Top Tourist Attractions in Valencia - Guides, tips and deals Top Tourist Attractions in Valencia - Guides, tips and deals

Top tourist attractions in Valencia

The Top Valencia Tourist Attractions

You are going to spend 1 day in Segovia during your vacation in Spain and you are looking for ideas and the best attractions in Segovia to ensure you make the most out of your time. Let us help you with our list of top things to enjoy in Segovia

Segovia is located at a bit more than one hour´s drive from Madrid and it holds some of Spain´s top sights!. It is a must-see destination in Spain so in case you hesitate to visit we strongly recommend you do. You will not regret it!

Valencia top touris attractions

La Albufera in Valencia during a tour

La Albufera

Check out our full guide to the La Albufera in Valencia. a spectacular as nature park, located just south of the center of the city of Valencia. … Read More

L’Oceanogràfic - Valencias amazing oceanographic

L’Oceanogràfic in Valencia

Check out our full guide to the L’Oceanogràfic in Valencia. L’Oceanogràfic is the largest aquarium in Europe and an essential visits while in Valencia … Read More

La Albufera

The AlbuferaLa Albufera or L’Albufera de València as it’s known, the amazing nature park, located just south (11km) of the center of  the city of Valencia. La Albufera is a vast freshwater lagoon and estuary

The nature reserve spans over 21,120 hectares (52,200 acres). Unique climate conditions are responsible for the incredible biodiversity that the reserve enjoys. It is a prime destination for a great number of migratory birds and is also home to a number of endangered species like the farfet and the samaruc.

The Albufera was originally a saltwater lagoon, but over time, thanks to naturally occurring irrigation and canals draining into the estuary and the sand bars increasing in size had converted it to freshwater by the seventeenth century.

The area was declared a nature park by the government f Spain in 1986 and in 1990 it became a protected ecosystem. The water of the Albufera has an average depth of just 1 meter or 3,2 feet and is separated from the Mediterranean sea by a thin bank of sand held in place by a Mediterranean pine tree forest known as the Dehesa de Saler.

The coast of Valencia used to be filled with similar marshlands, but the Albufera is now the largest and best-preserved that remains. Other smaller marshes that can be found on the Valencian coast are the Pegp-Olivia Marsh, the Jaraco Marsh, the Rafalell y Vistabella marsh, the El Moro Marsh and the Almenara among others.


The Albufera was formed during the Pleistocene. There was once a bay where the marsh now sits that got sealed off by natural occurrence, trapping seawater and creating the lagoon. During the Roman empire, the lagoon was definitely sealed off as the Romans began to use the area for crop growth.

The lagoon was much larger in the past as well. It once spanned over 30.000 hectares. As people began to settle in the area and began harvesting and farming, they created new farmland, eating away at the lagoon. The lagoon currently spans just 2800 hectares.

During the Moorish occupation of the Iberian Peninsula, the Albufera was gifted to the emir of Zaragoza thanks to a settlement with El Cid, one of Spain’s greatest heroes, after he had reconquered the city of Valencia.

In 1250 fishing was legalized in the Albufera when a village of fishermen from Ruzafa settled the island of El Palmar, from here the could more easily perform their trade. This began a trend across the Valencian coast and since then fishing in the area has always been a closely regulated activity.

During the XIX century, Spain was invaded by the French. When the reached Valencia, the French were so impressed by the natural beauty of the Albufera that it became a coveted piece of land among the invading generals. At the end of the war, La Albufera was gifted by Joseph Bonaparte to Marshal Suchet as well as the title of Duke of the Albufera. La Albufera would remain in his possession until 1818 when King Ferdinand the VII reclaimed the Spanish throne.

During the second third of the XIX century is when the Albufera began to shrink drastically as farmers began burying the lagoon. As the did so the fauna began to disappear, so much so that all the big game that once roamed the marshlands vanished to this day.

In 1865 the Albufera became the property of the state after 6 centuries of belonging to the Royal Family. In 1911 it officially became the property of the city of Valencia.

In 1962 a long legal battle broke out as developers began plans to began building houses, hotels, and other recreational real estates on the land surrounding the lagoon. Conservationists, in particular Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente, Spain’s greatest wildlife advocate, began protesting the plans to build on La Albufera. In 1973 it was decided to halt all construction and most of the damage was avoided.

How was the Albufera formed?

The Albufera was once a bay and during the Pleistocene. As the centuries went on, different natural processes (storms, erosion, etc,) began to seal off a portion of the Mediterranean Sea, transforming it into a giant inland lagoon. During the roman empire the Romans finished off the work that nature began and permanently sealed off the lagoon as the settled the area.

How many bird species are found in La Albufera?

