Valencia Travel Guide: Best Things to Do and See in Valencia

I visited Valencia this February to escape the winter in Germany and get some sun. While sunbathing was the highlight of my trip, a visit to Valencia in mid-February was also extremely kind to my bank balance. In this comprehensive Valencia travel guide, I will share the best things to do in Valencia while spending less than 40 euros per day (including accommodation).

Valencia is the third largest city in Spain. Once a Roman colony and also regarded as the birthplace of Paella, the city offers a lot of cultural and historical significance which is apparent as you walk the streets of its city center. While Barcelona and Madrid remain the popular tourist destinations in Spain, Valencia is a beautiful off-the-book destination that grows on you the more you stay there. Big credit to its charming, historic center and the unique city vibes.

Valencia Travel Guide: Things to Do and See in Valencia

1. Relax at Plaza de la Virgen

With a beautiful fountain and religiously significant buildings around it, Plaza de la Virgen is a charming place to relax in Valencia. The square was built on what was once the forum of Roman Valencia (Valentia Edetanorum). 

Expect locals and tourists to gather around this place for coffee, desserts, or just to relax while admiring the beautiful piece of architecture in front of them. It is also a great place to take some photos.

2. Explore the Valencia Cathedral

Just a 3 to 4-minute walk from Plaza de la Virgen, you will reach the iconic Valencia Cathedral. You can enter the cathedral and climb the El Miguelete tower for just 2 EUR per person to see the panoramic city view. The cathedral is said to house the Holy Grail and is regarded with high religious importance.

Just in front of the Cathedral is a square that is never lacking in people and ambience. Many souvenir shops, coffee shops, and ice cream shops are available in the vicinity of this square. This can be a good place to snack while watching the daily life of Valencia go by. In the evening, artists usually perform in the square, which can provide an interesting environment.

3. Buy at the Mercado Central (Central Market of Valencia)

central market of valencia travel guide
Badly taken picture of Mercado Central

The Central Market of Valencia is a perfect place to shop for local fresh vegetables, souvenirs, and choose from a variety of wines and Spanish products. There are also many shops offering bakeries and takeaways. Strolling through the Mercado Central and buying as you please is a nice way to spend a day.

Please note that the Mercado Central, like most other tourist attractions in Valencia, closes at 15:30 in the afternoon. So, it is a good idea to visit the attractions early in Valencia.

4. Wander the streets of the historic old town

The streets of the historic old town, especially the El Carmen neighborhood, is a lovely place to walk. Delightful houses, churches, street arts, and just the pure street vibe bring out the best of Valencia for travelers to walk and admire. 

The first time we entered the old town through the Torres de Serranos, it almost felt like walking into a completely different world within Valencia.

5. Walk or bike in the Turia Park

valencia travel guide turia park
A stadium in Turia Park

Turia Park (Jardín del Turia) spans around 9 kilometers through the city, and acts as a cultural venue and sporting center for the people of Valencia. Once a riverbed of the Turia river, the Spanish government diverted the river to a different location after the city of Valencia suffered an enormous flood in 1957. After that diversion, the former riverbed was used to make a cherished urban green space for the people.

During our 3-kilometer walk of the park, we saw three proper football fields with floodlights, a full-fledged Turia stadium, a running track, a cycling track, basketball stadium, and a lot more.

The city comes alive in the Turia park, so I definitely recommend you to visit, either by walking or cycling. You can rent bicycles starting from 2 euros per hour in many shops that are spread around the city center. You can also pack your lunch from grocery stores and have a relaxing picnic in the park, which can be good for your soul and also your budget. ; )

6. Climb Torres de Serranos and Torres de Quart

Serranos and Quart towers, located at two different ends of the city center, offer a good view of the city. While the rooftop views here are not as eventful as the top of the Cathedral, they still are places worthy of a visit. 

Entry to the towers is 2 EUR per person; free if you have the Valencia Tourist Card. The view might be better in the evening during sunset. The towers open at 10:00 in the morning and close at 18:30 in the evening.

7. Admire the interior of La Lonja de la Seda

Not so good photography of the Silk Exchange

This UNESCO World Heritage Site was once a major trading hub in Valencia. The interiors of La Lonja de la Seda (the Silk Exchange) display art and sophistication, indicating the rich history of Valencia during the late medieval period.

