The attractions of Valencia are a combination of two contrasts – on the one hand, ancient monuments, on the other, modern architecture and ingenious solutions. All this together makes visiting the third largest city in Spain extremely interesting. Valencia is a perfect example of a place with its characteristic climate and atmosphere. Despite many attractions for tourists, it is definitely not a city typically geared only to outside guests.
Valencia combines medieval and gothic buildings with Valencian modernism. It is a very diverse port city, where you can take a break from the hustle and bustle of a large metropolis in the shade of orange trees. It is also distinguished by its location, among the hills and the shoreline, full of sandy beaches. For this reason, Valencia is an ideal place not only for short trips combined with sightseeing, but also a longer vacation.
Among the greatest tourist attractions of Valencia, apart from the historic buildings, there are also numerous squares that the city stands in and beautiful parks, available in every corner of it. In addition, it tempts tourists with excellent gastronomy – after all, this is where the world-famous paella and interesting cultural events came from. Among the latter, it is worth mentioning, for example, the Fire Festival (Fallas de Valencia), during which large colorful, paper sculptures are burned in the parade, or the no less famous La Tomatina, which is a kind of a tomato battle.
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Valencia can be easily explored on foot – at least the oldest district of El Carmen. On the other hand, the rest of the attractions and monuments can be reached simply by public transport, which in this city consists of bus and tram lines and the metro. So it’s best to choose a place to stay as close to the center as possible, so that everything is more or less the same distance. In addition, walks around the city are favored by the flat terrain.
You need at least a few days to visit Valencia, and it may not be enough time to see all the places of interest to us. The city offers a number of monuments, museums and other attractions for tourists, which can take up to a week to visit. Therefore, consider coming to Valencia for a little longer than just the weekend. It is also a good idea to take a trip during the biggest local events, i.e. in mid-March (Fire Festival) or at the end of August (La Tomatina).
The city can be visited practically all year round, because even in winter it is sunny here. It can be a bit cool only in the evenings, so it is worth packing warmer clothes with you. Valencia will surely appeal to all lovers of history and diverse architecture. Despite its size, the city does not frighten with the big city bustle, because there is a lot of greenery everywhere.
On the other hand, it will also work for people who like to go crazy in nightclubs. Valencia is also a good place for families with children, as there are many attractions for children here. In addition, it is in this city that there is a huge Gulliver-shaped playground, which is clearly visible even in Google Earth. In turn, the proximity of the beaches guarantees a real blissful rest by the water and a return home with a beautiful, brown tan.
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Let’s start exploring Valencia with the most important monuments.
The greatest monument in Valencia is undoubtedly the local cathedral of La Seu de Valencia. Built in a gothic style, in the place where a mosque once stood. Three portals lead to the cathedral in Valencia: Porta Almoina, Porta Ferros and Porta Apostols. Right next to it there is a 70-meter, octagonal belfry – Miguelete, built in the years 1381-1418, which you can climb to see the panorama of the city.
However, the most important and interesting element of this sacred building is inside it. It is a relic of the Holy Chalice (Holy Grail) which is placed in the Holy Chalice Chapel. It is said that it is the cup that Jesus himself used during the Last Supper. In the cathedral, it is also worth paying attention to the beautiful marble altar and the ceiling work depicting the twelve apostles. Admission to the cathedral is paid, and you also pay separately for the entrance to the bell tower.
The Serranos Towers
A monument in Valencia, also popular among tourists, are the Serranos Towers – Torres de Serranos. This is one of the two surviving medieval gates that were part of the city’s defensive walls. Built in the years 1392-1398 in the Gothic style, they were designed to protect Valencia from external invasions. In addition, the Serranos Towers had representative functions, being the main entrance gate to the city.
In the following years, they were also used as, among others, a prison or a storehouse of works of art transported from Madrid. Today they are one of the better-preserved monuments in Valencia and serve tourists as one of the few viewpoints in the city.
Palace of the Marquis de Dos Aguas
In Valencia it is also worth seeing, although from the outside, the Palace of the Marquis de Dos Aguas – Palacio del Marques de Dos Aguas, which is a Rococo gem in this city. It was originally built in the Gothic style (in the 15th century), but 300 years later it was transformed into its present form. The unusual façade with four towers and rich ornaments stands out to the fore of the Marquis de Dos Aguas Palace. Above the entrance there is a bas-relief that shows the Mother of God with the Child with two titans, who symbolize the two surrounding rivers – Jucar and Turia.
In the middle of the palace, the Museum of Ceramics has been created, where you can admire over 5,000 exhibits. Among them are collections of porcelain products from various eras, showing the history and different techniques of creating colored ceramics.
Tourist attractions of Valencia
The monuments are behind us, now it’s time for the greatest tourist attractions of Valencia.
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City of Arts and Sciences
The biggest attraction of Valencia is the City of Arts and Sciences – Ciudad de las Artes y las Cwienas, which is a futuristic complex of educational and entertainment buildings, erected in stages since 1998. Set in the place where the Turia River bed used to be. The whole area covers an area of over 350,000 square meters and is actually a mini town in the southern part of Valencia. The City of Arts and Sciences was designed by Spanish architects Santiago Calatrava and Felix Candela.
