A shot of the Hemisferic at dusk in the City of Arts & Science in Valencia, Spain

12 reasons to enjoy the sunshine in Valencia, Spain

In Europe, Featured, Mini Breaks, Our Journeys, Spain, Try-this by Janis6 Comments

The things we did in Valencia, and think you may enjoy too.

Do we ever really need an excuse to jump on a plane and head to the east coast of Spain? I don’t think so….just in case I have 12 for you.
Valencia is sometimes overshadowed by its big sister Barcelona, further north up the coast. However, I urge you to visit Valencia, it has so much to offer historically and culturally.
Did you know paella was born in Valencia?

A helpful guide

There are so many incredible places to discover in Spain and I love planning road trips. I often use the DK Eyewitness books, I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into searching for more.

We used a previous version of this book to plan our Spanish road trips, now you can grab the revised copy.


See the Holy Grail.

And I don’t mean Monty Python’s infamous movie.

In the Holy Chalice Chapel, within Valencia’s 13th century Cathedral, is a what is believed by many to be the true Holy Grail.

The chapel of the Holy Grail inside the Cathedral, Valencia, Spain

It dates from the 1st century, and was given to the cathedral by king Alfonso V of Aragon in 1436. It was the official papal chalice for many popes, most recently used by Pope Benedict XVI, in 2006.


City of Arts and Sciences

A city within a city, the City of Arts & Sciences is a wonderful collection of buildings that house some of Valencia’s key attractions.

The Hemisferic, in the City of Arts & Science, after dusk, Valencia, Spain

L'Hemisfèric was first to open in 1998 and over time more eye-catching modern structures have been added.

Although it’s captivating during the day, it’s a great place to watch coming alight in the evening.


Stroll through the Turia Gardens

Turia Gardens is a fantastic open air space, which was former riverbed of the river Turia. The river was rerouted due to a disastrous flood in 1957 and has now been redeveloped into a picturesque sunken park.

Looking down on the Jardin del Turia from the Pont del Real, Valencia, Spain

How often do you get to walk through a city centre river bed?


Visit the Mercado Central.

Gary and I love visiting food markets wherever we are in the world and Valencia’s central market is incredible.

It has a wonderful Art Nouveau exterior and stained glass windows, however, inside it is full of everyday life. Busy Valencians bustling around buying their daily produce.

If only food shopping was this glorious every day.


Silk Exchange and the Hall of Columns

Otherwise known as La Lonja de la Seda de Valencia, this Valencian Gothic style building, was erected between 1482 and 1548.

It houses a beautiful walled garden and the within the Contract Hall are towering twisted columns

A 15-minute break for the price of a cup of coffee.

Did you know?

That La Lonja de la Seda de Valencia has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996.


Get sand in your toes.

Ok, so I know this was meant to be a city break, but surely, it’s not going to hurt taking and dip in the Mediterranean Sea or relaxing on the soft golden sands of Malvarrosa beach.

The golden sands and blue sky of the Malvarrosa Beach, Valencia, Spain


Watch the world go by in the Plaza de la Virgen

We loved this plaza you could sit there for hours and people watch and appreciate the incredible architecture.

It official name is Plaça de la Mare de Déu and contains the Basilica of the Virgin and the Turia fountain.

Why not order a glass of the local tipple Agua de Valencia and watch the world go by?


Museo Nacional de Ceramica

Even if you don’t have time to visit the ceramic collections inside, the exterior is simply beautiful.

When the palace was originally built it was in the Gothic style, it has now been remodelled in the Rococo Palace and looks stunning.


Plaça de l'Ajuntament

There are some interesting pieces architecture around this busy square, including City Hall & the old Post Office.

The Ayuntamiento de Valencia or Town hall, Valencia, Spain

Take a seat with the locals and enjoy the beautiful scents drifting from the flower stalls.


Mercado de Colón.

The restored Art Nouveau Mercat Colon has now been transformed to its former glory.

Due to grocery stores and shopping malls opening nearby this market virtually ceased trading.
However, after a complete restoration and refurbishment project, which went down to the minutest of detail, the Mercado de Colon is now a popular place to meet and enjoy local restaurants and sample a local beer.

Why not?

Start creating your own Spanish adventure and discover the colourful city of Valencia yourself, easyJet & British Airways are just a couple of options.


Walk through the pits of the Formula 1 European Grand Prix (2007-’11)

OK, one for the petrol heads, but you can still see traces of the pit lanes and tyre rubber on the ground.

If you find yourself at the beach, or harbour make sure you track down the buildings that formed the pit complex of the F1 circus.


Visit a traditional Horchatería

No visit to Valencia would be complete without enjoying something traditionally Valencian - Horchata & Fartons.
Horchata is an ice-cold refreshing milk drink, made from chufa nuts (tiger nuts) and accompanied with fartons (pastry fingers), to dunk into your horchata.
It does sound bizarre, but is very tasty, we had ours at Horchateria de Santa Catalina.

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Have You?

Visited Valencia? Did any of our twelve make it on your list? If not, what's on yours?

Inspired to visit Valencia?

Does the this well kept secret tempt you? Would you like to see the Holy Grail?

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2 things to see & do in Valencia, Spain

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  1. This brings back so many memories! I visited Valencia last February and absolutely loved it. The horchata at Santa Catalina was delicious and the columns at the Silk Exchange left me speechless!

    1. That’s great. we really loved it as well, you felt like you were enjoying the city as a local. It’s a great size place to explore on foot and so quiet in places.

      Did you try the Agua de Valencia?

  2. Mercado Colon is probably one of my favourite places here in Valencia. If you happen to come back again one day, I would recommend the Central Bar, they serve the most amazing tapas! 😀

  3. Mercado’s are often the place to go for great tapas. We briefly popped into Mercado Colon for a quick drink, but it sound like we should have stayed longer.Well that’s a good reason for us to return again.

  4. Yes, I also like to live in Valencia especially I love the sea and walking on electric scooters around the city

    1. Author

      It’s a beautiful city the architecture is amazing, we loved Mercado Central. We walked for miles around Valencia you get to experience so much.

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