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Visiting Valencia: The Complete Travel Guide

visiting Valencia

I have written many articles about visiting Valencia. From things to do in Valencia to where to stay, the best restaurants, and much more.

Valencia has been my home for a few years now and I love sharing tips to make your trip to Valencia the best it can be.

So, to make it easier for you, this is an overview of all the articles I have written about visiting Valencia.

Whether you’ve already started planning your trip or are just wondering if Valencia is worth visiting, I hope these articles will answer all your questions.

Visiting Valencia: Everything You Need to Know for a Perfect Trip

1. the best things to do in valencia.

visit Valencia

When you’re planning to visit Valencia, you probably want to know what the highlights of the city are . 

And maybe a few hidden gems too.

In this article I give you a very practical list of things to do in Valencia. From sights to see to what to eat.

Valencia really is a beautiful city with a lot to offer. And, even better, many of the things I list to see and do are free!

READ THE ARTICLE

2. Things to Do With Kids in Valencia

young girl playing on the beach in Valencia

Are you visiting Valencia with kids?

Then you’ll be happy to hear that there actually is a lot to do in the city to keep your kids entertained .

From museums focusing on kids to one of the most unique playgrounds you’ve ever seen…

3. Eco-Friendly Things to Do in Valencia

pink and red floweers in a park with futuristic looking buildings in the background

Valencia has changed a lot in recent years and has become a lot more eco-friendly. So much so that it was named the  European Green Capital of 2024 .

In this article I share a wide range of activities, places to visit, restaurants to try, etc., all with a more sustainable focus.

READ THE ARTICLE  

4. Where to Stay in Valencia: the Best Neighborhoods & Hotels

an aerial view of the central plaza del Ayuntamiento in Valencia

Valencia isn’t the biggest city you will ever visit, but it’s definitely big enough to have very distinct neighborhoods with different vibes and different pros and cons .

What the best place to stay is for you depends on your preferences.

In this article I share the best neighborhoods and hotels to stay in, depending on what you want to see and do in the city.

5. How to Use the Metro & Save Money

a metro in Valencia

Figuring out public transport when visiting a new city can be a pain.

Valencia only has a few metro lines so figuring out which one to take isn’t too difficult. Deciding which ticket to get gets a little more complicated though, especially if you don’t want to pay more than you have to.

In this article I explain how to use the metro when visiting Valencia, and specifically how to use the TuiN and SUMA cards , which can make using the metro cheaper and more convenient.

6. The Best Tapas Restaurants in Valencia

tapas and drinks on a table

You can’t come to Spain without trying some tapas, right?

Valencia has a wide range of tapas places and some are definitely better than others.

If you’re visiting Valencia for the first time you’ll quickly end up in the touristy bars and restaurants that often charge too much for low quality, inauthentic food.

Therefore I wrote this article to help you find the better tapas bars around the city .

7. The Best Rooftop Bars in Valencia

a rooftop bar in Valencia

It might just be me, but I love going to rooftop bars when exploring a new city.

It’s both a nice break from sightseeing and a great way to get a view of the city .

Valencia has a number of nice rooftop bars and I have been to all of them many times.

In this article I list all of the rooftop bars and their pros and cons.

8. The Best Paella Restaurants in Valencia

paella and wine

Did you know that Valencia is the birthplace of paella ?

So when you visit Valencia you definitely have to try some paella!

But the same as with tapas restaurants, many tourists visiting Valencia end up at restaurants that serve low quality paella and cater just to tourists.

Spoiler alert: most of the best paella restaurants are not in the city center or close to any of the must-visit sights.

So, you might have to factor in some extra time to get to these restaurants, but if you like authentic experiences I promise it’s worth it!

9. Taking a Paella Cooking Class in Valencia

a paella cooking class

Looking for something special to do when you visit Valencia?

Then I can highly recommend taking a paella cooking class !

It takes you to the local market to buy fresh ingredients and teaches you everything there is to know about this traditional dish.

Note: apart from the traditional paella you can also choose to cook a vegetarian or a seafood paella.

10. The Best Restaurants for Authentic Chinese Food in Valencia

chinese food

Ok, tapas and paella are great, but after a few days of that, you might want to try something else.

And, Valencia has its own Chinatown with some great restaurants that are well worth checking out!

11. Camping Around Valencia

a campsite in the Comunidad Valencia

Although there are no campgrounds in the city itself, there are actually great options to go camping in the area.

Camping is very popular along the Spanish coast, especially as a summer vacation.

But not all campgrounds offer the same quality and facilities, which is why I wrote this article.

The article includes information about where to camp, rules & regulations, and a list of recommended campgrounds.

12. The Best Day Trips From Valencia

a day trip when visiting Valencia

I’d say a complete Valencia travel guide should include some information about the surrounding area too.

Valencia is a great city to visit in itself. But if you have the time these day trips will give you a much more diverse experience.

From castles worth visiting to hikes, wineries, beaches, and more.

13. Celebrating Las Fallas in Valencia

Las Fallas in Valencia

If you happen to visit Valencia in March you have to check out this festival!

Las Fallas is truly unique… It starts with fireworks and giant street parties and ends with the burning of impressive statues that took a year to build.

Valencians are very proud of this festival and as a visitor it gives you an interesting look into an important part of their culture.

In fact, Las Fallas is such an important festival that it even made it onto UNESCO’s World Heritage List !

Things to Know Before Visiting Valencia

1. the weather in valencia.

It can get really hot in summer, especially in August, and surprisingly cold in winter, mostly in January and February.

You might not think of Valencia as a destination where it ever gets cold, and although the temperature won’t normally ever drop below zero degrees Celcius (32 degrees Fahrenheit), most houses don’t have central heating and are poorly insulated. This makes a mildly cold day all of a sudden feel a lot more unpleasant than you expected.

In summer temperatures occasionally hit 40 degrees Celcius (104 Fahrenheit) and with many places not having air conditioning, and you probably wanting to explore parts of the city on foot or by bicycle, this heat can get quite annoying!

I’d therefore say spring and fall are the best times to visit Valencia .

2. Tipping in Valencia

Most locals leave no tip and therefore most local bars and restaurants don’t expect you to do so either.

That being said, many bars and restaurants in the more touristy parts of the city have gotten used to tourists tipping and therefore expect it more, but it is never mandatory.

Salaries in Spain are quite low, especially for hospitality staff, so tips will always be appreciated .

I’d recommend at least leaving some small change, up to 10% of the value of the bill.

Tipping taxis isn’t very common, but simply rounding up the fare is appreciated and makes a cash transaction easier for the driver.

Tipping hotel staff or hairdressers and other services is not a common thing to do in Valencia.

3. Siesta in Valencia

Although more and more shops stay open all day long, you’ll still find some smaller shops and other businesses closed for siesta, which can be anywhere between 1pm and 5pm.

Almost all bars and restaurants stay open, but several restaurants won’t serve food from around 4pm until 7 or 8pm, which, if you like an early dinner, is something to keep in mind.

4. Taxis in Valencia

Taxis are relatively inexpensive in Valencia. They are a great option to get to places that take too long by public transport, or to get home at night after the metro has stopped running.

It’s generally fairly easy to just hail a taxi on the street, but there are also two taxi apps : Cabify and Free Now.

Cabify is most similar to Uber, and Free Now is the app from the traditional Valencia taxis. Both are good and offer similar prices. I’d recommend downloading both, because I’ve had times where Cabify couldn’t find me a driver and Free Now could, and the other way around.

5. The Beach and the City are Far Apart

I love Valencia but there is one thing that’s a bit annoying: the city center and the beach are located just far enough from each other to make it feel as if you have to choose between the two.

If you are a beach person and your main reason for visiting Valencia is to enjoy time by the beach, then definitely make sure your accommodation is close to the beach.

If you are visiting Valencia as a city break, then I’d recommend staying in the city center. But just know that going to the beach might then require a bus ride, a metro ride, or both, and probably a taxi ride back if you want to stay by the beach in the evening, as metros stop running and buses become very infrequent.

Or you can of course do what more and more locals do: cycle between the city center and the beach.

6. In August Most Things Close

Shops, bars, restaurants, and government offices; many of them close for most, if not all, of August.

August is when the Valencians traditionally leave the city to spend time in their summer homes.

This combined with the August heat for me is a reason to not recommend visiting Valencia in August. But, the city does get nice and quiet in August which gives it a vibe that is different from the rest of the year.

Useful Articles About Spain

If you are visiting Valencia, you might find these articles about Spain helpful as well.

1. Things to Know Before Traveling to Spain

things to know before traveling to Spain

In this article I answer some of the most frequently asked questions about visiting Spain.

From questions about safety and prices to dos and don’ts when in Spain.

2. The Best Time to Visit Spain

historic buildings in Spain

Spain is a diverse country and the best time to visit depends both on where you want to go and what your reasons for visiting are.

This article explains it all.

3. Famous Spanish Food You Should Try

churros with chocolate sauce

If you are anything like me, part of your reason for visiting Valencia, or any new place, is to try the local food.

And apart from paella and tapas there are quite a few other Spanish delicacies worth trying.

4. Christmas in Spain

Christmas in Spain

Celebrating Christmas in Spain is a bit different from celebrating Christmas in most other countries.

For starters, Christmas here lasts 14 days!

So if you plan to visit Valencia around Christmas time you might want to read this article to find out more about how Christmas is celebrated here.

5. Facts About Spain

Spanish flag

Do you want to know more about Spain and the Spanish? Then this list of facts about Spain is for you.

From useful to surprising and some shocking facts…

Have a Great Time Visiting Valencia!

Enjoy your trip to Valencia and feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions about this beautiful city.

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Download the Valencia Tips app for free and discover Valencia in a unique way! Let me guide you to the best places, from local eateries to hidden gems.

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Enjoy Valencia even more with the free Valencia Tips app. The best tips from a local!

You will find in the app all my culinary treasures, fun activities, comfortable accommodation, special attractions and insider tips off the beaten track. You can also add your own tips. I immediately tell you which great restaurants are near you.

You can find many tips about Valencia, but this app has been carefully compiled by me (Suzie Añón y García). I am a qualified guide and tour operator in Valencia with more than 15 years of experience guiding groups and tours.

I am passionate about food and wine and I enjoy to show you the real Valencia that I love so much!

I want you to have that amazing Valencia experience too, which is why I’m sharing my best travel tips with you! Download now and enjoy Valencia like a local!

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“ Super nice app! As an avid visitor to Valencia, I am so glad I discovered the "Valencia Tips" app! Suzie has truly created a masterpiece with this app. It is filled with insider tips and unique experiences you won't find in traditional travel guides. An absolute must-have for any Valencia visitor ” Sabine K. An absolute must-have
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Valencia Travel Guide

Last Updated: February 16, 2024

The iconic and modern architecture of Valencia, Spain

However, after I wandered the streets, relaxed on the beach, stuffed my face with paella on the seaside boardwalk, and visited the futuristic art museum, I left realizing Valencia had grown on me. It was a cool city with tons of history, art, and good vibes.

Originally a Roman colony and once the capital of Spain , Valencia is the birthplace of paella (and is allegedly home to the Holy Grail). With three UNESCO Sites, one of the largest markets in Europe , and the massive City of Arts and Science complex, Valencia is well worth a visit. I’d recommend spending at least three days here.

This Valencia travel guide can help you plan your trip and make the most of your time here.

Table of Contents

  • Things to See and Do
  • Typical Costs
  • Suggested Budget
  • Money-Saving Tips
  • Where to Stay
  • How to Get Around
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  • Related Blogs on Valencia

Top 5 Things to See and Do in Valencia

The stunning historic architecture of Valencia, Spain, featuring old buildings and a fountain surrounded by people

1. Visit the City of Arts and Sciences

This huge complex is a piece of art in itself. Its futuristic look and design makes it one of the most photographed places in Valencia. Construction started in 1996, and the first part of the complex opened in 1998 (with the newest addition opening in 2009). The complex is one of the 12 Treasures of Spain and sees over 4 million visitors each year. It’s home to an IMAX theater, planetarium, museum, marine area, opera house, a massive open garden, and more. Admission to the museum is 8.70 EUR. A combo ticket is 38.90 EUR. You can easily spend half a day here just casually wandering around or a full day if you visit several of the sites within the complex.

2. Throw tomatoes at La Tomatina

Started in 1945, this festival is held on the last Wednesday of August in neighboring Buñol, about 25 miles outside of Valencia. La Tomatina is an epic hour-long tomato fight that draws upwards of 20,000 people to the small town (only 10,000 people live in the town itself). Over the hour, more than 360,000 pounds of tomatoes are used during the festival. Once the food fight is over, stay for a giant celebration with live music and sangria. It’s as messy and chaotic as you’d expect, and It’s the most amazing festival I’ve ever been to! Tickets cost 12 EUR and sell out quickly.

3. Wander Casco Histórico

This is the impressive historic district of Valencia where you can find the main square (the Plaza de la Virgen) and the Gothic Valencia Cathedral. It’s a great place to explore the ancient winding streets of the Barrio del Carmen and its typical Spanish-style buildings with their large doors, balconies, and windows. The history here stretches back over 2,000 years, as the region was home to the Romans, Visigoths, and Muslims over the centuries. It’s also one of the largest historic centers in Europe, making it the perfect place for a stroll or to grab a seat at a cafe and people watch over a beer or a hot chocolate.

4. Retreat to the Albufera

This national park and nature reserve contains a beautiful freshwater lagoon— the largest in Spain. Located less than 15 miles outside the city, this a nature lover’s perfect day trip. Go on a hike around the lake (there are 6 different trails), or take a bike ride on one of the paved paths. There are also over 300 species of birds here, making it an ideal place to spot wildlife. The lake is surrounded by rice fields, which explains how this area became the birthplace of paella. It’s worth it to stick around for sunset views. To get here, take city bus 24 or 25 for an hourlong trip that costs 3 EUR roundtrip. Another great way to see the area from a different perspective is by taking a boat tour, which costs 10-20 EUR.

5. Cross Calatrava’s Bridge

This was designed by Valencia’s most famous son, Santiago Calatrava, who also designed the City of Arts and Sciences, the Hemisferic, and the Umbracle. It’s a very modern and ultra-cool-looking bridge worth seeing up close. It’s a small bridge, and there’s not much to do here, but you can’t visit the city without walking across it and snapping some photos.

Other Things to See and Do in Valencia

1. take a free walking tour.

My favorite way to get to know a city is to take a free walking tour. They’re a budget-friendly way to see the main sights and connect with a local guide who can answer all your questions. Free Tour Valencia offers a daily tour that lasts a couple of hours and covers all the main sights, from the gothic cathedral to the historic towers and town gate. Just be sure to tip your guide at the end!

