Valencia, a city that bursts with vibrant colours, a rich historical tapestry, and a captivating blend of ancient traditions and modern attractions. Nestled along Spain’s south-eastern coast, Valencia is renowned for its stunning architecture, tasty cuisine, and picturesque Mediterranean beaches.
As you explore Valencia, you’ll be enchanted by its harmonious blend of old-world charm and futuristic marvels. Enjoy the city’s culinary delights starting with the world-famous paella whose birthplace is Valencia!
With so many places to visit, below are just a few to get your started!
The Plaza de la Virgen
The Plaza de la Virgen is an absolute must-visit when exploring the heart of Valencia. This charming square offers a delightful escape from the bustling city, providing a serene atmosphere that invites visitors to stroll around or take a seat at one of the cosy cafes and enjoy a refreshing drink. Adorned with the beautiful Turia Fountain, which depicts Neptune and represents the Turia River, the square is a true gem.
Located at one end of the Plaza de la Virgen, the imposing Cathedral doors, known as the Apostle Doors, captivate with their intricate carvings of the 12 apostles. Every Thursday at noon, the Water Tribunal gathers here, adding a touch of tradition and cultural significance to the square. As you explore further, you’ll catch a glimpse of the cathedral’s iconic Miguelete tower, adding to the enchantment of the surroundings.
Surrounding the plaza, you’ll find bars and cafes and for a more substantial dining experience, nearby restaurants like Seu Xerea and Trenca Dish offer fantastic options. Despite its popularity, the Plaza de la Virgin maintains a peaceful ambiance, making it an ideal starting point for guided tours in the historic centre and a perfect spot to unwind before exploring the vibrant Barrio del Carmen. Additionally, the plaza plays a central role in the celebrated festival of Las Fallas, where the Virgen is adorned with an exquisite display of offering flowers, adding an extra layer of significance and beauty to this remarkable square.
Valencia’s cathedral stands as a magnificent architectural marvel, nestled between the enchanting Plaza de la Reina and the picturesque Plaza de la Virgen. Its rich history and diverse architectural styles make it a captivating landmark worth exploring.
Believed to house the original Holy Chalice or Holy Grail, the cathedral adds an intriguing element of mystery and spirituality to its allure. If you’re interested in delving deeper into the cathedral’s history, the Valencia Holy Grail and History Tour offers a fascinating opportunity to discover more about this legendary relic.
With its origins dating back to the 13th century, the cathedral showcases a captivating blend of architectural influences, reflecting the passage of time and the city’s cultural heritage. Inside, you’ll find a wealth of information detailing the cathedral’s captivating history and the various architectural styles that have shaped its unique character.
Mercado Central de Valencia
Located in the heart of Valencia, Mercado Central is a food lover’s paradise that tantalises the senses and showcases the vibrant culinary culture of the region with its stunning Art Nouveau architecture and bustling atmosphere, this iconic market is a must-visit destination for locals and tourists alike.
Step inside the Mercado Central and you’ll be greeted by a mesmerising array of sights, sounds, and smells. The market is a cornucopia of fresh produce, seafood, meats, cheeses, spices, and specialty products that reflect the rich gastronomic heritage of Valencia. From plump tomatoes and juicy oranges to succulent hams and aromatic spices, every corner of the market is a feast for the senses.
Wandering through the aisles, you’ll discover a vibrant tapestry of stalls manned by passionate vendors who take pride in offering the finest quality ingredients. Engage in friendly banter with the merchants, sample their exquisite products, and learn about the unique flavours and traditions that define Valencian cuisine.
Mercado Central is not just a place to shop for ingredients; it’s also a hub of social interaction and community spirit. The market buzzes with locals catching up with neighbours, chefs sourcing the freshest ingredients for their restaurants, and visitors immersing themselves in the vibrant energy of the place.
Beyond the abundance of fresh produce and local delicacies, Mercado Central also boasts charming cafes and eateries where you can take a break and indulge in traditional Valencian dishes. From savoury tapas to refreshing horchata, there’s something to satisfy every craving.
Quart and Serranos Towers in Valencia
Standing tall and proud, the Quart and Serranos Towers serve as iconic symbols of Valencia’s medieval past. These twin city gate towers offer a glimpse into the ancient walled city, preserving the rich history and architectural grandeur of a bygone era.
