On the southeastern coast of Spain, where the Turia River joins the Mediterranean Sea, lies the Valencia port city. After Madrid and Barcelona, Valencia is the third-largest city in Spain, with everything you might want from a holiday destination all bundled into one location.
What is Valencia in Spain like?
It is renowned for its City of Arts and Sciences, which includes a planetarium, an oceanarium, and an immersive museum with futuristic structures. There are also numerous beaches in Valencia, some within Albufera Park, a reserve of wetlands with a lake and walking trails.
For lovers of old and modern architecture, Valencia is a treasure trove. It has leftovers to explore both its Roman roots and its Moorish past. Alicante is less than two hours away, and you can catch the train from Valencia to Alicante on one of the eight trains that run every day between the cities.
Culture of Valencia
Valencia isn't like the rest of Spain. The area has all sorts of customs, including food, festivals, and traditional dress that you won't find anywhere, as well as having its own language.
What is there to do in Valencia, Spain?
Parks and Gardens in Valencia
The most popular park in Valencia is Turia Gardens, with playgrounds, picnic spots, and bike trails. It's only one of Valencia's many beautiful and peaceful parks to enjoy. A meandering nine km stretch of garden bisects the heart of Valencia. The Turia Gardens, occupying a dried-out riverbed, was built after the river was diverted following floods.
Arts and Science in Valencia
The City of Arts and Sciences is in the southern end of the Turia Gardens, towards Valencia's Port, with an array of futuristic buildings, surrounded by mirror-like pools and green gardens. There are world-class cultural venues and entertainment complexes inside, including an aquarium, a planetarium, and a cinema.
Beaches in Valencia
Valencia is home to miles of golden beaches, a short drive out of the city centre. There's plenty of room to soak up the sun at one of the two (connected) Blue Flag beaches, Playa de la Malvarrosa and Playa de las Arenas. Forget the crowded beaches of nearby Benidorm and Alicante. Many beach bars open up next to them in summer.
Old Town of Valencia
The atmospheric Old Town of Valencia is filled with street art, cafés, and breathtaking architecture. Valencia's attractions, include the Cathedral and La Lonja de la Seda. To avoid the tourist trail, walk the maze-like cobbled alleys and backstreets, and you'll find beautiful squares, tiny churches, and trendy cafés.
Valencia is a treasure trove for old and new architecture. It has leftovers to explore both its Roman roots and its Moorish past. Old Town has many fantastic examples of anything from art deco to Valencian Gothic. The city has its Gothic architecture theme, and many of the buildings are completed with colourful ceramic tiles.
The Gothic Cathedral of Valencia is one of the most famous architectural sights in the city and is home to a chalice that many say to be the real Holy Grail.
Museums in Valencia
Art and history can be studied in Valencia, including the Museum of Fine Arts (Museo de Bellas Artes) which includes works by El Greco, Velázquez and Goya, plus the Museum of Bullfighting (Museo Taurino). You can also visit the Museum of History of Valencia (Museo de Historia de Valencia) and the Museum of Prehistory (Museo de Prehistoria) and Fallas Museum (Museo Fallero).
Valencia food markets
Valencians love their food and the city's many vibrant food markets offer the best place to buy fresh produce. Central Market, the city's grand food palace in the centre of the old town, is the most interesting. This bustling market, far from being a relic or tourist attraction, is still a significant part of local life and Europe's longest-running food market. Plus, it's a beautiful piece of architecture, decorated with ceramic tiles and crowned with an enormous dome.
Dining out in Valencia
This in itself has to be a justification to visit. Valencia is the original home of the most popular dish in Spain. When you try real paella, Valenciana is one of the city's many authentic paella restaurants; you might be in for a surprise. Valencian chefs are strict about the ingredients, indeed, no chorizo is permitted for one thing.
Live music events in Valencia
A short drive up the coast is the world-famous Benicassim Festival. Valencia's centre puts on the smaller Festival De Les Artes at the City of Arts and Sciences with an indie-rock lineup of local and foreign talent.
Many tourists to Valencia arrive in March for the main festival, Las Fallas, when the city is turned for all two weeks of the festival into an outdoor art gallery, fireworks display, and party venue. It's not the only festival in town, there are many more.
As it is flat and has plenty of bike lanes, Valencia is the ideal city to explore on two wheels, with more being developed now. Bike to the port from the Old Town, or try one of the several other city-wide scenic routes. It is also easy to explore on foot.
Nightlife in Valencia
Valencia knows how to dance with everything from old school underground nightclubs to open-air terraces by the sea. If you want to party all night, there's something for every taste.
How do you reach Valencia in Spain?
There are direct flights form the UK and other parts of Europe into Valencia (VLC) Airport, which is the closest airport to Valencia city centre. The airport is 10 km west of Valencia and it takes only 15 minutes by car to reach the centre. You also have the option of flying into Alicante (ALC) (134.3 km).
What is the climate like in Valencia, Spain?
Valencia, enjoys more than 300 days of sunshine a year and has a mild winter with little rain. July and August boasts temperatures of 31°C while January is the coolest month enjoying temperatures of 16°C.