Valencia is one of the most beautiful cities in Spain, its location and historic sites makes it a perfect location for tourists to visit all year round.
As the third largest city in Spain, Valencia has all the sandy beach, shopping and culture you could wish for, whether you’re studying abroad, living with a host, or just travelling to enrich your cultural and language experience there’s tons to do and discover in this beautiful city.
(See our blog post on Top Tips for a Travelling Student.)
Keep reading to find our guide to spending a weekend in Spain’s most practical, modern and liveable city. It will help you have an idea of what to see, visit and do in Valencia
5 Reasons to visit Valencia
- To eat well – It is the ‘Home of Paella’
- To relax – Enjoy the golden sandy beaches
- To learn – Learn Spanish and learn about the rich culture
- To see the sights – See the mix of historic and modern architecture
At 107cm wide, La Estrecha is easy to miss but it is worth a photo of you outside, the narrowest house building in Europe.
Day 1: A Tour on Wheels & Beach Day
Visit The City of Arts and Sciences and Marvarossa Beach
A Tour on Wheels
Begin the day energised with a good breakfast and get ready to explore the vibrant city by bike! Touring the city in the morning will allow you to avoid crowds and admire the gorgeous outdoor space.
Hire a bike head over to the largest urban park and take time to admire the architecture on reaching the City of Arts and Science. One hiding gem to discover is the bridge of flowers near the museum, the bridge is covered and filled with 27,000 bright coloured flowers. Once at the museum you will find various futuristic designs, cool blue pools and metal sculptures in the gardens. Incredibly, visiting the complex, you can enjoy the features of the buildings free of charge.
Do make sure to enjoy a cup horchata, Valencia’s traditional drink made from the milk of tiger nuts (Chufa de Valencia) or you can opt for a dessert and coffee break at Dulce de Leche or at Chocolateria Valor for some churros and hot chocolate.
There is no shortage of places to rent bikes from in Valencia but you may like to try Passion Bike.
A day on the beach is a must on any Valencia itinerary, in the afternoon you can visit the large and open beach of Malvarossa. Its proximity to the city makes it a popular spot for both locals and tourists alike. The beach offers a wide range of services and activities throughout the entire year. Volleyball and surfboarding are among the popular sporting activities that you can play which also gives you the opportunity to interact with the locals, you can also take a stroll along the calm coastline and stop by the many stalls for gift and souvenir shopping.
After your time at the beach make your way to Casa Carmela restaurant, a long-standing family run restaurant located on the beachfront of Malvarossa founded in 1922. Known for dishing up traditional Valencian paella in elegant surroundings and attracting visitors from all over the world, the restaurant prides itself for cooking over an orange-wood fire and using only fresh products. Pre-book your table in advance as you will likely have to face long queues!
Why not round the day off with “probably the best Paella in Valencia” at Casa Carmela. (Note from editor: at the time of writing this restaurant was open but now appears to be closed.)
Day 2: Modern History & Escape Time
Visit Plaza de la Virgen, Catedral, El Micalet, Plaza Redonda, Mercado Central, Lonja de Seja El Carmen, Torres de Serrano
Spend the morning exploring the historic old town on foot.
The layout of the historical sites situated at the heart of the city are easily accessible and within walking distance from each other.
To start the day off we recommend getting a light breakfast at bar located at the Plaza Lope de Vega, right next it you’ll find Europe’s narrowest building, La Estrecha which is only 107 cm wide and easy to miss!
After having breakfast begin the tour at Plaza de la Virgen, at the square you will find tiny gardens filled with beautiful trees and the gorgeous fountain representing Turia River and depicts Neptune. Whilst enjoying the atmosphere you will then find doors leading to the cathedral which is our next stop on the list.
The Gothic Cathedral is Valencia’s most important religious building. You will not only see a gothic style structure but a mixture of different art styles from the past, which makes it worth a visit. The cathedrals tower, “El Miguelete”, is one of the symbols of the city and climbing its 207 spiral staircase is worth the effort as you will get rewarded with wonderful panoramic views of the city.
(2€ admission cost but free on Sundays!)
From a short walk from the cathedral (5 minutes) you will find Plaza Redonda, another popular attraction due to its peculiar design. If you stand by the fountain in the centre, you can take in a new and beautiful view of the Late Baroque bell tower of Santa Catalina, On Sundays, a lively open-air market takes over the square with music, street performers, and ambulant vendors trading everything from birds to books to arts & crafts
Head to El mercado central after the mini excursion for lunch. This enormous market is composed of more than 300 paradas (stalls). You can try various tasty budget meals and quench your thirst as there is plenty of fresh fruit and juice vendors all over the market.
Right across from the Mercado is the UNESCO World Heritage Site Llotja de la Seda (The Silk Exchange). This 15th-century and Gothic architecture is sure to impress any architecture enthusiast.
Spend the evening at one of the many escape rooms in Valencia.
For a fun outing head to SKP room and challenge your mind with escape games using logic. Invite your friends and experience the interactive and thrilling games of escape rooms. Valencia has an abundance of escape rooms available for you and your friends to have some exciting times solving mysteries. You don’t need to speak Spanish to solve the puzzles, but this could be a chance for you to practice your skills!
Use this itinerary as a guide but don’t panic if you find yourself lost, take this time to wander around and discover new things and admire the culture. Make sure to take pictures and chat with the locals for practice.
Why not consider taking an Intensive Language Course while you are in Valencia. Whether you are a complete beginner or looking to improve, we have a suitable course for you to compliment your stay in this amazing city!