Valencia is in the South of Spain alongside the Mediterranean coast. As the capital of the region and Spain’s third largest city, Valencia is a vibrant Spanish city that has managed to preserve its heritage and traditions and embrace modern landmarks. Valencia has plenty to keep you occupied, from exploring the famous City of Arts and Sciences and discovering the impressive architecture of the Old Town, to taking life at a slower pace and enjoying Valencia’s year round sunshine in Turia Park and nearby city beach, El Cabanyal. The locals are super friendly, the paella is hearty and their Horchata drink will keep you dancing into the early hours of the morning.
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Valencia’s (VLC) airport is located 20 minutes via taxi outside of he city centre, 8km to the west of Valencia's centre. Expect to pay around €20 (more if you take an airport taxi, €26). Alternatively, you can get the Metro which is located beneath the airport and super easy to navigate (please see the next transport section). Don’t forget to book your flights through our partners over at Hotels that Help to help with homelessness in the UK, at no extra cost to you!
Valencia Nord station (Estacio Nord) is Valencia’s main train station and sits in the heart of Valencia’s old town. Built in the 1970’s, the station is a shrine to Valencian mosaics and ceramics. There are 8 platforms in total, all on the main floor of the station building. The station is made up of two main areas; the lobby, where you can buy your tickets, and the main station building where you will find all the platforms, shops, restaurants and other facilities.
You can get to Valencia from Madrid in just under 4 hours, or from Barcelona in just under 3 hours. It can be slightly confusing when you are buying tickets – remember that you will need to head to different points in the station to buy your tickers depending on where you are travelling to. For more information head to Valencia’s tourist guide.
The Valencia Tourist card (VLC) is a discount card that is designed for tourists wanting to explore Valencia. The card gives you free public transport as well as discounted admissions to museums, Arabic baths, Valencia Cathedral, restaurants and shops in Valencia. Costs €15 for a 24 hour card, €20 for 48 hours and €25 for 72 hour card. You can buy a card from Valencia’s Tourist information offices or online.
€2.50 for a single ticket or use your VLC card. Machines to buy your tickets are on the station platforms and they are in Spanish, German and English so very easy to understand. You must buy a ticket before you get onboard and there are plenty of ‘tram police’ hanging around to check! If you have a VLC card, you just need to tap it on the reader before you get on. Every tram station has a name and a very clear tramline map, each line is colour coded and very straight forward to work out.
The Metro Valencia consists of five lines and connects the suburbs with the city. Most of the metro is underground (except for one line which takes you to the beach via the tram) and covers the entire city as well as connecting the city to and from the airport. Very similar to the London tube, you will need to buy a ticket before you get on (machines in the stations) or use your VLC card and tap it on the reader before you get on the Metro. For a single journey Metro ticket, the cost is €1.50.
Other options include the T-1 which allows you unlimited access to public transport in the centre of Valencia for one day, or if you are staying for a weekend, you may want to consider a T-2 or T-3 which offers the same as the T-1 but for 2 or 3 days respectively.
Opening hours are Monday-Friday, 4am-11.30pm and Saturday and Sunday, 5am-12.30pm. For more information, head to Valencias tourist guide!
Buses are plentiful in Valencia. You wont be able to miss the bus stops and they have plenty of information within them such as bus times and routes. Remember to wave the bus down, they don’t stop automatically! Once you are on the bus, follow your journey on Google maps as there are no bus stop announcements once you are on the bus. To get off, simply press the button. All bus journeys cost €1.50 or they are free if you have bought the VLC tourist card. Just tap your card on the reader by the driver when you get on the bus. Bus number 95 is the one you will need to take to get you from the centre to the beach, L’Oceanografic or The City of Arts and Sciences.
If you are staying close to the centre of Valencia, all the main sights are within walking distance. If you would like to go a little further or visit Valencia’s beach, L’Oceanografic or The City of Arts and Sciences you will need to get a tram / bus (see the activity section below for more details).
There are cycle lanes everywhere in Valencia and it is a great way to see the city. You can hire bikes from tour operators within the old town. I suggest heading to Passion Bike which is super close to the Torres de Serranas. Expect to pay €4 for 1 hour, €8 for 4 hours or €9 for 1 day. You can choose between a city bike, a kids bike or a hybrid model. They will also store your luggage for you for a small fee. But bicycle rental places are plentiful in Valencia.
Valencia's Bioparc is an innovative attraction designed under the concept of zooimmersion. They divide the park up into different countries and incorporate multispecies enclosures. You will be able to see elephants, giraffes, monkeys, zebras, antelope, crocodiles, hippos, wild boar and so much more. You can take a guided tour and speak with the caretakers and biologists, so you can learn more about conservation, the animals and how we can work together to change attitudes towards the environment.
The Bioparc also offers educational exhibits, a movie theatre with films exploring global changes, challenges of conservation and how such spaces can help educate on the importance of such issues and feeding experiences. Great day out for little ones and the enclosures are spacious and very well maintained.
