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Valencia in 1 Day: all you need to know

One day may not seem long enough to get to know Valencia but with the right itinerary you will be able to visit the main sites of the city. Here is an intensive tour of the Spanish capital of culture and science.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

10 min read

Valencia in 1 Day: all you need to know

Streets of Valencia | ©Nicolas Vigier

Valencia has so many attractions to offer that getting to know it in a single day is impossible, but if you plan a 24-hour stay in the city you can take an intensive tour of the main sites to discover at least a part of the spirit and beauty of Spain's capital of culture and science.

Among the best things to see and do in Valencia for a day are visiting the historic district and its main buildings, such as the Cathedral, the Lonja de la Seda and the Micalet, touring the city's beaches and enjoying Valencian gastronomy.

Start the tour of the historic district at the Cathedral of Valencia and the Micalet

Valencia Cathedral| ©Gianni T
Valencia Cathedral| ©Gianni T

The best way to start a tour of Valencia is to get to know the historic quarter, which is home to some of the most representative sites of the city such as the Castellfort Palace, the Santa Catalina Tower, the Church of Santos Juanes, the Plaza de la Vírgen and the Central Market, but also the Cathedral and the Micalet, which are the central points of the old town.

The Cathedral is located in a Gothic building and is built on an ancient Roman temple, although it has a mixture of styles from different periods because it was also a mosque and was renovated during the Renaissance. That is why visiting the Cathedral is also a journey through the history of Valencia.

In addition to the architecture and the Renaissance frescoes, the Cathedral holds among its treasures the Holy Grail. The building also stands out for the Micalet, which is the bell tower, one of the highest points of the historic district and from which it is possible to contemplate a wide panoramic view of the city.

You can visit the Cathedral and the Micalet any day of the week and, if you plan to visit Valencia during the summer, when the sky is clearer, you can take some of the best pictures of the city from the top of the bell tower.

Interesting details

  • Price... General admission for the Cathedral costs approximately 8 euros and for the Micalet an initial fee of 2 euros.
  • Location... Plaza de la Almoina s/n, Valencia.
  • Hours... Every day from 10.00 to 19.00 hours.
  • How to get there... By bus lines 9, 19 and 73.

Book a tour of the historic center of Valencia

Get to know the San Nicolás de Bari church, the Sistine Chapel of Valencia

Valencian Sistine Chapel| ©Gleen Fisher
Valencian Sistine Chapel| ©Gleen Fisher

Four streets away from the Cathedral, in a tour that you can do in a 10-minute walk, you will find the Church of San Nicolas de Bari, which is considered the most beautiful in the city and is nicknamed the Valencian Sistine Chapel. This is because its interior is decorated with Renaissance frescoes and its dome resembles that of the Vatican chapel.

The church has a 15th century Gothic structure and Baroque decoration in the interior and in the bell tower. It is one of the most active religious institutions in Valencia, as it continues to maintain its hours of worship and every Monday it hosts the San Nicolás walks, in which the faithful make a pilgrimage through the historic center.

Iglesia de San Nicolás de Bari is the epicenter of the patron saint festivities held in December, so if you plan to visit Valencia in winter you can attend the church during the festivities and participate in an activity that is typical of the locals.

Details of interest

  • Price... General admission costs approximately 7 euros.
  • Location... Camino de los Caballeros 35, Valencia.
  • Hours... Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 19:00. Mondays only open for walks and during religious worship hours.
  • How to get there... By bus lines 7, 27 and 73.

Book a visit with audioguide to the Church of St. Nicholas of Bari

Visit the Lonja de la Seda (Silk Exchange) building

Silk Exchange| ©Alberto Cruz
Silk Exchange| ©Alberto Cruz

Three streets away from the Church of St. Nicholas of Bari and after a walk of about 5 minutes you can reach the Silk Exchange. This place was the essential point of the textile industry, which was for centuries the economic engine of Valencia and also of much of Spain.

