Top 10 Things to Do in Valencia, Spain

In addition to Barcelona, Valencia is another beautiful city along Spain’s coast that Kevin and I recommend adding to your bucket list.  Valencia is located on the southern coast of Spain where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Turia River, about three hours south of Barcelona. Since Valencia is only three hours from Barcelona, it is a wonderful day trip destination and/or a great place to stop if you are traveling from Barcelona to Madrid. Although Valencia is less of a tourist destination than both Barcelona and Madrid, there is still so much to do and see in this wonderful city.  Both tourists and locals spend time laying on the white sandy beaches, taking in the city’s history, exploring the local wetlands reserve and so much more.  Below are our top 10 recommendations for exploring Valencia, Spain!

1. Visit Valencia Cathedral

Planning to visit only one cathedral while exploring Valencia, Spain?  Then look no further than Valencia Cathedral!  Located in Old Town Valencia, Valencia Cathedral is hard to miss.  This cathedral sits between two of the city’s most iconic plazas, Plaza del Reina and Plaza del Virgen.  Both plazas are commonly filled with tourists and locals enjoying the beautiful weather, wonderful eateries, and spectacular views.   

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Beautiful view of Valencia Cathedral from Plaza del Virgen.

What makes Valencia Cathedral so special?  The cathedral was built in the 13th Century on the site of the Roman Temple and Mosque.  Additionally, Valencia Cathedral is famous for being the home of the Holy Grail.  

Visiting Valencia Cathedral does cost 7.00 euros per person. This fee grants visitors access to the cathedral as well as provides guests with a digital audio guide.

Protip:  Entrance to Valencia Cathedral can only be paid in euros.  The cathedral does not accept credit cards or any other form of currency.  If you purchase the Valencia Tourist Card in advance you will receive a discount off the 7.00 euro entrance fee.  Additionally, the digital audio guides come in a variety of different languages including Spanish, English, French, German, Italian, and Chinese.  

2. Explore Valencia by Boat

Since Valencia is located on the coast of Spain, there are a number of sailing and boat tours offered here.  Each tour is somewhat different, however, most offer cocktails and wine while educating passengers about the seas as well as the beautiful city of Valencia.  Tours range in price from $85 to $400 with the average price being about $150 per person. 

Unfortunately, Kevin and I were only in Valencia for a few hours and were unable to explore the city by boat, though we have heard great things about these tours!

3. Visit the famous Plaza de Toros

Disclaimer: Though Kevin and I do not condone and/or agree with bullfighting, we agreed that the arena was something we wanted to see while visiting Valencia.  

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Though there was not a bullfight or event in Plaza de Toro when Kevin and I were in town, we enjoyed visiting the historic arena and seeing it from the outside.

Plaza de Toros, built between 1850 and 1859 by Sebastian Monleon Estelles, is a neoclassical building resembling the architecture similar to Rome’s famous Colosseum.  Inside, the arena can hold up to 10,500 spectators safely while also offering a comprehensive Bullfighting Museum for those interested in the history of both the sport and the arena.  

Due to some of the greatest bullfights in history taking place in this very arena, Plaza de Toros is now home to the bullfighting season kick-off every year.  Every March, the city holds its biggest and most flamboyant party of the year to celebrate one of Spain’s most famous pastimes.  As for bullfighting, the season consists of 25 bullfights per year from March until July.  If this is something you are interested in, we recommend visiting Valencia during these months!

4. Explore Old Town Valencia

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Kevin and I enjoyed wandering around the streets of Old Town Valencia. The architecture and natural beauty of this area is truly breathtaking.

Old Town Valencia is a MUST see if you are in the area.  Kevin and I loved exploring the streets of Old Town Valencia and taking in all the wonderful sites.  Old Town Valencia is full of the city’s historic sites and must-see monuments such as Valencia Cathedral (mentioned above),  Valencia Central Market, the Silk Exchange, Valencia City Hall, Valencia Basilica, Santa Catalina Tower, and so much more!

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Kevin and I enjoyed an amazing gelato while exploring Old Town Valencia.

5. Eat at Casa Montana

Though Valencia has a number of wonderful restaurants and eateries, Casa Montana was one of our favorites!  Casa Montana, hidden along the backstreets of a rather uninviting area, resembles a typical 1830’s tavern while offering some of the most delicious tapas and wine Kevin and I have ever tasted.  In addition to the food and wine being fantastic, the service at Casa Montana was excellent and very attentive. 

