Valencia is an incredible city, with so much to offer, endless cultural options, restaurants, leisure, beaches, and shopping. When adding a privileged climate, Valencia becomes the perfect destination for a getaway in any time of the year. I’ve put together the best things to see and do in Valencia to make the most of your stay, including suggestions for accommodation and restaurants.
Valencia best things to see and do in 48 hours
There are so many interesting things to see and do that it’s a hard task to narrow it down to just one number; neighborhoods to explore, great beaches, museums to visit, must-see activities and delicious food. Although the weather is usually excellent, depending on the season it can be a little cold or rainy.
That being said, here is a list of my favorite tried recommendations from my last trip to Valencia in September.
1 – THE SILK ROAD
Among the things to do in Valencia, in the first place go for a stroll through El Barrio de Velluters (now El Pilar) to immerse yourself in the Silk’s Road culture. Silk always played an important role for the city thorough the history. In the itinerary through the Barrio de Velluters you will find several buildings representative of the magnificence experienced by Valencia at the height of sericulture.
To put the district in context, the word Velluters means velvet. The Velluters Guild, made up of velvet weavers, adopted the first bylaw of the guild in the 15th century.
The headquarters of the Guild settled in the neighborhood that gave name to Velluters (velvet weavers) because of the high concentration of looms that occurred in this neighborhood. As a highlight, in 1767 with about 5000 looms, half of Valencia’s population were engaged directly or indirectly in the silk industry.
For centuries the district was the nerve centre of silk production, living its golden age during the fifteenth to nineteenth centuries. In the nineteenth century, the industry went into decline and today they keep it alive through the falleras costumes fabrics (Fallas festival), which by the way, you can admire in the windows shops (or inside) that you will find touring the neighborhood.
As for the buildings, the following stand out:
– La Lonja (The Silk Exchange)
It’s located in the centre of the city, in front of the Central Market. This emblematic construction occupies a rectangular area of 1.990 square meters and reflects the prosperity in Valencia at the time. La Lonja was built between the 15th and 16th centuries in a civic Gothic style and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996.
In this stunning building you can admire the windows’ decoration, the arches of the doors, the details of the ceiling among others.
- Monday to Saturday: 10 am – 7 pm
- Sundays and bank holiday: 10 am – 2 pm
- Entrance fee 2 €. Sundays: free
– The College of High Silk Art
This magnificent building dates back to the 15th century, when was necessary to unify the quality criteria for producing the silk by the “velvet weavers”. Recently, the Hortensia Herrero Foundation has restored it. In 1981, it was declared a National Historic-Artistic Monument. Its interior includes an impressive wealth of a heritage in the form of frescoes, murals, and mosaics.
In here is the Silk Museum, with several exhibition halls, gives a complete information about the silk, how is produced, Valencia’s silk road history and even a silk weaving workshop on how the loom works.
Besides, a shop where they sell handmade silk products. The museum also has temporary exhibitions related to costumes and silk.
The building also contains the Guild’s Archive, the oldest and largest historical trade union archive in Europe; its documentary contributions are key to understand Valencia’s economic history, from the fifteenth century to the late twentieth.
Museum Opening Hours:
- Monday: 10 am – 3 pm
- Tuesday to Sunday: 10 am – 7 pm
– Weaving Workshop: Tuesday to Saturday: 10 am – 2 pm and Thursdays from 3 pm – 7 pm
- General entrance fee: 7 euros, include audio-guide and a visit to the Church of San Nicolás.
This Church of San Nicolas (founded in the XIII century), also restored by the Hortensia Herrero Foundation in 2006, is one of the oldest Valencia’s parishes. Because of its impressive frescoes on the vaults, it has become the Valencia Sistine Chapel.
2 – CATHEDRAL
In case you haven’t seen the Cathedral yet, you should, as it is an architectural masterpiece. The cathedral sits on top of an overlap of buildings. In the first place, during Roman times there was a temple dedicated to Jupiter, later on The Valencia Cathedral was built on top of this temple during the Visigoth period. Then, with the Arab conquest, it became a mosque and finally in the 13th century it became a Christian church again.
The main structure of the cathedral is in the Gothic style, as it was built in the 13th and 15th centuries. However, its construction lasted for centuries so it has a mixture of artistic styles, Romanesque, Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical, which make it unique.
