Even though it’s responsible for creating some of Spain’s most famous dishes, there are way more things to do in Valencia than just eating.
Visiting Valencia opens the door to a whole world of activities that can suit any type of traveler. We’re talking booming marketplaces, iconic buildings, and lots of kid-friendly excursions.
In the months I spent getting to know Spain, I was always struck by Valencia’s charm. From the adorable neighborhoods to the outstanding restaurants in Valencia, there is just so much to explore in this coastal city. When you’re limited on time and only want to do the coolest stuff, these are the very best things to do in Valencia.
Table of Contents
- 23 Best Things to Do in Valencia
- The Central Market of Valencia
- Plaza de la Virgen
- Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias
- Valencia Cathedral
- Plaza de la Reina
- Torres de Serranos
- La Lonja de la Seda
- Gulliver Park
- Torres de Quart
- Turia Gardens
- El Carmen Neighborhood
- Valencia City Hall
- Cabanyal Beach
- Albufera Natural Park
- Valencian Institute of Modern Art
- Church of San Nicolás de Bari and San Pedro Mártir
- Plaza de Toros de Valencia
- Casa Carmela
- Cafe de Las Horas
- The National Museum of Ceramics and Decorative Arts
- Ruzafa Neighborhood
- Black Note Club
- FAQs about What to Do in Valencia
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23 Best Things to Do in Valencia
The Central Market of Valencia
Shop at a dynamic public market in the heart of the city filled with colorful, local Mediterranean fare.
As a traveler, getting a true glimpse into a foreign land’s culture can be more difficult than meets the eye. You just won’t find this atmosphere at a city’s largest tourist attractions. However, you will find it at the local market.
In Valencia, that would be the Central Market of Valencia or Mercado Central de Valencia in Spanish. It’s the city’s central market and you can feel the pumping pulse of Valencia here. The market is filled with fresh produce, meats, and desserts.
Plus, there are also a few incredible tapas bars hidden away throughout the market. Even if you’re not hungry, the Central Market is well worth a stop for photos of its detailed architecture alone.
Plaza de la Virgen
Chill out at a beloved little Valencian square in the Old Town near many of the city’s most famous attractions.
Right in the middle of the center of Valencia, Spain is the famed Plaza de la Virgen. It’s a well-known town square in Valencia that’s a popular stop for tourists to see its Turia Fountain.
Plaza de la Virgen is right near all the main sights of Valencia, so it’s the perfect starting-off point for a day of exploring. Valencia Cathedral, La Almoina Archaeological Museum, and Reina Plaza are all within walking distance.
Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias
Witness the eye-catching architecture at this museum, noted as one of the 12 Treasures of Spain.
One of the best things to do in Valencia for children and adults alike is to visit the City of Arts and Sciences or Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias. From the moment you lay eyes on this science museum, you’ll understand why it’s so distinct from others. The architecture looks like something out of a sci-fi movie.
It’s a world-class science museum on the interior, too. The City of Arts and Sciences is really more of a museum complex containing several different massive exhibitions.
The complex includes El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia (an opera house), the Principe Felipe Science Museum, L’Umbracle (a garden walkway), L’Oceanografic, and more. You’ll likely need at least a full day if you want to get through the entire estate of the City of Arts and Sciences.
Get a glimpse of this gem of the Spanish Renaissance with its famed El Miguelete Tower.
The Valencia Cathedral is probably the city’s most famous landmark, meaning it should wind up on the to-do list for basically every traveler. It’s just a must-see when visiting Valencia.
Located in Valencia Old Town, this church is over 750 years old, so you can imagine how much history is tucked inside. There are also a few notable pieces by artists like Goya and Rodrigo de Osona in the cathedral.
One of the most renowned features of Valencia Cathedral is El Miguelete Tower. You can climb its 200+ steps to the top for panoramic views over Valencia.
Plaza de la Reina
Take in stunning views of some of Valencia’s most famous landmarks at this charming square.
Only a two-minute walk from Valencia’s other most famed square is Plaza de la Reina. This is the main square in Valencia’s Old Town. The plaza has been a staple of the city for over 150 years, so it’s definitely a key part of Valencia.