2. Admire Valencia Cathedral

In the 8th century, the Balansiya mosque stood on this site. It wasn’t until the 13th century that the present Gothic-style cathedral was built, which took almost two centuries to complete. Today, the cathedral is home to medieval frescoes and an ornate Holy Chalice considered by some to be the actual Holy Grail. The chalice dates to the 1st century and has been used by various Popes over the centuries. It’s 9 EUR to tour the cathedral and museum (including an audio guide) and an additional 2 EUR to go up the octagonal bell tower (known as “Miguelete”). It’s worth the visit, and the view from the bell tower is one of the best in the city.

3. Explore Central Market

Although this site originally started out as an open-air market, the city decided to move it indoors in the 19th century. Officials hosted several architectural competitions to come up with a new design. The result was a brand new modernist style known as Valencian Art Nouveau, which somewhat resembles a cathedral with its roof domes and the large cupola at the center. The entire building is filled with iron columns, bright ceramic tiling, and delicate stained glass. It’s one of the largest markets in Europe. Come here to people watch, shop for food and souvenirs (there are more than 1,200 stalls), and sample tapas. Make this one of your first stops of the day, as the market closes at 3pm and is closed on Sundays.

4. Visit La Lonja

This 15th-century former silk market and commodity exchange were built between 1482-1533, and is now an UNESCO World Heritage site. The late Valencian-Gothic building with soaring ceilings and an austere, castle-like appearance is one of the best preserved of its kind in Europe and a must-see. Walk through the main gate and into a cool courtyard filled with orange trees and see the Pavilion of the Consulate of the Sea, with its richly decorated ceilings and an elaborate stone staircase. Found in the Old Town, it’s just around the corner from the Central Market. It’s 2 EUR to visit. On Sunday mornings, there’s a flea market held in front of La Lonja.

5. Celebrate Las Fallas

This festival in March is one of the biggest in Valencia, and a chance to party with the entire city. It celebrates the arrival of spring and locals do so by constructing huge model heads and sculptures and then burn them down in a dramatic finale. According to legend, this “build and burn” follows the Pagan tradition where people would gather their unwanted belongings in the streets and then burn it all to welcome spring. Las Fallas goes on for a full month with daily events. For the finale that takes place at the end of March, be prepared to celebrate until the wee hours of the morning with fireworks and drinks!

6. Cycle the Jardí del Túria

Jardí del Túria is a long stretch of park, one of the largest in Spain, that runs through an old dried-up riverbed (the river was diverted to prevent flooding in the city). The government wanted to build a road in its place, but locals fought for the green space to be made instead. It’s dotted with sculptures, sports fields, gardens, open grassy spaces, and buskers. Rent a bike, pack a picnic, and spend a couple of hours taking in the sights as the path snakes east to west and passes several major monuments, including the City of Arts and Sciences, the Central Market, Museum of Fine Arts, and more.

7. Lounge on the beach

Although this isn’t as much of a beach destination as the Costa Blanca further south, you can still find beautiful sand at the beaches in Valencia. Malvarosa, which is easily accessible from the city and has a long promenade, is the most popular place to hang out but be prepared for high prices if you plan to eat here. Las Arenas, Patacona, and El Saler (located in the La Albufera nature reserve) are other popular beaches. If you’re looking for something less crowded, El Puig, which is slightly further away from the city, and is a mix of pebbles and sand, is a good option.

8. Eat paella

Valencia is the birthplace of paella (there are several kinds of paella now; this version is known as Valencian paella). The dish, made from locally grown rice, takes its name from the Valencian word for frying pan (referring to the large pan the paella is made in). The original Valencia version is traditionally made with rabbit, snails, and green beans, and has been around since the 1800s as a filling dish for farmers. You’ll see it on menus everywhere from nicer restaurants to beach shacks. It’s a major part of the culture, so be sure to try some while you’re here!

10. Explore the Sagunto Roman settlement

Around 30 kilometers (18 miles) from Valencia is the coastal town of Sagunto. It was both an Iberian and Roman settlement and still has several historic sites to explore, including a castle that overlooks the town, a heavily restored Roman theater, and city walls that date back to the Islamic occupation. There’s a history museum here as well as an exhibition room at the top of the castle. The town has some nice churches to admire too. It makes a great place to explore for an afternoon, and the views on top of the castle are pretty impressive. The bus to Sagunto takes about 30 minutes and costs 2-4 EUR.

11. Check out Valencia’s towers

In addition to the cathedral’s Miguelete tower, there are two more towers to see in Valencia, both of which make up the last remnants of the ancient city wall (the wall had 12 towers but was pulled down in 1865). There is the Gothic Serrans Tower or Serrano Tower which was built at the end of the 14th century. The massive city gate and watch towers are one of the best-preserved monuments in Valencia and is less than a 10-minute walk from the main square. The other tower is the 15th-century Quart Towers which has been used for a variety of purposes over the years, including a women’s and military prison, and most notably, the cannonball marks document how the massive structure stopped Napoleon’s troops in 1808. Admission is 2 EUR for each tower, which you can climb.

12. Visit the Ceramics Museum

The Palacio del Marqués de Dos Aguas, one of Spain’s best examples of Baroque architecture, is home to the González Martí National Museum of Ceramics (Museo Nacional de Cerámica y Artes Suntuarias González Martí). Founded in 1947, here you can find an enormous collection of ceramics, some dating from the 18th century. The museum also has some of Picasso’s works. It’s interesting enough for a quick stop, and you can easily see everything in less than an hour. Admission is 3 EUR.

13. Wander the Museum of Fine Arts

The building this museum is in is a work of art itself. Built between 1683 and 1744, it was originally a seminary college (its architect was Juan Bautista Pérez Castiel, who also designed Valencia Cathedral). The museum has art by medieval painters and by painters from the Valencian School. It also has works of well-known artists including Pintoricchio, Andrea del Sarto, Van Dyck, Murillo, Velázquez, El Greco, and a room devoted to Goya. Exhibits include drawings, etchings, sculptures, and archaeological pieces. If you like Renaissance art or are a fan of Goya, I’d recommend a visit. It’s free to enter.

14. Visit the Caves of Sant Josep

The Caves de Sant Josep are a system of natural underground caves that house the longest navigable underground river in Europe. LED lights illuminate the UNESCO-recognized paintings and engravings on the walls dating back to the Paleolithic era. You can also kayak through the caves on a two-hour tour. Boat tours cost 10 EUR and kayaking is 35 EUR (book in advance). The caves are a 45-minute drive from the city.

  For more information on other cities in Spain, check out these guides:

  • Barcelona Travel Guide
  • Granada Travel Guide
  • Madrid Travel Guide
  • Seville Travel Guide

Valencia Travel Costs

An old stone fort in Valencia, Spain

A basic private hostel room for two starts at 90 EUR per night during peak season but can go as high as 150 EUR. Prices are about 10% less for private rooms in the off-season.

Camping is available just outside the city, with plots ranging from 15-25 EUR per night for a basic tent plot for one person without electricity.

Budget hotel prices – Hotel pricing has increased in recent years. Those within Valencia average around 150 EUR. Hotels a few miles outside of the city start around 75 EUR. While a few budget hotels in the city offer free breakfast or a pool, most are pretty basic so don’t expect anything too luxurious.

Airbnb is available around the city, with private rooms starting at 30 EUR per night (but averaging closer to 65 EUR). If you want an entire home/apartment, expect to pay at least 100-120 EUR per night (though prices can easily be double that when not booked in advance).

Food – In Valencia, paella is one of the major culinary staples, owing to its origin here. Other favorites include arròs negre (a squid and squid ink paella), cured sausages, gazpacho, and all el pebre (a local stew-type dish made from garlic and peppers).

A casual meal of traditional Valencian cuisine costs around 12-15 EUR. If you want a multi-course meal and a drink, expect to pay 25-35 EUR.

If you plan to eat at the beach, expect to pay more than 10 EUR for a sandwich and at least 30 EUR for a seafood dinner. Beer and wine are about half-price if you buy them yourself (instead of at a bar or restaurant).

Cheap fast food (think McDonald’s) costs around 9 EUR for a combo meal. Pizza is around 12-15 EUR.

Beer is usually around 3 EUR while a latte/cappuccino is under 2 EUR. Bottled water is about 1.50 EUR.

If you buy your own food, expect to spend 55-65 EUR for a week’s worth of groceries. This gets you basic staples like rice, pasta, seasonal produce, and some meat.

Backpacking Valencia Suggested Budgets

If you’re backpacking Valencia, expect to spend about 90 EUR per day, you can afford to stay in a hostel dorm, cook most of your meals, limit your drinking, take public transportation to get around, and do mostly free activities like free walking tours and relaxing in the parks or at the beach. Add at least 20 EUR per day to your budget if you plan on drinking or partying a lot.

On a mid-range budget of about 200 EUR per day, you can stay in a private Airbnb or private hostel, eat out for most meals, take the occasional taxi to get around, enjoy a few drinks, and do more paid tours and activities like seeing the City of Arts and Sciences and the Cathedral.

On a “luxury” budget of 300 EUR or more per day, you can stay in a hotel, eat out for most meals, drink as much as you’d like, take more taxis or rent a car, and do as many paid tours and activities as you want. This is just the ground floor for luxury though. The sky is the limit!

You can use the chart below to get an idea of how much you need to budget daily. Keep in mind these are daily averages – some days you spend more, some days you spend less (you might spend less every day). We just want to give you a general idea of how to make your budget. Prices are in EUR.

Valencia Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips

Valencia is generally more affordable to visit than Madrid or Barcelona. However, food, drinks, and tours can really add up if you aren’t watching your spending. Here are some tips on how to save money in Valencia:

  • Take a free walking tour – Free Tour Valencia offers a variety of free walking tours that can introduce you to the city and show you the lay of the land. Just be sure to tip your guide at the end!
  • Budget extra for food – Valencia has a lot of wonderful seafood restaurants (it’s what the city is famous for). Splash out once in a while and get a good meal down by the beach.
  • Cook more meals – When you’re not splurging on local favorites, stick to buying your own groceries and cooking your meals. It’s not fancy, but it’s much cheaper and will help you save money for those nicer meals.
  • Visit the Mercado Central – This is the main fruit and vegetable market in Valencia. Buy snacks, small meals, and groceries here to cut down on your food budget and give you a taste of local life.
  • Stay with a local – While hostels are cheap in the city, staying with a local drastically lowers your expenses. It’s also a great way to connect with the local scene and get a better sense of the city and its people. Use Couchsurfing to find a local host who can show you around. Just be sure to send your requests early.
  • Get the tourist card – If you plan on seeing a lot of attractions and using a lot of public transportation, consider getting the Valencia Tourist Card. It comes in 1-,2-, and 3-day options for 15 EUR, 20 EUR, and 25 EUR respectively. It offers discounts all over the city in addition to free transportation and free entry into certain attractions.
  • Bring a water bottle – The tap water here is safe to drink so bring a reusable water bottle to save money and reduce your plastic use. LifeStraw is my go-to brand as their bottles have built-in filters to ensure your water is always clean and safe.

Where to Stay in Valencia

There are several excellent hostels in Valencia and a few budget hotels. My recommended places to stay are:

  • The River Hostel
  • Purple Nest Hostel
  • Red Nest Hostel
  • Cantagua Hostel
  • Urban Youth Hostel
  • Olympia Consul del Mar
  • Rooms Ciencias

How to Get Around Valencia

An aerial view overlooking the beautiful city of Valencia, Spain on a bright summer day

Public transportation – Buses cost 1.50 EUR per trip within the city limits. A 24-hour Valencia Tourist card gives you free transit and costs 15 EUR.

Valencia’s underground subway is particularly useful in the summer months because of the air conditioning. A one-way ride costs 1.50 EUR and the metro also reaches the airport.

If you’ll be taking bus and metro, purchase a SUMA card for 10 trips on city buses, metro, tram and suburban trains for 10EUR.

Getting to and from the airport is straightforward, with one-way city bus tickets costing 1.50 EUR.

Bicycle – Bikes can be rented in the city, either per hour or per day, with prices varying depending on the season. Valenbisi is the public bike rental service with hubs all round the city. Expect to pay around 10-15 EUR per day (or just 6 EUR for three hours).

Taxis – Taxis start at 4 EUR (6 EUR at night), with the normal tariff being 1 EUR per additional kilometer. Skip them if you can as the prices add up fast!

Ridesharing – Uber in Valencia lets you request traditional cabs. There is also an app called Cabify that works in a similar way.

When to Go to Valencia

Because of Valencia’s temperate climate (it sees more than 300 days of sun per year), beach season extends from July to October. During this time it can get crowded and accommodations prices are about 40% higher. If you don’t mind the crowds, this is the time of year to party all night at beach clubs. Expect daily highs above 31°C (88°F) in the summer.

Personally, I think the best time to visit is in late spring or early autumn when crowds haven’t peaked but the weather is still warm enough for swimming but not too hot for exploring on foot. At this time of year, you’ll be able to see and do everything you want (there are no major holidays or closings) but at a more relaxed pace.

In the winter (December-February), the weather is still comfortable, reaching highs of 18°C (65°F). While the crowds disappear during this time, some museums have shortened hours. In December, the old town is all lit up with Christmas lights.

Keep in mind during the Las Fallas de San José festival in March, accommodation books up quickly so allow plenty of time for planning (prices rise too).

How to Stay Safe in Valencia

Valencia is a safe place to visit. Violent crime is rare, but like other Spanish cities, pickpocketing is common (especially in the major tourist areas and on public transportation). Keep your valuables secure and out of sight at all times.

When at a cafe or restaurant, don’t leave any valuables like phones or bags on the table unattended. They can disappear quickly.

Solo female travelers should feel safe here. However, the standard precautions apply (don’t leave your drink unattended at the bar, don’t walk home alone intoxicated, etc.). Several of the hostels have female-only dorm rooms, but these sometimes sell out befor the larger dorm rooms. For specific tips on staying safe, check out one of the many solo female travel blogs on Spain. They’ll be able to provide specific advice that I, a man, can’t.

Tourist scams are prevalent as well, so keep an eye out for groups of kids trying to distract you, as they’re probably trying to take your money. Also, be wary of people offering to carry your luggage. They may try to charge you a large fee. You can read about common travel scams to avoid here .

When out at the bar, always keep an eye on your drink. Avoid walking home alone at night if intoxicated.

If you experience an emergency, dial 112 for assistance.

The most important piece of advice I can offer is to purchase good travel insurance. Travel insurance protects you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. You can use the widget below to find the policy right for you:

Valencia Travel Guide: The Best Booking Resources

These are my favorite companies to use when I travel. They consistently have the best deals, offer world-class customer service and great value, and overall, are better than their competitors. They are the companies I use the most and are always the starting point in my search for travel deals.

  • Skyscanner – Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine. They search small websites and budget airlines that larger search sites tend to miss. They are hands down the number one place to start.
  • Hostelworld – This is the best hostel accommodation site out there with the largest inventory, best search interface, and widest availability.
  • Booking.com – The best all around booking site that constantly provides the cheapest and lowest rates. They have the widest selection of budget accommodation. In all my tests, they’ve always had the cheapest rates out of all the booking websites.
  • HostelPass – This new card gives you up to 20% off hostels throughout Europe. It’s a great way to save money. They’re constantly adding new hostels too. I’ve always wanted something like this and glad it finallt exists.
  • Get Your Guide – Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace for tours and excursions. They have tons of tour options available in cities all around the world, including everything from cooking classes, walking tours, street art lessons, and more!
  • The Man in Seat 61 – This website is the ultimate guide to train travel anywhere in the world. They have the most comprehensive information on routes, times, prices, and train conditions. If you are planning a long train journey or some epic train trip, consult this site.
  • Rome2Rio – This website allows you to see how to get from point A to point B the best and cheapest way possible. It will give you all the bus, train, plane, or boat routes that can get you there as well as how much they cost.
  • FlixBus – Flixbus has routes between 20 European countries with prices starting as low 5 EUR! Their buses include WiFi, electrical outlets, a free checked bag.
  • SafetyWing – Safety Wing offers convenient and affordable plans tailored to digital nomads and long-term travelers. They have cheap monthly plans, great customer service, and an easy-to-use claims process that makes it perfect for those on the road.
  • LifeStraw – My go-to company for reusable water bottles with built-in filters so you can ensure your drinking water is always clean and safe.
  • Unbound Merino – They make lightweight, durable, easy-to-clean travel clothing.
  • Top Travel Credit Cards – Points are the best way to cut down travel expenses. Here’s my favorite point earning credit cards so you can get free travel!
  • BlaBlaCar – BlaBlaCar is a ridesharing website that lets you share rides with vetted local drivers by pitching in for gas. You simply request a seat, they approve, and off you go! It’s a cheaper and more interesting way to travel than by bus or train!

Valencia Travel Guide: Related Articles

Want more info? Check out all the articles I’ve written on Spain travel and continue planning your trip:

The 7 Best Hotels in Madrid

The 7 Best Hotels in Madrid

The 7 Best Hotels in Barcelona

The 7 Best Hotels in Barcelona

The Best Walking Tours in Barcelona

The Best Walking Tours in Barcelona

The Best Walking Tours in Seville

The Best Walking Tours in Seville

The Perfect 3 Day Granada Itinerary

The Perfect 3 Day Granada Itinerary

The 7 Best Hostels in Seville

The 7 Best Hostels in Seville

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  • Where To Stay
  • Transportation
  • Booking Resources
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33 Best Valencia Travel Tips: Visit the Birthplace of Paella

  • Post author: Naddya and Svet
  • Post category: City Travel
  • Post published: December 15, 2021

One of the top jewels of Spain’s crown is its third-largest city – Valencia.

Although sometimes overshadowed by Barcelona and Madrid, Valencia is definitely worth visiting , too.

From dazzling beaches and bustling nightlife to mouth-watering traditional dishes and unique local culture, there’s a myriad of reasons to visit the city.

And to make every minute of your time count, we’ve prepared 33 Valencia travel tips for you.

In this guide, you’ll find things to do before you leave home, budget and weather tips, and the most delicious dishes to order while exploring the best neighborhoods of Valencia.

Ready to discover this overlooked Spanish gem?

Then, use the navigation below and happy browsing.

Start Planning Your Trip to Valencia with Our BEST Recommendations:

⭐ Top Tours in Valencia ⭐

📍 Tuk-Tuk Tour Around the City – discover Valencia in an entertaining and comfy way.

📍 Wine & Tapas in a Historic Building – a guided walk through the Old Town and delectable wines and tapas in an 11th-century building.

⭐ Best Accommodations in Valencia ⭐

🏨 Caro Hotel – the best luxurious experience in the heart of Valencia’s Old Town.

🏨 Amazinn Places EVIapartments – funky, modern apartments with great amenities.

⭐ Easiest Transportation Options in Valencia ⭐

🚍 Valencia Tourist Card – enjoy discounts, free travel, and entrances to museums.

🚍 Discover Cars – compare and find the best rates for car rentals.

✅ Note : This article contains affiliate links . In case you purchase something through one of these links, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for helping us keep creating the free content on this website!

Preparation – Things to Do Before You Go to Valencia

As with all tourist places, it’s a good idea to prepare a bit before going to Valencia . The following Valencia travel tips will save you headaches when you reach your destination.

  • Visa requirements. As Spain is a part of the European Union, a visa is not necessary for all citizens of the EU and for US citizens with a passport valid for at least another 6 months. For a complete list of visa requirements, visit the official website of the EU.
  • Official language. Downtown or at the beach, you’ll most probably do fine only speaking English. However, outside of the most touristic areas, you might need to use some of that slightly forgotten high-school Spanish. On top of that, Valencia is a proud speaker of its own dialect, called Valenciano . Don’t worry if you don’t understand a word of it, though, as everything is bilingual and also written in traditional Spanish.
  • Mind the heat! If you decide to visit Valencia amidst the summer months, prepare yourself for scorching hot temperatures. It’s not a good idea to explore the stone streets of the Old Town during midday hours, as the heat is almost intolerable. Hydrate as much as possible and treat yourself to a scoop or two of ice cream .
  • Observe the siesta hours. It might be an unpleasant surprise that some businesses and stores close for a good chunk of the day for the traditional Spanish siesta. It usually takes place between 2:00 PM and 5:00 PM, but hours may vary slightly. Check in advance whether that small family shop you’d love to buy a souvenir from is open during afternoon hours.
  • If you’re going to visit the Cathedral or other churches, mind the dress code. In spite of the high temperatures during the summer, church officials will not show understanding for your tank top or hot pants. Be sure to cover your shoulders – even a light silk scarf will do the trick – and wear below-knee-length skirts for women. Men are not allowed in with shorts.

Weather – When Is the Best Time to Visit Valencia

Valencia’s climate is a dream. It consists of hot summers, mild winters, and over 300 sunny days annually. Even during the coldest months, the average temperature is around 63°F (17°C), so a visit to Valencia is a good idea in every season. Check out the best Valencia travel tips for each time of the year below.

  • Spring can be rainy but quite warm, with an average temperature of 66°F (19°C).  Several events are worth  visiting in Valencia in that period. As in many other European cities, a traditional Carnival is the February highlight. It is a great chance to dress up, take part in wild street parties, and enjoy the fireworks. Another interesting celebration is Las Fallas, a 5-day festival in March. Spectators can watch the parade of huge papier-mâché puppets that are burned at the end of the festivities.
  • The hot summer in Valencia is the perfect time to enjoy sandy beaches and a refreshing swim. June, July, and August offer an average high of 82.4°F (28°C), almost no rainfall, and lots of sunshine. The city gets quite crowded. Picnics, gatherings, and open-air events take place almost everywhere. The blooming student population in Valencia lends vitality and energy to its nightlife. Countless bars offer the delicious local drink Agua Valenciana – a mix of cava, orange juice, gin, and vodka. Be sure to relish a glass in one of the lively bars in the El Carmen neighborhood, or get a classy cocktail in the trendy cafes of Ruzafa . Finish the hot night with a dance marathon in Valencia’s discos.
  • Fall is the best time to discover nature in and outside the city. During September, October, and November, Valencia breathes differently with its summer tourists gone. This is the perfect time to appreciate amazing views over the autumn sea. You could also enjoy the sunset at Albufera National Park situated a mere 6 mi (10 km) from the city. The world-class Valencian marathon also takes place during the fall months. The city’s flat streets are great for running. So, if you do have the ambition to finish a marathon, the prestigious Valencian race is a fantastic opportunity.
  • During the mild winter, the Christmas spirit dominates the Valencian city landscape. Spend time wandering around the beautifully decorated streets. Don’t pack your thickest coat since daily temperatures rarely drop below 53.6°F (12°C). You’ll find the most popular Christmas markets in front of the cathedral and around the Central Market. Try the scrumptious typical winter foods, such as the traditional turrón , and gawk at the hand-crafted souvenirs.

Money-Saving Travel Tips: How to Stretch Your Bucks in Valencia

It’s not necessary to deplete your pockets in order to enjoy Valencia. In this section, we’ll unveil a few tips on how to spend quality time and save some money .

  • Many of Valencia’s museums are free to enter. Enjoy the works of Velázquez and Goya in one of Spain’s largest art collections at the Museo de Bellas Artes . Another option is the Museo de Historia de Valencia with an exhibition that displays 2,000 years of city history. You can make use of a free entry for the bullfighting museum – Museo Taurino – on Sundays and public holidays. The Ceramics Museum is also open for a free visit on Saturday evenings and on Sundays.
  • Valencian tap water is perfectly safe to drink. If you decide to travel to Valencia during the hot summer days, you’ll need to hydrate yourself often. The cost of buying bottled water quickly adds up. Avoid this unnecessary expenditure by bringing your own water bottle. You can refill it at one of the many water fountains throughout the city since the water is safe to consume.
  • Rent a bike for an easy and budget-friendly way to sightsee. The ex-capital has over 93 mi (150 km) of bike lanes. Offers are galore. The most popular bike rental service is called Valenbisi . Other companies are more costly but with a wider variety of options, such as Doyoubike Rental or BIKES and ROLL . By hopping on a bike, you’ll be able to enjoy the city in a much more personal manner than any touristic bus can ever offer.
  • Save up on ATM withdrawal fees. Be aware that most banks in Spain charge for money withdrawals. A bullet-proof way to avoid their fees is to pay by card, which is possible almost anywhere in Valencia. If you do need cash, the following banks don’t charge: Eurocaja Rural, CajaSur, and Deutsche Bank. Regardless of the bank, the ATM will display the charge price prior to withdrawing. If it seems high to you, you can always terminate the action.
  • Participate in a free walking tour. As with most major cities, free walking tours are also a thing in Valencia. They’re a great way to get to know the city on foot and only spend a symbolic amount to compensate the friendly guides. One option is Free Tour Valencia which offers a tour every day and will show you the main tourist sights.
  • Spend the day in the marvelous Turia park. A magnet for locals and tourists alike, this park is a wonderful place to have a picnic, do some sports, or spend a peaceful afternoon in the tree shades. Turia is quite interesting, as it is built inside a dried-out riverbed. City authorities cleverly decided to turn it into a green area running through a large part of town.
  • Some of the metro stations in Valencia are worth a visit. Even if you don’t ride the metro, it is worth going underground, just to feast your eyes on the beautiful Alameda Metro Station , for example. Its design is the work of Santiago Calatrava – an internationally renowned Valencian architect. Another station that attracts tourists is Colón Station featuring Sala Lametro – a cultural exhibition space.

Food & Drinks in Valencia: The Mediterranean Delicacies You Should Try

Spoil yourself with the rich flavors of the Mediterranean. Below, we’ve listed the most scrumptious Valencian foods and drinks that you must try.

  • The Valencian paella is to die for. The famous Spanish dish originated in the Valencian region. The classic paella features fried chicken and rabbit meat, tomatoes, local beans and, of course, rice. Your discerning palate might also like the other variants that epitomize seafood or other meats.
  • Try fideuà, a popular dish with seafood. This Valencian treat closely resembles paella but is made with vermicelli noodles instead of rice. The noodles assist in bringing out the rich taste of the seafood, as they absorb a large amount of the broth while cooking.
  • For a non-touristy taste, order Arroz al Horno. Valencianos seem to love the combo between rice and meat. Arroz al Horno will please all meat lovers as it combines blood sausage, pork ribs, and bacon with veggies, chickpeas, and rice.
  • If you like pizza, you’ll fall in love with cocas . These flatbreads can be sweet or savory, and toppings vary. There are vegetarian and vegan options, varieties with fish or meat, and all flavors imaginable. Valencian people might spend a good amount of time trying to persuade you that the local coca precedes and ultimately beats pizza in the race for the most delicious topped dough. We personally won’t dare disagree!
  • Love spicy food? Then, all-i-pebre is for you. The dish could be quite hot, so ask the waiter before ordering it. As a typical Valencian food, all-i-pebre is a scrumptious eel stew with paprika and chili smothered in a rich sauce that will call for bread. Beer goes great with it, too.
  • Enjoy esmorzaret, the Valencian brunch. The esmorzaret is an ancient custom born out of necessity. Work in the fields had to start early in order to avoid the heat. So, sometime between morning and lunch, workers were already starving. They replenished their strength with a mid-morning snack of olives, pickled vegetables, and lupin beans, followed by a sandwich. Nowadays, the best places to treat yourself to esmorzaret in Valencia are Bar Marvi, La Pascuala, and Casa Guillermo.
  • Turrón – a celebration for those who have a sweet tooth. The typical Christmas candy originated in Arab cuisine and is still widely sold today. There are plenty of different flavors and textures, so make sure to try as many as you can and bring some back home. It will be highly appreciated!
  • One of the most popular local drinks is called Agua Valenciana , meaning Valencian water. Made with vodka, gin, cava, and orange juice, this cocktail was invented in 1959 in the bar Cafe Madrid de Valencia and has not lost its popularity since.

Transport: The Best Options to Get Around Valencia

Given the relatively small size of Valencia and the mild dry weather, riding a bike is one of the best ways to get around town. However, there are several other transport options you should consider. Read on!

  • Manises Airport serves Valencia and is situated 5 mi (8 km) away from the city. With one single terminal, the rather small Manises Airport is the closest one to Valencia. It offers connections to about 20 European countries. The transfer to and from the city is easy. Metro lines 3 and 5 need about 15 minutes to reach the center.
  • You can also use Alicante Airport when traveling to Valencia . Situated 99 mi (160 km) away, it might seem somewhat far, but there are convenient transport options. The bus company Alsa offers shuttles between Valencia and Alicante with ticket prices starting at €5.35 ($6.05).
  • Combine the metro and the tram networks to get around fast. The metro lines are a great way to visit more remote areas, and combining it with the tram lets you travel all around Valencia effortlessly. A single ticket costs between €1.40 ($1.60) for one zone and  €3.60 ($4.05) for four zones. You can also get a 10-journey card available for €10.00 ($11.30), called bono transbordo . On weekdays, the metro and tram run between 4:00 AM and 11:30 PM, and on weekends – between 5:00 AM and 12:30 AM.
  • The bus network in Valencia is quite convenient, too. Riding the city bus offers a chance to enjoy some of the tourist sights without having to pay the high prices of the Bus Turistico. A single ticket costs €1.50 ($1.70). Alternatively, you can buy a bonobus – a combined 10-journeys ticket for €10.50 ($10.70), of which €2.00 ($2.25) is for the card. The buses run between 4:00 AM and 10:30 PM on a weekday. There is a night bus service until 2:00 AM on weekdays and 3:30 AM on the weekend. Download the EMT València app for useful information such as waiting times, bus schedules, and a city bus map.

Where to Stay – The Best Neighborhoods in Valencia

The neighborhoods of Valencia mix modern innovation with ancient austerity. The city’s unique atmosphere is quite versatile. In the following section, you’ll find our Valencia travel tips to help you select the best area for your stay depending on your interests and preferences.