La Albufera is one of the best places in Spain for Bird watching. There have been over 350 different species of birds registered in the Albufera natural park. This is counting both resident species and migratory species that pass through La Albufera during their migration. La Albufera offers a perfect habitat to many migratory birds making it an excellent resting area for them. There are three main classifications for the birds that aither live or pass through the park:

  • Nesting: The nesting water bird community is represented by populations of loons —Podicipedidae, with two species—, herons —Ardeidae, with seven species—, ducks —Anatiidae, five species—, coots —Rallidae, four species—, waders —Recurvirostridae, Glareolidae and Charadriidae, with five species—, gulls —Lariidae, with five species— and terns —Sternidae, with five species—. The populations of terns and herons stand out, with figures that sometimes exceed four thousand couples each. The marsh vegetation areas are home to an interesting population of marsh passerines, among which the Royal Warbler Acrocephalus melanopogon, the single-billed Locustella luscionioides or the mustached Panurus biarmicus stand out. It is also worth noting the presence of scarce nesting species such as the brown teal Marmaronetta angustirostris (between one and four pairs, depending on years) or the common gallinule Porphyrio porphyrio (slightly more than one hundred pairs).
  • Wintering birds: In winter, L’Albufera also hosts an important community of waterfowl, among which the ducks stand out, with figures that sometimes exceed 25,000 individualsseagulls, with more than 20,000 birds, and waders, with more than two thousand birds. The numbers of the herons group – more than two thousand birds – and the large cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo, which far exceeds three thousand birds, are also high. In this period, there are also large numbers of the Netta Rufina red duck, sometimes over five thousand individuals, and, more recently, of the blue mallard duck Anas platyrhynchos, in quantities greater than ten thousand birds.
  • Migratory birds: In the different migratory periods, there are also high numbers of some groups of birds, especially waders, which find in the marsh an ideal habitat for obtaining food. Between February-March and July-September, high numbers of black-winged limosa limosa  can be found—more than two thousand birds in March—, European lapwing Vanellus vanellus and European golden plover Pluvialis apricaria —more than five hundred specimens, and of sandpipers and archbebes – more than four hundred birds. It is also common to find the common pratincole Glareola pratincola in remarkable concentrations, with totals exceeding three hundred individuals.A good number of species of seabirds are also observed on the coast, mainly seagulls and terns. Also, the presence of the Balearic Shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus in specific periods of the year can reach two or three thousand individuals.


What is there to do in La Albufera? 

La Albufera is one of Spain’s most spectacular nature parks, and one of the best hiking routes you can enjoy in the Iberian peninsula. There are also boat rides that can be hired if you want to explore the lagoon and the surrounding marsh. The area of El Saler is particularly perfect if you are looking to take a long stroll through nature.

Bird watching is also a popular pastime in the Albufera due to the large number of birds it hosts.

But one of the Alabufera’s main attractions is the food. There are many excellent typical Valencian restaurants in the area that specialize in seafood and, of course, Paella. La Albufera is said to be the birth place of the Paella. It is easy to see how that could have happened, being surrounded by kilometres of rice paddies and waters rich in seafood. Another typical dish from the area is known as “All I pebre”, stewed eel with garlic, potatoes and pepper. For the best food, head over to El Palmar.

Las Fallas, Valencia

They say that the city´s bonfires originated from wanting to burn everything old: branches of the fields and all the bad things from the past year are burnt to start the spring strong with new strength and optimism for the new harvest. Fallas Valencia. These 2 words, like also paella, go together in the minds of Spanish people. Las Fallas, due to is spectacular sculptures is probably the preferred Fiesta by Spanish children. 

Particularly in Valencia city, they say the carpenters cleaned their workshops to have them ready for the San Jose festivities and burned all the remains in big bonfires, that with time got decorated, resulting is the Valencia Fallas. 

Valencia Silk Exchange

The Valencia Silk Exchange or The Llotja de la Seda as it’s known locally is an amazing 15th-century Gothic building in the heart of the city of Valencia. It was once one of the most important silk markets in the world, a precious commodity at the time. It is one of the city’s main attractions and most breath-taking landmarks.


Construction of the Valencia Silk Exchange began in 1482 and was completed in 1548. The complex is featuring three distinct parts and an interior orange garden. The main hall or the Sala de Contratacion is a large, beautifully decorated room whose main feature is the two gorgeous twisted columns. This was the economic heart of the Silk Exchange where all the business was conducted and contracts were drawn up. Off this main room, we find the Pavilion of the Consulate, and this was the seat of the Tribunal del Mar (marine tribunal) – the first marine courthouse in Spain.

All business disputes were settled in this wing. This area of the exchange has two floors, the 2nd of which features a spectacular and ornate ceiling. Both floors maintain original furnishings. The third section of the building is the central tower, which was used as a jail for merchants found guilty of a crime in the Pavilion of the Consulate.

