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5 Reasons why Valencia needs to be on your Spain Itinerary

Updated: Apr 1

About the author: I have spent years traveling around Europe and now I want to share my first hand knowledge and expertise to help others fall in love with it as well!

Valencia, Spain

When planning a trip to Spain, most people think of the must see cities as Barcelona, Madrid and Seville. While these cities are famous for a reason, Valencia remains a lesser known, but no less spectacular, hidden gem. Tucked on the eastern coast of Spain, Valencia is a city that seamlessly combines modern marvels with charming character, and cobbled old town streets with miles of gorgeous beaches. As the birthplace of paella, you can enjoy delicious food while enjoying the many sites. Valencia is also a wonderful home base to explore some incredibly beautiful spots as day trips. Let’s dig into 5 reasons Valencia needs to be on to your Spain itinerary.   

City of Arts and Science, Valencia Spain

1. Modern City of Arts and Sciences:

City of Arts and science, Valencia Spain

Valencia's City of Arts and Sciences is a futuristic marvel that transcends traditional architectural boundaries. This cultural and entertainment complex, designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela, is a stunning ensemble of buildings. The Hemisférico, resembling a giant eye, houses an IMAX cinema and planetarium, while the Príncipe Felipe Science Museum offers interactive exhibits for curious minds. This unique blend of science and aesthetics is an architectural wonder that sets Valencia apart. We rented some electric scooters to explore this area. It was a fun way to see the sites and cover more ground.

2. The Charm of Historic Old Town and grandeur of Town-Hall Square

Valencia, Spain

While Valencia embraces modernity, its Old Town is a treasure trove of history and culture. Get lost in this picturesque area for a delightful morning, or take in the atmosphere at dusk. The Cathedral of Valencia, with its mix of architectural styles and the purported Holy Grail on display, stands as a testament to the city's rich past. The Silk Exchange (La Lonja de la Seda), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, showcases beautiful Valencian Gothic architecture.

San Nicholas de Bari chapel, Valencia Spain

Make sure to visit San Nicolas de Bari church. Known as Valencia’s Sistine chapel it is a must see. It is lesser known and doesn't look very impressive from the outside but step inside and you will be amazed.

Central market, Valencia Spain

To truly immerse yourself in the local culture, a visit to the Central Market of Valencia is a must. This bustling market, housed in a stunning Modernist building, offers a sensory feast with stalls brimming with fresh produce, meats, and local delicacies. The market reflects the gastronomic richness of Valencia and is an excellent place to pick up artisanal crafts and souvenirs. Also make sure to stroll past both the Torres de Serranos and the Torres de Quart. These are the only two gates remaining from the wall that surrounded Valencia but they are grand and impressive.

Walk a few minutes outside old town to the Plaza de Ayuntamiento or Town Hall Square. In contrast to the narrow streets of old town, this plaza has wide open spaces with grand architecture and a beautiful fountain. With its colorful flowers and green lawns it is a wonderful place to relax on a bench and enjoy your surroundings. 

3. Majestic Gardens and Parks:

Valencia, Spain

Valencia boasts beautiful green spaces that offer a respite from urban bustle. The Turia Gardens, once a riverbed, has been transformed into a lush park that winds its way through the city. Crossed by 18 bridges full of history, this nine kilometer long park passes the city’s main monuments and museums. It is the perfect place for a leisurely stroll, bike ride or picnic.  The Gulliver Park, an imaginative playground inspired by Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels," is a hit with families. Children can climb and slide on a whimsical play structure of the character Gulliver. 

4. Endless Beaches:

Beach promenade, Valencia Spain

While many associate Spain's beaches with the southern coasts, Valencia holds its own in seaside charm. The Malvarrosa and El Cabanyal beaches offer golden sands and a relaxed atmosphere. Walk, jog or ride a bike along the promenade and enjoy gorgeous views of the sea or pack some towels and a picnic and have a relaxing afternoon enjoying the soft sand and cool water. We rented bikes for the afternoon and it was well worth it.

5. Day trips

Valencia is a great home base to explore the region. There are some wonderful day trips in the area.

Peniscola, Spain

Peniscola is a delightful day trip from Valencia. The castle, perched on a ridge overlooking the ocean, was the home to Pope Benedict XIII also known as Papa Luna. The fortress sits atop the highest point of the peninsula offering commanding views with a delightful jumble of houses and buildings tumbling down the hill beneath it and a stone wall surrounding it. Outside the walls is a nice beach and lots of cute shops and restaurants. 

Peniscola, Spain

Sagunto, Spain roman amphitheater

If archaeological remains are what you are interested in you will definitely want to put Sagunto on your list.  Sagunto has been continuously inhabited since it was founded in the 5th century B.C. It has had many different rulers including Romans,Visigoths and Arabs. Make sure to visit the castle, which includes ruins from many of the different rulers including the forum. The Roman theater built in the 1st century has seating for 6000 spectators and wonderful acoustics. Also walk through Plaza Mayor and the charming Jewish quarter which is the best preserved Jewish quarter in the Valencian community.

Albarracin, Spain

Albarracin is another amazing option for a day trip. A two hour drive, it is a little further away but absolutely worth it. Towering medieval walls meander along the top of the hill like a spine. The ruins of a moorish castle rest on the hilltop. Climb up and look back down on the town for unforgettable views. Then wander back to town and through the picturesque village. 

Ducal palace, Gandia Spain

Gandia, with its Ducal Palace, archaeological museum, protected wetlands and sandy beaches is a delightful day trip from Valencia. Check out this guide for everything you need to know about day-tripping to Gandia from Valencia.

Valencia, Spain

Valencia has so much to offer. Beautiful beaches, charming old town, wonderful architecture, relaxing parks and the unique city of arts and science are some of Valencia’s draws. Make sure to add it to your Spain itinerary and you will not be disappointed. 

Ready to travel to Valencia? Contact us at and let us custom design your perfect trip. 

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