  • Book your stay in Ciutat Vella if you’re a history buff. If it’s your first time in the city, and you’re wondering where to stay in Valencia , the Old Town is your best pick. To get a good feeling of what Valencia looked like a millennium or two ago, wander around the ancient stone buildings of Ciutat Vella . The Gothic cathedral dominates the skyline and proudly holds a chalice that locals will convincingly tell you is the Holy Grail itself. Take a picture at La Plaza de la Reina, get a quick churro on the go, and be on your way to explore further.
  • El Carmenis a favorite among the neighborhoods of the Ciutat Vella. The Old Town in Valencia consists of five small neighborhoods called barrios in Spanish. The most popular one is El Carmen. Countless bars, restaurants, small shops, street art, and vibrant nightlife are what make this barrio a favorite among tourists and locals alike. We’re sure you’ll love it, too!
  • Ruzafa is without a doubt the “cool-kid” area in Valencia. Home to a vibrant nightlife, slick bars, vegan restaurants, and amazing cupcake bakeries, it draws the city’s youngsters like a magnet. Among other things, it’s also famous for the colorful building of the Ruzafa Market . Should you get hungry from the bustling social life around you, rest assured that fine dining is right there. Famous Valencian chefs have opened their restaurants in the barrio . Our recommendations include Canalla Bistró by Ricard Camarena and Quique Dacosta’s Mercatbar .
  • If you’re in Valencia for the beach, rent a room in El Cabanyal district . Situated right behind the lovely beach of Las Arenas , El Cabanyal has a unique atmosphere. It was a separate fishermen’s town until recently and is still a great place to taste the famous seafood paella. The charming small houses, the beach proximity, and a good connection to the city center via metro or tram make it an excellent choice to stay while in Valencia.
  • For a quiet stay, choose Benimaclet . Similar to El Cabanyal , Benimaclet was a separate municipality until 1972. It has therefore retained a much more relaxed and cozy atmosphere compared to other parts of Valencia. This is the type of place where everyone knows their neighbor. Several universities built their campuses here, so plenty of local and international students live in the area. It’s well connected both to the Valencian airport and the city center.

Which Is Your Favorite Valencia Travel Tip?

There you have it – the top 33 Valencia travel tips for your visit .

As a place full of history and traditions, heart-stopping art and architecture, divine local cuisine, and breathtaking nature, it’d be a shame to miss this town on your Spanish itinerary.

Madrid and Barcelona might be more famous than the birthplace of paella. But don’t let that stop you from traveling to Valencia, especially if you’re seeking unforgettable adventures.

We hope this Valencia travel guide will help you organize your trip, so you can have a total blast.

Now, it’s your turn:

What’s your favorite Valencia travel tip?

Share with your tribe in the comments below!

Naddya and Svet

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For many, Valencia’s enviable perch on the Mediterranean would be enough of a draw. Not so for the city itself: Valencia has been reinventing itself at a heady pace, and shows no signs of slowing down. Well on the way to equalling – indeed, eclipsing in some instances – the cosmopolitan vitality of Barcelona and the cultural variety of Madrid, Spain’s third-largest city has finally shaken off its slightly provincial former reputation. In the last decade and a half, a vast, iconic La Ciudad de las Artes y Ciencias cultural complex has been established, the state-of-the-art metro has continued to expand and dozens of hip new bars, restaurants and boutiques have injected new life into the historic centre. Valencia has also fully redeveloped its beach and port area, in part sparked by its hosting of prestigious yachting jamboree, the America’s Cup. Nevertheless, despite its size and stylista cachet, Valencia retains an unpretentious if tangibly charged air.

Valencia and Murcia

Around valencia, north of valencia: the costa del alzahar, the golfo de mazarrón, lorca and around.

Always an important city, Valencia was fought over for the agricultural wealth of its surrounding huerta. After Romans and Visigoths, it was occupied by the Moors for over four centuries with only a brief interruption (1094–1101) when El Cid recaptured it. He died here in 1099, but his body, propped on a horse and led out through the gates, was still enough to cause the Moorish armies – previously encouraged by news of his death – to flee in terror. It wasn’t until 1238 that Jaime I of Aragón permanently wrested Valencia back. It has remained one of Spain’s largest and richest cities ever since.

Valencia has long boasted some of the best nightlife in mainland Spain. Vivir Sin Dormir (Live Without Sleep) is the name of one of its bars, and it could be taken as a Valencian mantra. The city is alive with noise and colour throughout the year, with explosions of gunpowder, fireworks and festivities punctuating the calendar. Valencia’s fiestas are some of the most riotous in Spain and the best is Las Fallas, March 12–19, which culminates in a massive bonfire where all the processional floats are burned.

The most atmospheric area of the city is undoubtedly the maze-like Barrio del Carmen (in Valenciano “de Carmé”), roughly north of the Mercado Central to the Río Turia, extending up to the Torres de Serranos and west to the Torres de Quart. This once-neglected quarter continues to undergo regeneration, as buildings are renovated and stylish cafés open up next to crumbling townhouses, all of which makes for an incredibly vibrant, alternative neighbourhood. The city walls, which, judging from the two surviving gates, must have been magnificent, were pulled down in 1871 to make way for a ring road, and the beautiful church of Santo Domingo, in Plaza de Tetuan, has been converted into a barracks – it was from here that General Milans del Bosch ordered his tanks onto the streets during the abortive coup of 1981. This incident, however, isn’t representative of the city’s political inclination, which has traditionally been to the left – Valencia was the seat of the Republican government during the Civil War after it fled Madrid, and was the last city to fall to Franco.

The oldest part of Valencia is almost entirely encircled by a great loop of the Río Turia, which is now a landscaped riverbed park. In 1956, after serious flooding damaged much of the old town, the river was diverted. The ancient stone bridges remain, but the riverbed now houses cycle ways, footpaths and football pitches, as well as the astonishing Ciudad de las Artes y Ciencias, Europe’s largest cultural complex. As further proof that Valencia is ever inventing itself, the city is now getting its own Central Park. The 23-hectare Valencia Parque Central is currently being built on old rail lines, in the area of the new Sorolla train station, and is one of the city’s – if not Spain’s – largest redevelopment projects to date. The massive park will include plazas, promenades, children’s gardens, an art centre, an amphitheatre and more.

Valencia’s main beach is the Playa de la Malvarrosa to the east of the city centre, which becomes Playa de las Arenas at its southern end.

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Named “El Levante” after the rising sun, this lush region is the part of Spain that wakes up first. Valencia has the Mediterranean Sea as its front yard, while the inland huerta is one of the most fertile in Europe, crowded with orange and lemon groves, date-palm plantations and rice fields still irrigated by systems devised by the Moors. Paella originated in these parts, and a juicy orange is named after Valencia. Evidence of the lengthy Moorish occupation can be seen throughout, in the castles, crops and place names – Benidorm, Alicante and Alcoy are all derived from Arabic. The region also encompasses the historical Murcia, which offers a fascinating contrast to the sun-and-sand debauchery on the water. Explored from one end to the other, this is a land of ancient and modern, of beauty and beastliness.

The growing self-assurance of the region is evident in the increasing presence of Valenciano – a dialect of Catalan – which challenges Castilian as the main language of education and broadcasting in the area. There are even a few extreme trains of thought that challenge the dialect’s Catalan origins, but those beliefs have remained largely on the margins.

Murcia is quite distinct, a comunidad autónoma in its own right, and there could hardly be a more severe contrast with the richness of the Valencian huerta. This southeastern corner of Spain is virtually a desert and is some of the driest territory in Europe. It was fought over for centuries by Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians and Romans, but there survives almost no physical evidence of their presence – or of five hundred years of Moorish rule, beyond an Arabic feel to some of the small towns and the odd date-palm here and there. The province’s capital city of Murcia, with its lovely cathedral and terrace tapas bars, makes for a comfortable base for exploring the region.

Much of the coast is marred by heavy overdevelopment, with concrete apartment blocks and sprawling holiday complexes looming over many of the best beaches. However, away from the big resorts, particularly around Denia and Xàbia (Jávea) in Valencia, there are some attractive isolated coves, while the historic hilltop settlements of Altea and Peñíscola are undeniably picturesque, if touristy. In Murcia, the resorts of the Mar Menor are reasonably attractive and very popular with Spanish families in high season; the best beaches are in the extreme south, around Águilas, where you’ll find some dazzling unspoilt coves. The increasingly vibrant cities of Valencia and Alicante are the major urban centres, and there are several delightful historic small towns and villages a short way inland, such as Morella, Xàtiva and Lorca.

The Valencia area has a powerful tradition of fiestas, and there are a couple of elements unique to this part of the country. Above all, throughout the year and more or less wherever you go, there are mock battles between Muslims and Christians (Moros y Cristianos). Recalling the Christian Reconquest of the country – whether through symbolic processions or re-creations of specific battles – they’re some of the most elaborate and colourful festivities to be seen anywhere, above all in Alcoy. The other recurring feature is the fallas (bonfires) in which giant carnival floats and figures are paraded through the streets before being ceremoniously burned.

Getting around by public transport is relatively straightforward with frequent train and bus services, though you’ll need your own transport to really explore the area. The motorway network is excellent, but tolls are quite pricey.

Valencian cuisine

Gastronomy is of great cultural importance to the Valencians. Rice is the dominant ingredient in dishes of the region, grown locally in paddy fields still irrigated by the Moorish canal system (acequias). Gourmets tend to agree that the best paellas are to be found around (but not in) Valencia, the city where the dish originated. The genuine version doesn’t mix fish and meat – it typically contains chicken, rabbit, green beans, garrofón (large butter beans), snails, artichokes and saffron – and should be prepared fresh and cooked over wood (leña), not scooped from some vast, sticky vat; most places will make it for a minimum of two people, with advance notice.

Other rice-based dishes vary around the region: arroz negro is rice cooked with squid complete with ink, which gives the dish its colour, and served with all i oli, a powerful garlic mayonnaise. Arroz al horno is drier, baked with chickpeas. Fideuà is seafood and noodles cooked paella-style. The most famous, arroz a banda, is found on the south coast around Denia – it’s rice cooked with seafood, served as two separate dishes: soup, then rice. Around Alicante, you can try arroz con costra, which is a meat-based paella topped with a baked egg crust. Apart from rice, vegetables (best a la plancha, brushed with olive oil and garlic) are always fresh and plentiful.

The sweet-toothed should try turrón, a nuts-and-honey nougat, which you could follow with a horchata (or orxata), a rich drink made from tiger nuts (chufas) or almonds (almendras).

Book a seafood paella cooking class and Ruzafa market visit

La Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias

More than any other project, the breathtaking Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (City of Arts and Sciences, or CAC), rising from the riverbed, symbolizes the autonomous government’s vision for Valencia and its quest to establish the city as a prime tourist destination. The giant complex – Europe’s largest cultural centre – consists of a series of futuristic edifices designed mainly by Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava.

The architecture itself is simply stunning. Even if you only have a day or two in the city, it’s well worth the effort getting here to take in the eye-catching buildings surrounded by huge, shallow pools. Calatrava’s designs adopt an organic form, his technical and engineering brilliance providing the basis for his pioneering concrete, steel and glass creations. However, despite near-universal acclaim for its architecture, the complex has not completely escaped criticism. Some feel that the vast cost of constructing it should have been used to tackle the city’s pressing social issues, while others have been less than overwhelmed by some of the content inside the Ciudad’s startling structures.

In your explorations, stroll through the Umbracle, a series of eighteen-metre-high arches towering over a landscaped walkway shaded with vegetation from throughout the region, including palms, honeysuckle, bougainvillea and, of course, orange trees.

The Hemisfèric, one of the more astonishing buildings of the complex, is a striking eye-shaped concrete structure – complete with lashes, and an eyeball that forms a huge concave screen used to project IMAX movies, laser shows, nature documentaries and more.

Museo de las Ciencias

The colossal Museo de las Ciencias (Science Museum), whose protruding supports make the building resemble a giant sun-bleached carcass, is crammed with interactive exhibits about science, sport and the human body that are sure to appeal to children, from a colourful 3D representation of DNA to a Foucault Pendulum, which at 34m is one of the longest in the world.

Parque Oceanográfico

The Parque Oceanográfico, designed by Félix Candela, is one of the world’s largest aquariums. It’s divided into multiple zones, with beluga whales in the Arctic area, Japanese spider crabs in the temperate zone and a kaleidoscopic collection of reef fish, sharks and turtles in the seventy-metre tunnel that forms the tropical zone. The park also has all manner of splashy events, including the thrilling (though pricey) Encuentro con Tiburones (Shark Encounter), where you can scuba-dive with sharks; and a penguin visit, popular with kids, where you can feed Humboldt penguins and view their hatchery and rearing area. In the summer, the aquarium sometimes opens for night visits, while the restaurant is a sleek underwater space where you dine with fish darting past your table.

Book your fast-track tickets to the Parque Oceanográfico

Palacio de les Arts Reina Sofía and L’Ágora

The majestic pistachio-nut-shaped Palacio de las Artes is a high-tech performing arts palace, with renowned musical director Lorin Maazel at the helm. Stages and halls of varying sizes – all with splendid acoustics – host ballet, opera and classical-music concerts, among others. Performances are staged throughout the year, and it’s well worth snagging a ticket to see one. The equally impressive 80m L’Àgora (open for events only), is a multifunctional space inaugurated in November 2009 to host the Valencia 500 Open tennis tournament, and now features various events, from sports meets to the glittering annual Valencia Fashion Week.

Book a guided tour to the Palacio de les Arts Reina Sofía and L'Ágora

The port and the playas

Barcelona famously transformed its waterfront from drab to dazzling, and Valencia has done something similar to its city coastline, having significantly spruced up its beaches and boardwalk over the last decade. In 2007, Valencia became the first European port since 1851 to host the America’s Cup (which was staged here again in 2010), and to celebrate the event, parts of the forgotten waterfront were redeveloped, with a gleaming new marina and the eye-catching Veles e Vents (“Sails and Winds”) structure designed by British architect David Chipperfield helping to transform the area. The Valencia Street Circuit was also constructed in the port area as the race site of the 2008 Formula One European Grand Prix, which will continue to be held here until 2014.

As for beaches, you can catch some rays on the soft sand of the broad and breezy playas Malvarrosa and Las Arenas, which are backed by the Paseo Marítimo and extend along the waterfront. The outdoor cafés, bars and clubs here are particularly popular in the summer months. There are a number of ways to get to Malvarrosa and Las Arenas, but one easy route is to take the #5 metro at the central Colón station to Marítim Serrería, and switch to the #6 line to Neptú, from where you can walk north along the boardwalk to the sands. You can also catch buses from Plaza del Ayuntamiento, often supplemented during the summer by buses from various points in the centre; ask at the tourist office.

