Charming beaches, vermouth bars, an historic old town and the most brilliant food await you on a trip to Valencia.
To me, it is the ultimate Spanish city.
There is a lot of see, but the old town is compact and very walkable. You can see most of the sites mentioned on a three day trip. Enjoy the best things to do in Valencia!
- 23 Things to Do in Valencia Spain
- Valencia Cathedral & The Holy Grail
- Sample the Best Ice Cream With A Great View
- Eat Paella
- Agua de Valencia
- La Lonja de la Seda
- Inglesia De San Nicholas
- See a Flamenco Show
- Climb The Torres De Quart
- Palace of the Borgias
- Xàtiva Castle
- Check Out The Awesome L'Umbracle
- Celebrate at Las Fallas Festival
- Mercado Central
- Hang Around Hip Russafa
- City of Arts and Sciences
- La Malvarrosa Beach
- Eat Tapas
- Museu de Belles Arts de Valencia
- The Benlliure House-Museum
- Hit The Shops
- Museo de la Seda – The Silk Museum
- Centre del Carme Cultura Contemporania – CCCC
23 Things to Do in Valencia Spain
Valencia Cathedral & The Holy Grail
Who’d have thought you would be able to see The Holy Grail on your visit to Valencia? Not me! The Holy Grail is the cup that Jesus drank from It’s something the guidebooks don’t often mention (along with the fact you will also see a very old human arm!)
Visit Valencia’s Cathedral to see the Holy Grail first hand. There is an admission charge to visit the museum in the Cathedral and climb the El Micalet bell tower. You can walk around the cathedral for free.
Make sure you take a look at the sculpted door leading out onto the Plaza de la Virgen. This sculpted doorway is apparently the setting for Tribunal de las Aguas, where eight representatives from across the city meet up to discuss the city’s water laws. This has been happening since 960! If you want to go and watch the tribunal head over to the Plaza de las Virgen on a Thursday at 12.30.
Sample the Best Ice Cream With A Great View
Love an ice cream on a hot day? Try the gelato from Veneta Food & Gelato near Valencia’s cathedral. You can sit and enjoy a pistachio ice cream (the best flavour – you’re welcome) in the main square and listen to the street performers.
Gelato Amuri near the Central Market sells beautiful flavours of gelato. My favourite was the Pistachio and white chocolate.
Valencians are proud of their paella. In fact, they even grow their own rice at, Parc Natural de l’Albufera, located 10 minutes away from Valencia.
There are many restaurants that serve this traditional paella, but not a lot of places that do it well. If you want to know the best places to try paella in Valencia, The Heritage Guide has tried them all so you don’t have to. Read the post! (Inset food and drink related other posts.
Agua de Valencia
Try one of Valencia’s own cocktails made using fresh Valencian oranges. They are sold at bars throughout the city!
La Lonja de la Seda
As this site is all about my challenge of visiting every UNESCO World Heritage site, I wasn’t going to miss out on visiting La Lonja de la Seda de Valencia. It’s Valencia’s former Silk Exchange and it’s name means ‘Silk Market.’
This World Heritage site is worth a visit but even since visiting the site I have found very little information online. There is practically zero information when in the building. The best thing to do would be to read about La Lonja on the UNESCO website here.
It was built in the 15th century when Valencia’s trade was booming. La Lonja is a beautiful medieval building full of orange trees, so it’s a great photo opportunity. The building itself is impressive but empty, but it’s a wonderful pit stop and a refreshing break from exploring Valencia’s old town.
Inglesia De San Nicholas
Inglesia de San Nicholas has proclaimed itself the “Sistine Chapel of Valencia”, it certainly doesn’t disappoint.
The church was one of the first Christian churches to be erected in 1242. It was remodelled in the early 1400’s by the Borgia family, and in 1693 the amazing al fresco paintings were completed.
It is €7 to enter and I recommend listening to the free audio guide on your visit.
See a Flamenco Show
I visited Café Negrito which holds a Flamenco night every Tuesday. It is €10 a ticket which includes a drink. There is also the very well regarded, but expensive, La Buleria which has shows at 10:30pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. You can book your tickets online.
Climb The Torres De Quart
Torres de Quart was very close to our hotel, so we decided to take a stroll up. It’s only a couple of euros to visit and you get lovely views of the city. There are a few of these gates around the edge of the city that were built in the 1400s, so if you don’t make it up this particular one there are lots of others to climb.
Palace of the Borgias
The Palace of the Borgias is an old palace near the main square in Valencia. The palace was home to the notable Borgia family, who were massively influential during the 14th and 15th centuries. They even produced two popes! You can’t go inside to visit the palace, but it’s great to check it out from the outside.
Xativa Castle is a must visit if you want to see one of the most amazing places in Valencia.
