Top 25 Valencia Sights and Day Trips

What to Do and Where to Go Nearby

First the bad news. Valencia, Spain's third biggest city, doesn't have that iconic, must-see reason to visit. There's no Sagrada Familia or Prado museum here, or anywhere near the number of sights Madrid and Barcelona have.

But Valencia is still a fine place to visit. It is under two hours from Alicante and Madrid (though the latter is on an expensive high-speed train) and three hours from Barcelona. If it fits into your schedule, you'll find a city that doesn't feel as big as it actually is (the suburbs sprawl out much further than a tourist will ever see), with fine cuisine at good prices and a number of excellent museums. 

01 of 05


Old town of Valencia

 Jamie Ditaranto / TripSavvy

Pl. de l'Almoina, s/n, 46003 València, Valencia, Spain
Phone +34 963 91 81 27

1. Explore the Old Town
Explore the city center, starting with the two main squares (Plaza Ayuntamiento and Plaza Victoria).

2. Cathedral
Valencia's cathedral is said to be home to the Holy Grail. 

3. City of Arts and Sciences
This mega cultural center, designed by Calatrava, is host to a dolphin show, an IMAX movie theater, a science museum, and much more. 

4. Port & Beach
Valencia's revamped port area has played home to the America Cup in recent years and now hosts a Formula One Grand Prix every year. The beach is good as far as city beaches go, though there are better ones in the region.

5. Mercado Central
Valencia's market is more spacious than the more famous Boqueria market in Barcelona, less touristy and not so expensive.  

6. La Lonja
The old silk exchange looks like something out of Lord of the Rings.

7. Bullring
Valencia's bullring is a modern design, but that doesn't mean it doesn't get some good fighters occasionally, especially during the Fallas festival.

TripSavvy trusts its readers to make their own decisions on the ethics of bullfighting as an attraction.

8. Turia River
The river Turia passed through the city until a 1957 flood forced the council to redirect it around the city. The former riverbed is now a park that snakes through the city. There's also a fun Gulliver (from Gulliver's Travels) children's climbing frame.

9. Bioparc 
Valencia's self-proclaimed "new generation zoo" is walking distance from the city center. 

02 of 05

Day Trips

The old castle above Xativa, Spain.
Julian Elliott Photography / Getty Images

After a while, all cities can blur into one and another. If you want to stretch your legs a little and get out of metropolis, take one of these day trips from Valencia.

10. Cuenca
A beautiful city on the way to Madrid, now accessible from Valencia by high-speed rail, famous for its 'hanging houses', dwellings that hang off the edge of a cliff.

11. Segorbe
A water park, cathedral, and aqueduct await visitors to Segorbe.

12. Castellon
The largest city between Valencia and Barcelona.

13. El Palmar
The rice fields where paella's key ingredient was first grown. There are some good paella restaurants in the area.

14. Cueva de las Calaveras
Ancient caves with all the stalagmites and stalactites you'd expect of ancient caves. 

15. Requeña
Valencia's wine-producing town.

16. Xativa
Historic town with a scenic castle built on a hilltop.

03 of 05


Paella being served in Valencia

Jamie Ditaranto / TripSavvy

Valencia is at the heart of Spain's reputation for great Mediterranean cuisine, with plenty of great food for you to try. But the two you mustn't leave the city without sampling are:

17. Paella 
Spain's most famous dish comes from Valencia! More on paella in Valencia.

18. Horchata
Valencia's milky (though there's no actual milk in it) drink, made from tiger nuts, whatever they are. (No, they're not that.) More on ​Horchata in Valencia.

04 of 05


The entrance to the institute of modern art

 Jamie Ditaranto / TripSavvy

Carrer de Quevedo, 10, 46001 València, Valencia, Spain
Phone +34 963 88 37 30

Valencia's museums don't hit the international headlines, but there are several tjhat are worth visiting.

19. MuVIM museu valencia illustracio i de la modernitat
This museum has such a strange name that it is invariably referred to by its acronym. Excellent street photography that probably "challenges our relationship to the modern world" or something like that, if you bother to read artists' pretentious blurbs. 

20. Toy Soldier Museum
Truly a lovely museum! Toy soldiers re-enact famous eras from history—from prehistoric man to Franco's motorcade. Children will love running around choosing their favorite scene and it's a great way to spark a child's interest in history.

21. Valencia's Modern Art Institute
Pop art, sculpture, photography and art installations are the focus of Valencia's modern art museum.

22. Museo de Bellas Artes
Valencia's fine art museum, next to the royal gardens.

23. Prehistoric and Ethnology Museums
Two interesting museums, housed in the same building, next door to the modern art institute.

Continue to 5 of 5 below.
05 of 05

Things to Do in Valencia: Festivals

Structure burning during the Fallas festival
SantiagoPucelano1 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Valencia has two wonderful festivals.

24. Tomatina Tomato Fight 
The world's most famous food fight

25. Fallas
Valencia's festival of bonfires and loud bangs mixes hedonistic fun, glorious pyrotechnics and a religious element for grandma. 

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Top 25 Valencia Sights and Day Trips