The complex with glass buildings with white roofs, situated in a channel of turquoise water, is divided into six parts:
- L’Hemisferic – is the central and most important building in the entire complex, resembling the shape of an eye from the outside. In the middle there is a Planetarium and an IMAX Cinema, in which one of the rooms has a screen with an area of 900 square meters and displays films also in 3D technology.
- Oceanarium – is probably the most visited building in the City of Arts and Sciences. Inside, you can admire the underwater world, thanks to the tunnel in which sharks flow overhead. In addition, of course, there are aquariums full of exotic, colorful fish and one of the largest dolphinariums.
- Prince Philip Science Museum – which houses exhibitions showing the scientific achievements of mankind. Part of the exhibition is interactive, but the most popular part is where you can do some experiments yourself. From the outside, the building looks a bit like a dinosaur skeleton.
- Palace of Arts Queen Sofia – is a building designed for artistic space. It is here that the halls where concerts, theater and opera performances and ballet performances take place.
- L’Umbracle – in turn, is a walking space where you can walk among greenery, completely free of charge. There is also a car park here.
- L’Àgora – This is a place for exhibitions, but there is also an ellipse-shaped sports arena.
Another attraction for tourists in Valencia is Bioparc, a city zoo with a modern twist. The entire area is to bring the animals located here as close as possible to their natural environment. The runs are spacious and the barriers are virtually invisible.
Most of the animals are African species, therefore in Bioparc you can see fragments of the ecosystem of the Nile Delta, savannah or equatorial forest.
Playa de la Malvarrosa
One of the attractions in Valencia is also the local beaches. One of the most visited is Playa de la Malvarrosa, which stretches for over one kilometer. For its cleanliness, it was awarded the Blue Flag. There is beach infrastructure on site, mainly in the form of numerous bars and restaurants.
You can also rent water equipment and use the sanitary facilities. Right next to Malvarrosa Beach is a pretty, spotted seaside promenade. The place is wheelchair accessible.
What’s worth seeing in Valencia?
We have already visited the greatest tourist attractions and the most important monuments. What else is worth seeing and visiting in Valencia?
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One of the places worth seeing in Valencia is Mercado Central, the Main Market. It is one of the oldest operating fairs in Europe (established in 1928).
It is here on an area of eight thousand square meters, in a building under the roof, there are various stalls. Fresh fish and seafood, vegetables, meat, cheese and sweets are sold on site.
It is also a good place to try local products or simply dine at one of the stands selling ready meals.
Gardens of Turia
Another place worth seeing in Valencia is the Turia Gardens. Situated in the former bed of the Turia River, they cross the city with green areas. On an area of 110 hectares, a large park has been created, with paths for walkers, runners and cyclists. There are also pitches for team sports, including basketball, football or volleyball, and skate parks, as well as playgrounds, including the one famous – Gulliver Square, which we have already mentioned.
The Gardens of Turia were built where a river once flowed. However, it tended to flood the city, so a decision was made to change its course. On the other hand, an area of urban greenery was created in the drained trough. It happened in the second half of the 20th century.
Basilica of Our Lady of the Forsaken – Basílica de la Virgen de los Desamparados
Another place worth seeing in Valencia is the Basilica of Our Lady of the Forsaken – Basílica de la Virgen de los Desamparados from the 17th century. This is the first church built in this city, where the former temples used to be. Inside, you can see a statue of the Virgin Mary with her head lowered, which was donated by Pope Benedict XIII.
It is to her that, on the Feast of Fire, local women make pilgrimages to place bouquets of flowers.
Interesting places in Valencia
At the end of our tour of Valencia, during which we visited monuments and attractions and visited interesting places, let’s check what else is worth seeing.
Valencia Botanical Garden
One of the most interesting places in Valencia is definitely the Botanical Garden – Jardín Botánico de la Universidad de Valencia. Belonging to the local university, at one time it was a good source of knowledge for students, as medicinal plants were grown there. Today you can see many endemic species from all over the Iberian Peninsula.
In addition, plants brought from as many as five continents, which are now, for example, very old trees, were planted on the spot. The botanical garden in Valencia is a photogenic place that is perfect for a respite on hot days.
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The Silk Exchange
Another interesting place with a rich history is the local building of the Silk Exchange – La Lonja de la Seda. Built in a gothic style, during the Golden Age, when the economy flourished in the city. To this day, she reminds us of the lucrative business that took place in Valencia, when the textile industry was the main branch of trade.
The building of the Silk Exchange has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List and can now be visited from the inside. This attraction is mainly aimed at people interested in this type of topic.
Museum of Fine Arts
Yet another interesting place in Valencia is the Museum of Fine Arts – Museo de Bellas Artes de Valencia. It will certainly interest painting lovers, as there are paintings by masters of painters dating back to the Baroque and Renaissance. These include: Titian, Van Dyck, El Greco, Velazquez, De Ribery, Murillo and Goya.
The Valencia Museum of Fine Arts is located in a former theological seminary from the 17th century. In addition, it also houses more contemporary works by Spanish artists, sculptures, and archaeological collections.
Also check out the official website of Valencia.
Tourist map of Valencia attractions
On the map below you will find the most important monuments and attractions of Valencia: