Valencia, a city that combines a great cultural richness with a modern and avant-garde atmosphere, miles of fantastic beaches and an exquisite gastronomy. All this makes it one of the most complete and interesting cities to visit in Spain.
Ranked number three of the largest cities in the country, Valencia is also known for its lively life and of course, for its most famous dish: paella. In this itinerary I will help you organize a three-day trip to this wonderful destination so you will know everything there is to see and do in Valencia and you won't miss anything.
1. Day one: explore the historic center of Valencia and visit a very special museum
To start your first day in the port city of Valencia, you will begin by getting to know its historic center and the wonderful monumental buildings found in it.
After a tour of its most emblematic buildings, you will have the opportunity to visit its famous Central Market, where you will taste some of the traditional foods of the area.
In the afternoon, after walking a little more through the center of this beautiful city, you will enter its most special museum: The Gonzalo Martí National Museum of Ceramics and Sumptuary Arts. And to end this full day, you will go to the Ruzafa neighborhood, one of the liveliest areas where you can have dinner and if you feel like it, close the night with a drink in one of its many pubs.
Start the day at Plaza de la Virgen
The first point on your itinerary today will be the central Plaza de la Virgen. This monumental square is located in what was once the Roman forum of the city and inside it houses the Basilica of the Virgen de los Desamparados, the Palace of the Generalitat Valenciana and the Cathedral of Valencia.
In addition, in the center of the square is a magnificent fountain designed by sculptor Manuel Silvestre Montesinos in 1976 and representing an allegory of the Turia River. Due to the beauty of this place, I recommend that you take a coffee in one of its bars to contemplate it calmly.
And then, you will make your first visit of the day entering the Cathedral of the Holy Chalice, whose predominant style is Valencian Gothic.
The entrance includes a visit to the cathedral museum and, although to climb its bell tower Miguelete you have to pay a separate entrance fee, I encourage you to do so, since the entrance is quite economical and you will not regret it when you see the fantastic views of the city with which it presents you. Another equally good option would be to hire a tour of the center of Valencia, which include both the entrance to the cathedral and other major monuments.
Continue the tour with the Basilica of the Virgen de los Desamparados
After visiting the Cathedral of Valencia and climbing its high tower, your next stop on the way will be the Basilica of the Virgen de los Desamparados, which is located right next to it.
This temple whose style is halfway between Renaissance and Baroque is dedicated to the Virgen de los Desamparados, the patron saint of the city. In fact, inside you can find a museum dedicated entirely to her and ranging from paintings to sculptures and ceramics. One of the most outstanding features of the basilica is its enormous dome, which is covered with frescoes and is considered the jewel of the church.
- Where: Plaza de la Virgen, 6.
- Hours: Monday to Sunday from 7:30 am to 2:00 pm and from 4:30 pm to 9:00 pm.
- Price: the general admission to enter the basilica is approximately 4 €, but if you deliver the entrance ticket to the cathedral the price is reduced.
Follow your way to the Church of San Nicolas and the Silk Exchange
Following the proposed route, the two places you are going to visit next are the Church of San Nicolas and the Silk Exchange. Both are less than 5 minutes walk from the previous destinations.
The Church of St. Nicholas of Bari and St. Peter Martyr has the honor of being called the Valencian Sistine Chapel due to the impressive pictorial work housed inside.
As for La Lonja de la Seda, it is an imposing Gothic building whose beauty and cultural importance have led it to be part of the list of places considered as a World Heritage Site.
If, on the other hand, you prefer to take your tour of Valencia with an expert guide, you can check the best tours in Valencia and book one to make sure you do not miss any detail of this magnificent city.
Enjoy the Valencian gastronomy at the Central Market
In the most central part of the city, next to the Lonja de la Seda, is located the impressive Central Market of Valencia, one of the largest fresh produce markets in Europe.
It is located in a modernist building with a structure formed by high iron columns of the most characteristic and covering up to 8,000 square meters. Among its 1,200 stalls you can find meat, fish, cheese, fruits, vegetables and much more. Once there, I encourage you to take the opportunity to eat at the Supergourmet Market Restaurant, an exquisite tapas bar whose value for money is great. Of course, I recommend that you book in advance.