Plaza de la Reina is a fantastic place to grab a bite to eat or even a sweet treat. The plaza is surrounded by yummy restaurants and cafes, like Llinares ice cream shop and Marinetta Mia.
Torres de Serranos
Stand atop Valencia’s renowned Gothic defense towers, the largest of its kind in all of Europe.
I’m a sucker for a spot that gives me an expansive view of the city I’m visiting. Maybe it’s just the photographer in me. If you resonate, you’ll love Torres de Serranos in the Old Town.
This old city gate is an important part of the local history and culture. However, it also provides a panoramic view of the beautiful city up at the top. Visitors who come to Torres de Serranos in the evening will get to see it aglow with lights.
La Lonja de la Seda
Stop by one of the most well-known Gothic monuments in Europe and learn about the silk trade.
La Lonja de la Seda is a distinguished UNESCO World Heritage Site in Valencia and one of the most interesting ones out there in my opinion. Often dubbed as the Silk Exchange, this historic site is a stone building and is some of the nicest examples of Gothic architecture in the country. From its stained glass windows to its perfectly carved stone pillars, the Silk Exchange is simply gorgeous.
This is one of the coolest things to do in Valencia for budget travelers because entry is completely free. You can also opt for an audio tour to get a deeper understanding of the landmark.
A quirky park with interactive, dream-like structures for kids to climb all over.
Gulliver Park looks like something plucked out of a child’s most creative dreams. Namely, thanks to its unconventional structures that visitors are encouraged to interact with.
Travelers who are on the hunt for free, exciting things to do in Valencia with kids should head straight to Gulliver Park. Even if you’re childless, it’s still a super interesting place to visit. It’s almost like an outdoor sculpture museum.
Torres de Quart
Step through a Gothic-style, ancient entrance-way to the city of Valencia.
Once upon a time, Valencia was a city that lived within confined walls like many municipalities back in the day. Usually, we don’t get to see relics of history from that long ago, but in Valencia, you can at Torres de Quart in the Old Town.
These medieval towers are the last remaining pieces of the wall. There is something kind of magical about staring at a structure that is so ancient. Plus, it’s in remarkably beautiful condition for its age.
Cross paths with 500 different aquatic species inside Europe’s largest aquarium.
Technically, this attraction is part of the aforementioned City of Arts and Sciences. L’Oceanografic is so impressive, though, that it deserves its own spot on the list of the best things to do in Valencia. This massive aquarium is actually the largest of its kind in all of Europe.
At L’Oceanografic, you’ll discover 45,000 different animals from a whooping 500 species. Many of which you’ve probably never heard of before. There is even a long stretch of tunnel where you can walk your way through the tanks. It’s an exceptional afternoon activity for families.
Wander through miles of primed greenery at one of Spain’s biggest urban parks.
Sometimes, traveling through a big city like Valencia can bog you down and you just need a little green space. When that feeling hits, it’s time to check out Jardín del Turia, or Turia Gardens in English.
The park is fairly large for a public garden, with over five miles of plant life to explore from orange to palm trees. There are also several artfully-designed ponds, fountains, and bridges throughout the park. Overall, it’s a relaxing, chill place to go for a walk or read a book in your spare time.
El Carmen Neighborhood
Get to know this vivacious neighborhood known for its top-notch nightlife and gorgeous Valencia street art.
There are nine unique neighborhoods that make up Valencia and each one has something different to offer its visitors. Young travelers who want a taste of Valencia nightlife and just to be surrounded by a cool vibe will like the El Carmen district.
El Carmen is actually the oldest neighborhood in Valencia, so the area is steeped in history. It’s also known throughout the city for having some of the very best Valencia street art. Travelers who are a fan of street art in the slightest will really appreciate this adorable neighborhood.
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Valencia City Hall
Snap a photo of one of Valencia’s most recognizable buildings by Plaza del Ayuntamiento.
Now, visiting Valencia’s City Hall might not seem like the most exciting activity in the world, but it’s worth a few minutes of your time at least.
Valencia City Hall is one of the most well-known buildings in the city and you have to admit, it’s pristine. Valencia City Hall is located right in Plaza del Ayuntamiento, which is another intriguing place to check out in Valencia.