Fallas: Valencia on Fire

Valencia erupts in a blaze of colour and noise for the Fiesta de las Fallas, March 12 to 19. During the year, each barrio or neighbourhood builds satirical caricatures or fallas, some as tall as buildings. These begin to appear in the plazas at the beginning of March and are judged and awarded prizes before being set alight at midnight on March 19, the Nit de Foc – traditionally, carpenters celebrated the beginning of spring by decorating the torches (foc in Valenciano) they used over winter and adding them to a ritual bonfire. The fallas are ignited in succession – and the last to go up are the prize winners. Each falla has a small model or ninot beside it, usually created by the children of the barrio. These are exhibited in La Lonja before the fiesta begins, and the best displayed in the Museu Fallero; the rest are burned with the fallas.

During the fiesta, processions of falleros, dressed in traditional costume and accompanied by bands, carry flowers to the Plaza de la Virgen, where they are massed to create the skirt of a huge statue of La Virgen. The daily Las Mascaletas firecracker display (2pm in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento) sees the whole city racing to this central square for a ten-minute series of body-shuddering explosions. There are also nightly fireworks, bullfights, paella contests in the streets and chocolate y buñuelos stalls. Finally, around 1am on March 19, the falla of the Plaza del Ayuntamiento goes up in flames, followed by the last thunderous firework display of the Nit de Foc.

Valencia is known for its horchata – a drink made from chufas (tiger nuts) served either liquid or granizada (slightly frozen), and accompanied by long, thin cakes called fartons. Legend has it that the name horchata was coined by Jaume I, shortly after he conquered Valencia. He was admiring the huerta one hot afternoon, and an Arab girl offered him a drink so refreshing that he exclaimed, “Aixó es or, xata” (this is gold, girl).

There are horchaterías all over the city: the two oldest are Santa Catalina (daily 8am–9pm; t963 912 379) and El Siglo (daily generally 8am–9pm; t963 918 466), both in Plaza Santa Catalina. One of the better-known spots to cool your throat is Daniel, Avda. de la Horchata 41 (daily 10am–1am; closed mid-Dec to Feb; t961 858 866, w horchateria-daniel.es ; mPalmaret), where you can sit on the breezy terrace. In the historic Mercado de Colón, try the excellent La Casa de l’Orxata (daily Mon–Fri 7.30am–10.30pm, Sat & Sun until 2am; t963 527 307, w www.casadelaorxata.com ), who make their smooth horchata with traditional methods and organic ingredients, and sell it from street carts around town.

Traditionally, however, the best horchata comes from Alboraya, formerly a village in the Valencian suburbs, now absorbed into the city – take metro line #3. One old-time spot is Subies, Carretera de Barcelona in the Almássera neighborhood of Alboraya (daily 8.30am–11pm; t961 854 673), where three generations have been honing their craft.

Week before Lent: Carnaval

Águilas’ carnaval is one of the wildest in the country. Vinaròs also has good carnaval celebrations.

March/April

12–19 March: Las Fallas de San José

Valencia’s Las Fallas is by far the biggest of the bonfire festivals, and indeed one of the most important fiestas in all Spain. The whole thing costs over €1 million, most of which goes up in smoke (literally) on the final Nit de Foc when the grotesque caricatures, fashioned from papier-mâché and wood, are burned. Throughout, there are bullfights, music and stupendous fireworks.

19 March: Día de San José

Smaller fallas festivals in Xàtiva, Benidorm and Denia.

Third Sun of Lent: Fiesta de la Magdalena

Castellón de la Plana celebrates the end of Moorish rule with pilgrimages and processions of huge floats.

Semana Santa (Holy Week)

In Elche, there are, naturally, big Palm Sunday celebrations making use of the local palms, while throughout the week there are also religious processions in Cartagena, Lorca, Orihuela and Valencia. The Easter processions in Murcia are particularly famous, and they continue into the following week with, on the Tuesday, the Bando de la Huerta, a huge parade of floats celebrating local agriculture, and, on the Saturday evening, the riotous “Burial of the Sardine” which marks the end of these spring festivals.

April 22–24: Moros y Cristianos

After a colourful procession in Alcoy, a huge battle commences between the two sides in the main square.

1–5: Fiestas de los Mayos

Fiesta in Alhama de Murcia, and Moros y Cristianos in Caravaca de la Cruz.

Second Sun: La Virgen de los Desamparados

The climax of this celebration in Valencia is when the statue of the Virgin is transferred from her basilica to the cathedral.

Third Sun: Moros y Cristianos

23–24: Noche de San Juan

Magnificent hogueras festival in Alicante (and San Juan de Alicante) with processions and fireworks, culminating as huge effigies and bonfires are burnt in the streets at midnight. It’s celebrated on a smaller scale on the beaches of Valencia (Malvarossa, Cabanyal and Aloboraya) with bonfire-jumping. Altea also celebrates with a popular tree-bearing procession and a bonfire in the old town.

Early July: Fiestas de la Santísima Sangre

Dancing in the streets of Denia, plus music and mock battles.

15–20: Moros y Cristianos

In Orihuela.

Second week: Feria de Julio

Valencia hosts music, bullfights and above all fireworks, ending with the Battle of the Flowers in the Alameda.

Penultimate weekend: FIB

Benicàssim’s international music festival, a massive party bringing together the major names in alternative and electronic music.

25–31: Moros y Cristianos

Villajoyosa sees battles by both land and sea.

4: Festa del Cristo de la Salut

Festival in El Palmar with processions by boat into the lake.

Mid-Aug: Misteri d’Eix

Elche presents a mystery play, based on a drama dating back to medieval times.

14–20: Feria de Agosto

Xàtiva’s fair has a very extensive cultural dimension including concerts, plays and exhibitions, plus bullfights and barrages of fireworks.

Local festivities in Denia.

Last week: La Tomatina

A riotous free-for-all of tomato-throwing takes place in Buñol on the last Wednesday of the month. There’s also a music festival in Morella.

Local fiesta in Sagunto, and at the same time the great Moros y Cristianos festival and a mystery play in Elche.

4–9: Moros y Cristianos

In Villena.

Second week:

Bull-running through Segorbe’s streets.

8–9: Les Danses

Celebrations in Peñíscola’s old quarter include a human tower construction.

22: Fiesta de Santo Tomás

In Benicàssim with bands and a “blazing bull”.

Second Sun: La Virgen de Suffrage

Benidorm celebrates its patron saint’s day.

Fashion forward

Move over Madrid and Barcelona, and make room for fashion diva Valencia. The city has a rich and vibrant fashion culture, and twice a year, in spring and autumn, the glossy Valencia Fashion Week (w www.valenciafashionweek.com ) sees catwalk shows from all the latest and greatest local and national designers. Valencia’s home-grown designers have made a splash in the international scene: look out for the flamboyant, gypsy-inspired pieces of Francis Montesinos; the sexy styles of Alex Vida; the urban look of Alejandro Sáez de la Torre; bold, geometric swimwear from Dolores Cortés; Higinio Mateu’s frisky dresses; and the avant-garde, flouncy threads of Tonuca. Shoes and accessories rival the clothes, with such renowned designers as jeweller Vicente Gracia, whose reinvented antique brooches have been worn by the Queen of Spain herself.

Where to shop? You can find both local and international designs throughout Valencia, from small boutiques to big department stores, particularly around the old town and city centre, including the Eixample (Ensanche) district, between Calle Colón and Gran Vía del Marqués del Turia; and Calle Jorge Juan by Mercado Colón.

There are a number of good day-trips to be made from Valencia, including a visit to the monastery at El Puig or a meal at some of the region’s very best paella restaurants at El Palmar, El Perelló or El Perellonet.

La Albufera, just 12km south from Valencia, is a vast lagoon separated from the sea by a sandbank and surrounded by rice fields. Being one of the largest bodies of fresh water in Spain, it constitutes an important wetland, and attracts tens of thousands of migratory birds – a throng composed of 250 species, of which ninety breed here regularly. In the Middle Ages, it was ten times its present size but the surrounding paddies have gradually reduced it. After growing contamination by industrial waste, domestic sewage and insecticide, the area was turned into a natural park. Whether you’re into birdwatching or not, the lagoon area makes a relaxing change from the city.

It’s possible to “hop on, hop off” the Valencia Bus Turístic and tuck into a lunch of paella, or eels with all i pebre (piquant sauce), in the lakeside village of El Palmar, which is packed with restaurants. On August 4, El Palmar celebrates its fiesta; the image of Christ on the Cross is taken out onto the lake in a procession of boats to the illuent, or centre, of the lake, where hymns are sung. Another 2km farther along the road to El Perelló is the tiny village of El Perellonet, where you can also sample some of the best paella in Spain.

If you're planning a trip to Spain, don't miss our Spain itineraries and information on how to get there . 

All pulped out: La Tomatina

La Tomatina – the tomato-throwing festival of Buñol – is about as wild and excessive as Spanish fiestas get. Picture this: 30,000 people descend on a small provincial town, at the same time as a fleet of municipal trucks, carrying 120,000 tonnes of tomatoes. Tension builds. “To-ma-te, to-ma-te” yell the crowds. And then the truckers let them have it, hurling the ripe, pulpy fruit at everyone present. And everyone goes crazy, hurling the pulp back at the trucks, at each other, in the air … for an hour. It’s a fantasy battle made flesh: exhausting, not pretty and not to everyone’s taste. But it is Buñol’s contribution to fiesta culture, and most participants will tell you that it is just about as much fun as it is possible to have with your clothes on. Not that you should wear a great deal.

La Tomatina has been going since 1944 but has got a lot bigger in recent years, following a string of articles in the press in Spain and abroad. The novelist Louis de Bernières was one of the first foreign writers to cover the event: he wrote a superb account that is reprinted in Spain: Travelers’ Tales, and concluded that, if he planned his life well and kept his health, he could attend another nineteen Tomatinas, before he would be too enfeebled for the occasion.

If the idea appeals, then you’ll need to visit Buñol on the last Wednesday of August (but call the Valencia tourist office just to check, as some years it takes place a week early). You can get there from the city by train or bus in around an hour, but try to arrive early, with a spare set of clothing that you should leave at a bar. The tomato trucks appear on the central Plaza del Ayuntamiento at around noon, and then the battle commences: this is no spectator sport – everyone is considered fair game. At 1pm, an explosion signals the end of the battle and nobody hurls another speck of tomato for the next twelve months. Instead, the local fire brigade arrives to hose down the combatants, buildings and streets, and a lull comes over the town. And then, miraculously, within the hour, everyone arrives back on the street, perfectly turned out, to enjoy the rest of the fiesta, which, oddly enough, includes such refined pursuits as orchestral concerts in the town’s open-air auditorium. For more information, check out the festival website w tomatina.es , or try the town’s own website w bunyol.es .

Most of the Costa del Alzahar north of Valencia is dotted with beach resorts, with some of the best sands around Benicàssim, north of the provincial capital, Castellón de la Plana. Farther north still, the historic walled city of Peñíscola commands a spectacular cliff-top location, while Vinaròs is more port than resort. Apart from the appeal of the coastline, there are fine Roman ruins at Sagunto, sweeping mountain scenery and good hiking around Segorbe and Montanejos, while the fortified town of Morella is definitely worth a visit for its castle and Gothic architecture.

There’s not much else along the stretch of coast north of Benicàssim until you reach PEÑÍSCOLA, 60km away. The setting is one of Spain’s most stunning: a heavily fortified promontory jutting out into the Mediterranean, zealously shielding its warren of alleys and lanes with perfectly preserved medieval walls. Yet it’s also one of the starkest – immediately below the old walls, the requisite line of eyesore high-rises snakes out along the seafront like a besieging army.

The breezy Paseo Marítimo is a pleasant place from which to take in views of the sea, and the resort’s slender beach is well kept, if busy. The farther north you get from the castle, the quieter it becomes. There’s also a smaller cove beach, Playa Sur, 200m west of the old town.

MORELLA, 62km inland on the road from the coast to Zaragoza, is one of the most attractive – and possibly most friendly – towns in the Castellón province. A medieval fortress town, it rises from the plain around a small hill crowned by a tall, rocky spur and a virtually impregnable castle that dominates the surrounding countryside. A perfectly preserved ring of ancient walls defends its lower reaches. The city was recovered from the Moors in the thirteenth century by the steward of Jaime I. He was reluctant to hand it over to the Crown, and it’s said that the king came to blows with him over possession of the town. Today, Morella hosts an annual festival of classical music in the first two weeks of August.

Festival Internacional de Benicàssim

The annual Festival Internacional de Benicàssim (FIB; w fiberfib.com ) in late July draws tens of thousands to hear the world’s biggest names in alternative pop and rock. Over the years, it has pulled in everyone from Depeche Mode to Oasis and, more recently, The Strokes and Arctic Monkeys. The dance tents are generally just as buzzing as the live-music stages, with DJs playing all night long. A four-day festival ticket is €165, or €240 with free camping for eight days around the event at the massive campsite.

South of Cartagena, much of the scenic coastline down to the border with Andalucia is undeveloped, with a succession of fine coves lying beneath a backdrop of arid, serrated hills. The region’s main resorts, El Puerto de Mazarrón and Águilas, are both fairly small scale and easy going, mainly attracting Spanish families. Public transport is limited, however, so you’ll need your own vehicle to get to the better beaches.

ÁGUILAS, 47km from Mazarrón and almost on the border with Andalucia, is hemmed in by the parched hills of the Sierra del Contar. Along with the cultivation of tomatoes – one of the few things that can grow in this arid region – fishing is the mainstay of the economy here, and a fish auction is held at around 5pm every day in the port’s large warehouse. Carnaval is especially wild in Águilas, and for three days and nights in February, the entire population lets its hair down with processions, floats and general fancy-dress mayhem.

Águilas is also popular for its plentiful beaches, and the area has a superb year-round climate. The town itself has managed to escape the worst excesses of tourism, and retains much of its rural charm and character.

The beaches

You’ll find sandy beaches, and over thirty small calas (coves) in the vicinity – those to the north are rockier and more often backed by low cliffs, while the best are the wonderful, fairly undeveloped cuatro calas south of town. You’ll need your own wheels to reach these beaches, which get better the farther you get away from Águilas, but all are signposted. The first two, Calarreona and La Higuérica, have fine sands and are backed by dunes and the odd villa, but 6km south of Águilas where the coast is completely wild, the ravishing back-to-back sandy coves of Cala Carolina and Cala Cocedores are simply superb.