Another fantastic option for lunchtime would be to book a gastronomic tour of Valencia, in which you will have the opportunity to taste up to 10 different dishes.
Continue with your walk to the National Museum of Ceramics
Before reaching the museum mentioned above, you will take a detour to stroll through the Plaza Redonda and the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. Both are within walking distance of the Central Market, so I encourage you to go to them in order to get to know two of the most representative places of the Valencian city.
When you finish your pleasant walk, head to the National Museum of Ceramics, which is located in the beautiful Palace of Valencia. The Palacio del Marqués de Dos Aguas, which is located in the beautiful Palacio del Marqués de Dos Aguas. This wonderful rococo style palace houses an impressive collection of Spanish and foreign ceramics that will not leave you indifferent.
- Where: Carrer del Poeta Querol, 2.
- Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Sundays from 10:00 to 14:00 h.
- Price: the general admission is approximately 3 €.
End the day in the most alternative neighborhood of Valencia
To end your first day in Valencia, I am going to ask you to go to its "coolest" neighborhood, the Ruzafa neighborhood. This area of the city was formerly an Arab neighborhood, but due to gentrification, it has become a multicultural place full of avant-garde restaurants, bookstores-cafes, art galleries and bars.
The heart of this neighborhood is undoubtedly the Ruzafa Market, a colorful building that hides inside a large number of stalls and restaurants. Once there, you will even have the opportunity to take a workshop where they will teach you how to prepare an authentic Valencian paella with products purchased at the market.
For dinner, I recommend you to go to the Maui Russafa restaurant, a tapas bar of great quality and at a very affordable price. Afterwards, you can take the opportunity to have a drink in one of the nearby pubs.
2. Day two: visit the most emblematic museum of the city
For your second day, I have prepared a morning at the famous City of Arts and Sciences, a must if you decide to spend your vacations in Valencia.
After tasting a delicious Valencian paella, you will take a walk along one of the beaches of the city until you reach the Port of Valencia. And to finish the day, you can visit a very special area of the city: the Cabanyal neighborhood.
Get to know the impressive City of Arts and Sciences
The City of Arts and Sciences is an ideal place if you visit Valencia with children. However, it is not necessary to go with the little ones to enjoy this enormous complex of scientific and cultural diffusion.
With more than 350,000 meters of surface, this place has been conceived as an independent city dedicated to cultural leisure and formed by six different areas destined to different purposes:
- The Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía, intended for the performing arts and opera.
- The Hemisferic, a planetarium, laser and IMAX cinema projection room.
- The Umbracle, a beautiful garden for strolling.
- The Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe, an interactive science museum.
- The Oceanografic, the largest aquarium in Europe.
- The Ágora, a space dedicated to the celebration of events.
This visit will take you at least the whole morning and you can buy separate tickets for the buildings you are most interested in, together to have the opportunity to take a complete tour or book a guided tour.
Try a real Valencian paella
Although it is true that most of the visits you are going to make can be done on foot, because this part of the city is further away from the center, I recommend you to take a bus.
To get to the restaurant where you can try the famous paella of Valencia, when leaving the City of Arts and Sciences you only have to take line 99 and get off at the stop La Malva-rosa - Mendizàbal. You can also check the bus information on the Valencia transport website.
Located near the Malvarrosa Beach, Casa Carmela Restaurant is a centenary gastronomic space specialized in rice dishes. There, you will be able to taste a fantastic Valencian paella cooked in a traditional way. It is advisable to book in advance.
Stroll along the coast of Valencia
After an unforgettable meal in a typical restaurant, I recommend that you continue your tour with a walk along the promenade of the Malvarrosa Beach until you reach the Port of Valencia.
If you are lucky and travel to Valencia in summer, you can even take advantage of this walk to take a dip and cool off on the most famous beach in the city. Once you get to the port, you can see all the boats that dock there, admire the Clock Building or sit down for a drink overlooking the sea.
Close your second day with a visit to the Cabanyal neighborhood.