The Lonja de la Seda is a Gothic building from the Middle Ages that is considered a World Heritage Site and stands out for its central tower and the colonnade inside. You can tour the site on a guided tour and also see the Sala Consulado del Mar and the Patio de los Naranjos.

A visit to the Lonja de la Seda building is usually part of the best tours of Valencia, as it is essential to understand the history of the city and the influence that the textile industry had on the neighborhood of Velluters, which was distinguished by the artisans' workshops.

Details of interest

  • Price... General admission costs approximately 2 euros.
  • Location... Plaza de Brujas s/n, Valencia.
  • Opening hours... Every day from 10.00 to 19.00 hours.
  • How to get there... Bus lines 15, 24, 25, 35 and 95.

Lunch at the Central Market of Valencia

Valencia Central Market| ©Pascual
Valencia Central Market| ©Pascual

In front of the Lonja de la Seda is the Central Market of Valencia, the oldest in the city. It is located in a beautiful building that is an exponent of Valencian modernism. In the market you can rest and browse the more than 1000 stalls where you can buy fish, sausages and seafood or visit its bars and restaurants for lunch before continuing the tour.

The Central Market will allow you to immerse yourself in one of the places that Valencians visit every day to do their shopping, so if you are one of those who are interested in learning about local experiences when traveling, the market will be an ideal place for you.

It will also serve as a refuge from the cold or the heat of the city, since the historic center of Valencia is a walking tour and after a few hours you will probably need a break before continuing with the tour.

Valencia also has other markets where you can eat, such as the Mercado de Colón or the Mercado de Ruzafa, although they are a little further out of the way of the main buildings in the old quarter.

Details of interest

  • Price... Admission is free.
  • Location... Plaza de Brujas s/n, Valencia.
  • Hours... Monday to Saturday from 7.30 am to 3 pm.
  • How to get there... Bus lines 15, 24, 25, 35 and 95.

Book a paella workshop with a visit to Ruzafa Market

Walk through the Turia Gardens

Turia Gardens| ©Andreas Wieser
Turia Gardens| ©Andreas Wieser

The Turia Gardens are one of the most representative green lungs of the city and also the site where the amusement park of the Great July Fair is hosted every year. The gardens are ten blocks from the Central Market of Valencia, so you can get there with a walk of about 15 minutes or by bus.

If you are planning to visit Valencia with children you might be interested in visiting the Turia Gardens because there you will also find the Gulliver Park. This is a children's park that represents a giant sculpture of Gulliver, the main character of the story written by Jonathan Swift, who is tied to the ground by the Lilliputians. There children can play on ramps, slides and stairs, while you can rest quietly in the nearby areas before continuing the tour.

The Turia Gardens are on the way between the historic district and the complex of the City of Arts and Sciences, so if you are one of those who enjoy a tour of natural spaces you can not miss your visit.

Interesting details

  • Price... Entrance to the gardens is free.
  • Location... Turia Garden, Valencia.
  • Hours... Open 24 hours.
  • How to get there... By bus lines C2, 6, 95 and 115.

Tour the City of Arts and Sciences

City of Arts and Sciences| ©Pablo Simonetti
City of Arts and Sciences| ©Pablo Simonetti

The City of Arts and Sciences is the complex that gives the image of a cultural city to Valencia and was designed by the renowned local architect Santiago Calatrava. It is home to the Science Museum, the Oceonografic aquarium, the Reina Sofia Palace of the Arts and the Hemisferic.

The complex is located in front of section XII of the Turia Gardens and you can take a guided tour outside the buildings. You can also enter if you plan to attend a show at the Palacio de las Artes Reina Sofía, which is noted for its dance shows and opera concerts that usually include leading figures in most of its billboard shows.

Keep in mind that during the summer months and high season the influx of tourists increases significantly, so if you want to visit the City of Arts and Sciences it is ideal that you book in advance online to avoid delays during your short stay.

Interesting details

  • Price... Tickets have an approximate initial cost of 9 euros, but it will depend on the building you visit and the activity you do.
  • Location... Av. del Profesor López Piñero 7, Valencia.
  • Hours... Every day from 10.00 to 19.00 hours.
  • How to get there... Bus lines 10, 19, 24, 25 and 35.