The Serranos Towers, constructed in 1392 by Pere Balaguer, command attention with their imposing presence and remarkable Gothic design. These monumental gate towers, visible from afar, once served as a prison for noblemen. Today, they exude an extraordinary atmosphere, drawing visitors to marvel at their magnificence and appreciate the craftsmanship of Gothic architecture.
Just a short distance away, the Quart Towers await discovery. Built by Pere Bonfill and inspired by the Castell Nuovo’s towers in Naples, these late Gothic military structures are a testament to Valencia’s strategic defence. Formerly known as the Lime Towers, they earned their name from the lime transported through this gate in the 17th century. Over the years, the Quart Towers even served as a women’s prison, adding to their historical significance.
Located at the end of bustling Quart Street in the heart of Valencia, these towers are not only architectural marvels but also gateways to exploration. Today, they house a captivating collection of locks, intriguing visitors with their secrets and stories.
As you stand before these historic towers, you can’t help but be transported back in time, imagining the bustling city life and the formidable defences that once protected Valencia.
Fallas of Valencia – Celebration of Tradition and Art
From March 1st to 19th, the city of Valencia comes alive with the vibrant festivities of Las Fallas. This unique festival, recognised as Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO, combines tradition, satire, and art to create an unforgettable experience.
The roots of Las Fallas trace back to the ancient carpenters’ tradition of burning wooden structures, known as parots, used to support their lights during the winter. Over time, these bonfires transformed into ninots, human-like figures made from old belongings and rags, representing a blend of humour and irony. Today, Fallas has evolved into a magnificent display of temporary art installations, some of which cost millions of euros.
During the festival, Valencia bursts with energy as the streets turn into open-air galleries adorned with hundreds of enormous polystyrene monuments called fallas. From the deafening sound of firecrackers to the captivating parades and dazzling costumes, the city becomes a whirlwind of excitement. With over 3 million attendees each year, Las Fallas is often regarded as Europe’s biggest street party, drawing both locals and visitors from around the world.
Escape the bustling city streets and head to Turia Gardens, one of the largest urban parks in Spain. Stretching along nine kilometres, this expansive green space offers a paradise for runners, cyclists, families, and nature enthusiasts alike. From leisure and sports areas to romantic spots perfect for unwinding.
The park’s enchanting allure lies in its unique setting on the former riverbed of the Turia. After a devastating flood in 1957, the river’s course was diverted, leaving behind a vast tract of land that now spans from West to East, bordering the historical centre of the city. The vision of several urban planners and landscapists, Turia Gardens showcases a captivating blend of palm trees, orange trees, fountains, pine woods, aromatic plants, ponds, and sports facilities, creating a harmonious fusion of natural beauty and recreational spaces.
As you stroll through the park, you’ll encounter various landmarks and attractions along the way. Gulliver park – children can climb and slide down the fingers and hair of a giant figure. Enjoy the Palau de la Música, a cultural hub offering a vibrant program of events, while the surrounding esplanades provide spaces for outdoor activities. Rent a swan-shaped boat in Cabecera Park and glide along the picturesque ponds. And don’t forget to stop at the City of Arts and Sciences, where you can explore the underwater world at Oceanogràfic and admire the architectural marvels of the opera auditorium and Palau de les Arts.
As you traverse Turia Gardens, you’ll be captivated by the 18 bridges that adorn the landscape, representing different periods and architectural styles. From historical gems like the San José and Serranos bridges to modern masterpieces like the Puente de la Exposición and Ángel Custodio bridge, each bridge adds its own charm to the park’s aesthetic.
Turia Gardens not only offers a haven of natural beauty but also serves as a gateway to Valencia’s cultural treasures. The gardens lead you to iconic landmarks such as the Serranos Towers, offering panoramic views of the historical centre, and renowned museums like the Valencia Institute of Modern Art (IVAM) and the Museum of Fine Arts.
La Lonja (The Silk Exchange) UNESCO World Heritage Site
La Lonja, also known as The Silk Exchange, is an architectural masterpiece that stands as a symbol of Valencia’s rich history. Regarded as one of Europe’s most celebrated civil Gothic monuments, La Lonja was recognised as a National Historic and Artistic Monument in 1931 and was later granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 1996.
