This short guide for travel to Valencia is based on two trips I’ve taken there so far. On the first trip, I also went to the Tomatina festival in nearby Buñol. That’s for another post! Valencia has a beautiful old town, which is easily walkable. However, the city is quite sprawling so I found it was useful to take public transport. The beach area is about an hour’s walk from the centre. Weather in mid-October was amazing, sunny and warm. August was a lot hotter and maybe too hot for me.
Trying paella is a must, since Valencia is the origin of this very popular rice dish. In general, seafood is plentiful in the cuisine. As with many places in Spain, there are many places with tapas including tortilla, jamon, cheese and more. There are also a number of local wine varieties including white Verdil, red or white Bobal, red Monastrell, and the dessert wines such as Moscatel de Valencia or Sofia Noble.
Finally, I have written a separate post on the Valencia Street Art, because I saw so many great pieces while walking around the city.
- Walk around the Old Town
- Valencia Cathedral and bell tower
- Mercado Central de Valencia
- La Lonja de la Seda de Valencia
- Campanar de Santa Caterina
- Plaza de la Reina
- Plaça de la Verge
- Casa Punto de Gancho 1906
- Palace of the Marqués de Dos Aguas
- Plaça de l’Ajuntament fountain and city hall
- Tribunal de les Aigües de València
- Mercat de Colón
- Museu de Belles Arts de València
- Jardins del Real / Vivers
- Fundació Bancaixa art museum
- Russafa neighbourhood for outdoor bars and restaurants
- Mercat de Russafa
- Túria Garden
- Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias for the museums and architecture
- Valencia Marina
- Torres de Serranos gate
- Plaça de Bous de València Bull ring
- Mercat Municipal del Cabanyal
- Malvarrosa beach (Valencia)
- Parc Natural de l’Albufera
- Llac del Pujol and nature walk
- Platja de la Devesa del Saler
- Enjoy the diverse street art
Before you go
- Paella, the popular rice dish, originated in Valencia. The typical dish has rabbit and chicken, but seafood and vegetarian varieties are available
- Valencian is the official language in the Valencian Community, along with Spanish
- The accent is different from Mexican Spanish so it may take some getting used to if you are from North, Central or South America. However, I found people could understand my basic Spanish
- Many people do not speak English so a translation app is useful
- The coastline is along the Balearic Sea which leads to the Mediterranean
- Temperatures can be very hot in the summer, so my ideal time to visit would be April/May or September/October. Winters are very mild so that can also be a nice time to visit for sunshine
- Valencia has a long history and was founded during Roman times
- Some places are not open on Sundays, including many restaurants so check hours
- Siesta time exists, and some shops are closed in the afternoon for a few hours
- There are a lot of castles and ruins to visit just north of Valencia. These can be reached by trains and buses
- Valencia airport is located to the west of the city, and is well connected to the city centre by public transport. Many flights arrive in Valencia, most of them domestic and low cost. However, I was able to fly BA there.
- The Valencia metro and bus systems are very convenient and affordable. There is an official app, EMT Valencia, to find schedules, though I found GoogleMaps was quite accurate
- Walking around the Old Town is easy. However the beach area and sprawling city are quite a distance. Therefore, public transport, taxis, Uber or biking are other options
- The first time I visited Valencia, we rented a big two level apartment with four bedrooms and a rooftop terrace from VRBO. We were right in the Old Town, so it was a great location. I would definitely recommend VRBO or AirBnB for larger groups
- On my second trip, I stayed at the AC Hotel by Marriott Valencia near Maritim, the end of metro line 5. It was a great location between the Old Town and the beach. And it’s also on the metro line 5, direct from the airport
- My other friends stayed at a fancier four-star hotel in the centre, Palacio Santa Clara, Autograph Collection. It’s also by Marriott and had nice rooms and breakfast. They said that they would recommend it!
Valencia is full of excellent places to eat, both casual and fine dining.
La Pepica is located near the beach and is famous for its paella. I’ve been twice and have tried the traditional Valencian version with rabbit, seafood and prawns. Nowadays, you can only get one type for a table of 6 or less. So, we had to do a vote and chose the seafood.
For a fine dining experience, the one-Michelin star Restaurante Lienzo is an excellent culinary experience. Their 10-dish Pinceladas menu with some wines, but not the full pairing, was a perfect lunchtime treat.
La botifarra is a local tavern with excellent food, including tapas. They were very friendly and it was perfect for a group dinner.
As the name suggests, Asador San Telmo is known for its meat. Many different grilled meats and side dishes, salads and pasta.
La Chingada Mexican food and cocktails is located in the fun, lively Russafa area. We enjoyed sitting outside and soaking up the atmosphere. The nachos are huge and for sharing!
Cafes and Snacks
As with many places in Spain. there are plenty of snacks and small plates, tapas.
Although I don’t drink coffee, my friends really liked Bluebell Coffee Roasters. In addition to good coffee, they have pastries and snacks.
For a tasty breakfast, we enjoyed dining al fresco at Cafeteria Guapas. Their tostadas were tasty and affordable. And there are plenty of juices, coffees, pastries and something for everyone.
Glasol Francia is mainly an ice cream cafe, but I went there for the horchata. The horchata in Spain is made from tiger nut milk, rather than rice like in Mexico. It is a rich, creamy drink that is flavoured with cinnamon. Their “to-go” cup is huge!
Who can resist churros con chocolate? They can be for breakfast or a snack. Churrería rubi is a very local cafe that just serves churros and beverages. Delicious and perfectly crispy!
In the Old Town, Lika Natural Food is located on a quieter street. They have fresh juices and healthy food, and it’s a relaxing place to take a break.
Empanadas Malvon is a nice snack place if you want a meat (or vegetarian) empanada to go. I would recommend the Smash Burger flavour, which is true to its name.
As mentioned above, one of my favourite non-alcoholic drinks is horchata. Valencia does have a lot of oranges, so fresh orange juice is available in many places.
Barrica Verde wine bar had a great selection of wines with snacks. It was the first place I tried the Bobal wine, which can come in red or white varieties. Another white wine is Verdil, which I had never had before. Monastrell red wine was delicious, earthy and full-bodied. Finally, the De Moya Sofia Noble dessert wine from Valencia was sweet and balanced. It was similar to a Sauterne.
Q: Do I need a tour guide?
A: No, it is easy to get around and find places of interest
Q: Do people speak English?
A: Some people do, but I recommend learning a few words in Spanish and having a translation app available. I use GoogleTranslate
Q: Is it a walkable city?
A: The Old town is walkable but to get to the beach and other areas public transport is recommended
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