The entry is 2 EUR per person. Valencia Tourist Card also offers free entry to the Silk Exchange, and you can choose to buy an audio guide for an additional 2.5 EUR.

8. Catch a Sunrise at Malvarrosa Beach

Watching the sun rise over the Mediterranean is one of the most beautiful experiences. We tried but never got to see a proper sunrise. There were always partial clouds floating around the edge, so we couldn’t exactly see the sun rising over the sea.

However, the experience of a sunrise that results in a colorful sky and the seaside is an experience you should not miss. Strolling around the coastline, watching some people do yoga, some running along the beach, some playing with their dogs, and some just reading in a peaceful ambiance is a brilliant sight.

Metro 4 regularly goes from the city center to the beach of Playa de Malvarrosa and takes around 20 minutes to reach.

9. Lounge at the beach

With its proximity to the Spanish coastline, Valencia offers a lot of great beaches nearby. Playa de Malvarrosa is the nearest and has a long-stretch of promenade where you can walk, relax, and just lounge for an afternoon. 

Buying food and drinks from Lidl and picnicking here for the majority of the afternoon is a good idea, and you should definitely clear your itinerary for this. We bought a blanket cover in Lidl for 8 EUR as a substitute for a beach blanket, which worked quite well and could also be taken back from the trip.

10. Eat Paella and take a sunset boat trip in Albufera

Valencia is renowned as the birthplace of paella, with the Albufera region often cited specifically as the original site of its creation. Paella, a popular Spanish food, is traditionally made with rice, green beans, chicken, and rabbit, all fried together in a wide pan. The dish is served in the pan itself, which allows for a crispy section of rice at the bottom of the pan. Save your budget for this as it is a must-do in Valencia.

Bus 24 goes from the center of Valencia to the town of El Palmar and it takes around 45 minutes. You can wander around the town of El Palmar and choose a restaurant of your liking to eat the Paella. Normal prices for a paella range from 12 to 15 EUR per person, and some restaurants even offer a discounted price for two people.

After eating the paella, I highly recommend taking the sunset boat trip for 6 EUR per person. You can find many boards advertising the boat trip as you walk through the town. You can choose one at random and enjoy the trip. Make sure to reach there at least 1 hour before the sunset time. Carry a jacket with you as it might get chilly.

11. Taste the Drink of Horchata and Eat a Lot of Fartons

Horchata is a sweet, milk drink which is served cold as a refreshment in Valencia and the surrounding areas. The drink was good and refreshing, but I did not crave more than one.

On the other hand, Fartons were an absolute delight. For a sweet tooth like me, I overindulged in Fartons during my time in Valencia. They were sweet, fluffy, and were a perfect kind to satisfy my craving for pastries. Cafe Granier offers 5 Fartons for just 1.5 EUR so I recommend visiting the cafe to eat or takeaway.

12. Explore Mercat de Colon

I had never heard of Mercat de Colon while planning the trip. During our random pursuit to buy something, we made our way to this place. We were delighted with what we found.

It was a nice building with Art Nouveau architecture and housed a lot of restaurants and bakeries inside. We saw a lot of people just relaxing in the comfortable and open space of the restaurants while snacking on their favorite foods. I thought, if we had extra time, this definitely would have been a place to dine in.

13. Explore the City of Arts and Sciences

Oceanogràfic in Valencia

The city of Arts and Sciences is a unique architectural building in Valencia and is one of the major tourist attractions. Its structures include a Planetarium, the Oceanogràfic (Europe’s largest aquarium), an opera house, and a bridge that is imaginatively modern.

Entries to these museums are quite expensive, and we had not planned to do that. However, a visit to the open area outside the complex is also worthwhile to admire the modern and unique architecture.

Valencia Tourist Card

Valencia Tourist Card (VTC) is a special travel card in Valencia that offers you free public transportation and discounts on many tourist activities. You can purchase the tourist card for either 24 hours, 48 hours, 72 hours, or for an entire week of your journey. 

We bought the card for 72 hours, and it covered the entire duration of our trip. Based on my experience, I would 100 percent recommend getting a Valencia Tourist Card. The more activities you do, the more you save.

Following are the main benefits of the Valencia Tourist Card.

