When it comes to Spanish city breaks, Valencia is hard to beat. As well as having some of the finest beaches in the country, mouthwatering cuisine and a climate we all dream about, the city is home to a vast array of interesting and fun things to see and do. To help you plan your trip, here’s my top picks for places to visit in Valencia.
If there’s one thing I love when travelling, it’s visiting the local markets, and Mercado Central really is the best one in Valencia. Walking around the food stalls savouring the sights and smells of all the delicious local produce, including a variety of seafood and fish, jamon serrano, and gazpacho, is one of my favourite things to do when in the city.
If you want to see a side of the real Valencia, head to the charming district of El Cabanyal. Once the fishermen’s quarter, it’s now a residential area with lots of cute shops, restaurants, and bars. I love the architecture of El Cabanyal; Valencia is well-known for its use of tiles on its buildings, and El Cabanyal has some of the most beautiful and eye-catching designs.
Jardin del Turia
One of the largest urban parks in Spain, Jardin del Turia is where I go to relax and unwind when I’m in Valencia. Created from an old riverbed, this beautiful park meanders past the city’s main museums and monuments, and crosses under 18 historic bridges. It’s the perfect place for strolling, running, and cycling.
As I said previously, the beaches are one of the biggest draws of Valencia. Unsurprisingly, the most popular beach is La Malvarrosa, due to its proximity to the city centre. Despite being popular with most residents and tourists, it hasn’t succumbed to the over-development seen in other Spanish cities; the beach has a local feel to it rather than being touristy. My personal favourite is Port Saplaya, a quieter beach seven kilometres out of the city, but still with excellent infrastructure and lots of character.
City of Arts and Sciences
The jewel in Valencia’s crown, the City of Arts and Sciences is a cultural and architectural complex with lots to see and do. I personally think the Oceanografic is the best part; it’s the largest aquarium in Europe where you can see around 500 species of marine animals, such as dolphins, penguins, and beluga whales. Other highlights of the City of Arts and Sciences include an interactive science museum, an opera house, and a planetarium.
It might not be the first thing that you think of when you picture a trip to Valencia, but for me, the street art is one of the best things about Valencia. The best work can be found in El Carme, one of the old-town districts. It’s here that you can spot works by famous graffiti artists such as Hyuro, the artist behind one of the more famous artworks in the area – a depiction of Moses – and Escif, often referred to as the ‘Spanish Banksy’.