- Monday to Saturday: 10 am – 6:30 pm
- Sundays and bank holidays: 2 pm – 6:30 pm
- General entrance fee: 8€
Torre del Miguelete, Cathedral’s bell tower. After climbing over 200 steps you will soak in the best views of the city.
- Entrance fee: 2€
3 – LA ALMOINA ARCHEOLOGICAL CENTRE (NEXT TO THE CATHEDRAL)
If you are interested in Valencia’s urban history from its foundation to the medieval times, The Almoina archaeological centre is a must-visit.
The centre is located near the Cathedral, it’s a sizeable underground space, where you can see the most monumental part of the Roman, Visigoth and Arab city. Nowadays, thermal baths, horreum, forum, baptistery, necropolis and streets, among other buildings, are preserved.
The route (along walkways) follows the layout of the streets and porticoes of the Roman town.
- Monday to Saturday: 9:30 am – 7 pm
- Sundays and bank holidays: 9:30 am – 3 pm
- General entrance fee: 2€
- Plaça Dècim Juni Brut (cònsol romà) s/n. 46001 Valencia.
4 – SOAK IN STUNNING CITY VIEWS FROM SANTA CATALINA TOWER
The church of Santa Catalina is in the Plaza de la Reina, near the Cathedral. It’s a Gothic church with a beautiful belfry in the civil Baroque style, certainly considered one of the most beautiful in Spain, not only for the originality of its architecture but also for its ornaments.
It was built between 1688 and 1705 by Juan Bautista Viñes.
Going up the tower’s spiral-shape stairs, at the top we will soak in amazing views over the city.
– Monday to Sunday: 10 am – 1 pm and 7 pm – 8 pm
Entrance fee: 2€
5 – SOAK UP THE VIBES OF THE CITY IN THE PLAZA DE LA VIRGEN
Sit on one of the several terraces in the Plaza de la Virgen square and dive into the great atmosphere of the place while enjoying a drink and admiring its magnificent buildings.
By all means, this beautiful square is one of the most representative of Valencia, surrounded by three important buildings: the Cathedral of Santa Maria, the Palace of the Generalidad and the Basilica of the Virgen de los Desamparados and in its center stands out a large fountain dedicated to the Turia river, the Fuente del Turia.
Don’t miss out on this interesting square as you will notice it’s one of the busiest spots in the city.
6 – GO FOR A STROLL THROUGH LA PLAZA REDONDA (THE ROUND SQUARE)
Continue your itinerary through the center and don’t miss one of the most charming corners of the city: The Round Square. The Round Square is a plaza designed with four inputs that allow access to it, surrounded by bars and craft shops. In its stalls, you can buy souvenirs and handmade products.
Nearby is the Plaza Lope de Vega, where you will find the narrowest tavern in Europe, with a facade of 107 centimeters.
7 – ENJOY VALENCIA’S MARKET GASTRONOMY
In Valencia you can find the most beautiful covered markets in Europe, real architectural jewels where you can enjoy a top quality gastronomy. The Central Market and the Colon Market deserve special attention.
THE CENTRAL MARKET
Both the architecture of the building and the food in it will not leave you indifferent.
The spectacular central dome reaches 30 meters in height, and is made of glass, iron, and ceramic.
It’s the largest food market in Europe, with 959 stalls and a variety of fresh and high-quality products, plus the vendors are particularly friendly.
You can take the opportunity to recharge your batteries over a glass of wine with a “tapa” of ham or cheese at one stall.
- Monday to Saturday: 8:00 am – 2:30 pm
THE COLON MARKET
This stunning building is located in Valencia’s first Ensanche district, in Jorge Juan Street. The Colon Market is right in the core of one of the city’s most commercial zones.
Francisco Mora Berenguer designed this Valencian modernist-style building in the early twentieth century, reminiscent of Gaudí’s constructions for Barcelona.
In it you will find a great gastronomic offer distributed among restaurants, gourmet market, market area, bars, and cafes. It is worth having a drink here, amid a relaxed atmosphere, enjoying the architecture.
8 – CHECK OUT THE JEWISH HOUSE OR GUARDIOLA’S HOUSE
Near Renfe (Norte) station, at 20 Castellón Street, this impressive building known as the Jewish House stands out.