Opens from 10am. Cost: €19 for adult ticket. Based within a 25-minute walk of the old town, it is very easy to get to. Walk down Turia park which is the central park of Valencia to see the city in all its glory.
Located in the architectural complex of the Ciutat de les Arts I les Ciences in Valencia, by Cabanyal beach, L’Oceanografic is the largest aquarium in Europe with a variety of ocean life from different environments. Providing more than just an aquarium, the L'Oceanografic foundation seeks to conserve marine environments by generating knowledge through direct action and the creation of experiences which encourage respectful attitudes towards marine ecosystems.
Adult tickets cost €29.70 with discounts for students. You can also buy combined tickets to the The City of Arts and Sciences which costs €32.20 for an adult ticket.
Open Sunday to Friday 10am-6pm and 10am-8pm on Saturdays.
You can arrive at the L'Oceanografic in several ways: Get the bus to Carrer d’Eduardo Primo Yufera which is just outside the main entrance. Numbers 95 and 15 will take you there. Take the metro, the closest station is Alameda on the metrovalencia lines of 3, 5, 7 and 9 or you could cycle there or drive, there is free parking on site.
The City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia is a unique complex dedicated to science and culture. Divided into give main sections, the Hemisferic (IMAX cinema and digital projects), the Umbracle (a landscaped vantage point), Science Museum, L’Oceanografic (see above), the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia and the Agora. Located in the old bed of the Turia river, the complex is stunningly beautiful, with water fountains, impressive architecture and surreal landscaping. Ticket prices vary depending on what area you would like to explore. Check out their website for more information.
Go Travel and Talk Top Tip: Even if you don’t go in, I highly recommend walking around the complex, or hiring a bicycle and including it your explorations of Valencia’s Old town, heading down Turia park, ending here at the The City of Arts and Sciences.
Constructed at the end of the 14th century, the Torres de Serranos are the largest Gothic gateway in all of Europe. This landmark is only one of two of the original city towers still standing in Valencia. The Torres de Serranos is based alongside Turia park and offer a great way to get a bird’s eye view of Valencia.
Open between10-2pm and 4.30-8.30pm on Tuesday to Saturday and 10-3pm on Sunday, ticket €2 (free on Sundays).
After provisionally acting as a prison, the Torres de Serranos are now a tourist attraction and used for holding the Valerian’s annual festival of Las Fallas. Las Fallas occurs between the 15th-20th March every year and it is the celebration of the coming spring and the chance to say goodbye to winter. The locals build giant puppets out of carboard, wood, papier Mache and plaster and then burn them to the ground. With spectacular fireworks and lots of dancing, singing and sangria, it is a sight to behold. If you are in Valencia at this time – make sure you book your tickets. Please find more information on Valencia's tourist website.
Wander the streets of the old town by a free walking tour. Book with Free Tour Valencia where you can take a 2.5 hour tour through the city exploring the history, culture and top sites. Tours leave at either 10.30am or 12pm. You will be taken through the Old Town, exploring the Basillica, the Cathedral, the Central Market, the Silk Exchange and so much more. The guides are super knowledgeable - I had Helena who was amazing at bringing the history of Valencia to life! A must do when in Valencia!
Plaza de Reina / Climbing the Bell Tower
At the end of the walking tour head back to Plaza de Reina, into the Cathedral and climb the 207 steps of Miguelete, Valencia’s cathedral bell tower. Cost €2. Once you are done, walk over to the nearby Plaza de la Mare de Deu, grab a seat on the main plaza and enjoy the view of the cathedral, whilst street artists perform their magic and music. I recommend grabbing a delicious coffee or smoothie from Café Micalet.
Make sure you rent a bicycle for the day and cycle through Valencia’s beautiful park which stretches right through the centre of the city and around the old part of the city. Full of water fountains, cute cafes, abstract art, wildlife, fruit trees and fauna, this is not a place to miss. Take a picnic and a book with you and laze the day away.
After lazying in the park, cycle over to the Ubik Café - a super cute eatery in the uber cool area of Russafa. Surrounded by books and quirky furniture, this café plays chilled jazz tones giving you the perfect place to sit back and relax. With super friendly staff, this café attracts locals as well as tourists. I can personally vouch for their Quiche Vendura (vegetable Quiche) ~ highly recommend.
Located close to Valencia’s Las Arenas beach (also called El Cabanyal), you will discover the old fisherman’s haunt of El Cabanyal. This area of Valencia is less touristy and gives you a true insight into authentic Valencian life. As you stroll around expect to see plenty of colour and houses covered in Valencian ceramic tiles and friendly locals taking life at a slower pace. Head to El Cabanyals market for a sensory overload and heaps of fresh fruit, veg, olives cheeses and plenty of fish, or venture to the local tapas bars for authentic Spanish cuisine. Don’t miss out on Casa Montana, a small tapas bar that first opened in 1836. Make sure you book ahead; this little tapas bar has a huge reputation with tourists and locals alike.
