Valencia has long allured expats from all over the world. The enchanting city offers the ideal lifestyle for many. From enjoying vibrant city life to unwinding on one of the sandy beaches, Valencia boasts the best of all worlds. As such, in a place offering such varied experiences, the 10 best things to do in Valencia is a topic of some debate.
Of course, many factors influence what a typical day in Valencia will look like for you: from your employment status to the hobbies you choose to adopt. However, as long-term residents ourselves, there are some things we consider must-do when in Valencia.
1. Visit Mercado Central & La Lonja de la Seda
Whether an expat or a tourist, visiting Mercado Central is a definite must. One of the main works of the Valencian Art Nouveau, this beautiful market offers a wide array of fresh food stalls. Whether you’re looking for some delicious Valencian delicacies, or simply want fresh, local options, a visit to Mercado Central will not disappoint – if only to experience one of Europe’s biggest (and most stunning) markets.
When visiting Mercado Central, it’s difficult to ignore La Lonja de la Seda (The Silk Exchange), found opposite the market. This stunning example of Valencia’s late, gothic-style architecture is also well worth a visit.
2. Climb the Torres de Serrano
Another example of Valencia’s gothic architecture is the Torres de Serrano. This popular attraction once stood as part of Valencia’s ancient city wall. Today, you can climb to the very top for an exceptional view of the city. In our opinion, the opportunity to see Valencia in all its glory is a rite of passage to becoming a resident of Valencia – right behind registering for your residency card!
3. Cycle to El Palmar for a Paella
Valencia is exceedingly bicycle-friendly, with cycle lanes offering a range of beautiful routes throughout the city, complemented by the glorious weather and the flatness of the city. Whether you want to incorporate cycling into your daily life or prefer the occasional bike ride during your downtime, we highly recommend cycling to El Palmar to enjoy a traditional paella.
The gorgeous route to El Palmar is one of our very favourites, and offers an easy, scenic ride, even for the less-avid cyclists. What is more, you can reward yourself with the most delicious of paellas when you reach your destination. As you likely know, paella originated in Valencia, and El Palmar offers the very best, traditional version.
There are many options when cycling in Valencia, from purchasing a bike to long and short-term rentals. If you don’t have a bike of your own, we recommend a day lease when cycling to El Palmar, as it’s roughly an hour ride from the city! For short-term rentals (half-an-hour per ride) we recommend looking into Valenbisi.
4. Take a Boat Trip from the Harbour
Create amazing memories by taking a boat trip from Valencia’s harbour. Whether you want to sail into the sunset on an evening excursion, relish in a morning ride and swim, or even enjoy a boat party with a delicious lunch included, a boat trip is a must!
Personally, we recommend a private boat trip, passing by some of Valencia’s most sought-after sites. Just don’t forget to bring a bottle of Cava and some local clochinas (mussels) for the ride!
5. Have a Picnic in Turia Park
You have likely heard about the enchanting Turia Park, created along the old riverbed of the diverted Turia River. For those passing through Valencia, we recommend visiting the park at least once. For residents, we suggest utilising the park regularly for some tranquillity amidst city life.
You will find people engaged in an array of activities in the park, from yoga classes and cycling to enjoying their lunch on a work break. For us, we can think of nothing better than taking some time to enjoy a picnic in this beautiful green space. You can pack your basket with some treats from a nearby bakery or the aforementioned central market, topped off with some traditional horchata or a bottle of Cava!
6. Visit Iglesia San Nicolas
Part of the Route of the Borgias, the Iglesia San Nicolas is another elaborate, gothic-style structure. Whether enjoyed as part of the route or by itself, we highly recommend visiting this magnificent Roman Catholic Church. Whether you wish to visit in a religious capacity or simply marvel at the architectural beauty, Iglesia San Nicolas is another must-see.
7. Book a Wine Tour at a Bodega
A personal favourite of ours, a wine tour at a Valencian bodega is a fantastic activity to add to your list. Many bodegas offer intricate tours of winery operations so that you can discover some of the best-kept secrets of Valencian wine. Not to mention, there will be plenty of opportunities to try some of the most delectable wines that the region has to offer. Whether you’re looking for a simple tour or a romantic, candle-lit wine tasting, you can find the perfect option for you, without leaving Valencia province!
8. Visit El Albero Taberna and Experience 'Ave Maria'
A fabulous options for drinks and some tapas is El Albero Taberna, located in the vibrant Canovas district. Not only can you enjoy some delicious Andalusian tapas, but also a local rendition of ‘Ave Maria’ on weekends! At 11 pm on the weekend, the main lights are turned off and candles are lit, and everyone begins singing Ave Maria. We regard this an unmissable experience!
9. Head to Ruzafa for Dinner and Drinks
The lively Ruzafa neighbourhood is one of our very favourites for dinner and drinks. This trendy barrio offers an array of chic, highly rated bars and restaurants. One of our personal favourites is the cosmopolitan-style Copenhagen restaurant, one of the best-known vegetarian restaurants in the city.
Find out more: Top 10 Restaurants in Ruzafa
10. Experience The City of Arts and Sciences
The famous City of Arts and Sciences complex is our final must-see in Valencia. Comprising of an IMAX cinema, science museum, aquarium and performing arts centre, the complex offers something for everyone!
Although the aforementioned science museum city is among the best for museum lovers, we recommend reserving your Sundays for one of Valencia’s other museums. This is because many of Valencia’s museums, such as the Ceramics Museum, Prehistory Museum and Fallas Museum offer free entry on Sundays!
What Else Does Valencia Offer?
Our 10 best things to do in Valencia represent the very best that Valencia offers, from a long-term residents perspective. Of course, these are hardly the only things that Valencia has to offer. Depending on your interests, and when having lived in Valencia for some time, your own list may be different!
Nevertheless, we highly recommend starting with these for some guaranteed enjoyment and getting to know Valencia! If you want personalised advice about leisure when moving to Valencia, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our services include post-moving support for clients, including leisure advice specific to clients’ interests and needs.