Valencia became the city it is thanks to the silk exchange. The Silk Road was the route that connected Europe and Asia and on which highly coveted silk fabrics were transported. The silk was produced in China and sold in Europe. Valencia was one of Europe’s most important markets for silk, and silk was a valuable commodity.

In the time period in which the Valencia Silk Exchange was built, much of the silk coming into Europe had been routed through Northern Africa, and Valencia became the perfect location to be the distributor from Spain to the rest of the continent.

The Silk Exchange was built on the site of what had once been the Oil Exchange of Valencia, but thanks to Valencia’s commercial prosperity during the 15th century, this new exchange was constructed. Inspiration for the building’s design came from a similar exchange in Palma de Majorca, designed by the architect Guillem Sagrera in 1448. The architect behind the Valencia Exchange was Pere Compte.

The Valencia Silk Exchange was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

If you head into the center of Valencia’s Old Town and wander around, you won’t immediately spot the Silk Exchange in the same way you might naturally find yourself in the grand plazas in front of the cathedral or the town hall.


How long to spend in Valencia Silk Exchange?

As historically important and beautiful the Exchange is, it isn’t that big. It might take you an hour and a half if you really take you time.


Where to buy silk in Valencia?

Take a walk through the barrio de Velluters, sthe best neighborhood in Valencia to experience the ruta de seda or the silk rout of Valencia. This was the epicenter of silk production in Europe for several centuries. There are several buildings in this area that have a very historically relevant to the old silk trade in Valencia and a great number of shops to peruse. 

Valencia Market

The Valencia Market or Central Market of Valencia is a public market located across from the “Lonja de la Seda” and the Church of Juanes in the heart of Valencia. It is home to a great number of stands that sell everything from fresh produce, to spices and charcuterie. The market itself is one of the most spectacular examples that you can find of Valencian Art Nouveau architecture in the City.

The Valencia Market: a brief history

The first iteration of a market we find in this area occurred in 1839. An open-air farmers market opened in the same spot, known as the Mercat Nou or new market. Towards the end of the century, the city of Valencia sponsored a contest for the construction rights for a new roofed market. In 1910 the winning design was selected. Architects Alexandre Soler March and Francesc Guàrdia Vidal, who had both studied at the Architectural School of Barcelona, were entrusted with the construction of the new indoor market. The broke ground in 1914 and the new market wasn’t fully completed until 1928. A new Valencian architect named Enrique Viedma Vidal headed up the project towards the end.

The Central Market of Valencia is one of the largest in Europe. It spans across over 8,000 square metres and features a predominantly Valencian Art Nouveau style, both inside and out. The market’s most peculiar feature is its roof that incorporated the original domes and sloping sections at different heights. The interior was built with a combination of materials including wood, ceramic, steel polychromed tiles. The size and beauty of this market make it so unique and one of Valencia’s most important landmarks. The many stands inside the market are bathed in natural light that enters through the multi-colored window panes that line the roof. This, along with the food stands and locals shopping everyday make the market a very special place. If you stay a few days in Valencia at a rented flat you may want to consider purchasing at this superb market all the ingredients you need to prepare a perfect Valencia paella. Once you have tested your own abilities it may also be a good idea to set your benchmark against some of the best paella restaurants in Valencia

The market also presents details taken from other architectural styles such as Valencian Gothic which is the characteristic style of the nearby Lonja de Seda and Sants Juanes church.

Apart from food stands, there are also several small restaurants and bars inside which make it a popular and trendy location for people to get together and share a drink and some tapas in Valencia.

Valencia Cathedral

After James I of Aragon had taken Valencia in 1238, Gothic churches and monasteries were built in Valencia and all along the coast. Almost all these buildings were later altered in the baroque style and thereby frequently disfigured, This fact also applies in part to Valencia Cathedral. In 1262 the foundation stone was laid for the building, on whose site there had previously stood a Roman temple of Diana, a Visigoth church, and after this a mosque.

Is it worth visiting the Cathedral in Valencia?

This is for sure not one of Spain´s most beautiful Cathedrals but it has a few highlights which make it unique and which would not want to miss. Nothings less that the holy grial is meant to be at Valencia Cathedral! Not bad if you would like to feel like Indiana Jones for a moment. 

The 2 towers (the Miguelete and the Cimborrio) are also unique. The Cimborrio can only be really admired inside and we are sure you will not regret your visit. It is simply amazing!

You will also have a chance to get to the top of the Miguelete tower to enjoy one of the best views of Valencia!


Plan your visit to the cathedral

It is easy to arrive to the Cathedral using public transport (you can get close to the Cathedral from nearly all metro lanes) .