If you have some time on your hands, spend a day at the beach. Relax, go for a swim or getting involved in the beach games. Make sure you stay put for sunset, it is a magical experience. Be warned – in the summer the beach becomes very busy and pickpockets can be rife!
If you are staying in the centre of Valencia, get the Metro to Las Arenas or Maritim Serreria (Green Line, L5). From here you can walk or get the tram a little further down the beach to Mediterrani tram stop (25 minutes). You can also take a bus from Valencia’s centre (El Carmen) to the beach. Get the 19 bus from Plaza del Ayuntamiento (bus is on the right-hand side of the square if you are facing Estacio Nord station). Get off the bus when you turn onto Calle Doctor Lluch (20 minutes).
Airbnbs in Valencia are plentiful and very budget friendly. However, bare in mind that Air BNB can cause problems for local inhabitants such as inflated rent prices, reduction in housing supply and disruptions to communities. This is something we are researching at the moment, because there are also benefits to Air BNBs, such as meeting people from all around the world and economical contributions to Valencia. Check out what is on offer and if you do decide to book an Air BNB, use this code to get £25 off your price!
Urban Youth Hostel is located within a 20-minute walk for the City of Art and Sciences and within 550 yards of the nearest metro station, Maritim-Serreria, and a short walk to the beach, this hostel was recommended to me by a friend. They have 24-hour reception, super friendly staff, WIFI throughout and great spaces for socialising. They offer traditional Spanish dishes as well as a shared kitchen, lounge and games rooms. They are also, only 40 minutes by public transport to the airport. Expect to pay between £10-14 per night for a bed in a mix dorm. Great for those who want to be based by the beach. Book in advance, they fill up quickly.
The River Hostel is centrally located next to Turia Gardens, the River Hostel is a 5-minute walk from Valencia’s centre and the cathedral with great links to the airport. They have 24-hour reception, WIFI throughout, an onsite café, games room and lounge and a shared kitchen. You can also hire bicycles through them and arrange your airport transfers. Great hostel for socialising as a solo traveller and being super close to the old town centre of Valencia. Expect to pay £11 per night for a room in a mixed dormitory.
Couchsurfing is a great way to get an authentic insight into the place you are visiting. You can sign up and search through listings, choosing whether you would like your own room or if you are happy to sleep on a couch. Often the hosts will take you out and show you the local side of the city. Valencia has plenty of Couchsurfing hosts and at minimal cost, it is super budget friendly and promotes cross cultural exchanges. We are big fans of this at Go Travel and Talk.
I don’t know why more people don’t do this. Seriously. It is a great way to travel. I signed up to Trusted Housesitters and started travelling all over the UK and Europe, staying in beautiful places and exploring in the way I could afford at that time. I did that for 6 months and met some incredible people with amazing life stories to share.It is also a great way to save money whilst you are travelling.
But it is important that you are doing it for the right reasons. Yes, it is a great way to save money and explore new places, but remember these people are entrusting you with their home and animals. Do not misplace that trust. Do a good job, take care of the animals as if they were your own and be respectful! Use my discount code and get 25% off your sign up fee!
- The Central Market is amazing and offers a total sensory overload. Open between 6.30-3pm, there is absolutely everything on offer from veggies, fruit, salads, tapas, olives, fish, meat and so much more. Pick up some bits for lunch and head to Turia park to have yourself a picnic in the sunshine.
- La Coveta: You will find this gorgeous little restaurant down on of the side streets of the old town, close to Plaza de Reina. They offer tapas as well as paella and the food is delicious. The service is quick and super friendly, with very good wine and local Turia beer on offer. Highly recommend. Cost - €15 per person for Paella and it is HUGE and around €4/5 per tapas – again, big portions. Very affordable for what you get.
- Casa Montana: A small tapas bar in El Cabanyal that first opened in 1836. Make sure you book ahead, this little tapas bar has a huge reputation with tourists and locals alike.
Food with a view:
- Head to Plaza de la Mare de Deu for your morning coffee or smoothie. You get a great view of the basilica, the cathedral and performances from street artists. It is right in the hussle and bussle of everything and the perfect spot for seeing it all unfold as the sun shines. Prices are inflated here due to central location. Expect to pay €5 for coffee, €6 for smoothie. I recommend Café Micalet and the Energy Green smoothie. If you are there on a Thursday around Midday you will see the traditional water tribunal meeting outside of the Basilica. This is a tradition that has been going for over 1,000 years and is quite a site.
- Ubik Café in the trendy area of Ruffasa. Based within a book shop this quirky little café permits the ideal atmosphere to sit back, relax and read your book. I highly recommend the Quiche de Venduras (Vegetable Fritata, €4).