Located 67 km south of Valencia it is an important landmark on the via Augusta route stretching all the way from Rome to Cadiz.
Admission is €2.40. Well worth it to visit this awesome site!
Check Out The Awesome L’Umbracle
This is an awesome outdoor garden bursting with plants.
You can also visit the bar (Terraza L’Umbracle) for a refreshment in a beautiful setting.
Celebrate at Las Fallas Festival
Every March Valencia heats up, not from spring Mediterranean sunshine, but from fires that are lit throughout the streets at Las Fallas. During the month of March, huge figures called Ninots line every street and are gradually all burned during the festivities! Las Fallas is on every year between 15-19 March and there is lots to see apart from these crazy bonfires!
Mercado Central is a stunning wrought iron building in the centre of Valencia. The array of produce here is amazing! I’m still dreaming about all the olives! I walked around looking at all the weird fish. It’s perfect for taking pictures and exploring some Valencian delicacies. You can also stop off at Central Bar for a glass of cava or two in between food tasting!
Hang Around Hip Russafa
Russafa market is a fun place to spend a morning and is a great place to shop. Russafa is a trendy area, full of brunch spots and cocktail bars.
Check out this post Best things to do in Ruzzafa, Valencia.
City of Arts and Sciences
In Spanish this is called La Ciudad de Las Artes y Las Ciencias. The concert hall, museums and aquariums which make up this part of town are very futuristic. There is a tree lined avenue which is great for taking photos. I went to the L’Oceanogràfic as it’s one of the biggest aquariums in Europe.
In all honesty, for the biggest aquarium in Europe, I found seeing the whales in tanks quite distressing. It doesn’t look like they have enough space for something that size. If your not one for zoos then I would give this a miss.
La Malvarrosa Beach
You can cycle to La Malvarrosa beach from the centre of Valencia which makes it the perfect option for those visiting the city for a few nights but still want to feel the sand between their toes! Sunbeds and parasols are €6 each. There are three areas along the beach where you can hire sunbeds and parasols. Each area also features a little beach bar where you can buy bocadillios (sandwich’s) for €4, ice cream and a range of soft and alcoholic drinks. There numerous restaurants along the front of the beach if you fancy a paella.
Visiting on a sunny weekend?
Booking your table in advance at a restaurant is a must Valencianos enjoy a spot of Paella on the beach, so you’ll need to book to get a spot.
If you want to find a parking spot you’ll either need to get there early and beat the crowds. If you are visiting the beach at lunchtime or later on a weekend I recommend you
There is no end of tapas bars in Valencia. Most tapas bars serve traditional tapas dishes such as Patatas Bravas, Padron Peppers and Chiastora sausages. There are plenty of fusion tapas bars that serve a range of inspired dishes by modern innovative chefs. If you want to try the best tapas resturants in Valencia then you should check out this post.
Museu de Belles Arts de Valencia
Valencia’s Museum of Fine Art is housed in a magnificent blue domed building on the edge of the Turia park. It is the second largest art gallery in the whole of Spain! It features paintings by Spain’s most famous painters including Velazquez and Goya (one of my favourites). It’s free to enter.
The Benlliure House-Museum
The Benlliures were a celebrated family of Valencian artists. This museum is located in their former house. It reminds me very much of the John Soane Museum in London.
Sagunto is a pretty castle topped town, just a 20 minute drive from Valencia. There is free public parking near the train station. You can get a tourist train to castle for those days where it’s just too hot to walk. The Port of Sagunto features fantastic coastline and Michelin recommended restaurants.
Read the Guide to visiting Sagunto.
Hit The Shops
Valencia has stunning shops! The area around Colon Market features independent stores and boutiques alongside better known brands such as Massimo Dutti and Zadig and Voltaire. There is also an El Corte Ingles department store featuring five floors of clothes, shoes, jewellery, make-up and gadgets. If you’ve forgotten anything for your trip there is no doubt you’ll be able to pick it up here.
Museo de la Seda – The Silk Museum
The Silk Museum in Valencia is situated in the city’s former Art College of Silk, dating from the 15th century. The museum tells the story of the silk industry in Valencia. You can see examples of how silk was made using old looms and are given an in-depth guide into the trade. The museum has a restaurant and a shop, selling silk goods. There is an admission charge.
Centre del Carme Cultura Contemporania – CCCC
The Centre of Contemporary Culture is located in the Barrio del Carmen area of Valencia. The building is a fabulous place to visit, and is free to enter. It’s located in the historic quarter of the city in a convent dating from 1281. The building has been used as the centre for culture since the 19th century when it was converted into the Museum of Fine Art.
I hope you’ve enjoyed discovering the top things to do in Valencia. Let me know what sites you discover on your trip.