If you don’t have your own transport, you’re better heading for the chain of beaches north of Águilas served by regular buses (generally mid-July to end of Aug only). Playa Hornillo is a nice beach with a couple of bars (and you could actually reach it by walking from the train station), while Playa Amarillo is decent but in a built-up area. The bus also passes playas Arroz, La Cola and finally Calabardina (7km from town). If you feel energetic, you could head across Cabo Cope to yet another chain of beaches beginning at Ruinas Torre Cope

Many of the historic villages of inland Murcia are accessible only with your own transport, but one place you can reach easily is LORCA, an attractive former frontier town whose historic centre, on the hill between c/López Gisbert and the castle, still has a distinct aura of the past. For a time, it was part of the Córdoba caliphate, but it was retaken by the Christians in 1243, after which Muslim raids were a feature of life until the fall of Granada, the last Muslim stronghold. Most of the town’s notable buildings – churches and ancestral homes – date from the sixteenth century onwards.

Today, Lorca is famed for its Semana Santa celebrations, which outdo those of both Murcia and Cartagena, the next best in the region. There’s a distinctly operatic splendour about the dramatization of the triumph of Christianity, with characters such as Cleopatra, Julius Caesar and the royalty of Persia and Babylon attired in embroidered costumes of velvet and silk. The high point is the afternoon and evening of Good Friday.

Earthquake in Lorca

On May 11, 2011, Lorca was shaken by a 5.2-magnitude earthquake, said to be the most serious tremor to hit Spain in fifty years. Parts of town – particularly the old quarter – were levelled, and ten people were killed. While some tourist sights have reopened, a number are still being repaired, and you may encounter construction as the town rebuilds.

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written by Rough Guides Editors

updated 05.06.2024

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Valencia Travel Guide

Using a transport app to buy public transport tickets in Valencia

Useful apps

valencia travel app

There are a few useful apps for buying tickets or passes, checking the number of journeys left in your pass, or simply for checking the schedules and routes of the different public transport options in Valencia.

To use them during your stay, you’ll need a smartphone with an internet connection.

*The RecargaSUMA app can only be used on devices that have a Spanish phone number.

valencia travel app

EMT Valencia app

The EMT Valencia app is a free app that gives you updated information about bus schedules, routes, and their run time. It also allows you to recharge your Bonobus card online, and check how many rides you still have left on your card.

EMT Valencia App

For more information, check out our article about useful apps and tools to move around in Valencia .

RecargaSUMA app

The RecargaSUMA app (which replaces the RecargaMobilis app), is a free transport app. It allows users to check how many rides they have left on their card, as well as top them up. It works with any SUMA pass.

The account can only be verified if the user has a Spanish phone number. In our experience, it also doesn’t work on every device, so your ability to use it depends on the compatibility of your phone.

RecargaSUMA App used for buying tickets in Valencia

EMTicket app

EMTicket is a mobile application that allows you to buy single tickets from your mobile phone to travel on all EMT buses in Valencia.

A ticket purchased on the app EMTicket is valid for one hour and has no transfer limits. To purchase a ticket through EMTicket you will need to download the app, create an account and purchase the ticket.

EMTicket App Valencia

Read our article on useful transport tools and apps if you want to know more.

Metrovalencia app

The Metrovalencia app is very similar to the EMT Valencia app. It allows you to check the updated info about metro schedules, routes, updates, and run time. You cannot recharge any SUMA passes or get single metro tickets on this app . You can only recharge metro-exclusive services, like TuiN, a monthly metro pass that is not of much use to tourists.

Metrovalencia App

To know more about transport apps check our article about useful apps and tools to get around in Valencia .

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A Solo Woman Traveling

Boutique Travel Guides & All-Female Luxury Tours

A Solo Woman Traveling

Ultimate Guide for Solo Travel in Valencia Spain

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If you are here for tips on solo travel in Valencia , you have come to the right place! I spent 3 weeks traveling alone in Spain, one week exclusively in Valencia!

In this post, I will share all the crucial information for solo travelers (especially, the ladies) in Valencia and surrounding areas of Southeastern Spain!

Get ready for an all-inclusive summary of my visit to one of my all-time favorite cities in Spain!

Human-written content, by me, and nearly all original images, unless stated. Posts could have affiliate links to help offset the cost of maintaining this blog. When you click on a link, we receive a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you. See Our Affiliate Policy and Advertiser Disclosure for more info.

Feeling Hestiant to Travel Alone to Spain?

If this is your first solo trip or first time to Spain alone you could be feeling a bit anxious. I know I did when I made my way over the Atlantic by myself.

It is totally normal to feel a little uneasy about making such a big trip solo.

A Solo Woman Traveling in Valencia

I want to assure you that there are so many benefits to going solo that you might not even be thinking of. My advice is to take it one day at a time and go with the flow.

Still have questions? Contact me !

What I Experienced Alone in Valencia

I really enjoyed my time solo in Valencia, Spain. Even if for just a day trip, you need to visit. Of course, I will argue you need much more than just one day here .

Valencia makes such a great solo destination as it is action-packed with so many things to do!

I spent an entire week in Valencia and I was able to see quite a bit of the city.

Alternatively, you could come for 3 nights and see a lot of the city.

For this guide, I will include all the must-see attractions and travel tips in order of importance.

Female Solo Travel in Valencia Essentials

🚗 Best rental car company in Valencia Spain is Discover Cars !

❤︎ Save money and free entrance to museums, public transport, and discounts at shops and restaurants with the Valencia Tourist Card !

🚲 See all of historic Valencia solo on this 3-hour small group Bike Tour !

🚶‍♀️Explore Valencia by joining a small group Walking Tour !

Looking for a Solo Female Travel Community?

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What Is Valencia Known For?

I was thoroughly impressed when I visited Valencia. This coastal city is known for its stunning architecture and vibrant culture.

It’s home to the City of Arts and Sciences, a complex of architectural masterpieces designed by Santiago Calatrava that includes an opera house, a science museum, and more.

The city view of Valencia, Spain

The city has a variety of restaurants and bars that serve up traditional Valencian cuisine such as paella.

For art lovers, there are several museums and galleries displaying works of renowned Spanish artists like El Greco and Picasso.

Valencia is also known for its festivals such as Las Fallas or the annual celebration of fire that takes place in March.

❤︎ SOLO FEMALE TRAVEL TIP TO SAVE MONEY : Get The Valencia Tourist Card

Where is Valencia Located?

Colorful buildings in Valencia Spain.

Valencia is the third largest city in Spain and is located on the east coast of the Iberian Peninsula. Nearby islands include Ibiza and my favorite for solo travel, Mallorca !

It lies on the Mediterranean Sea, about 200 kilometres (120 mi) south of Barcelona and 330 km (210 mi) north of Madrid.

Valencia’s location makes it a great destination for beach-going , as well as exploring the vibrant city and its culture.

Its proximity to other major cities, such as Alicante, Madrid, and Barcelona makes it the perfect place for a day trip or weekend getaway.

With its sunny climate, which I love, and stunning beaches, Valencia is one of Spain’s most popular destinations for female solo travellers.

📲 Downloadable Map of Valencia

📍 Download my pre-pinned Google map of all the best locations in this post!

My favorite restaurants, bars, hotels and top sights are all saved and ready to use!

👩🏻‍💻 Need Help Planning Your Trip? Get a customized itinerary !

Is Safety a Concern for Solo Travelers in Valencia?

Valencia is generally a safe destination for female solo travelers . I never felt uncomfortable or unsafe.

However, as with any city, it’s important to take basic safety precautions such as being aware of your surroundings and avoiding walking alone at night.

I always do my research when booking my accommodations and make sure to stay in a central location in the historic centre.

In new places, it is also smart not to overdo it when drinking alcohol, especially on a solo trip. When dining in Valencia I would limit myself to two drinks max.

To stay safe in Valencia, it’s best to carry only the necessary items. I recommend leaving at least one of your credit cards at the hotel safe along with your passport. I always just have a picture of my passport in my phone if should ever need it.

Additionally, make sure to dress appropriately and avoid flaunting expensive items. In other words, leave the fancy handbags at home!

I much rather travel basic and not worry about any of my belonging being a target or something I have to worry about.

Pro Safety Tip: Don’t let your cell phone battery die when traveling. Always have an external battery charger with you! Google Maps will suck your battery dry fastest than you are expecting!

What is the Best Way to Get Around Valencia?

I primarily got around the historic old town of Valencia on foot . However, Valencia has a clean and efficient public transportation system which includes buses, trams, and metro lines.

The city also has a bike-sharing system called Valenbisi with over 300 stations throughout the city.

Public Transport Valencia

If you have an iPhone, I recommend you download the free EMT Valencia Transit App .

This app has all the information you need to use public transportation in Valencia.

You can use the app to plan out your trip and track where the bus is at any given time.

Valencia Solo Travel Tip: Download Offline Google Maps before your trip!

What are Some TIPS for Solo Travelers in Valencia?

Travel Tips for Solo Female travel in Valencia

  • Be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts when it comes to safety.
  • Dress appropriately and avoid flaunting expensive items.
  • Carry only the necessary items such as your phone, a little cash, one credit card, and a photocopy of your passport .
  • Use public transportation or opt to walk around the city instead of taking taxis alone .
  • Research restaurants and cafes before visiting to ensure that they are in safe neighborhoods for female solo travelers .
  • If possible, try to stay in a hotel or hostel in a safe area close to the city center .
  • When visiting attractions, try to go with a group and avoid going alone at night .

Solo Female Travel Safety Gear

Secondary Lock

Feel extra secure in your accommodations with this affordable secondary lock.

Portable Safe

Want to protect your valuables anywhere? This portable safe will do the trick!

Portable Wifi

Being connected makes me feel safe! Get a portable Wi-Fi device and have the internet everywhere!

Travel Insurance

I don’t care how safe the city is, things happen. I always get travel insurance anytime I travel!

Travel Apps for Women

Download 13 must-have travel apps for women

Emergency Numbers

Emergency Number in Europe : Dial 112 & Emergency Number in the United States: Dial 911

How Many Days Do You Need in Valencia?

Valencia is a charming and vibrant Spanish city that you can easily explore within 3-4 days .

Since it’s relatively small in size compared to other Spanish cities, such as Madrid or Barcelona, it won’t take up too much of your time.

On the other hand, if you want to really get to know Valencia fully and immerse yourself in the culture, you may need up to a week or more .

I found that there are so many amazing things to see and do in Valencia that it was difficult to narrow down my itinerary to less than a week.

The city is full of incredible architecture, museums, art galleries, markets, and festivals throughout the year.

Depending on your interests, you can also spend time lounging on the beach, exploring nearby towns, or going on a hiking trip into the mountains.

Best Time to Visit Valencia

The absolute ideal time to visit Valencia, Spain is between March and June.

Not to say it is the only time to book a solo trip, but it is the best time. I find that Valencia truly comes alive during the springtime.

It’s the perfect time to see the cherry trees bloom and enjoy outdoor activities without the risk of extreme overheating.

The temperature is mild and the days are long with plenty of sunshine. The nights may get cooler so it’s recommended to pack a light jacket or shawl for those evenings out.

Valencia is also known for festivals during this time of year including the Fallas Festival in March. The festival celebrates the arrival of spring with parades, fireworks, and beautiful art displays throughout the city.

Valencia’s Top Attractions To Do Alone

valencia travel app

Join a Walking Tour of Old Town Valencia

Exploring the old town of Valencia solo is a must-do activity when visiting the city. This vibrant area is full of sights and sounds, making it a great place to wander around for hours.

Here you will find the stunning Cathedral de Valencia and its towering bell tower, as well as a variety of interesting shops, cafes, and restaurants to explore.

After a day of exploring, you can relax in the Plaça de la Reina, where you’ll find plenty of bars and restaurants to enjoy some tapas and drinks with friends.

Be sure to take your time in old town Valencia, as there is plenty to discover in this lively area of the city.

When I visited I decided to join a walking tour so that I could meet new people and tour the city with a local guide.

It is a good idea to book your tour at least a couple of days ahead to ensure you get a spot.

The best walking tour to join for solo females is the Valencia Old Town Tour, Wine & Tapas in an 11th-century Monument !

Visit the Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady of Valencia

Valencia Cathedral

One of the many things to do in Valencia is visit the most beautiful historical landmarks. The Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady was quite impressive.

Also referred to as Valencia Cathedral , it is located near Plaza de la Virgen. Built-in 1238 and has been an important site for worship since then.

The building itself is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, with tall towers and an impressive bell tower at its entrance.

Shop At The Valencia Central Market

Valencia Central Market

When solo in the exciting city of Valencia, a visit to the Central Market is an absolute must! This iconic market holds over 1000 of years history, and Spanish culture and has been preserved in its current form.

Located near La Seu, it features two floors of colorful stalls overflowing with fresh produce from the region. If you have a kitchen at your accommodation it’s the perfect spot to pick up some local delicacies and have a taste of Valencia.

You can find anything from seafood, vegetables, fruits, meat, and cheeses to olives, nuts, and local beverages like horchata or even wine.

Central Market in Valencia

This market is the perfect example of Valencian culture at its best. The atmosphere is always lively with locals bargaining for their products while visitors take in the sights and sounds.

Don’t hesitate to interact with the local stall owners, as many of them are more than happy to share their knowledge about the products they offer. Not everyone will speak English as Spanish is the language of the county, but it’s worth a try.

I also found lots of souvenirs and plenty of unique items like traditional pottery, jewelry, and handcrafted items.

Check Out the Mercado de Colón

Mercado de Colón

Visiting the Mercado de Colón is a great opportunity for female solo travelers to immerse themselves in an authentic Spanish experience.

The friendly atmosphere, affordable prices, and wide range of offerings make it a great place to find souvenirs and sample some local cuisine.

Make sure to check out the Mercado de Colón’s annual food festival for a taste of what Valencia has to offer.

Visit the Modern City of Arts & Sciences

The City of Arts & Science Valencia

No Valencia travel guide is complete without a mention of The City of Arts & City Center.

Visitors to Valencia should definitely explore the City of Arts and Sciences which features impressive architecture, a 3D planetarium, an IMAX theatre, and more.

This architectural masterpiece, located on the old Turia riverbed of the Turia River, was designed by Valencian architects Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela. It spans an area of 350,000 m², making it one of the largest complexes of its kind in Europe.

The City of Arts and Sciences is divided into six impressive attractions, each offering a unique experience:

  • Hemisfèric ( IMAX Cinema )
  • Umbracle ( landscaped terrace garden with plants and sculptures from around the world )
  • Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe ( the science museum with interactive exhibitions and activities )
  • Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia ( performing arts center for operas, ballets, and concerts )
  • L’Oceanogràfic ( Europe’s largest oceanarium )
  • Agora ( a large rectangular open-air space for cultural events )

🎟️ Tickets for Oceanografic, the largest sea life center in Europe: Check Availability

Climb a Tower for A Great View

Views of Valencia

If you are looking for a great view of Valencia you can climb either the Miguelete Bell Tower or the Quart Towers.

Miguelete Bell Tower

The El Micalet “Miguelete Tower” is the bell tower of the Valencia Cathedral. To climb to the top you will need to pay 2 euros. It is worth the small fare for the sweeping views of the city of Valencia!

