Valencia is one of the incredible Spanish cities you have to visit! It’s the kind of place that’s filled with thousands of years of history but also a heap of totally modern and shiny sides, too. This all means that there’s loads of totally epic and best things to do in Valencia that will be fill your days.
Now, this is usually a good thing, right? Well, if you’re heading across for a long weekend, or following a road trip route around Spain, it can become quite daunting! Trust me, I’ve had this happen myself.
You want to see everything you can but you also realise the limits in how much time you’ve set yourself.
This is exactly why I wanted to share some of the best things to do in Valencia that you can prioritise and hopefully plan a little easier.
It’s a gorgeous city, have the best time.
1.) Llotja de la Seda (Silk Exchange)
This historic market was once home to silk traders and buyers that thrived hundreds of years ago. It’s a totally stunning building and well worth visiting when you’re strolling through Valencia.
Also, the inner courtyard is so gorgeous and entry is relatively inexpensive, too.
Now, it’s likely you’ll only spend an hour, or so, exploring so it’s really easy to pop into any day-itinerary when here. Plus, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site that you really can’t miss.
2.) Saint Nicholas Church (San Nicolas)
Often nicknamed the Sistine Chapel of Valencia, Saint Nicholas Church is totally stunning! Honestly, once you’ve got yourself inside you’ll totally understand.
Now, there is an entrance cost but it’s totally worth it to see one of Valencia’s most iconic (and historic) buildings. Once inside, takes a stroll to see all the Baroque paintings and mural that have been a part of this gothic church for hundreds of years. It’s totally epic!
3.) Go Hot Air Ballooning
This. Was. Uh-mazing!
Hot air ballooning, just outside Valencia, is out-of-this-world. Not only that, but Sierra-de-Mariola is also a totally stunning area.
Now, you will need to leave the city early in the morning, so grab a coffee to go and head straight to the countryside. We headed out about 5 am-ish and were in the balloon by around 7 am.
One thing to remember, with hot air ballooning, is that it’s very dependent on weather conditions. This means it’s always worth having a backup plan to hand, especially when you’re trying to maximise your time.
That all being said, it’s easily one of the best things to do in Valencia if you fancy a little jaunt from the city itself.
4.) El Miguelete Tower (Torre del Micalet)
As part of Santa Maria Cathedral, the El Miguelete Tower is one epic (and historic) place for views across Valencia.
Obviously, you’re not going to get some skyscraper-style views (that you’d get in NYC, say) but it’s totally gorgeous and well worth seeing.
Just one thing to note, there are a few hundred steps to climb, which can be tough on a really hot day. Just make sure you have some water and be careful climbing the historic steps, they can be slightly slippy.
5.) Serranos Towers
The Serranos Towers is another one of those spots you can easily see whilst strolling through Valencia, especially if you’ve just been to the Institue of Modern Art (that’s totally amazing and nearby).
It’s got hundreds of years of history and for a few Euros you can pop up to the top of the towers, too.
6.) Paella in a barraca hut
Visiting the old Barraca Huts just outside the city limits is totally lovely for an early evening experience. You see, these historic houses were once all over the region and would often be used as farmhouses and are totally gorgeous to see.
Not only that, but you can also arrange tours to visit one of the barraca huts where you’ll get to explore the farmhouse and area alongside having some tasty paella whilst you’re there. We loved it so much.
Now, you can easily organise these with your hotel concierge or heading to experience platforms online, too. It’s well worth it.
7.) Sail the coast around Valencia
One of the things that makes Valencia so great is its coastline, too. We rented a boat for a few hours in the morning, which was totally incredible.
The best part of this is how amazing the city looks while you look back at it when you’re sailing across the Mediterranean sea. Everything is so calm and tranquil and very different from the lively hustle and bustle of the city.
8.) Pope Luna’s Castle
Constructed by the Knight’s Templar, seeing Pope Luna’s Castle is one of the best things to do in Valencia if you want to explore the city’s long historical sites.
Once here, be sure to see the views across the bay and pop on a castle tour if you’ve got time. It’s well worth a little gander.
Though be warned, it can get super busy in the summer months! If you want to avoid the crowds, head across earlier in the morning or last thing before closing times.
