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Valencia in two days

  • City of Arts and Sciences. View of the the Hemisferic and Reina Sofía Arts Centre, designed by Santiago Calatrava. Valencia © Turespaña

    City of Arts and Sciences. View of the the Hemisferic and Reina Sofía Arts Centre, designed by Santiago Calatrava. Valencia © Turespaña


"Valencia, the “city of light” par excellence is waiting to welcome you on the banks of the Mediterranean. ..."

Valencia, the “city of light” par excellence is waiting to welcome you on the banks of the Mediterranean. This is a destination where you'll find magnificent beaches, typical gastronomy with such world-famous dishes as the delicious paella, and avant-garde architecture which can be seen at its most spectacular in the complex known as the City of Arts and Sciences. Here's how to explore the city in two days.

DAY 1: Avant-garde Valencia

You could devote the first day to getting to know the more modern aspect of Valencia and its avant-garde architecture, including the City of Arts and Sciences. This is the new symbol of the city and the image by which many people now recognise it the world over. A visit to the complex takes up practically a whole day, as it includes the Príncipe Felipe Science Museum, the Hemisfèric IMAX cinema and the Oceanogràfic Sea Park. You’ll also be able to see the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía from the outside and take a stroll over the fascinating L’Assut d’Or Bridge.

A good time to start the visit is around 11 am. We recommend spending the morning at the Science Museum, as before you know it you’ll have been there for at least two hours. The great thing about the museum is that it's interactive so you can take part in numerous experiments and learn about science while having a lot of fun. After this visit, you could have lunch at one of the restaurants on the site. Alternatively, if you’re keen to learn about the city’s more innovative and prestigious cuisine, choose one of the highly recommended creative cuisine eateries, which also offer spectacular views of the Arts and Sciences Centre.

The next stop is the Hemisfèric, an impressive cinema shaped like the human eye, where watching a film becomes an exciting experience, thanks to stunning 3D images and ultra high definition.

The rest of the afternoon can be spent discovering the underwater world at the Oceanogràfic Sea Park, one of the largest marine complexes in the world offering close on 50,000 examples of 500 different species. In just a few hours you’ll see sharks, dolphins, walruses and sea horses, as well as a few less common species such as enormous belugas.

Things to remember

There is a combined ticket providing all-day entry to the Príncipe Felipe Science Museum, the Hemisfèric IMAX cinema and the Oceanogràfic Sea Park.

The films at the Hemisfèric last approximately 20 minutes.

Dinner in the historic quarter

The climate in Valencia is ideal for strolling, which is an excellent option for the evening. The best place to do this is the historic quarter, where there is always a lot going on and the streets are for pedestrians only. The area around the Plaza de la Virgen and Town Hall square are usually very lively and offer a wide choice of restaurants where you can have dinner. Temperature permitting, you could even dine at one of the numerous terrace restaurants. In this area you’ll also find examples of the city’s traditional architecture, such as the Cathedral, the Desamparados Basilica and the Palace of the Valencia Regional Government. After dinner, you could go opt to go clubbing in one of the busy venues in the Barrio del Carmen quarter, or even stroll over to have a look at the remains of the old city wall: the Quart and Serranos towers are both lit up at night.

DAY 2: Maritime Valencia

You could devote the second day of your visit to discovering the Valencia's numerous links with the maritime world. In the morning, pay a visit to Marina Real, a large area by the harbour developed when the city played host to the America's Cup, and take a look at the Veles e Vents (Sails and Winds) building. The curious thing is that as you stroll around the harbour you’ll be walking over the amazing urban circuit for the Formula 1 European Grand Prix, where every August the fastest racing drivers compete.

There are several places nearby where you can stop and have light refreshments while enjoying the views out to sea. It’s probably a good idea to do this before continuing on to the seafront promenade by the Arenas and Malvarrosa beaches. These are two large urban expanses of sand where you can cool off in the Mediterranean without leaving the city. Afterwards, continue your stroll up the promenade until you begin to feel peckish. That will be the ideal time to sample some of Valencia's delicious paella at one of the numerous seafront terrace restaurants that you’ll find along the way. There's no better way to enjoy this delicacy than right by the sea.

Gothic Valencia

After lunch, why not spend the afternoon getting to know Valencia's historic quarter in the daylight? It is packed with Gothic-style buildings such as the Lonja de la Seda Silk Exchange, which boasts UNESCO World Heritage status, the Palace of the Valencia Regional Government and part of the Cathedral. At the Cathedral, be sure to climb to the top of the Miguelete Tower for a stunning panoramic view of Valencia. A tour of the inside of the Cathedral is also recommended.

A good route to follow would be to commence at the railway station, next to the bullring, and then continue up Marqués de Sotelo Avenue until you come to the Town Hall square. The Silk Market and Central Market are both within easy reach of this square via María Cristina Avenue. Next, continue to Tossal Square then take Caballeros Street. This leads to the picturesque Plaza de la Virgen square, the location of the Palace of the Regional Government and the Cathedral. Finally, head down Serranos Street to Serranos Tower, which acts as the gateway to Serranos Bridge. This spans the city’s main green area, the Turia Gardens.

Taken at a gentle pace, this itinerary will offer you a tour of the historic quarter of Valencia in just two hours. You’ll even have time to take a look at the National Ceramics Museum. Its façade certainly merits a photograph, while the interior provides an insight into the ceramics tradition in Valencia.

To round off your two days in Valencia, why not stop for a refreshing horchata (tiger nut milk) in the centre and then enjoy the lively atmosphere as night falls and you buy a few souvenirs?

Things to remember

You can book guided tours of the city at the tourist office.

The tourist bus is an excellent option for getting around the main attractions.

The “Valencia Tourist Card”, which you can buy online and at tourist offices, offers unlimited use of public transport, as well as discounts for museums, shops and restaurants.

Valencia is a very flat city, so touring it by bike is another pleasant option. Find out where you can hire a bike at the tourist office.

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