Hours of Operation: Summer from April to October, daily from 10:00 to 19:30. Winter from November to March, Monday to Friday 10:00 to 18:30, Saturdays from 10:00 to 19:00, and Sundays from 10:00 to 13:00 and 17:30 to 19:00.

Quart Towers

The Quart Towers of Valencia is a must-see for any female solo traveler visiting the city. The towers, built in the 12th century, were once part of the old city and are now two of the most visited tourist attractions in Valencia. From their imposing height, visitors can enjoy sweeping views over the city and out to sea.

The towers also have a rich history. Originally built as part of the defensive wall of Valencia, they were used to guard the city and protect it from attack. Today, visitors can take a guided tour of the towers and learn more about their past.

Visitors who climb to the top can also enjoy stunning views over the old city and out to the Mediterranean Sea. The experience is unforgettable and a great way to take in all that Valencia has to offer.

Hours of Operation: Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10:00 to 19:00 and Sundays and public holidays from 10:00 to 14:00.

Visit Museums of Valencia

Museum of fine arts valencia.

Solo trip to Museum of Fine Arts in Valencia

The Museum of Fine Arts in Valencia is located in the historic center of the city. This museum houses some of Spain’s finest collections from artists like El Greco and Goya.

Spend a day checking out the impressive collection of paintings, sculptures, drawings, ceramics, and other artworks representing the best of Spanish art.

The building itself is also a stunning sight, with its beautiful neo-classical facade and stunning interior details. Located in Plaza del Museo, it’s easy to get to by bus or walking.

As you approach the museum, you’ll notice its lush gardens, and once inside, explore the massive collection of artworks on display.

The Museum of Fine Arts in Valencia also hosts several special exhibitions throughout the year, featuring works from international artists that are sure to delight with their beauty and creativity.

With its impressive collections, stunning architecture, and special exhibitions, this museum is sure to provide an unforgettable experience for any female solo traveler.

Hours of Operation: Tuesday through Sunday 10:00 to 20:00, closed Mondays.

Boutique Museo Lladro

This unique museum is located directly in the heart of the city, making it an ideal spot to learn about local culture and art. Here you can explore a vast collection of hand-crafted porcelain figures from Spanish artist brothers Juan, Jose, and Vicente Lladro.

The museum offers guided tours of both the main building and its exhibition rooms, where you can see over 3,000 pieces from the brothers’ extensive catalog.

You’ll also be able to purchase your own porcelain figures from the gift shop onsite. In addition, the museum provides educational programs for visitors, such as special activities for children and family-friendly workshops.

Hours of Operation: Monday to Friday 9:00 to 16:00.

Ceramic Museum

Valencia is home to many museums, but one of the most interesting for any female solo traveler is El Museo Nacional de Ceramica y de las Artes Suntuarias Gonzalez Marti .

This museum houses a collection of ceramics from various periods and locations in Spain. It features works by famous Valencian potters such as Juan de Larrea, Francisco Cabezas, and Vicente Acero.

Many of the pieces in the collection are decorated with traditional Valencian motifs and colors, making this museum a must-visit for any art enthusiast or anyone interested in learning more about Valencian culture and history.

The permanent exhibition includes pieces from all over the Mediterranean, and visitors can also take part in educational workshops to learn about the techniques used to create them.

Hours of operation: 9 am-3 pm Tuesday – Saturday and admission is free for anyone under 25 or over 65.

This makes it an ideal choice for a budget-friendly day trip during your solo travels in Valencia.

Spend Solo Time At The Beautiful Beaches

valencia travel app

My solo trip to the incredible city of Valencia included some time enjoying the sun! If relaxing on the fine golden sands of the city beach sounds fun, I would highly recommend checking out La Malvarrosa Beach!

From the historic old town, the beach is roughly a one-hour walk! That is a bit far of a walk for most, so you can consider taking public transport.

On the bus, you can reach La Malvarrosa Beach in just 20 minutes. If you don’t feel like sunbathing, enjoy the palm tree-lined promenade and boutique-lined avenues.

✈️ Are Ready to Travel Alone?: Take The Solo Travel Readiness Quiz!

Join a Bike Tour to See Valencia

If you are looking to make new friends on this tip, the best way to do it is by joining a tour ! I had a great time on this affordable bike tour that takes you around the city centre.

The tour is around 3 hours, so you don’t have to commit your whole day. Visit the most popular site’s truly fantastical collection of buildings , such as the Valencia Cathedral.

Other highlights include the Turia River and the beautiful garden, Palau de la Musica, and the gigantic playground of Gulliver. You will also make a stop at the City of Arts and Sciences.

❤︎ BIKE TOUR: Check Rates & Availability

Top Rated Spain Solo Tours To Book

  • Valencia Old Town Tour with Wine & Tapas in 11th Century Historic Monument
  • Tuk Tuk Valencia – Complete Tour (Center – Arts – Marina – Beach)
  • Discover Valencia Bike Tour

Where to Eat Solo in Valencia

Dining solo in Valencia Spain

When I first started solo traveling I used to be uncomfortable eating alone. But now, eating delicious food by myself is one of my favorite things about traveling alone.

I love the freedom of ordering whatever I want and either spending a long time or a short time dining.

Valencia Spain is also the birthplace of Paella, so it’s a must try in my opinion! It was actually the first place I have ever had Paella, and I have been dreaming of it ever since.

Overall, Spanish cuisine is my favorite, so dining alone in a city such as Valencia was a real treat.

Below are some of the best wine and tapas bars I found in Valencia!

Best Restaurants for Solo Dining in Valencia

Karak is a great place to enjoy an upscale meal on your own. This restaurant has creative European cuisine with tasting menus. I highly recommend you get a reservation if you plan to dine here.

Navarro is where I had my first-ever Paella! Sadly I do not have photos since my phone battery failed me after I got seated.

I would fly back to Valencia just to eat here again. You can get reservations by booking online, which I highly recommend.

Casa Montaña

If you are looking for great food and a traditional tapas restaurant , then you should make a stop at Casa Montaña. It is one of the oldest restaurants in Valencia.

I am a huge fan of Patatas Bravas, and Casa Montana did not disappoint!

Best Wine Bars in Valencia

valencia travel app

On my solo trip to Valencia, I found the best wine bars! There are too many to list, but my top three favorites are listed below:

Vinostrum Bodega

I had the best time at Vinostrum Bodega , located in Plaça de Mossén Sorell. You can beat their selection of Spanish red wines and tapas.

Taberna La Sénia

If you are looking for a cozy little wine bar, Taberna La Sénia is the place for you. A charming wine bar I just happened to stumble upon by accident.

The section of wines changes often, or else I would recommend something. It is a very small place, but worth putting on your itinerary!

Bodega Albarizas

Bodega Albarizas boasts a casual and laid-back atmosphere and some of the best wines I had in Valencia!

A must-visit if you are looking for a wine bar in the city center of Valencia!

Where to Stay Solo in Valencia

I have a lot of thoughts when it comes to where to stay in Valencia and booking hotels and hostels when traveling alone as a woman.

My biggest piece of advice is to spend the money to stay somewhere comfortable and safe . If this means you have to save a little bit longer than normal, that’s ok.

People will tell you that it’s just where you are sleeping, you don’t spend much time there, so it doesn’t need to be fancy. In my solo travel experience, it needs to be a little fancy , as well as quiet and comfortable.

If your accommodations are less than great, it can impact your time at a destination.

For this reason, I am going to recommend the boutique hotels in Valencia I personally stayed at and checked out.

Pro Tip:  Even though I found Valencia to be super safe, I ALWAYS recommend getting   travel insurance  to avoid any mishaps. Lost luggage or getting sick can happen at any time.

MYR Marqués House

valencia travel app

The rooms at the MYR Marques House are perfect for the solo traveling lady. These rooms are modern, and clean, and are in a great neighborhood in Valencia.

Located in the city center, this hotel and spa are highly rated among guests. Check rates & availability

valencia travel app

If you are looking for a boutique hotel with a pool in Valencia, look no further! The Caro Hotel is pure luxury, and has the most incredible mattress! Is this hotel expensive? Yeah, a little bit, but it’s so worth it!

Located a 4-minute walk from the Valencia Cathedral, it is the perfect place to stay solo. Check rates & availability

Cosmo Hotel Boutique

valencia travel app

In the heart of Valencia is the Cosmo Hotel Boutique ! A perfectly located hotel just 700 metres from Norte Train Station.

It is a 3-star hotel that features private rooms, a terrace, a bar, and an onsite restaurant! A great hotel for any solo female traveler! Check rates & availability

Where to Travel Solo From Valencia?

Solo Trip to Granada from Valencia

If you are solo in Spain and are looking for smaller cities to travel to from Valencia, you should consider Granada! Granada is located in southeastern Spain, approximately 5 hours away by car .

When I visited Granada from Valencia I decided to save time and fly. There is also a train to Granada, but the journey is around 8 hours.

So the choice of how to get to Granada is up to you! Be sure to research and plan your time in Granada ahead.

Seville, Spain is also a great place for solo female travel from Valencia! If you find yourself in Seville you can do a tour to Granada easily.

If visiting Seville in the summer months, I suggest you find a hotel with a pool . Seville gets incredibly warm!

Conclusion: Spain Solo Travel Valencia

In conclusion, Valencia is an amazing destination for female solo travelers . With its vibrant culture, stunning historical attractions, and vibrant nightlife scene, there’s never a dull moment in Valencia.

I found it to be a very safe city with plenty of activities and transportation options tailored to solo women travelers .

Whether you are looking for some adventurous activities or want to just relax, Valencia is the perfect destination for your solo female travels.

I hope you enjoy this wonderful city as I did and may you come home with unforgettable memories and experiences!

FAQs Valencia Solo Travel

Yes. It is safe for solo females to take the bus or metro from Valencia Airport to the city center. The travel time should be around 25-30 minutes on both.

If you are traveling alone to Valencia with a lot of luggage, you should plan to take a taxi to the city center. The cost is around 21 euros and takes around 20 minutes.

The best time for a solo trip to visit Valencia is in the late spring to early fall. The weather will be warm and the city will be buzzing with excitement. The most popular festivals in Valencia happen in the summer months.

Looking For A Solo Travel Community?

It’s all about community! There is something here for everyone, whether you are just getting started or consider yourself a veteran solo traveler.

Find support, inspiration, and friendship by joining our community!

Love the Valencia Travel Guide? Pin it for later!

Solo Valencia Travel Guide

Melissa Byron, a seasoned solo traveler since 2009, is the founder & visionary behind A Solo Woman Traveling. Drawing from her extensive personal experience globetrotting solo to over 40 countries, she has dedicated herself to a mission: crafting invaluable guides and itineraries for women who embark on solo adventures.

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A 12th Valencia community is coming west of Delray; first project after land-swap collapse

Plans for the latest valencia on lyons road are expected to be presented to county commissioners in october. the high-end senior development will have 481 homes..

valencia travel app

  • GL Homes is looking to build another 55+ Valencia community, the county's 12th, and sixth along Lyons Road between Atlantic Avenue and Boynton Beach Boulevard.
  • The homebuilder has called on the county to allow it to remove easements on the 166-acre parcel that bar development.
  • The latest submission comes after GL Homes failed to persuade county commissioners in October to approve a controversial land swap that would have allowed GL Homes to build a high-end development west of Boca Raton in the Ag Reserve.

GL Homes is looking to build another 55+ Valencia community, the county's 12th, and sixth along Lyons Road between Atlantic Avenue and Boynton Beach Boulevard, west of Delray Beach .

Palm Beach County planners are reviewing plans submitted by the homebuilder for an age-restricted development on the west side of Lyons Road about 1.7 miles south of Boynton Beach Boulevard. Base prices for the 481 homes are expected to exceed $1 million.

The homebuilder has called on the county to allow it to remove easements on the 166-acre parcel that bar development. GL Homes, as it has done in the past, is attempting to remove those easements by preserving land in other areas of the Agricultural Reserve. The rules for the Ag Reserve, an area generally west of Florida's Turnpike in the central part of the county, allow for such land swaps, and the county routinely approves them.

The latest submission comes after GL Homes failed to persuade county commissioners in October to approve a controversial land swap that would have allowed GL Homes to build a high-end development west of Boca Raton in the Ag Reserve. But unlike the land swap currently being proposed, the builder sought to swap land outside the Ag Reserve in The Acreage. In exchange, it would have preserved land there that had been slated for development and also build a water resource project for the county. But county commissioners voted 4-3 against the proposal.

Why some residents don't want the new Valencia and blame COBWRA for its evolution

Neil Ambrosio, a board member of Canyon Lakes and a member of the Boynton Ag Reserve Communities (BARC), blames the Coalition of Boynton West Residential Communities (COBWRA) for the continued development along Lyons Road. Ambrosio pointed to COBWRA's strong opposition to GL Homes' proposed land swap.

"Speaking for myself, this is a classic case of careful what you wish for,” said Ambrosio. "COBWRA spent tremendous resources and got everybody riled up to oppose the swap," claiming that if the swap went through, GL Homes would never have built the new project on Lyons Road.

"So anybody who has an issue with this (new) development, I hope they write a thank you letter to COBWRA leadership because they are the reason we are getting another community on Lyons in Boynton. No one ever wants to hold COBWRA accountable for the mistakes they make and the damage they cause. Instead those of us who actually live in the AGR have to deal with the ramifications of their poor leadership and lack of any real vision."

Already on the west side of Lyons Road are Valencia Reserve, Valencia Sound and nearly built-out Valencia Grand . On the east side are the family developments of Canyon Lakes, Canyon Isles and Canyon Springs along with Valencia Cove and Valencia Bay. More than 5,000 homes and more than 7,000 residents live along the the five-mile stretch of highway.

MORE: GL Homes rolls out new indoor pickleball courts in Palm Beach County

GL Homes land swap showdown: Critics say GL's sweeteners are not enough

COBWRA President Barbara Roth said the civic group, consisting of HOAs throughout the west-central part of the county, is "proud of its part in the successful defeat of the GL Land Swap. That proposal asked the county to allow a swap of preserve land to an area outside of the Ag Reserve. We, and other groups, strongly opposed this departure from the established rules of development in the Ag Reserve."

She said COBWRA always expected residential development on the Whitworth property, knowing that it would follow GL’s adherence to the development rules in the Ag Reserve.

COBWRA: GL Homes was going to build on Lyons Road, regardless of the land swap proposal

Steve Wallace, the immediate past president of COBWRA who oversaw the opposition to the land swap, said it is wrong to suggest that GL Homes would never have sought to build more projects on Lyons Road had the land swap been approved.

"It was just a matter of when they were going to build, not if. They did not pay all that money to buy it to just sit on it." Wallace noted.

Plans for the new GL Homes development off Lyons Road have it aligning with Malear Palm Drive at Canyons Springs development, which is on the east side of the road across the street from the new senior development. The preliminary Master Plan provides for "a spine road that will include landscape buffers on either side. Approximately 60% of the total lots will be built on either on a lake or canal. 