We definitely recommend heading here for lunch or dinner if you have the time!

6. Visit and Explore The City of Arts and Sciences

This is hands down a MUST do!  The City of Arts and Sciences is easily one of Valencia’s most iconic tourist attractions.  Located on what used to be the Turia River, The City of Arts and Sciences is comprised of six different buildings.  These six areas include the Opera House and Performing Arts Center, Imax Cinema, Garden/Walkway, Science Museum, Open-Air Aquarium, and the Planetarium and Laserium.  

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In addition to the variety of things to do and see within The City of Arts and Sciences, many come for the modern architecture.  From an aerial view, the entire center was constructed to resemble marine life.  For example, the iMax Cinema resembles an eye and the Museum of Science resembles a whale skeleton. 

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Protip:  Though it is hard to believe, The City of Arts and Sciences is free for everyone.

How to plan your day at The City of Arts and Sciences. For those of you hoping to visit and the Open-Air Aquarium, be aware that this museum usually takes on average about four hours to complete.  For those of you wanting to visit and complete the Science Museum, make sure to set aside about three hours.  As for the Imax Cinema, each session usually lasts about 45-50 minutes.  

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Protip:  For those wanting to visit and view the museums and exhibits there is a fee depending on what you choose to see.

If you are not interested in the exhibits and/or museums, Kevin and I still recommend visiting and seeing the amazing architecture.  

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7. Watch the Sunrise from a Hot Air Balloon

We have heard wonderful things about seeing Valencia this way.  There are a number of Hot Air Balloon flights offered. Each flight offered differs based on what you are looking for.  For example, they offer personal balloon flights, family/group flights, balloon and village house flights, and “birthday in a balloon” flights.  These flights range from 180.00 euros to 215.00 euros per person depending on the flight you choose.  

These flights typically take about six hours and they include coffee, your inflight experience, and a traditional breakfast for each passenger.

8. Visit Port Saplaya

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Port Saplaya, also known as “Little Venice,” was one of our favorite Spanish coastal towns!

Before or after visiting Valencia make sure to stop at Port Saplaya located just north of the city center.  Port Saplaya is a colorful fishing village commonly known as Valencia’s,  “Little Venice.”  This small town is known for its colorful homes, quaint streets, wonderful eateries, and beautiful beaches.  

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Enjoyed breakfast with a view in Port Saplaya before heading into Valencia for the day.

Many tourists and locals spend their mornings wandering around the marina walking their dogs and enjoying the views.  The great part about Port Saplaya is the lack of crowds.  It seems as though every idyllic town is commonly crowded with tourists, however, this is not the case for Port Saplaya.  While visiting Port Saplaya, you’ll truly feel as though you are eating among the locals.  

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9. Wander around The Central Market of Valencia

The Central Market of Valencia is one of the oldest markets in use in Europe today. That being said this market is definitely something you’ll want to visit while exploring Valencia. 

Recently renovated in 2010, The Central Market of Valencia has become a popular spot among locals and tourists!  Hours can be spent in The Central Market immersing yourself in the local culture and cuisine!

10. Relax on the Beach

Can you visit a coastal city without visiting the beach?  Since Valencia is located on the Mediterranean Sea, Kevin and I recommend checking out the local beaches.  The beaches along Valencia’s coastline are known for being traditional and family-friendly, therefore perfect for relaxing in the sun!  

Below are our recommendations for the four best beaches along Valencia’s coastline. 

  1. Playa de la Malvarrosa
  2. Playa de las Arenas
  3. El Saler Beach (located about 8 miles south of the city)
  4. Port Saplaya (see above)

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Summary 

Valencia was easily one of our favorite Spanish cities. This coastal city is full of Spanish history and culture while being located on the beautiful Mediterranean Sea. In our opinion Valencia has something for everyone, those looking to relax, party, sightsee, you name it!

Below are our top 10 things to do while exploring Valencia, Spain. We hope you enjoy these activities as much as we did!

  1. Visit Valencia Cathedral
  2. Explore Valencia by Boat
  3. Visit the Plaza de Toros
  4. Explore Old Town Valencia
  5. Casa Montana
  6. Visit and Explore the City of Arts and Sciences
  7. Watch the Sunrise from a Hot Air Balloon
  8. Visit Port Saplaya
  9. The Central Market of Valencia
  10. Relax on the Beach

Any recommendations that we missed? Leave us a comment below with your favorite things to do in Valencia or let us know if you found this post helpful while planning your next trip.

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