There’s something about the Mediterranean sea that makes us yearn to be near it. Isn’t it? Well, in Valencia, you have the chance to do so. That alone is an attraction. But, as you will see through this list of what to do in Valencia, it is so much more. Beaches, historical buildings, modern engineering, this city, in truth, has it all. The only thing it’s missing is you! So let’s get to fix that, shall we?
Whether you’ve always wanted to come or you’re just starting to consider a visit, this list will send you packing!
What To Do In Valencia | 20 Unmissable Spots In This Coastal City
When you think of Spain, Valencia might not be on your top to see list. But, don’t worry, we’re here to correct that mistake! You just need to have a look at the list of what to do in Valencia that we have compiled. So, without further ado, let’s get into it.
City of Arts and Sciences
This could be a nickname for the whole city. But, in fact, the City of Arts and Sciences is a science center. And one of the top spots on any what to do in Valencia list. It opened to the public in 1998. Since then, it has become a center of scientific and cultural dissemination. In other words, its goal is to educate in a modern and interactive way.
Considered a city within a city, the center occupies an area of 350,000 square meters. And it is divided into several rooms dedicated to offering an entertaining, educational and cultural experience. Its design is awesome! The center is divided into an opera room for the performing arts. There’s also an Imax cinema and planetarium, a marine park, and other spaces for leisure and recreation.
This aquarium is a must in Valencia. Located in the Center for Arts and Sciences, it is listed as the largest in Europe. And with good reason! It houses 45,000 specimens of 500 species of animals from around the world.
Naturally, it is divided into several areas. Each represents one of the main marine ecosystems of the planet. From the Mediterranean to the wetlands, temperate and tropical seas; the Arctic Ocean, and the Red Sea. In each exhibit, you will find dolphins, sea lions, penguins, sharks, jellyfish, starfish, and other sea wonders raised in captivity.
In addition, the aquarium has an underwater restaurant where each bite is a memorable experience. We wish we were there already!
Reina Sofía Arts Palace
This room dedicated to the performing arts is another of the most popular points of interest to see in Valencia. And it is also a place where culture and art are the protagonists. This is also part of the City of Arts and Sciences. Furthermore, it is one of the most important groups dedicated to theater, dance, and music in Spain.
The Reina Sofía Palace of the Arts has an area of 55,000 square meters. So, it has four different rooms to organize everything. Each room equipped with the latest advances in technology for the representation of all kinds of shows. The main hall can accommodate more than 1800 people! Here, there are always performances of opera, zarzuela, ballet, symphonic music, and theater. Feel like watching a show?
This terrace functions as the portal of the City of Sciences and Arts. And, of course, it is another unmissable spot in Valencia. It has an area of 7000 square meters. And, from this viewpoint, you have a view of all the elements that make up the complex. Furthermore, you can take great photos! No filter needed 😉
Inside L’Umbracle there is also the Paseo del Arte, where you can see contemporary sculptures. There’s also the Astronomy Garden. And there’s also a nighclub considered one of the most exclusive in Valencia.
La Lonja de la Seda
Also known as the Lonja de los Mercaderes or Merchants’ Market, it is among the most famous destinations in Valencia. This is because it is a space of great historical and cultural value. Built in 1548 as the commercial center of the city, this Gothic-style structure is a World Heritage Site. Declared by UNESCO in 1996. Furthermore, it is a vestige of the rise and prosperity of Valencia during the 19th century.
The building is made up of three sections: the Recruitment Room, the Central Tower, and the Consolat del Mar. A tour through these spaces is like taking a journey 500 years into the past. The building is imposing in itself. But the most striking features are the 28 gargoyles that adorn it and that represent erotic and unpleasant scenes.
Central Market of Valencia
Inaugurated in 1928, the Central Market of Valencia is one of the oldest functioning markets in Europe. And it has a special place among the masterpieces of Valencian modernism. This popular local market is one of the most visited destinations in Valencia and one of the most picturesque.
Located next to the Lonja de la Seda, this 6800 square meter building has 1,200 stalls. Additionally, you can find all kinds of food: seafood, meats, fruits, spices, sausages and much more. All this has made it the largest fresh produce market in Europe.
Malvarrosa Beach in Valencia
This beach is one of the most beautiful destinations to see in Valencia, especially in the summer when temperatures rise. This golden sand beach is one of the most visited beaches in Valencia thanks to its proximity to the city. And, because it is an open space where many activities take place.
A promenade marks the limit of the beach, and here, there are bars, cafes, and restaurants. In addition, there are other services for visitors. Also, there’s an air festival held in this space where airplanes from all over Spain and the world participate. And there’s also the Wind Festival, which brings together hundreds of people who enjoy flying kites in the sun.
Valencia Plaza de Toros
This building dedicated to bullfighting is one of the most popular in Valencia. Built in 1859, it is one of the largest and most beautiful buildings in Spain.
The square hosts bullfights and typical shows of Spanish culture. In addition, since 2013, you can get a guided tour of the complex. Of course, you do not have to witness a bullfighting event. But, the building in itself is quite worth the visit.
Saint Nicolas’ Church
This religious temple is one of the most beautiful and ancient places to see in Valencia. Founded in the 15th century, this church is one of the best examples of a Gothic-style building. Back then, its decor was in the best baroque style of the 17th century. Then, it underwent a restoration in 2016. And it is now known as the Valencian Sistine Chapel.
The entrance ticket to the temple includes an audio guide in several languages. This recording explains the history of the temple, the chapels, and the exquisite frescoes that adorn the church.