The development is expected to generate more than 2,000 daily trips a day onto heavily congested Lyons Road but the study notes that most of it will come after the county widens the highway to two lanes in each direction. Build out is expected to occur in 2029 but Ambrosio questions whether the roadway will be widened in time to prevent further traffic congestion along Lyons Road.

GL intends to build 11 lakes that it says will attract a great diversity of wildlife. A pedestrian pathway adjacent to the spine road will provide additional opportunities for recreation in addition to the proposed oversized recreation pod, according to the application.

The new parcel was farmed for decades by the Whitworth family. In February of 2022, a subsidiary of GL Homes bought part of the Whitworth farm to the north and began building Valencia Grand, a 659-unit development that is nearly sold out. The new development has been described as "Whitworth South" in papers submitted to the county. The entire Whitworth property was bought for $60 million.

The new development area along with Valencia Grand are both to the east and slightly south of the Eternal Light Memorial Gardens cemetery. The facility will be unaffected by either development. Spokeswoman Claire Piche said the cemetery is excited to welcome the latest Valencia.

"As an established cemetery, serving Jewish families along the 441 corridor since 1978, we are certain this housing development will bring new opportunities and growth to the businesses in the West Boynton Beach area for generations to come," she told The Post in an emailed statement.

GL Homes said the zoning changes it is requesting are "in keeping with the theme in the area and the market demand," noting that "this proposed rezoning is compatible and generally consistent with the surrounding existing uses." More detailed plans are expected to be presented to county commissioners in October.

Where all the GL Homes Valenica communities are located

It is difficult to not run into a Valencia in Palm Beach County if you are on north-south roads west of the Turnpike. The Valencias along Lyons Road include:

  • Valencia Shores, just south of Hypoluxo Road; 1,150 homes.
  • Valencia Reserve, at the intersection of Boynton Beach Boulevard, 1,043 homes.
  • Valencia Grand, just south of Valencia Reserve, 659 homes.
  • Valencia Sound, about a mile south of Valencia Grand, 653 homes.
  • Valencia Cove, two miles south of Boynton Beach Boulevard, 822 homes.
  • Valencia Bay, just south of Valencia Cove, 582 homes.

Other Valencias in Palm Beach County include:

  • Valencia Lakes, off Hagen Ranch Road, 696 homes.
  • Valencia Palms, off Jog Road, 612 homes.
  • Valencia Pointe, off Woolbright Road, 690 homes.
  • Valencia Falls, off Hagen Ranch Road, 705 homes.
  • Valencia Isles, off Jog Road, 793 homes.

Mike Diamond is a journalist at  The Palm Beach Post , part of the USA TODAY Florida Network. He covers Palm Beach County government and transportation. You can reach him at  [email protected] . Help support local journalism.  Subscribe today.

The Key Points at the top of this article were created with the assistance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and reviewed by a journalist before publication. No other parts of the article were generated using AI. Learn more .

Valencia Tourist Card

How to save up with your VTC

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10 Reason you should get Valencia Tourist Card

1. countless journeys.

Valencia Tourist Card allows you to get 60 buses, 9 metros and tram lines. So you can go wherever your heart desires upon your arrival! You can go straight to your hotel from the airport or even better – directly to the beach!

Metro València

2. THE BEST VIEWS OF VALENCIA

Go up to the two remaining gates of the old wall that surrounded and protected the historic centre of the city.  Serranos and Quart Towers  are two of the best rooftops to see the heart of Valencia and the Turia Garden from a bird's eye view!

torres de serranos

3. ALL YEAR ROUND DISCOUNTS

The travellers always face the eternal question: what do I take with me as a souvenir? With globalisation, it is becoming more and more difficult to find an authentic souvenir that can only be found at the destination you are travelling to, but that doesn't happen in Valencia! With Valencia Tourist Card you can get discounts for souveniers! So why not get a hand-painted fan (did you know that most fans sold in Spain are made in Valencia?), buy famous porcelain figures from the Valencian company Lladró, official luggage of Valencia CF, perhaps clothes for children made here by Miralindo or the unique jewels of Vicente Gracia.

Calle Poeta Querol

4. THE UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE TOUR INCLUDED

Enter the  Lonja de la Seda , a jewel of European civil Gothic and an architectural example of the mercantile splendour of Valencia's silk industry. Take the audio guide and let yourself be carried away by the impressive helicoidal columns of the main hall, the orange grove courtyard or the surprising polychrome wooden ceiling of the Consulate of the Sea hall.

Take advantage of your visit to visit the  Fallas Museum  and learn about the evolution of our most international festival, the Fallas, declared intangible heritage of UNESCO in 2016. All the figures that have been pardoned from fire since 1934 are kept there.

Lonja de la Seda

5. SEE THE ONLY NATURAL PARK WHICH IS LOCATED SO CLOSE TO A CITY

Only 10 kilometres separate Albufera Natural Park from the centre of Valencia!  The best thing is that you can get there with the bus 25 which is included in the Valencia Tourist Card, or with the Bus Turístic, and get a 2 € discount. But of course, only if you are interested to get to know the unique ecosystem where paella was born, relax on beaches with dunes, take a boat trip or discover a surprising biodiversity that coexists with traditional fishing, the cultivation of 16,000 hectares of rice and 350 species of birds. What? Have we convinced you?

Atardecer albufera

With Valencia Tourist Card you can get 20% discount at 20 restaurants in the city!  Here's a selection: close to the beach and specialising in Blue Marina or Casa Isabel rice dishes; in the centre and if you're looking for La Cigrona or Navellos tapas and if you're more gourmet, Lienzo or Leixuri. But here you have them all .

La maritima

7. DISCOUNTS FOR CHILDREN!

The Valencia Tourist Card has a lot to offer for you and your family! Get 10% discount on tickets to various paradises for children such as museum of Sciences or Oceanographic, which is the largest aquarium in Europe, the Bioparc - a real safari through Africa and the Hemisphere - IMAX cinema and amazing 3D.

You can also get a 10% discount on a guided tour of the Mestalla  football stadium, bike hire or a special guided tour for families with children. In addition, our card allows you to enter the museum with the largest collection of little toy solders at a reduced rate.

familia en Bioparc

8. TREAT YOURSELF TO TAPAS

It's typical: tapas and beer or tapas and wine. Try one or both! Restaurants of  El Corte Inglés  (Pintor Maella, 37 and  Pintor Sorolla , 26) or in Charcutería Amparo or Salazonarte (Central Market). Look for your coupon in the Valencia Tourist Card printed guide and enjoy it!

de tapas en la playa

If you visited all of our recommended places, you've earned yourself some rest time. Take your Valencia Tourist Card and use it with a thermal circuit at the Olympia Hotel with a 15% discount or take advantage of the special prices on the treatments at the La Alameda Spa and the spas at the Las Arenas, El Parado del Saler and Primus hotels.

Spa

10. MORE FUN!

There's so much! Let's see what you think: get to know the Roman remains from 2,000 years ago at the L'Almoina underground museum, see one of the best museums of contemporary art in Europe, get to know and be able to buy craft products made in Valencia at the Centre d'Artesania, see crops that are 200 years old at the Botanical Gardens! Reserve your place (for half the price!)) on such unique guided tours as the Holy Grail or the Silk or get on the Wine Bus and spend the day in the vineyards of the Utiel-Requena Designation of Origin (with wineries very well positioned in the Peñín Guide).

Hemisfèric València

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COMMENTS

  1. Visit València Official guide

    Download Valencia, metro, bus and tram guides and maps to your mobile. Evaluate the city's monuments, museums and tourist attractions and share opinions and experiences with other travellers. Use the APP to buy discounted tickets for the City of Arts and Sciences, Bioparc Valencia, guided tours, tourist bus, cycle hire and more.

  2. Downloas the Visit València App

    DOWNLOAD THE APP OF VISIT VALENCIA. Download for free the Visit Valencia app to take Valencia with you wherever you go. Get access to exclusive content on what to see and what to do in Valencia, discover the tourist routes, buy tickets or find out everything that is going on in the city. 14 Fri. 29º 17º.

  3. Valencia Tourism Official Site

    Valencia´s tourist information in one place. What to see, special discounts and restaurant promos. Find all the information you need for visiting València.

  4. Getting Around Valencia

    Bus: price, timetables and frequency . If you have not purchased a Valencia Tourist Card, you have to pay for the ticket.You can buy a single ticket (1.5 euros) when boarding the bus or through the EMTicket app, a bus pass for €10.50 (€8.50 + €2 for the card), or the SUMA card for 10 trips on urban and intercity buses, metro, tram and suburban trains for €10 (€8 + €2 for the card).

  5. Visiting Valencia: The Complete Travel Guide

    2. Tipping in Valencia. Most locals leave no tip and therefore most local bars and restaurants don't expect you to do so either. That being said, many bars and restaurants in the more touristy parts of the city have gotten used to tourists tipping and therefore expect it more, but it is never mandatory.

  6. ‎Visit València Official guide on the App Store

    Read reviews, compare customer ratings, see screenshots, and learn more about Visit València Official guide. Download Visit València Official guide and enjoy it on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

  7. Valencia Discover

    About this app. Immerse yourself in the cultural and natural richness of one of Spain's most vibrant cities, Valencia. With Valencia Discover, every corner of this historic city becomes an adventure waiting to be discovered. Also Fallas 2025 Edition. Experience Fallas like never before and hunt them all!

  8. ‎Valencia Travel Guide on the App Store

    Read reviews, compare customer ratings, see screenshots and learn more about Valencia Travel Guide. Download Valencia Travel Guide and enjoy it on your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. ... This app contains IAPs for you to enjoy and discover the best out of your visit. What's New. 14 Dec 2021. Version 3.0.27 - New tours offerings. - Improved ...

  9. Valencia Travel Guide

    About this app. 100% Free travel guide. More than 14 languages supported. Trip planner with best activities and top rating tours offered for you to book instantly. Daily itineraries. Day walking tours. City Sightseeing. Hop-On Hop-Off tours and many more. Street and public transportation maps.

  10. Valencia Tips App

    Group travel; Contact; Valencia Tips App; Blog Valencia. Practical information Valencia. Rooftops in Valencia, insider Top 10; Valencia: European Green Capital 2024 - A Sustainable Tourist Guide; What to do in Valencia: 7 insidertips from me, a local! Valencia with kids; Top 5 reasons why Valencia is the perfect travel destination!

  11. ‎Valencia Travel Guide . on the App Store

    Valencia Travel Guide ‪.‬ 4+ City Guide & Metro Map Offline Maria Monti Designed for iPad 4.9 • 24 Ratings ; Free; Offers In-App Purchases ... I found other apps for Valencia that were much better. Frankmoreno , 01/16/2017. Maps poorly detailed Useless, the maps do not zoom at street level. I might as well use google maps and save this ...

  12. Valencia Travel Guide (Updated 2024)

    Valencia Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips. Valencia is generally more affordable to visit than Madrid or Barcelona. However, food, drinks, and tours can really add up if you aren't watching your spending. ... There is also an app called Cabify that works in a similar way. Car rental - Car rentals can be found for as little as 25 EUR per day ...

  13. Plan your visit to Valencia

    Find here all the Valencia (spain) Information that you need to organize your trip to Valencia. Plan your visit to València with VisitValencia

  14. 33 Best Valencia Travel Tips: Visit the Birthplace of Paella

    Many of Valencia's museums are free to enter. Enjoy the works of Velázquez and Goya in one of Spain's largest art collections at the Museo de Bellas Artes.Another option is the Museo de Historia de Valencia with an exhibition that displays 2,000 years of city history. You can make use of a free entry for the bullfighting museum - Museo Taurino - on Sundays and public holidays.

  15. Valencia

    Valencia and Murcia. Named "El Levante" after the rising sun, this lush region is the part of Spain that wakes up first. Valencia has the Mediterranean Sea as its front yard, while the inland huerta is one of the most fertile in Europe, crowded with orange and lemon groves, date-palm plantations and rice fields still irrigated by systems devised by the Moors.

  16. An expert guide to a weekend in Valencia

    Doubles from €99 (£88). Carrer del Músic Peydró 9; 00 34 963 11 00 11. • A complete guide to the best hotels in Valencia. Delve into Simple (Calle Palau 5), near the cathedral, which is a ...

  17. EMT Valencia

    The whole information you need to travel in the city of València by Sustainable Transport (Bus, Metro, Tram, Valenbisi bike sharing, own bike or walking). With this app you will be able to: • Know when your bus will reach. • Ask for your card balance. • Recharge Bonobús trips and EMTJove monthly pass

  18. Useful apps to buy transport tickets in Valencia

    Read our article on useful transport tools and apps if you want to know more. Download the EMTicket app for Android. Download the EMTicket app for iOS. Metrovalencia app. The Metrovalencia app is very similar to the EMT Valencia app. It allows you to check the updated info about metro schedules, routes, updates, and run time.

  19. Valencia, a smart destination

    The legacy of Smart Valencia 2022. In 2022, Valencia was the European Capital of Smart Tourism, an honor that is now commemorated with a special mural in Mossen Sorell Square, next to the Central Market, designed by Virginia Lorente and Martín Forés. Drop by and see it. It's an illustration of vivid colors that reflects the smart tourism ...

  20. Ultimate Guide for Solo Travel in Valencia Spain

    Valencia Travel Guide. Valencia is the third largest city in Spain and is located on the east coast of the Iberian Peninsula. Nearby islands include Ibiza and my favorite for solo travel, Mallorca! It lies on the Mediterranean Sea, about 200 kilometres (120 mi) south of Barcelona and 330 km (210 mi) north of Madrid.

  21. Valencia City Pass

    VALENCIA TOURIST CARD. With the Valencia Tourist Card, you get FREE admission to municipal museums and monuments and special discounts on Valencia's main tourist attractions. In addition, with the 24-, 48- or 72-hour Valencia Tourist Card, you can travel FOR FREE on urban and metropolitan buses, metro, tram and commuter trains.

  22. GL Homes will bring a 12th Valencia 55+ community west of Delray Beach

    A 12th Valencia community is coming west of Delray; first project after land-swap collapse Plans for the latest Valencia on Lyons Road are expected to be presented to county commissioners in October.

  23. Valencia Travel Guide

    About this app. SmartGuide turns your phone into a personal tour guide around Valencia. The future isn't too far away for this innovative and modern city. Ribbons of green parkland line the riverbend alongside glamorous futuristic buildings just waiting to be explored! The long beach, aquarium, and numerous museums are all must-sees in Valencia.

  24. 10 reasons why you should get the Valencia Tourist Card

    10 Reason you should get Valencia Tourist Card. 1. COUNTLESS JOURNEYS. Valencia Tourist Card allows you to get 60 buses, 9 metros and tram lines. So you can go wherever your heart desires upon your arrival! You can go straight to your hotel from the airport or even better - directly to the beach! 2. THE BEST VIEWS OF VALENCIA.