👉 Pro Tip: Visitors who are in Valencia during any holiday will definitely want to check out Plaza del Ayuntamiento and the City Hall. Usually, this is where the city will put on its big show, like tons of sparkling lights at Christmas or fireworks for The Fallas celebration.
Spend a sunny afternoon relaxing on the golden shores or playing sports at this family-friendly beach.
After spending a sufficient amount of time visiting all of Valencia’s attractions in the city center, why not head out for a beach day? Specifically, check out the stunning Cabanyal Beach only a 15-minute drive from the heart of Valencia.
This Mediterranean Beach covers a long stretch of land, so there will be plenty of room for you to set up camp even on the busiest summer days. There are a variety of outdoor activities available on Cabanyal Beach, from volleyball to windsurfing.
Even if you just want to lay out a towel and enjoy the sunshine, Cabanyal has you covered.
👉 Always Forget Something? Check out my packing checklist for Spain.
Albufera Natural Park
Take a boat tour through the Valencian nature at this stunning protected wetland reserve.
Another one of Valencia’s escapes into nature is Albufera Natural Park. It’s easily one of the best things to do in Valencia for nature lovers. The park is located about 25 minutes outside of the city center by car. The main feature of this Spanish park is its huge lagoon right in the center of it.
For the most scenic experience, try to time your visit an hour or two before sunset and join one of the local boat trips. As soon as the sun starts dipping below the earth, the boat will stop so everyone on board can get a good look and plenty of photos.
There are also a bunch of secret paella gems around this area, like Restaurante Bon Aire and Arrocería Maribel. Overall, Albufera Natural Park is a very serene and romantic place for a date in Valencia.
Valencian Institute of Modern Art
Take a gander at the sizable collection inside Spain’s very first modern art museum.
Art fanatics will have a ball diving into the collection at the Valencian Institute of Modern Art. This popular museum is actually well-known around the country for being Spain’s very first modern art museum. It made the cut just a few years before the Reina Sofia museum, one of the best things to do in Madrid.
Inside this expansive art museum, you’ll stumble upon astonishing exhibits that include more than 11,000 pieces in total. These works range from thought-provoking to weird things you won’t be able to peel your eyes away from. The Valencian Institute of Modern Art definitely won’t disappoint.
Church of San Nicolás de Bari and San Pedro Mártir
Experience the intricate, hauntingly beautiful architecture of this historic 780-year-old church.
History buffs should carve out some time during their Valencia trip to visit the 780-year-old Church of San Nicolás de Bari and San Pedro Mártir. It’s a truly spectacular example of Baroque architecture inside and you’ll need your camera in hand the whole way through. It’s more than just a church; it’s a piece of artwork you won’t want to miss in Valencia.
Plaza de Toros de Valencia
Visit a classic bull-fighting ring that still partakes in the Spanish tradition to this day.
Bull-fighting is a bit of a taboo for Americans, but it’s an age-old tradition in Spain. When in Spain, you might as well take the chance to learn more about these aspects of the culture.
In Valencia’s Old Town, there is actually a fairly famous bullfighting ring called Plaza de Toros de Valencia. It’s a fantastic location to catch a glimpse of these immense stadiums and learn a bit about the tradition. Even if you don’t want to catch an actual match.
Munch down on the Valencian specialty of paella at one of the best spots for it in the city.
Paella is one of the main things that Valencia is known for in Spain and throughout the world. It’s a traditional Valencian dish that’s made with rice, delicious seasonings, and all types of meat and seafood. Don’t worry, vegan friends! There are vegetable varieties, too.
Valencia visitors who want to taste some of the best paella in the city should book a table at Casa Carmela.
This traditional Valencian restaurant is a favorite for its perfectly concocted paella dishes. Plus, the restaurant is right near the beach, so you can head there after your meal. You can’t ask for a better dinner plan.
Cafe de Las Horas
Sip on the famed regional drink of Agua de Valencia at this eccentric cocktail bar.
End a full day of exploring a new city by grabbing a cocktail. When you’re in Valencia, the one you should be reaching for is the local staple of Agua de Valencia.
The drink contains cava, gin, vodka, sweetener, and finally the special ingredient – Valencia oranges. It’s quite a refreshing concoction.
One of the best places to try Agua de Valencia in the city is Cafe de Las Horas. They brew a delicious one. Besides the signature drink, Cafe de Las Horas is just a fun bar in general and 100% worth a visit on an evening in Valencia.
