Valencia is an amazing city that I knew I’d have to visit during my time living in Spain. When I was browsing at my work schedule and realized I had a long weekend in November, I decided to book a trip to Valencia. Valencia is a great cheap vacation spot for those looking for a relaxing weekend getaway, especially from busier cities like Barcelona or Madrid. If you’d like to know what you should do, see and eat in Valencia, keep reading.
What to Do
1. Bike around the City of Arts and Sciences museum.
This was definitely a highlight of my trip. I got up early one morning and went to rent a bike to go see the City of Arts and Sciences museum. Valencia has great infrastructure for bikers with an abundance of bike lanes and dozens of bike shops. Plus, it’s super cheap to rent bikes so it’s a great budget friendly option. I rented my bike from MO’ Bike and it cost five euros for two hours.
2. People watch in Plaza de la Virgen
There are several squares around Valencia with hundreds of people to people-watch. However, Plaza de la Virgen has plenty of places to sit and isn’t as filled with beggars or sketchy people. Of course, be vigilant. But I found this part of the city to be quite relaxing – I mean, as relaxing as a major square can be in a popular city.
3. Visit a Valencian beach
The beaches aren’t directly in the city center, so you’ll have to either walk (it took me an hour from Plaza Ayuntamiento) or take public transportation (which I did going back, cheap and efficient). Valencia is known for having quite great beaches and when I visited one, I definitely wasn’t disappointed. It’s big and clean for being such a heavy tourist attraction, but also keep in mind that I went in early November.
4. Browse the food selections at the Central Market
The Central Market is popular with tourists and locals alike. Many people come here to eat, do grocery shopping or just browse around. I personally thought the market was super crowded, too much so to enjoy and I definitely wouldn’t want to eat or go shopping in there. However, I do think it’s nice to at least check out what Valencia’s main food market has to offer.
5. Wander around the streets to find amazing street art
I came across street art in Valencia without even looking for it. Once you get into the little streets and are exploring you’re bound to find some amazing street art. From Spongebob and Patrick murals next to a tiger in a children’s park to aliens, the street art is diverse and colorful.
6. Stroll around Turia Gardens
Turia Gardens is just a park, sure. But it’s a beautiful park in a beautiful city near the amazing City of Arts and Sciences museum which I’m sure many first time tourists to Valencia want to see. Definitely take some time during your trip to walk – or bike! – around Turia Gardens.
What to See
1. Palacio del Marques de Dos Aguas
Another highlight from my trip to Valencia. Traveling inspires my writing a lot. I get especially inspired by architecture and settings. When I went to Sintra, Portugal I was heavily inspired by one of the attractions there. Heading to this palace in Valencia brought the same results. I took so many photos and videos because I wanted to remember all the details I could for this one story I’m brewing. Actually, the attraction in Portugal and this attraction in Valencia both inspired settings from the same story idea!
2. Valencia Cathedral
It wouldn’t be a city in Europe if we didn’t have a church, right? If you can I would recommend visiting on Sunday when it’s free because the inside isn’t as impressive, especially not for the high cost (it’s currently eight euros to enter normally). When I went on a Sunday part of it was closed off to tourists due to the mass going on. I was glad I saw it but I’m also glad I saved my money. The outside of it is really cool though.
Tip: I learned after my visit that I could have paid only two euros and skipped the inside to climb the bell tower. That definitely seems like it’d be worth it. Have to save that for my next trip to Valencia!
3. La Estrecha
The narrowest building in Europe. Well, some say it’s actually a building in the Netherlands, but it’s still super tiny. There was a small line of people waiting to take photos but it’s a cute memory to have. The garbage on the ground around this attraction in Valencia just adds to the character.
4. Puente de las Flores
Hopefully you’re lucky like I was on my trip to Valencia and the sun is shining because it truly makes this bridge beautiful. The flowers popped against the clear blue sky and made for a picturesque place to sit and snap photos. Beware of the bees though!
What to Eat
Valencia is the birthplace of paella so it’s only right that you try it while there. I personally only eat chicken and didn’t have much trouble finding a place with that option. I also noticed vegetarian options also. You can eat paella from a range of place from super cheap to kind of pricey. My favorite place I tried was es.paella. It’s definitely touristy and despite mixed reviews on TripAdvisor I thoroughly enjoyed my Valencian paella (made with chicken) and patatas bravas. Plus, it was cheap!
I also ate paella at a restaurant near La Lonja de la Seda called Boatella Tapas and I didn’t think it was very good. The waiter was not friendly, the food wasn’t very good and it was super overpriced.
Of course being a touristy city there are no shortage of ice cream shops. Personally, I am a ride-or-die vanilla gal, so I can’t attest to the tastiness of the more exciting flavors. However, trust me, not every place gets vanilla right. This one, Veneta, is quite good and near a lot of tourist attractions. So if you’re searching for ice cream, I’d give this one a shot. Plus, it has plenty of seating and some outlets to charge your phone after exploring all day.
One evening I didn’t feel like having a big dinner so I got a waffle at this place. It’s again in the heart of the tourist area and you can get waffles and choose from a wide array of toppings. I personally just opted for the sugar (although looking back, I’d prefer it without it. What can I say, I have simple tastes).
I’m a pizza lover. And while I can’t wait to go to Italy to truly get my pizza fix, I have made it a point to find the best pizza in each place I visit. Visiting Valencia was no different. Thus, I looked up what were the best (and cheapest) restaurants to spend my last night in and found Pizzeria Spacca Napoli. Super torn about this one. The service and food were really good. Plus, it wasn’t so touristy.
Howeverrrrrr, as I was sitting at my cozy little table in the corner I turned and saw a cockroach crawling on the wall right next to me. Anyone who knows me knows that bugs are my worst fear and at this point I’d already eaten half the pizza and being that the kitchen was near where I was sitting made me instantly lose my appetite. I asked to move my seat but couldn’t get out of there quicker!
I also tried this place called Bordo Pizza after checking out my last day since it was near my Airbnb. Nothing great, an average “pizza al taglio” place and I’ve for sure had better. Did the job for something quick and cheap but wouldn’t go there if I had more time or options.
More cool photos from Valencia!
What else should be on this list?
I really enjoyed my time in Valencia, but of course you can’t fully experience everything a city has to offer in three/four days. If I return to Valencia, what else should I see, do or eat? Let me know in the comments.