Valencia City Guide - Top recommendations and deals Valencia City Guide - Top recommendations and deals

Valencia, Spain

The best travel guide to Valencia with recommendations on where to stay and eat, top sights and insider tips

Most first-time visitors to Valencia do not have a very clear idea about what to expect from Valencia. The architectural beauty of the City of Arts and Sciences is probably the image most seem in any travel guide to Valencia. But there is so much more!

Valencia, which is the capital of the province of the same name and the third largest city in Spain, is situated on the Río Turia in the middle of an extensive and fertile plain, the Huerta of Valencia. It is a university town and the seat of an archbishop. Various annual festivals are held in this cheerful, lively city. Of these, the Fallas deserves particular mention. This festival, dating from the 18C, is held on the 19 & 20 March each year in honour of St.Joseph.

Valencia travel guide - Contents


Vincci Mercat – Our favorite rooftop pool in Valencia

Vincci Mercat – Excellent 4-star hotel in Valencia with a rooftop pool

The Vincci Mercat hotel is located just 100 meters from the Central Market of Valencia. The hotel features an amazing rooftop terrace with a pool that overlooks the historic city center of Valencia.
All rooms feature air conditioning, flat-screen TV, a safe, a minibar, parquet floors, and a private bathroom with complimentary toiletries and a hair drier.
The hotel offers 24-hour front desk service and luggage storage.
Several restaurants are just 5 minutes from the hotel and the Cathedral of Valencia is just 600 meters away. The Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias is 3 km from the hotel.


5 Top Reasons To Visit Valencia

A unique Gothic historic centre
Most visitors to Valencia are surprised by the city´s historic center. Valencia´s city center is a maze of small streets with outstanding buildings like the Cathedral of Valencia, the baroque basilica of Our Lady, and the fantastic Lonja de la Seda. La Lonja is an icon that illustrates the enormous importance of Valencia in Mediterranean commerce. The building was included for these two reasons, beauty and the way it portraits the importance of commerce, in the list of Unesco sites

La Plaza del Mercado

This is one of the largest squares in Europe with over 8,000 square meters holds every Sunday a flea market. And if we mention markets, we cannot miss the amazing building of Valencia´s food market. Probably our favorite market amongst the many great markets you will find in Spain. 

After a stroll in the city center of Valencia you.

Enjoy an amazing sunset at La Albufera

Another unexpected surprise for many visitors to Valencia is the Albufera Park. Located just 10 kilometers from Valencia (and part of the city), the Albufera is Spain´s largest lake. It boasts over 20,000 hectares but it is only one meter deep.
A day trip to La Albufera is perfect to enjoy this natural landscape (La Albufera is one of Spain´s national parks) and to discover some of the local traditions. The excursions are organized using traditional boats and some also include the visit to a “Barraca”, the traditional lodging of local fishermen.
La Albufera is a great place to enjoy paella, and also a spectacular sunrise. You can learn much more about this park in our guide to visit La Albufera


There are four fantastic museums worth visiting in Valencia. The Museum of Bellas Artes is for many experts Spain´s second traditional art museum after the Prado in Madrid. The museum holds an impressive collection with works from Velazquez, Goya, El Greco, Murillo, Van Dyck, and, above all, Sorolla. We are sure you will be impressed by the quality of the masterpieces at this Museum. A second fantastic museum is the pottery museum, located at the impressive building of the palace of the Marquees of Dos Aguas. A third, very interesting museum is La Fallas museum.

Las Fallas

Las fallas is one of Spain´s top festivals and its museum gives the opportunity to enjoy the amazing pieces of art which have been saved from fire through the years. Last but not least, the science museum in the city of arts holds great interest, especially if you visit Valencia with children.

The oceanographic

Part of the City of Sciences, the oceanographic is one of the best aquariums in Europe and probably Spain´s number one (though many people consider Loro Park in Tenerife also deserves this honor). IF you visit the city with children this is clearly a must-do. The park is fantastic. Our top highlight? We really love the beluga whales!

Paella and a relaxing beach day

You may have already heard that Valencia is the homeland of paella.  There are many restaurants where you will enjoy top-quality paella. Our favorite places are in La Albufera due to the traditional component, and also near the beach of La Malvarrosa.  Enjoying a relaxing morning at the beach followed by a superb and tasteful paella is a great experience all locals love!

Weather In Valencia

Valencia enjoys over 300 hundred days of sunshine. During the summer months, the weather can get rather muggy. During the summer months, average high temperatures range from 80 F to 86F. During the coldest months of the year, the daily maximum averages are 60F.
It does not rain much in Valencia. The rainiest month of the year is October, and you would not find rain more than 1 day out of 5.

Best Time To Visit Valencia

Most locals will tell you the best moment to visit Valencia is between the 15th and the 19th of March. This time of the year coincides with Saint Joseph, the moment when locals from Valencia enjoy their traditional Fallas. Las Fallas is one of the top things to enjoy in Spain in March. If you enjoy crowds, lots of noise, and fire, Las Fallas should be a top priority for you.

Due to its great weather, nearly every month of the year is good to visit Valencia. During July and August, it may get too warm and rather humid. But remember that the beach is nearby!

