartments, shops and restaurants built around it.
Inside the stadium has the steepest stands of any football club in Europe, which on match days, creates an incredibly noisy and imposing atmosphere from the home fans.
Enjoy the festivities if you can secure tickets to a home game during your stay.
Before the game, fans usually head to local cafes and bars for a drink and a bite to eat, and food stalls and those selling scarves, shirts and other memorabilia surround the stadium.
If you can’t see a game, a tour that will take you through the stadium, including its VIP areas, press rooms, and the home dressing room, is worth booking.
Mestalla Stadium is at Av. de Suècia, s/n, 46010, Valencia.
20- Relax In Jardines del Real o Viveros
Jardines del Real o Viveros is another must-visit outdoor space in Valencia and visiting is a great thing to do when in the city.
The gardens were once part of the royal palace. Its origins begin in the 11th century when the palace and its grounds were used by Valencian royalty.
Today, the gardens are filled with impressive trees and flowers.
Jardines del Real o Viveros has been designed to incorporate the four seasons and has marble statues of gods associated with the seasons.
Jacobo Ponazanelli created the statues of Venus, Diana, Apollo and Cronos.
Take time to explore the gardens at a leisurely pace. There are plenty of benches with excellent views and many unique plants to discover.
Jardines del Real o Viveros is at Carrer de Cavanilles, 1, 46010, Valencia.
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