  • Free transportation on all public transport options in Valencia (Metro, city buses, trams) for the entire city zones, including the airport.
  • One free beer and tapa: You will get one free beer and a croqueta.
  • One free wine and tapa: You will get a glass of wine and two croquetas.
  • Free entry to many tourist attractions such as the Town hall, the Silk exchange, Serrano Towers, Qualt Towers, and a lot more.
  • Discount offers on many tourist activities and attractions.

The Valencia Tourist Card also served as a guide during our trip. Once we collected our cards, they provided us with a comprehensive guide of things to do and see in Valencia, and where we could make use of our tourist card. Additionally, they have online chat support, and they answered our queries in a helpful manner.

If you order the card online, you will get an extra 10% discount. You can follow these steps to get a Valencia Tourist Card for your visit.

  • Step 1: Order your Valencia Tourist Card Online

You can order the suitable Tourist Card through the official website and pay the required amount. Remember your email address as you will need that to pick up the card. 

  • Step 2: Pick up your card

You can pick your card from a vending machine available in many locations in Valencia, including the airport, the town hall tourist office in the city center, different kiosks in the cities, etc. 

You need to select the option “Pick up your card” and enter the email address and the order reference number. That’s all, the machine will then provide the card to you. It’s like an ATM where you take out the card instead of cash. ; )

If you have not ordered online, you can also buy the tourist card right from the vending machine.

  • Step 3: Validate your card

Validating the card is easy. You can scan it in the ticket scanners that are required to enter the metro stations. Or, in the case of buses, you can scan the card on the scanner once you enter inside the bus. 

The validity of the card begins after you use it for the first time.

Best Time to Travel to Valencia

Valencia is extremely hot in Summer, peaking almost 40 degrees on some days. Your best bet to explore Valencia in a calmer approach would be to skip the peak Summer months.

The months of February to late April or September to late November could be a perfect time to explore the city. The weather is favorable and the crowd is less. The Sun is also warm enough to give you an escape from Northern Europe’s winter. 

Suggested Expenses for Valencia

Valencia is a more affordable destination when you travel outside the peak summer months. The periods from February to late April and September to late November could be a perfect time to explore the city.

Even with a student’s budget, you can plan to explore Valencia for less than 50 EUR per day.

Roundtrip flight (within Europe): 40-50 EUR

I booked my round-trip flight from Karlsruhe Airport to Valencia for 45 EUR with Ryanair. Thanks to my membership with Erasmus Student Network (ESN), I was able to carry with me a 20 kg checked-in bag for free. Learn here on how to get your Erasmus Student Network (ESN) Card.

Accommodation: 20-25 EUR per night

If you are a solo traveler, you can stay in a variety of hostels that offer accommodation for only 20-25 EUR per night. If you are two people or a group, you can also find cheaper accommodation on or Airbnb. Try to find a place within 2.5 kilometers of the city center. Also, watch out for these resources to find travel deals as you might find a great deal that can literally cut your expenses in half.

Food: 15-20 EUR per day

For food, it is best you only splurge money for Spanish pastries and Paella but save by opting for groceries and takeaways at other times. Many restaurants also offer a 3-course menu for 10 to 15 EUR per person.

For a budget-friendly option, Tiki Taco offers 1 Taco for 1 EUR and having four of them was quite filling for an afternoon. You can keep that in your option for the days you want to save a little in food.

Miscellaneous: 10-15 EUR per day

You can’t control the miscellaneous expenses while traveling. You may like a cute Valencian coffee cup and buy it, you like the wine in Mercado Central and you try it, it’s all part of the script. Just make sure to make a daily log to keep yourself aware of your expenses so you can plan better for the next day.

Practical tips to Save Money

  • Lidl is available in many places, also in a walkable distance from the historic center of Valencia. Buying groceries and having a picnic would be a good idea to save money on food expenses.
  • Don’t eat in the main areas as the prices are quite costly. Walking an extra block would be a great option to find a more affordable place to eat.
  • TheFork has a lot of restaurant offers where you can book in advance and enjoy meals at discounted prices.
  • Recommendations for Cafe: Cafe Garnier (multiple locations), Lavim Snack Bar (in front of the Torres de Serranos)

If you like my guide, please share it with your friends who are soon planning a trip to Valencia.

Cover photo by Peter Pan on Unsplash .


I love traveling and I love writing about it. It's my sincere hope that through my content, you will find some helpful information and inspiration for your own travels. :)

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