Albufera Natural Park in Valencia
This park is located 10 kilometers from the city. So, it is ideal to get a quick fix of nature and disconnect from city life in Valencia. It is one of the most important wetlands in the Iberian Peninsula. Furthermore, it is home to several species of aquatic birds (many of them endangered).
Within the park is the largest lake in Spain and fairly varied fauna and flora characteristic of the place. Touring the park on foot or by bike is great, of course. But the best is that, at the viewpoint called La Caseta del Pescador, you can take boat rides. This is the best way to watch an incredible sunset from the lake.
This zoo is another of the destinations worth seeing in Valencia. Inaugurated in 2008, the Bioparc has become famous for being specialized in African fauna. Additionally, it houses more than 800 animals of 116 species in its 100,000 square meters.
The park is divided into four zones. They represent Africa’s biome: the dry savanna, the humid savanna, the African forest, and Madagascar. In addition, each exhibit was designed to emulate the natural habitat of each of the animals that inhabit the Bioparc. In each “habitat”, visitors will be able to see lemurs, flamingos, crocodiles, turtles, snakes, leopards, monkeys, gorillas, elephants, hippos, giraffes, lions, and many more exotic animals.
Prince Philip Science Museum
This museum dedicated to science is another place to see in Valencia that you should not miss. It opened its doors in 2000. Since then, the museum has been one of the main attractions of the City of Arts and Sciences. And it is a popular venue for its exhibits, where visitors can learn about science, technology, and the environment.
The museum has an area of 26,000 square meters filled with educational and interactive exhibits. There’s a representation of the DNA molecule, 15 meters high; a 34 meter long pendulum, which is one of the largest in the world. Additionally, there’s an exhibition of robots, chemistry experiments. And exhibits dedicated to the study of chromosomes and climate change. Besides, there’s an exhibition from the popular Star Trek series and another from outer space. In other words, come to have an outworldly experience!
This theater is another top destination in Valencia. It opened in 1998. And it consists of a 143,000-square-meter theater with a 900-square-meter high screen. You won’t miss a thing!
The theater usually shows documentaries and films related to history, science, and technology. For example, films about African and Egyptian culture; documentaries about the most fascinating animals in the world; another about dinosaurs. Or, how about an interactive program on the study of space? And there’s so much more material to give you a unique educational experience.
Valencia University Botanical Garden
This monument to nature is another must-see destination in Valencia. Managed by the University of Valencia, the garden dates back to the 16th century. Back then, it was created as a garden of medicinal plants for the university’s medical students.
Currently, the garden is open to the public. And has grown to host more than 3,000 species of flowers and trees from all over the world. The collection of desert plants stands out. In addition, the garden has an aviary, an aquarium, and several greenhouses full of exotic plants.
Almoina Museum in Valencia
This archaeological museum is another must during your stay in Valencia. The museum opened in 1985. And it makes a journey of more than 2000 years through the history of the city of Valencia. So, it goes from Roman times to the Middle Ages to today!
The exhibits include models, vessels, vases, weapons, decorative objects, human remains, murals, and a great variety of artifacts. Most of these have been found on the grounds of the museum, where the city of Valencia was built in 138 BC. In addition, the facilities have a glass walkway from where you can see the ruins of many ancient buildings. These date from the founding of the city. And they include tombs, baths, and public baths, constructions that were very common in the city of Rome.
This garden dates back to 1841 when the land was acquired by the Marquis of San Juan. And today, it is a destination visited to disconnect from the city in an environment full of peace and nature. Therefore, it is another “green” destination to see in Valencia and that you should not miss.
The garden consists of a French-style mansion, dating from the 19th century, where weddings and special events are held. There are also two small gardens that frame the building. And a huge garden, which occupies almost the entire extension of the land. Here you’ll find ponds, fountains and 33 marble statues that adorn every corner.
El Cabañal Beach
This urban beach is quite a Valencian experience. Also known as Playa de las Arenas, this 1200-meter-long space is popular for its golden sand and crystal clear waters. So, of course, it is ideal for enjoying a day in the sun.
The beach is surrounded by a promenade with many places where you can find a varied gastronomic offer. It also has bathrooms, sports areas, playgrounds for children, and entertaining bars that offer a lively nightlife.
The bell tower of the Cathedral is another icon in Valencia. Also known as Torre del Micalet, it was built in 1429. Amazing, right? It has become a popular tourist destination for guided tours. You get to see the three bell tower rooms and the terrace. Naturally, from here you have a panoramic view of the entire city. In other words: don’t forget your camera!
Museo de Bellas Artes in Valencia
The Museum of Fine Arts of Valencia is one of the most important painting museums in Spain! Why? Because it houses a rich collection of paintings specialized in Valencian painters. It was founded in 1913 and this art venue is another essential destination to see in Valencia.
The pieces in the collection range from the 14th to the 15th century. And in addition to paintings, it houses sculptures, archaeological pieces, furniture, and fragments of historical buildings. Artists like Alcanyís and Jacomart, natives of Valencia; El Greco, Goya, Velázquez and Murillo are represented here.
Torres de Serranos
This old construction is another emblem in Valencia. It was built in 1392 as a defense wall for the ancient city. The Torres de Serranos is one of the most representative Gothic constructions in the city. Furthermore, they are a vestige of Valencian history of great value.
The set of towers consists of five open vaulted rooms that can be seen from the Plaza de los Fueros. And two pentagonal towers that frame the entire place. The towers are open to the public. So, if you want to enjoy an impressive view of the city, be sure to make the climb. Without a doubt, this panoramic landscape has made it a popular point of interest in the city.