Best Things to Do in Valencia, Spain (Hometown Series)
The hometown series has taken us around the world, to small towns and big cities, as travel bloggers highlight the many unique things to do and food to try. This series is designed to encourage you to look at your own hometown through the eyes of a traveler and to appreciate what it has to offer because it is easy to forget to savor what is right in front of your face when there is so much to see around the world. In past articles we visited the U.S. city of Boston, the German city of Berlin, San Jose in California, Brisbane, Australia, and more! Now, we will head over to Spain with Anna from Spain Inspired to discover all the unique things to do in Valencia!
If you’re planning to visit Valencia and looking for unique things to do that aren’t just tourist traps, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered!
As someone who lives in this amazing city, I’m more than happy to share with people all the incredible things they can do here. From exploring the historic center to indulging in delicious local cuisine, I’ll take you on a journey through the city’s vibrant culture and lifestyle.
Things to do in Valencia
1. Marvel at the City of Arts and Sciences
Valencia’s City of Arts and Sciences is a futuristic complex that will make you feel as if you’ve stepped into another world. This strikingly modern piece of architecture contains a science museum, an opera house, a planetarium, and the largest aquarium in Europe, known as the Oceanogràfic.
It’s a magical place that’s as educational as it is exciting. Catch a thrilling 3D film at the Hemisfèric, or come face-to-face with sharks at the Oceanogràfic. Either way, you’ll leave with a sense of awe and wonder!
2. Stroll through the Central Market
If you’re a foodie at heart, Valencia’s Central Market should be top of your list. This bustling hub of vendors sells fresh produce, seafood, and traditional Spanish treats that will make your mouth water.
The beautiful art nouveau building itself is a sight to behold. So, grab a basket, start exploring, and don’t forget to try some Valencian oranges or fresh tomatoes straight from the farm!
3. Relax at the Turia Gardens
Once a riverbed, the Turia Gardens are now one of the largest urban parks in Spain. This verdant oasis winds through the city, providing the perfect spot for a leisurely stroll, a picnic, or a refreshing morning run.
The park is dotted with sculptures, fountains, and playgrounds, making it a family-friendly destination. Don’t miss the Gulliver’s Park within it, where you can climb over a giant play structure based on the character from Gulliver’s Travels!
4. Discover the Silk Exchange (La Lonja de la Seda)
A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Silk Exchange is one of the top things to do in Valencia. This gothic structure was a major center for commerce in the 15th and 16th centuries and stands as a testament to Valencia’s economic power during that period.
It’s a wonderful place to learn about Valencia’s history and to admire the intricate architectural details. If you’re a fan of history or architecture, it’s a must-visit!
Photo Credit: Spain Inspired
5. Things to do In Valencia: Take a Boat Trip Through Albufera Natural Park
Just south of the city is the Albufera Natural Park, a freshwater lagoon surrounded by rice fields and forests. It’s a great day trip from Valencia, where you can enjoy bird watching, hiking, and boating.
Hire a traditional “albuferenc” boat, and let a local guide take you around while you take in the stunning scenery. It’s also the birthplace of paella, so don’t miss out on trying this iconic dish at one of the local restaurants.
6. Soak Up the Sun at Malvarrosa Beach
No visit to Valencia would be complete without some beach time, and Malvarrosa Beach is a local favorite. With its golden sand, sparkling waters, and bustling promenade lined with restaurants and bars, it’s the perfect place to relax and soak up the Spanish sun. Take a dip in the Mediterranean, enjoy a refreshing drink, or simply bask in the beautiful surroundings.
7. Explore the Valencia Cathedral
Located in the heart of Valencia, this majestic cathedral is a treasure trove of historical and religious artifacts. Its architecture is a blend of several styles, reflecting the various eras it was built in. Don’t miss the opportunity to climb the Miguelete Tower, where you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the city. And if you’re feeling adventurous, seek out the Holy Grail, which is said to be housed here! Visiting the Valencia Cathedral is one of the best things to do in Valencia.
8. Get Lost in the Cabanyal District
Known for its colorful tiled houses and vibrant street art, the Cabanyal district is a feast for the eyes. This former fisherman’s quarter has an authentic, slightly bohemian feel, with many bars, restaurants and cafes offering local cuisine.
And once you get tired of wandering, the beach is right on your doorstep so you can easily go to relax or have a drink and some tapas overlooking the sea.
9. Immerse Yourself in the Fallas Museum
Valencia is famous for the annual Las Fallas festival, where the city is filled with large papier-mâché sculptures that are eventually burned in a grand spectacle.
If you can’t make it for the festival, head to the Fallas Museum to experience a piece of it. The museum houses the “ninots” (figurines) that have been saved from the flames each year. You’ll be amazed by their detail and creativity! The Fallas Museum is one of the most unique things to do in Valencia.
Where to Eat in Valencia
Valencia is a culinary paradise. It’s the birthplace of paella, and it’s teeming with fresh produce, delicious seafood, and vibrant markets. Here are a couple of must-visit places:
Casa Carmela is an institution in Valencia, having served some of the city’s best paella since 1922. Located near the Malvarrosa beach, this charming restaurant is famous for its traditional Valencian paella, cooked over a wood fire for that authentic smokey flavor.
The restaurant’s beachside location and warm, rustic interior create a welcoming atmosphere where you can enjoy a leisurely meal. Be sure to book in advance, as this popular spot fills up fast!
Located inside the bustling Central Market, Central Bar is the perfect pit stop to refuel during your market adventure. This tapas bar is run by renowned chef Ricard Camarena, offering a tantalizing menu of fresh, market-inspired dishes.
Savor bite-sized delights like Iberian ham, patatas bravas, and fresh seafood, all while enjoying the lively market atmosphere. It’s a fantastic place to experience Valencia’s vibrant food culture.
Where to Stay in Valencia
Choosing the best place to stay in Valencia can make all the difference in your adventure here. Whether you prefer a boutique experience or want to be close to the bustling city action, Valencia has got you covered. Here are two top-notch accommodations:
SH Ingles Boutique Hotel
For those who love a mix of history and modern comfort, the SH Ingles Boutique Hotel is an excellent choice. Housed in an 18th-century palace, the hotel offers a blend of old-world charm and contemporary amenities.
Its central location is a major draw, given it’s in the middle of the Old Town, including that the iconic Valencia Cathedral just a short stroll away. The rooms are comfortable and well-appointed, and the on-site restaurant serves delicious local cuisine. It’s the perfect place to rest and recharge after a day of exploring Valencia’s rich history.
Hotel One Shot Colón 46
If you want to stay in the heart of the action, Hotel One Shot Colón 46 is your go-to. Situated in Russafa – Valencia’s trendy, bohemian neighborhood – this stylish hotel puts you right in the middle of a vibrant food and arts scene.
Russafa is a lively area known for its creative vibe, with a plethora of cool cafes, bars, and indie boutiques. It’s also a hub for Valencia’s thriving art scene, hosting various galleries and creative spaces.
The rooms at One Shot Colón 46 are modern, comfortable, and full of personality, just like the neighborhood itself. Staying here means you’ll have the best of Valencia’s contemporary culture right at your doorstep.
About the Author
Anna is the founder of Spain Inspired, a website where she shares insider tips and hidden gems to inspire visitors to take the road less traveled and explore Spain like a local. Now living in Valencia, Anna’s made it her mission to help fellow travelers experience the very best of this stunning country – with some great wine and tapas along the way, ideally!
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