Valencia Travel & Holiday Guide
Valencia city is located on the east coast of mainlain Spain and is the third largest city just behind Madrid and Barcelona.
An impressive city known for it's Baroque, Gothic and Moorish architecture and the stunning City of Arts and Science.
The city is a buzzing Mediterranean place awash with plenty of things to do plus it boasts some nice beaches such as Las Arenas and Las Malvarrosa.
16 Things to do in Valencia
- Spend a day at the City of Arts & Science.
- See sharks & dolphins at the Oceanographic Centre.
- Visit Valencia Cathedral.
- Go shopping for food at the Central Indoor Market.
- Visit the Principe Felipe Science Museum.
- Take a stroll around the old city.
- Enjoy an evening stroll around the Plaza de la Virgin.
- Eat an authentic Valencian Paella.
- Spend a morning at the Museum of Bellas Artes.
- Stroll around Gulliver Park.
- Go shopping at the Colon Indoor Market.
- Visit the Colosseum - Plaza de Toros Bullring.
- Get a tan on the Platja de Llevant beach.
- Visit the impressive Serrano Towers - Torres de Serrano.
- Explore the futuristic Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia.
- Walk around the green belt of Valencia - Jardin Turia
5 interesting facts about Valencia
- One of the national dishes, Paella was invented in Valencia.
- The Holy Grail is said to be kept within Valencia Cathedral.
- The local language, Valencian, is actually a dialect of Catalan.
- L’Oceanogràfic is the biggest aquarium in Europe.
- Valencia is home to two American style football teams.
There are plenty of historic buildings to visit in Valencia including Valencia Cathedral which is located in the old quarter and is reportedly home to the Holy Chalice or the Holy Grail.
El Micelet Tower is attached to the cathedral, you can sharpen up your appetite whilst climbing the 207 steps to the top then enjoy spectacular views over the city.
The Santa Catalina church tower is also located in the old quarter and is a famous landmark in the area located near the town hall plaza.
Another stunning building is La Longa where the silk merchants once plied their trades.
The Serranos Towers
The Torres de Serranos were started in 1392 as part of the defensive structure of one of the main entrance gates to the city.
The city walls were knocked down in 1865, luckily though the towers were saved from demolition, the towers were also used as a prison between 1856 and 1887.
The Serranos towers were used as a defensive structure as well as triumphal arches and are a perfect example of gothic architecture.
They also form part of the famous Fallas festivals each year.
The Colosseum Bullring
The colosseum - Bullring was built in 1850 and is a monumental structure which heralded a golden era of bullfighting in Valencia.
Nowadays it is used for much more peaceful purposes as it is mostly used to host important events and concerts.
Whatever your opinion is on bullfighting, this is well worth visiting. Valencia Bullring is open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 8 pm.
The City of Arts and Science
The most popular attraction at the moment is the City of Arts and Sciences located at the end of the Turia Gardens just a ten-minute walk from the beach and marina.
The centre is home to a fascinating Aquarium which houses the largest marine and aquarium park in Europe, the stunning aquarium building was designed by Felix Candela and is reminiscent of one of Gaudi’s impressive works.
As well a housing the Aquarium the City of Arts and Science is this truly a modern and inspiring complex with a planetarium, science museum, botanical gardens and the grand opera house.
The aquarium though is undoubtedly the most popular attraction, divided into sections it represents the whole spectrum of the sea environment boasting almost 7.500 species to explore within several smaller aquariums.
The Oceanographic Centre
The Oceanographic centre is situated mainly underground and houses the wetland areas and mangrove swamps with the Arca de Mar zone dedicated to the species under threat of extinction.
There is also an arctic space within an igloo and is where marine biologists monitor walruses and whales among other species. Don't forget to see the large colony of penguins which are great fun to watch during feeding time.
The Dolphinarium is the largest in Europe with a seating capacity for over 2.000 people and holds around 23 million litres of water !.
And when you are ready to eat you can do so in the impressive submarine restaurant and gaze at the marine life placed in tanks which surround the dining area.
The Queen Sofia Arts Centre
The Palau de las Artes Reina Sofia is the latest and one of the most impressive to be built within the City of Arts and Science.
The centre is home to all types of arts and cultural events including opera, dance and music concerts.
The stage area is one of the most advanced in Spain using the latest technology such as portable platforms, interchangeable sets and a simultaneous translation system via screens built into the seats.
The centre is open to the public every day from around 10.30 am to 2.30 pm then 3.30 pm to 6.30 pm, guided tours in English are available.
The Central Market
A must visit is to the beautiful Central Market ( Mercado Central ) one the largest in Europe.