In a narrow street that has nothing special, out of the blue you find this architectural jewel, a stunning building with an original facade full of color.
Built by the architect Juan Guardiola Martinez in 1930, it’s an example of art déco style, with inspirations from distinct oriental styles: Arabic, Hebrew, Egyptian; the building comprises a ground floor and 7 floor heights.
The name Casa Judia (Jewish House) is because of the Star of David that is in the center of the lintel at the construction’s doorway.
9 – TREAT YOURSELF AT A MAGNESIUM WATER SPA
La Alameda Balneario is the only urban thermal spa in Valencia.
Its mineral medicinal water arises at a temperature of 43 °C and its predominant minerals are magnesium, copper and zinc among others.
I enjoyed myself to the fullest the relaxing experience in the thermal pool, with jets, bubbles, waterfalls,.. After spending an hour here, I assure you you feel totally renewed.
- Address: Calle Amadeo de Saboya 14
- Web: balneariolaalameda.es
10 – THE MONFORTE GARDEN
If you feel like relaxing and taking a quiet walk, then you will love it the Monforte garden. It’s a charming garden with statues, ornamental fountains, ponds, cropped hedges and flowering areas. For me, it’s one of the most beautiful gardens in Valencia.
11- SOAK IN THE CITY VIEWS FROM THE SERRANOS TOWERS
The Serranos Towers and Quart Towers are the only two remaining gates of the medieval fortification that surrounded the city. In total, there were 12 gates that protected the wall. Built in a civic Gothic style, they find very well-preserved.
In the Serranos Towers you can go up to the highest part to see splendid views of the historical centre and surroundings.
As a curiosity, nowadays holds some official ceremonies, such as the Crida, the act by which the Fallera Mayor of Valencia invites all Valencians and visitors to the popular Fallas festival. It usually takes place on the last Sunday in February.
- Monday to Saturday: 9:00 am – 7 pm
- Sundays: 9:30 am – 3 pm
Entrance fee: 2€
12 – VISIT THE OCEANOGRAPHIC IN THE CITY OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
The City of Arts and Sciences is a cultural and leisure architectural in the avant-garde style, designed by Santiago Calatrava and inaugurated in 1998.
If you’ve got time, it’s definitely worth visiting the Oceanographic as is an amazing and unique experience. Considered the largest aquarium in Europe, reproduces the main marine ecosystems of the planet.
A whole sea of sensations which can spark our imagination.
You get the sensation you can touch all the marine animals; it is like being inside the sea, but without getting wet.
13 – VISIT ITS URBAN BEACHES: LA MALVARROSA AND LAS ARENAS
Depending on the season you come in, you can go to the urban beaches of La Malvarrosa and Las Arenas to cool off in their waters or take a walk along the beach side boardwalk.
Along the promenade, you will find many cafes, ice-cream parlours, shops, busy terraces, pubs, and excellent restaurants to eat the traditional Valencian paella or choose from the wide variety of rice dishes and fish typical of the area. The oldest and most famous restaurants are La Pepica and La Marcelina, which opened at the end of the 19th century.
The Malvarrosa is home to Europe’s highest waterwheel and also hosts various events throughout the year, such as an air festival in which airplanes from around Spain and from international countries take part in front of the boardwalk. Another festival takes places here, the wind festival, in which kites are flown in original colorful designs.
Both beaches offer all kinds of amenities, beach services, bike rental, sun loungers and parasols, everything you need to spend a superb day.
How to get there:
– By bus: lines 2, 19, 31, 32, 20, 21 y 22
– By tram: lines 4 y 6
For me, these are the best 13 things to do and must-see in 2 days in Valencia, but if you feel ambitious and wanting for more, here are some extra recommendations to add to your bucket list.
– GO FOR A STROLL THOUGH THE BENIMACLET NEIGHBORHOOD
It is one of the most popular neighborhoods among students because of its proximity to the universities and its good communications, both by bus and by metro. Metro stops Benimaclet.
In addition, Benimaclet is a multicultural district that has become one of the city’s benchmarks for a night out, both for its restaurants and for the many leisure venues placed there.