How to spend one day in Valencia. A perfect plan

One day is enough to dip your toes into Valencia, but ideally we would suggest spending at least 48-hours (maybe even more). The City of Arts and Sciences alone will take you at least a full day to properly visit. 

Then you have the historic city center where at the very least you should hit the Cathedral, the Silk Exchange and the Valencia Central Market. 

And, it would not be a visit to Valencia if you didn’t indulge in a a delicious and authentic Paella. For the best paella you might want to leave the city and head 11km south to the Albufera nature park. This spectacular marshland is where the majority of the Valencian rice is grown and is supposed to be the birthplace of this signature dish. El Palmar, in the Albufera nature park is the best area to get a top notch paella. 


Valencias Old Quarter 

In the morning, head on over to Valencias old quarter. This section of the city is home to a great number of Valencia’s most important landmarks including: Valencia’s Silk ExchangeValencias central market and the Cathedral of Valencia, 3 of our top attractions in Valencia. These would be the essential monuments to visit in Valencia. 

Valencia was once the epicenter of the silk exchange in Europe. Silk was a prized commodity, and before reaching the rest of Europe from China, the fabric would come through Valencia. The silk exchange was built so that traders could safely sell and negotiate this most delicate of fabrics. 

The central market is one of the best examples of modernist Valencian architecture and will give you a taste of the real Valencia. 

Then of course there is the cathedral of Valencia which is the crown jewel of the historic city center. The spectacular Gothic temple opened its doors in 1265 and has been the spiritual heart of the city ever since. 

Lunch in Valencia 

There are plenty of great restaurants and bars in the Valencias old quarter but two of are favorite are Dodo’s and Secreto. Both restaurants serve modern Valencian cuisine that feature all the classics with a bit of their own personal touch. Either of these restaurants are great options to fuel up and get ready for an exciting afternoon. 

La Albufera 

La Albufera is the incredible nature park, just outside of the city, that is responsible for the creation of Spain’s most emblematic dish: the paella.

La Albufera is a vast marshland that ocurred naturally millions of years ago when a piece of the Mediterranean sea was trapped, creating a natural inland lagoon and a unique ecosystem. 

The Albufera enjoys an incredible amount of biodiversity with hundreds of species of birds and fish, some of them on the brink of extinction. 

These wetlands are also the perfect place for growing rice. The Albufera is filled with rice paddies, as far as the eye can see. It is believed that here where the ocean meets the land, where rice and seafood is so plentiful is where the Paella was conceived. 

 There is no better way to end a long day of exploring than kicking back and enjoying an authentic Valencian paella while watching the sun set.

Brief History of Valencia

The city of Valencia was founded by the Greeks under the name of “Thuris’. The Greeks had settled in many places on the E. coast of Spain. It is not quite certain whether the Cathaginians also built a military base here. In 138 BC the town was founded anew under the Roman consul Decimus Julius Brutus, who colonized the site with the legionaries who had fought against the Lusitanians.

Valencia, which had previously been devastated because it took the side of Sertorius the insurgent, began to flourish under Augustus, and was now called ‘Valentia’. The Visigoths ended the Roman domination in 413. In the early 8C, Valencia attained great political and cultural importance under the Moors and finally became the capital of a flourishing Moorish kingdom, which stretched from the Ebro river in the North to the Segura river in the South.

The irrigation systems which cover this area are the work of the Moors. In 1096 the city was taken by Rodrigo Díaz, known as the “Cid’. After his death in 1099, his wife Jimena was only able to hold the city for another few years. But James I of Aragon later succeeded in finally liberating Valencia, and the city once again experienced a major economic upswing.

The Moors were initially allowed to remain in the area of Valencia, whereas they were expelled from Castile in 1492. They retained their religion, their language, and their own laws until 1609 when they too were ordered to leave the country. As a result, Valencia fell into economic decline. It was at about this time that the importance of the harbor of Valencia also declined.

The city was on the side of the Habsburgs in the War of the Spanish Succession, and this meant that it lost some privileges after the victory of the Bourbon king Philip V. It was obliged to take in some Napoleonic troops in 1812-13. In the Spanish Civil War (1936-9), Valencia was for a long time the seat of the Republican government. Many churches were plundered and devastated at that time. The city is today the economic and cultural center of the coastal region.

Valencia - Video

Other top cities in Spain

The best Madrid Guided Tours. Enjoy Madrid - Views of Gran Via in Madrid

Madrid City Guide

Madrid is the capital and most populous city of Spain. The city has almost 3.3 million inhabitants but the entire metropolitan area gets to a population of approximately 6.5 million. It is a vibrant city, where art and fun co-exist. In this Madrid city guide you will find ideas to plan your trip and make the most out of it. … Read More

City center of Bilbao in Basque country

Bilbao City Guide

Our team of local experts thought that it makes all sense in this Bilbao city guide to ensure you find the most interesting things to enjoy in Bilbao. A gastronomical heaven and paradise for foodies who love both bar hopping and fine dining, Bilbao is also a great place to enjoy art. Not far from Bilbao you will also be able to discover fantastic beaches full of surfers, and excellent trecking opportunities. … Read More