A little more than a 15-minute walk from the port is the picturesque neighborhood of Cabanyal. This area of the city is known for its beautiful colorful houses with modernist touches whose facades are covered with tiles.
A curiosity about this neighborhood is that it once became an independent municipality called the Pueblo Nuevo del Mar. Today it belongs to the city of Valencia, but maintains the traditional atmosphere of the fishing village it once was. Strolling through its streets is a real pleasure, so I suggest that you walk through them calmly admiring its beautiful buildings.
Another feature to highlight of this small Valencian corner, is its wonderful gastronomic offer. For this reason, I am going to recommend that you take the opportunity to dine in the area. Two of the best rated restaurants are Taberna de Anyora, a traditional tapas place with local ingredients and organic wine, and La Sastrería, an exclusive place decorated in an exquisite seafood style whose specialty is seafood.
3. Day three: say goodbye to Valencia with a visit to the lively Barrio del Carmen
For your third and last day I have prepared a tour of the city center starting at the North Station, crossing the Turia Garden and ending in the famous Barrio del Carmen, passing by some of the monuments found in the area.
Start the tour with the Estación del Norte and the Mercado de Colón
To start the last day, you will visit the Estación del Norte, a railroad station built in a beautiful modernist building, belonging to the current of the "Viennese Sezession" and which is the work of the architect Demetrio Ribes. This huge building is of great architectural importance and is considered one of the most representative of the city.
After this first visit you will walk approximately 10 minutes to your next point on the tour, El Mercado de Colón, another imposing modernist building that has been declared a National Monument.
Composed of three large naves that form an open and bright space, the market houses a large number of bars and restaurants with a gastronomic and drinks offer that is spectacular to say the least.
Although if gastronomy is one of your passions, it would be interesting for you to consider booking a gastronomic tour of Valencia, where you can discover all the secrets of local cuisine and products.
Stroll through the immense Turia Garden
After visiting the impressive Mercado de Colón, I'm going to ask you to take a short walk to the nearest entrance of the Turia Garden, a gigantic park where you can relax in nature. This garden reaches all the way to the City of Arts and Sciences and, in addition to its many children's play areas, it also hosts fairs and concerts.
As lunchtime approaches, you can return to the city center to reach the fantastic Rincón 33 restaurant. In this restaurant located on Carrer de la Corretgeria you can eat various types of rice, topped with the delicious socarrat typical of the area. However, keep in mind that if you want to try the traditional Valencian paella you must book in advance.
A quick and fun option to continue your tour of Valencia would be to rent an electric scooter with which you can reach all the corners in much less time, in addition to having a great time.
Continue your way to the Serranos Towers
After a good meal at Rincón 33, your next destination will be the Serranos Towers. However, before you will make a short detour, because just 3 minutes from the restaurant you will find the Horchatería Santa Catalina, and you will not want to leave Valencia without tasting its most famous drink.
In this horchatería of more than two centuries you can choose whether to taste a homemade horchata, a water of Valencia or a good homemade ice cream. After indulging yourself, you will walk just 10 minutes to the Serranos Towers.
These two medieval towers were built to defend one of the busiest entrances to the ancient city of Valencia. In addition, they also served as a triumphal arch and are now considered one of the most emblematic icons of the city.
End your last day in Valencia with a stroll through the popular Barrio del Carmen
This neighborhood of millenary origin takes its name from the Church and Convent of Carmen.
Although the Barrio del Carmen was once surrounded by a wall, today only two sets of towers remain to commemorate that era.
In addition to having beautiful streets lined with quaint little houses that are a pleasure to stroll through, this neighborhood is one of the leisure centers of the city, becoming a party area at night. You can also find markets, restaurants, terraces and even several museums. Some of the visits you can make inside this neighborhood are:
- El Portal de Valldigna
- The Mossén Sorell Market
- The Tossal Square
- The Valencian Museum of Modern Art
- The Museum of Prehistory
- The Quart Towers
Finally, for dinner I am going to recommend you any of the fish and seafood restaurants in the neighborhood. In them, you will find exquisite cuisine and a perfect value for money.