– GET TO KNOW THE TAPINERIA MARKET
It is an innovative multifunctional space located in the heart of the historical centre, between Plaza de Santa Catalina and the Cathedral where you can find a wide range of activities such as cooking courses, talks, fashion shows, and besides hosts very original shops, gastronomic spaces with restaurants and charming terraces.
– DO SOME SHOPPING IN VALENCIA
To complete the list of things to do in Valencia, don’t miss go shopping in the best city areas:
Colon Street and Eixample streets concentrate the best known commercial brands, besides exclusive decoration and jewelry shops.
Poeta Querol Street
In this area you will find the most exclusive shops in the city, big international brands and Spanish luxury and craft brands.
Ruzafa neighborhood in recent years has become the fashionable district of Valencia. Besides its wide range of restaurants and places to go out, it also has its shopping mile: Sueca street, Literato Azorin, Cádiz and quaint side streets.
VALENCIA BEST THINGS TO SEE AND DO, USEFUL INFORMATION
BEST TIME TO VISIT VALENCIA
In general, Valencia enjoys an excellent climate all year round, with mild temperatures. Although the best time to go is definitely in the spring, when the gardens become lush and colorful.
HOW TO GET AROUND VALENCIA
Valencia is easily walkable and worthwhile if you have the time, but to make the most of your time you can take the public transportation (metro, bus, tram).
You will find the official transportation website useful to plan your trip, see fares and download maps.
Another option is to rent a bicycle which you can also take with you on the metro.
The best thing is to use a rechargeable Móbilis card, and with it you can travel on the metro, bus, and tram.
You can recharge the cards in the metro machines.
In addition, you can download tickets to your smartphone with the app from Google Play. Depending on how long you are, you might be interested in the Valencia Tourist Card. For personal use, it includes unlimited travel for 24, 48 or 72 hours. You have more info on this link.
WHERE TO EAT IN VALENCIA
There is so much excellent food and so many options it’s hard to decide, so I will only suggest these restaurants I tried and loved them:
In the city center, it’s in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. Perfect restaurant for Mediterranean cuisine, with healthy and varied dishes such as pokes, fish, rice, tapas. It has a beautiful vertical garden. Very good value for money.
Address: Carrer de Sant Vicent Màrtir, 45, 46001 Valencia
Telephone: 960 03 35 18
To eat paella:
- EL TRIDENTE DE NEPTUNO
On the Malvarrosa beach, excellent quality products. The red rice is delicious.
Address: Passeig de Neptú, 2, 46011 Valencia
Telephone: 963 56 77 77
- Q’ TOMAS RESTAURANT
In the heart of Valencia, its products are top quality. They have an extensive menu of fresh seafood. The products are from the local area. I loved the tuna tartar.
Address: Carrer del Convent de Santa Clara, 13, 46002 Valencia
Telephone: 963 44 44 79
* MAUI RUSSAFA
Located in the trendy Ruzafa neighbourhood, it’s a tapas’ restaurant. Very good mini-burger and hummus. The homemade vermouth is truly good and the staff very friendly.
Address: Calle Vivons, 27. Valencia
Telephone: 961 04 61 96
Near the Plaza de la Virgen, it’s a fusion food Mediterranean with Asian restaurant.
They have a 15 euro menu that varies, and the mix of flavors is surprising and exquisite. Very good value for money.
Address: Calle Conde de Almodovar, 4. Valencia
Telephone: 963 92 33 57
WHERE TO STAY IN VALENCIA
In Valencia the options for accommodation are unlimited and for all budgets. To make your search a bit easier, here are some of my favorite hotels:
Olympia Universidades, in the Benimaclet district. It’s very well-connected to the centre by metro (Benimaclet stop) and buses. The rooms are comfortable and friendly staff.
Silken Puerta Valencia, modern hotel within easy reach to the metro and close to the center. The beach is two kilometers away, and the center is 10 minutes away by metro. The hotel staff is very helpful and the quality of breakfast buffet is outstanding.
Hotel Neptuno, on the Paseo de Neptuno, next to the promenade. On the Malvarrosa beach, easily to reach to the historic center by bus and tram.
Valencia best things to see and do Guide Wrap Up
I hope this post has helped inspire you to spend some time in Valencia. It’s worth a visit to this splendid city for all the reasons listed throughout the article: architecture, beaches, culture…
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