9.) Plaza de la Virgen
Perched in the old quarter of Valencia, you kinda can’t miss Plaza de la Virgen. You see, it’s surrounded by some of the iconic buildings I’ve already mentioned and really easy to see after visiting the nearby cathedral and climbing Torre del Micalet.
Also, for some tasty tapas nearby, pop into Tinto Fino Ultramarino. It’s a chilled out place where you can spend an evening with wines and nibbles. So good!
10.) Mercado de Colón
Gorging in Mercado de Colón is easily one of the best things to do in Valencia for some afternoon nibbles.
It’s the kind of market that’s filled with local produce, organic goodies and fresh treats that’ll leave you stuffed.
We visited mid-morning and grabbed some coffees, sweet pastries and lots of other nibbles, too. It’s totally lovely.
11.) Las Fallas Festival
Las Fallas is one heck of a sight to see and a UNESCO protected cultural heritage event that happens each year in the city.
Apparently, Las Fallas was started to celebrate the arrival of spring when people would burn wood and, nowadays, ninots that are totally incredible to see.
Expect thousands of people, the best atmosphere and some of the more extravagant falles you could see!
If you’re visiting in March, it’s well worth planning your trip around this.
12.) Gorge at Casa Montana
As it turns out, Casa Montana is a haunt of many notable people visits!
When we arrived, we were told a Prime Minister had just been a couple of days before! Through, I wish I could tell you which one it was but I stopped paying attention once I saw the Iberico ham. Oh, and Gwyneth Paltrow visited a while back, too.
You see, there’s a story behind every dish, it’s all sourced by them. As in, they actually drive their cars across, not just the country but all across Europe, to get the best ingredients.
Oh, and there’s the wine tasting too. The bottles of wine here range from €10 right up to €5,000 and it’s such an experience. It’s one of the best things to do in Valencia when you’re looking for a night ‘on the town’.
13.) Grab dinner at Riff
Riff is a really special restaurant and one of the Michelin star spots we had to visit when we explored Valencia.
The dishes are all so creative and there’s a real flair for good food and presentation. It’s a whole experience!
Just make sure to book a table in advance; it’s a real treat.
14.) Saint Mary’s Cathedral
seeing Saint Mary’s Cathedral is easily one of the best things to do in Valencia if you love history. You see, this site has been around for nearly 800 years and has had a long history in the city itself.
Built as a church and changed to a mosque (during Moorish occultation), Saint Mary’s Cathedral is totally awe-inspiring to see. Once here, make sure to wander and see the dome of the cathedral before heading to the Holy Chalice Chapel that’s inside.
You see, the Holy Chalice Chapel is said to hold a chalice that was used by Jesus during the Last Supper. Today, you can see this chalice right within the chapel itself. Even if you’re not a believer, it’s totally something you have to see.
15.) Café del Duende (for flamenco)
Oh my gosh, flamenco is as intense as it looks and is totally incredible to see.
Now, if you fancy an authentic experience, pop into Café del Duende that has some of the best in the city! It’s an intimate little venue that gets totally popular in the evenings. To guarantee a space, head across at least 1-1.5 hours before the performance.
Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen people dance with so much fire and passion like ever and it’s easily one of the best things to do in Valencia when you visit.
There’s so much going on that you’ll probably be left tingling by the time the whole thing comes to an end. It’s absolutely brilliant!
16.) See the City of Arts and Sciences
Travelling in Europe, I’m usually a fan of the old historic parts of town but this City of Arts and Sciences is definitely one of the most impressive modern buildings I’ve ever seen.
It always seems to captures the imagination of travellers visiting Valencia and it’s easy to see why.
The buildings appear to be shaped after aquatic life or sea vessels and their ribbed architecture are as intricate as it is fascinating.
17.) Enjoy some Jazz and Tango
I just love how emotive and graceful the tango is. I also love a good boogie any time so it wasn’t long before they had me wishing I could have joined in on the dancing!
So, visiting L’Oceanogràfic is probably one of the best things to do in Valencia if you love the aquarium. You see, it’s one of the places you can get up close and learn more about the conservation work that L’Oceanogràfic is doing.
Not only that, but the whole complex is also totally stunning and it’s really easy to visit when you’re visiting the City of Arts and Sciences.