Located right in the center of the Spanish Mediterranean coast, the city of Valencia hides its game well and stands in 3rd place among the most important cities in Spain (after Madrid and Barcelona). Benefiting from good weather all year round (mild in winter, and hot in summer, but without reaching the extremes of Andalusia), the city offers above all a good balance between modernism (even futurism) and traditions, urban tourism and beaches, party spirit and gastronomy, small steep streets and large green spaces ... It is also increasingly accessible from France: with its direct flights all year round from Paris, and its numerous flights during the high season (from April-May to September-October) from Lyon, Marseille, Nantes or Toulouse.
So, do you want to go? Follow our advice, select your essentials, and let yourself be guided by our itinerary ideas for stays of 3 or 4 days, or even 1 week, with or without children ...
What to see / do in Valencia: the essentials
Here is our small selection of things to see or do absolutely during your stay in Valencia (or Valencia). But first of all, and if you don't want to worry, know that there are free tours of the historic center in the company of a guide (it's up to you to decide at the end of the visit if you leave a tip).
The Plaza de la Virgen
In the heart of the old town, this large square presents 2 unmissable historical monuments, the Cathedral of Valencia and the Royal Basilica (De Nuestra Señora De Los Desamparados)
(ℹ︎) Good plan: entry to the basilica is free
The Silk Exchange
Building dedicated to the merchants of the time, it is above all for its architecture and the work of the stonemasons that "La Loge de la Soie" stands out.
(ℹ︎) Good deal: free entry with the Valencia Tourist Card, otherwise only € 2
UNESCO heritage monument
The towers of Serranos
These towers are the old city gates (finally one of the twelve gates) which was surrounded by walls (which no longer exist today). Another great proof of the skill of stonemasons. But above all, the towers offer a beautiful panoramic view of the city and the Tùria gardens.
(ℹ︎) Good deal: free with the VLC Tourist Card
City of Arts and Sciences
A passage through the imposing scientific cultural and leisure complex is imperative. Already for its futuristic architecture. And according to your time and your desires, you can also visit: the Príncipe Felipe Science Museum (and its didactic experiences), the Oceanogràfic (the largest aquarium in Europe), the Hemisphere (giant 180 ° screen, ideal to take a break).
(ℹ︎) Good plan: take a free walk in the complex; on the other hand, the entries can quickly become expensive, but there are combined with interesting reductions.
site : www.cac.es
The Valence BioParc
Unmissable if you are traveling with children! This “zoo like no other” will immerse you in the heart of Africa and bring you closer to the animals by making sure you are immersed in: reduced or hidden separations, faithfully reproduced ecosystems, large open spaces, etc.
(ℹ︎) Please note, it is forbidden to bring a picnic (bag control)
site : bioparcvalencia.es
L'Eixample and its market
Less central but also less touristy, the Eixample district is to be discovered, for its chic side and for the architecture of its buildings. Its (gastronomic) market, the Mercado de Colón, stands out for its part with its beautiful dress of red bricks and its set of colored ceramics. It is also a perfect area for shopping and finding a good restaurant.
The Central Market
Unlike the previous one, this market is more oriented towards the sale of fresh produce. But above all, it is the largest covered market in Europe. And it is of course for its atmosphere and its architecture (mixture of stained glass, wrought iron, and colored tiles) that you will stop there (preferably in the morning).
(ℹ︎) Please note, the market closes at 15 p.m.
site : mercadocentralvalencia.es
The Fallas of Valencia
If you are in Valence in March, do not miss this unmissable festival. It takes place over several weeks, but its peak takes place from March 15 to 19, with the installation - in the streets of the city - of more than 300 Fallas (ephemeral monument made up of huge statues up to 30m high, and representing satirical scenes) which are burnt on the last night… A unique experience!
(ℹ︎) Note: If you want to come during this time, plan well in advance, the Fallas attract a lot of people.
The gardens of Tùria
It is THE green lung of Valence: the garden stretches over 9 km! Its size is due to the fact that it is located in the old bed of the eponymous river which was drained and diverted following numerous floods. But above all, it is a magnificent garden with different atmospheres, where it is good to walk, cycle or rollerblade.
Beaches in Valencia
Another place to relax and cool off: Malvarrosa and Cabanyal beaches are quickly accessible by public transport from the city center. Whether in summer to swim, or in winter to take a walk (on the paseo marítimo), take a break, or enjoy a paella, before returning to visit the city.
Our itinerary ideas
Valencia in 3 days:
- J1 : Visit the historic city center: if you are leaving from the station, start with the Town Hall Square (Plaza del Ayuntamiento) and its central fountain, then go up to visit the Lonja de Seda, take a break at the Central Market just opposite, resume the road towards Plaza de la Virgen, and finish with a setting sun at the top of the towers of Serranos.
- J2 : Stroll through the Tùria gardens (on foot or by bike) towards the sea, and take advantage of this idyllic place for a picnic break. You will arrive at the City of Arts and Sciences: it's up to you to decide whether you prefer to walk around the complex, visit the Science Museum, or go see the Oceanogràfic (depending on your preferences and your budget).
- J3 : Discover another district of Valencia, Eixample, and end your morning at the Colón Market. You can eat there on site, or head for the beach to enjoy a paella on the seafront. Then enjoy the rest of the day at the beach (and / or the old port).
Valencia in 4 days:
Complete the previous route with one of the following days:
- the BioParc, if you are traveling with your family. And at the end of the day (for the more courageous), stop off at the Parc de Cabecera next door. Climb up the hill to admire the sunset.
- the Albufera Natural Park, if you are nature lovers.
- 1 one or 2 museums to deepen your culture of the region (see the complete list).
In 1 week (7 days):
Are you in Valence for a week? What luck ! Simply take the "3 days" program, to which you can add the different ideas of the "4 days", or - if you are traveling with your family - the following ideas…? Otherwise, you will simply have the opportunity to visit Valencia more quietly ...
Program with children:
If you are traveling with your family, choose:
- the BioParc: this zoo will delight the little ones, count a full day.
- l'Oceanogràfic: also allow a day to visit this giant aquarium.
- the Príncipe Felipe Science Museum: half a day should be enough (unless you have budding little scientists), possibly supplemented with the Hemispheric.
- the gardens of Tùria: the coolest thing is to rent bikes to be able to make the most of it. And above all, stop by Gulliver Park, your children will be delighted to slide on this giant.
- the Serranos or Quart towers: for a step back in history to the time of knights (for boys) or princesses (for girls).
PRACTICAL TIPS : check the annual climate trends, so you will know when to go to Valencia depending on the weather.
And to go further:
If you want to deepen your research on Valencia, especially if you are traveling with family or during the Fallas, I invite you to check out my other article on LesZed with a full 20 minute video.
And if not, there is always the Tourist Office website which is not stingy with advice and tips.