Constructed in 1914, the market itself is a sight to behold, with its ornate “gothic modernist” architecture adorned with glass, ceramics and tiles.
You will find a vast array of local and national produce on offer from fresh fish, seafood and cured hams, a great place to simply browse or pick up a holiday bargain or two.
Undoubtedly the best market for food, you will find delights such as wonderful cured meats – Jamon Iberico being typical of the region; delicious cheeses, such as the local goat's milk cheese, Autor.
The choice of vegetable is amazing with an abundance of fruit and vegetables such as the local oranges and artichokes.
The "Las Fallas" Festival
The month of March in Valencia can mean only one thing – the world-famous Fallas celebrations are back for another year.
These spectacular festivities last a full five days and there are a number of different events that the whole family can enjoy, including the best local cuisine and culture, dancing, live music and fireworks.
The party carries on late into the night, and the local area of Valencia offers a beautiful backdrop for this unique annual celebration.
The processions are quite spectacular with the huge figures depicting famous people, celebrities and historical events, while others have religious significance.
The Region of Valencia - Comunidad de Valencia
The region of Valencia, known as the Comunidad de Valencia, is located on the east coast of the Spanish mainland.
The region is divided into three separate provinces, Castellon, Valencia and Alicante.
The Albufera Nature Reserve is located just 10kms from the city of Valencia and is well worth a visit to explore the beautiful parkland and unspoiled beaches.
A great place to spend a family day out, the park offers visitors boat rides, rice fields, pine forests and long stretches of quiet sandy beaches.
Oranges from Valencia
It’s not all paella and tapas, Valencia is famous for its orange production which also plays an important part in the local diet.
A glass of freshly squeezed orange juice is a healthy start to the day.
You might be surprised to know that a traditional dish originating from the region is Pato a la Naranja – or duck with orange sauce is not just a reserve of the French as the Valencians have perfected their own version.
If you have not heard of horchata before, you are unlikely to be able to escape it while in Valencia, originating from the introduction of tiger nuts by the Arabs, the fruit is mashed up and made into a drink which is served ice cold.
This popular sweet, milky white drink is often served at breakfast and accompanied with Fartons, another local delicacy of long finger-shaped glazed buns.
Eating out in Valencia
The gastronomy of Valencia is famed as the founder of the paella; tourists traveling to taste this traditional gastronomic delight are never disappointed.
It was the Moors who introduced rice to the region, way back in the 8th century; so there is a long history of cooking rice and cooking it well.
Crucial to the authenticity of Paella is the way it is prepared: in a paellera – a large pan – over a wood fire.
Paella purists will tell you that there are in fact only two types of paella: Paella Valencia (with chicken) and Paella Marinera (with seafood). Both must contain Spanish rice, olive oil, saffron and tomatoes to be the genuine article.
Naturally, however, there is a myriad of variations, in addition to other rice dishes on offer.
Once you have had your fill of paella, you might like to try other popular local rice dishes such as Arroz Negra (made with squid and blacked with its ink) or Arroz Con Crosta (featuring a baked egg crust).
Popular tapas bars in Valencia
» El Camerino Taberna - Calle Cura Femenia 16.
» Casa Montana - Calle Jose Benlliure 69.
» Restaurante Taberna Jamon Jamon. Calle Bolseria 36.
» Sagardi Valencia Centro. Calle San Vicente Martir, 6.
» La Fabrica. Calle Cristo del Grao 14.
Valencia Airport has connections with many of the major European countries and is well served by a host of travel links.
Valencia also has its own underground metro network which runs an impressive five lines running from Lliria and Betera in the north to Villanueva de Castellon in the south. it also runs from Valencia International airport to the west of the city to Las Arenas in the east.
With an excellent transport system, it's easy and reasonably cheap to get around.
Tours & Excursions
Recommended accommodation in Valencia
The 5 star Hotel Las Arenas Valencia is located right by the Cabanyal beach and just a 2 minute walk from the Marina. This stylish and luxurious hotel features a gymnasium, sauna and swimming pool plus an on-site restaurant. Reviewer Rating: 9.1
The 2 star Hostal Venecia Valencia offers very good 2 star accommodation. Situated in the heart of the city, Hostal Venecia Valencia provides easy access to Valencia's popular retail and sightseeing areas. There are 66 recently refurbished rooms with free Wi-Fi, TV and private bathrooms. The hostel is close to the Estacio del Nord train station and is just a short stroll from Lonja de la Seda, Valencia Cathedral and the Plaza de Toros. Reviewer Rating: 8.9