City-guide

Valencia

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ultimate travel guide of valencia

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 city guide

The crystal palace at the Retiro park in Madrid
The crystal palace at the Retiro park in Madrid
Madrid Puerta de Alcala from the Retiro park
Madrid Puerta de Alcala from the Retiro park
Construction of Caleido tower
Construction of Caleido tower next to the 4 towers

Practical information to plan your visit to Valencia

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, 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

Museums

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 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!

Paella and fideuá
Practical information

Differences between paella and fideuà

An in depth look at the differences and similarities between Paella and Fideuá, two famous Spanish dishes, that seem very similar. This article will tell you the history and aspects that make each of these dishes special and unique.

Top romantic restaurants in Valencia
Restaurants

Restaurants to enjoy the best paella in Valencia, Spain

Valencia´s Mediterranean climate makes it a great destination to be enjoyed throughout the year. There are few places in the world that are so connected to a dish as Valencia. Paella is almost a synonym for Valencia. Visitors flock to ensure they try the best paella in Valencia.
Our local team has put together a list with excellent options in different areas of Valencia, and for different budgets. including the amazing natural park of La Albufera. Locals refer to paella as rice and it comes in many different versions: seafood, vegetables, black rice…. No matter which one you try, this will for sure be a superb experience if you opt for one of the restaurants in this list.

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!

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.

Complete 2 day itinerary in Madrid

Recommended attractions in Valencia

Valencia is a city with multiple faces. The city center is full of attractions that speak about its rich history. The Albufera and rural areas speak of its connection with the land and a very particular type of landscape. The sea speaks for itself! Modern attractions like the City of arts connect Valencia with the future. Below you can find three of our top tourist attractions in Valencia. You can find more in the link above.  

La Albufera

La Albufera

The Albufera, La 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

LOceanogràfic

L’Oceanogràfic : Valencias amazing oceanographic

L’Oceanogràfic or El Oceanográfico in Spanish is part of the City of Arts and Sciences of Valencia but deserves special mention on its own. The giant and spectacular oceanarium of the City of Arts and Sciences (Ciudad de las Artes y Ciencias) of Valencia, Spain. It is home to a great

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

Recommended restaurants in Valencia

Valencia is sinomyn of paella.  Visiting Valencia and not enjoying paella is almost considered a sin! There are many restaurants to enjoy “the real thing” and there is no place in Spain where paella tastes the same. 

But there is more than just paella in Valencia and if you stay more than one day you probably want to try other local specialities. You can find below three of our top picks and a complete guide about paella in Valencia. You can also find our recommended restaurants in Valencia here. 

Aladroc Fish Bar

Aladroc Fish Bar- Valencia

Aladroc Fish Bar in Valencia Aladroc is a small, quaint eatery in the heart of Valencia that specializes in traditional seafood dishes. If you are looking for some really excellent, simple seafood tapas and rations that won’t break the bank in the center of town, Aladroc is probably your best

La firma

La firma Valencia

La Firma in Valencia Located in the Canovás neighborhood in the center of Valencia, one of the best areas in the city if you are looking for something tasty to eat. La Firma, run by chef Marisa García, is undoubtedly one of the best of the best. The restaurant is

Build your itinerary with our interactive map

Valencia´s top Festival

Valencia is well-known for paella, la albufera, the city of sciences and arts… but also thanks to the Fallas.  Every year, on San José (February 19th) local valencians burn inmense and beautiful pieces of art… They only save one each year.

Fiestas

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 togehter in the minds of Spanish people.

Particularly in Valencia, 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.

In depth

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

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