Situated in the heart of the city, facing the Central Market and the Temple of Santos Juanes, La Lonja occupies a rectangular area spanning 1,990 square meters. Its construction was necessitated by the prosperity of Valencia in the late 13th century, which rendered the old Lonja inadequate for the bustling trade activity of the era.
In 1492, the foundation stone was laid, marking the beginning of this grand architectural project. The visionary behind La Lonja was Pere Compte, a talented Valencian engineer and architect. The structure consists of three distinct sections and features a charming garden known as the “orange patio.”
The Torreón, the second section of La Lonja, stands proudly as an integral part of the structure. On the ground floor, a small chapel dedicated to the Immaculate Conception adds a touch of serenity. Meanwhile, the two upper floors once served as a prison for individuals who failed to honour their debts, serving as a testament to the importance of financial integrity during that era.
Located in the heart of Valencia, Bioparc is an immersive zoo takes you on a captivating journey through different ecosystems, allowing you to witness the wonders of the animal kingdom up close. As you explore Bioparc, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a lush tropical forest, complete with lush vegetation, flowing rivers, and authentic replicas of natural habitats.
Bioparc’s unique design aims to recreate the animals’ natural environments, promoting their well-being and ensuring an enriching experience for visitors. From majestic lions and graceful giraffes to playful lemurs and colourful birds, you’ll encounter a diverse array of species. The zoo’s commitment to conservation and education is evident through its efforts in promoting awareness and understanding of the importance of preserving biodiversity. Whether you’re traveling with family, friends, or as a solo adventurer, Bioparc offers an unforgettable experience that combines entertainment, education, and a deep appreciation for the natural world.
Valencia’s Vibrant Nightlife
Valencia, a city known for its dynamic energy and warm climate, offers a diverse and exhilarating nightlife scene that caters to all tastes and preferences. Whether you’re seeking a laid-back evening with friends or an all-night party, Valencia has hundreds of options to ensure a memorable experience.
The heart of the city’s nightlife beats in El Carmen, nestled within the historic centre. Take a seat at a terrace in Plaza Negrita, el Tossal, or el Doctor Collado, where you can clink glasses and soak in the lively atmosphere. Stroll through the charming backstreets until you discover the perfect spot for tapas.
Ruzafa, located in L’Eixample, stands as the most alternative neighbourhood in Valencia. Embrace the modern vibes as you dine at renowned restaurants like Canalla Bistró or Nozomi Sushi Bar. Ruzafa offers a selection of intimate bars and clubs like Oven and Play, where you can revel in great music and a vibrant ambiance.
Marina de Valencia
For an eclectic and lively atmosphere, head to the Marina de Valencia, particularly during the summer months. The Marina Beach Club, with its enticing pool by the sea, is the perfect spot to see and be seen. For a more relaxed setting, the Fábrica de Hielo invites you to enjoy a drink. If you’re seeking an unforgettable night out, make your way to La 3 club on Avenida Blasco Ibáñez.
Valencia’s nightlife extends beyond these vibrant hotspots. Venture to other areas of the city to discover the bustling student nightlife in Benimaclet, Plaza Xúquer, Honduras, and El Cedro on Thursdays.
With kilometres upon kilometres of stunning coastline, Valencia offers an abundance of beachside bliss and endless entertainment. Whether you prefer urban beaches just a stone’s throw from the city centre, complete with restaurants and leisure facilities, or untouched stretches of natural beauty in the L’Albufera Nature Park, the choice is yours.
Valencia boasts nearly 20 kilometres of pristine beaches. You can take a leisurely stroll from Cabanyal to Malvarrosa and neighboring Patacona, or venture further to the green lung of the capital, where El Saler, La Devesa, and La Garrofera await. You can even cycle your way through this coastal paradise. With their wide expanse, white and golden sands, and crystal-clear waters, it’s no wonder that all of Valencia’s beaches proudly fly the Blue Flag, symbolising exceptional quality.
As you can see, Valencia is a city of endless delights. Plan your visit today to this extraordinary city and don’t forget to prebook your airport parking with the Monster!