Book a segway tour through the City of Arts and Sciences

Visit Oceanografic

Oceanografic| ©Javier Pereda
Oceanografic| ©Javier Pereda

If you want to get the most out of your visit to the City of Arts and Sciences you can also visit Oceanografic, the largest aquarium in the world with more than 600 species of dolphins, beluga whales, seals, penguins, sharks and stingrays. It is one of the best activities to visit with children, although it also has exhibits that will amaze adults.

The aquarium, in addition to the permanent exhibits, also has restaurants, terraces for lunch and if you plan to visit Valencia in July you can also take the guided night tour, which is enabled during the summer. The total tour of Oceanografic will take you approximately 2 hours.

The aquarium has reduced rates for children and scheduled tours, although you should be aware that some of the activities are not included in the general admission price and cost extra. Touring Oceanografic is one of the best things to do in Valencia.

Interesting details

  • Price... General admission costs approximately 34 euros for adults. Children up to 12 years old pay an approximate reduced rate of 25 euros.
  • Location... Carrer d'Eduardo Primo Yúfera 1B, Valencia.
  • Opening hours... Every day from 10.00 to 18.00 hours.
  • How to get there... Buses lines 10, 19, 24, 25 and 35.

Cycle along the beaches of Valencia on a bike tour and watch the sunset

Beaches of Valencia| ©Pascual
Beaches of Valencia| ©Pascual

Valencia is also recognized as a magnificent summer destination and in the downtown area has some of the best beaches in Spain, bathed by the Balearic Sea. Among them are the Malvarrosa Beach, Patacona Beach and El Cabanyal Beach , which is in one of the most picturesque neighborhoods of the city. Given the short time you have in the city, a good option to discover these beaches is by bicycle.

The bike tours through the seaside resorts of Valencia, which last approximately two hours, have the assistance of a local guide and will allow you to discover beaches of golden sand and crystal clear waters and also beach bars with terraces from which you can watch the sunset, considered one of the most beautiful in Spain.

You can also visit other wild or rugged beaches such as El Saler, La Garrofera or Recati, but they are in areas far from the city so you will lose a lot of time in transfers if you only have one day in the city.

Book a bike tour of the beaches of Valencia

Say goodbye to Valencia enjoying the local gastronomy

Paella| ©Joshua Miranda
Paella| ©Joshua Miranda

Coming to the end of your express visit to Valencia and having toured the main points of the historic district, the City of Arts and Sciences and the beaches to watch the sunset, you cannot leave the city without enjoying the local gastronomy, which is one of the most outstanding in Spain.

The city has many restaurants and bars where you can try paella, salted fish, Valencian pot and seafood or you can also opt for some of the best gastronomic tours in Valencia. If you plan to visit the city during the summer you can walk along some of the terraces of the promenade to dine with an open view of the sea.

In the historic center you can eat at Tasquita La Estrecha, El Ocho y Medio or Café del Mar, which is one of the best places for tapas in Valencia. You can also try sweet dishes such as arnadí and fartons with horchata.

This is the itinerary I recommend to get the most out of your one day visit in Valencia, if you follow some of my tips you will get to know a great part of the wonderful experiences that the City of Arts and Sciences has to offer to its visitors.

  • Morning
  • Walk through the historic district
  • Visit the Cathedral of Valencia
  • Visit the Micalet
  • Visit the Church of St. Nicholas of Bari
  • Noon
  • Visit the Silk Exchange
  • Visit the Central Market
  • Have lunch at the stalls of the street market
  • Rest in the Turia Gardens
  • Afternoon
  • Visit the City of Arts and Sciences
  • Visit Oceanografic
  • Visit the Reina Sofia Palace of the Arts
  • Take a bike tour along the beach
  • Night
  • Contemplate the sunset in Cabanyal
  • Dine in the restaurants of the old town
  • Visit the bars of Valencia
  • See the city illuminated