You can visit the Cathedral, or the cathedral plus museum, or also add the Miguelete tower (207 steps to get to the 50 meters of height at the top to enjoy views from the terrace in the Miguelete tower and 65 meters to the Espadaña at the very top).  Despite 207 steps does not seem like a big deal, please bear in mind they are very large steps and that much more tiring than standards stairs. We recommend to stop every 5 minutes to enjoy the views and, while you do it, question yourself about the excellent shape of the bell-ringers during that used to climb them 6 times each day!


Portals – Outside the cathedral

The Cathedral has 3 portals and out of them, the late Romanesque Puerta de Palau in the East transept is the oldest (13 Century). With its beautiful archivolts and  delicate ornaments, it belongs to the first phase of building and clearly shows Catalan influence.

The Puerta de los Apóstoles in the Western transept is part of the Gothic phase of construction, which ended in the 15C. The portal is decorated with numerous statues, including six Apostles under tabernacles and, in the tympanum, the Virgin with musicians and angels. Above the portal there is a rose-window with magnifcent tracery. In accordance with an old custom, which is said to go back to the time of the Moors, the Tribunal de las Aguas (“Tribunal of the Waters’) meets each Thursday at noon sharp in front of this portal. The Tribunal meets when noon time is announced from the Miguelete (the famous bell tower of the cathedral). The tribunal settles disputes arising from the distribution of water in the Huerta. No appeal is possible against the decision reached by the judges, who are themselves peasants.

The main entrance, an 18C baroque portal, is on the South side of the cathedral. It is also called the Puerta de Hierros, because of the grille which closes the portal forecourt. It is actually a three-storeyed façade and portal. Narrow and concave in form, it is the work of the German artist Konrad Rudolf, a pupil of Bernini, and was completed by Ignacio Vergara, who was also responsible for the statues. The top storey of the magnificent façade bears an Assumption of the Virgin.

The cathedral’s free-standing octagonal bell tower, known as Miguelete or Micalet, stands beside and to the left of the baroque portal. This sturdy tower, 223 ft. high (built 1380 – 1420), is the landmark of Valencia. Above the three undecorated storeys of red brick is a fourth storey with 8 windows, crowned with Gothic style. 

The bell, hung in the bellcote (a later addition), formerly regulated the irrigation of the Huerta. From here there is a fine view of Valencia, the Huerta and the sea.


Why is Valencia cathedral famous?

There are 4 main reasons why the Cathedral is famous. 

  1. The holy grail (mentioned already before)
  2. The Miguelete. This tower is the symbol of Valencia and it offers breath-taking views of the city
  3. The Tribunal de Aguas. Valencia is famous for having the best orchards in Spain. With orchards water problems may arise. The water tribunal gathers every week next to the cathedral for centuries!
  4. The Cimborrio. This octagonal tower in flamboyant style if unique in Spain.


Inside the cathedral of Valencia

The Cimborrio, the octagonal tower above the crossing, is in Flamboyant style. The eight tracery windows are incomparably beautiful. The cathedral displays Renaissance elements in addition to the Gothic and the baroque. The two-storeyed round gallery surrounding the choir apse is in Renaissance style.

The interior of the cathedral was altered in baroque style and is somewhat excessive. The length of the nave is 322 ft. and that of the transept is 177 ft. The crossing contains the monumental high altar with its pillars and baldacchino. The twelve panel paintings on the enormous altar wings date from the early 16C and show scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary. They are the work of Hernando Yáñez de la Almedina and Hernando Llanos, who were both influenced by Leonardo da Vinci.

The cimborrio has retained its Gothic structure, and is much more impressive when seen from inside the church. The Capilla del Santo Cáliz (Chapel of the Holy Chalice) is also Gothic.

Tradition has it that Christ’s chalice at the Last Supper is preserved here. After being brought to Rome by St.Peter, it is said to have come to Huesca two and a half centuries later during the persecution of the Christians under Emperor Valerius.

During the period of Moorish rule, the chalice was in the monastery of San Juan de la Peña and finally, after some further travels, came into the possession of the cathedral of Valencia. The chalice, a bowl set with precious stones and pearls, is borne through the streets of Valencia in a solemn procession on Maundy Thursday. The chapel where the Holy Chalice is preserved dates from the 14C and has a splendid stellar vault and twelve alabastér reliefs showing scenes from the Old and New Testaments by the Florentine master Giuliano (early 15C).

This church is by no means uniform in style. However, the cathedral itself and its various associated buildings contain a number of important works of art, including some by famous painters e.g. Ribera (Adoration of the Shepherds), Ribalta,

Macip (Baptism of Christ), Nicolás Florentino (Adoration of the Magi, 1469) and there are 2 paintings from Goya  with episodes from the life of St. Francis Borgia.

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