8 Things to do in Valencia, Spain
Spain is one of the most favourite vacation destinations. With 82.8 million tourists in 2018, it sets visitor records every year. And I am one of them. Two years ago, I haven’t been to Spain at all. Now, I’ve already been there approximately 10x or more. I fell in love with the language, culture, and its people. (Fact: With over 480 million native speakers, Spanish is the 2nd most spoken language in the world.) Overall, it’s a perfect destination for someone who wants to combine a city trip with a chill beach holiday. ¡Vamos!
As I visited the country several times, half of those trips were to Valencia, the 3rd biggest city in Spain. The city has several amazing spots to visit, that’s why I’m showing you 8 things to do in Valencia:
Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (City of Arts and Sciences)
The “City of Arts and Sciences” is an unbelievable architecture complex made up of several parts: The Hemisfèric, a large format cinema with IMAX and 3D screenings; The Oceanogràfic, the biggest aquarium in Europe; The Umbracle, is a 320m long walk that contains mostly native Valencian plants; Museu de les Ciències, an interactive museum; Palau de les Arts, an opera house; and Àgora, a multifunctional space for concerts or sporting events.
I recommend having a walk around the complex during sundown; it’s stunning!
Mercado Central (The Central Market of Valencia)
The market is not only an explosion of smells but also an impressive art building. It is a popular spot for tourists as it shows parts of the local culture. You’ll find there a bunch of Mediterranean food such as meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables. Most common are the famous “Jamón”, a dry-cured ham, and seafood.
The market is open 6 days a week (Monday-Saturday) and is located in the city’s heart.
Plaza del Ayuntamiento (“Town Hall Square”)
The “Plaza del Ayuntamiento” is in the center of the city and often the starting point to visit the rest of it. The square is impressive because of the architectural buildings around it. One of them is the “Ayuntamiento” (The City Hall). It is open for visitors and offers a nice view of the square from the balcony. In the center of “Plaza del Ayuntamiento” lies a fountain surrounded by vivid greenery. It’s a relevant place for selling stalls or events as “Fallas”, “Reyes Magos”, etc.
Plaza de la Reina
The “Plaza de la Reina” is a very frequent and high visited tourist spot. It is located in Valencia’s Old Town and is featuring architecture, dining, and markets. The first thing that will catch your eye is the Cathedral with the “Miguelete” surrounded by beautiful palm trees. The place is easy to reach from the “Plaza del Ayuntamiento” and is also close to the “Plaza de la Virgen”.
The Miguelete is a gothic-styled bell tower of the Valencia Cathedral at the “Plaza de la Reina”. The tower is 50 meters high and you’re able to walk 207 stairs to get to the top of it. There, you can enjoy a wonderful panoramic view of the city of Valencia.
Plaza de la Virgen
At the little square, you’ll find “Basilica de Virgen de los Desamparados”, the 2nd most important church after the Cathedral. But the heart of it is the impressive fountain of Neptun surrounded by 8 women. It’s a less-frequented corner of the city which makes it a nice location to grab a drink or coffee and to enjoy the atmosphere.
Jardin del Turia
The “Turia Gardens” is a picturesque and large park built on the riverbed of Turia. You’ll find a lot of runners, cyclists, and families who enjoy the vast gardens. Walking through the park you’ll pass the “Gulliver Park”, a 70-meter long figure that tells the story of Gulliver’s Travels. It’s a fascinating setting and a playground for kids. If you walk further, you’ll also pass the “Palau de la Música de València”, a concert and exhibition hall.
To me, the visit to this park is a must because it’s impressive during spring and summer.
Eating Paella and drinking Horchata
When visiting Valencia, eat a Paella before you leave! It’s one of the most famous dishes in Spain and is originally from Valencia. For explanation, it’s a rice dish that comes in different variations. The most common one is the “Paella Valenciana” and consists of white rice, green beans, meat (chicken and rabbit) and garrofo (lime beans).
I also recommend having a taste of the famous “Horchata”, a drink made of soaked and sweetened tiger nuts. They serve the drink ice-cold and often with fartons, also a typical Valencian sweet.
As you can see, there are a lot of things to experience in this beautiful city. It’s a great place to get a time-out from your usual life, as Spain is known for being friendly and chill. Also, if you like to get a cool-down close to the city, catch a bus to “Playa de la Malvarrosa”. It’s a wide and open beach surrounded by restaurants and bars.
Do I prefer Valencia over Barcelona and Madrid? Yes. So, catch a flight to Valencia airport (“Aeropuerto de Valencia”) and enjoy your stay!
Till then, ¡Buen viaje!
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