The National Museum of Ceramics and Decorative Arts
Peruse the country’s largest collection of ceramics tucked away in a lavish palace.
The National Museum of Ceramics and Decorative Arts is one of Valencia’s more unique attractions. I mean, not every city has a Ceramics Museum, does it? This museum holds Spain’s biggest collection of ceramic pieces. Plus, there are lots of other types of art to pursue, too.
The thing that makes The National Museum of Ceramics and Decorative Arts stand out is that it’s housed inside an 18th-century palace. It’s like a two-for-one attraction because the building is just as captivating as the art it holds.
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Dive into the incredible restaurants and markets in one of Valencia’s most stylish districts.
First-time visitors trying to figure out where to stay in Valencia should consider the Ruzafa neighborhood. This is another one of those Valencia districts that are just dripping in the ‘cool’ factor. The streets are colorful and well-kept. Ruzafa is also within walking distance from some of the best things to do in Valencia, like Gulliver Park and Mercat de Colon.
There are a bunch of top-notch eateries scattered throughout the Ruzafa neighborhood, like Masusa paella bar and La Chingada. Along with a bunch of cute cafes, like Ubik Cafè Cafeteria Llibreria and Bluebell Coffee Roasters.
Plus, there are places to go during happy hour, such as the charming pub Liverpool. It’s the ideal spot to stay for visitors who want to be able to walk to everything they need.
🛎️ Need a Hotel? There are quite a few accommodations to choose from in Valencia’s Ruzafa district, but one of the best is YOURS Boutique Stay. It’s elegant, immaculately clean, and right in the heart of the neighborhood.
Black Note Club
Sit back and catch a boogie-inducing performance at this local favorite jazz club.
Cocktail bars are all well and good, but what about when you need a little extra zhuzh? Well, then you spend the evening at the Black Note Club in Valencia.
This intimate jazz club puts on live performances that will have you leaving the venue with a boogie in your step. Occasionally, the joint also puts on blues, rock, and indie shows.
Music lovers who prefer a more quaint venue are going to inevitably put the Black Note Club on their favorites list. Visitors who are planning to catch a specific live show should check the venue’s website beforehand. You’ll usually have to purchase tickets in advance to nab a spot, as the place is very popular and small.
FAQs about What to Do in Valencia
What is Valencia best known for?
The coastal city of Valencia in eastern Spain is best known for its signature dish of paella, its famous yearly festival, and its impressive historical attractions. Valencia is renowned for creating paella, a rice dish filled with spices, seafood, and meats.
Every March, Valencia hosts an enormous festival that attracts visitors from all over the world called Las Fallas Festival. There are also tons of attractions to discover in Valencia, like the Silk Exchange, Serranos Towers, and the Cathedral of Valencia.
Is 3 days in Valencia enough?
3 days in Valencia is enough time for a proper introduction to the Spanish city. Visitors can easily see a lot of Valencia if they organize their trip properly.
Is Valencia in Spain worth visiting?
Valencia, Spain is worth visiting. Valencia is actually one of the best destinations to visit in Spain altogether. Many of Spain’s most famous culinary delights were invented in Valencia, like paella and horchata.
The city of Valencia is also home to some very impressive historic sites, huge museums, and cozy town squares that are perfect for people-watching. Plus, there are even plentiful outdoor activities available in Valencia because it’s right on the coast and near a big natural park.
What are the best activities in Valencia for kids?
The best things to do in Valencia for kids are the City of Arts and Sciences museum, Gulliver Park, and Cabanyal Beach. The City of Arts and Sciences is an enormous museum complex that includes an aquarium, a science museum, a garden, and more. It’s both informative and fun for kids.
Gulliver Park is a whimsical playground filled with otherworldly structures for kiddos to climb on. Cabanyal Beach is a calm seashore with tons of space and family-friendly outdoor activities.
Well, you’ve come to the end of my guide to the best things to do in Valencia. You’re ready to hit the road. Hopefully, you’re buzzing with excitement at all the intriguing attractions, activities, and things to do in Valencia. Visiting Valencia’s near neighbor called Barcelona? Don’t miss out on my guide to the best things to do in Barcelona, too!
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