A lot of people flock to Valencia all year round, not just because it’s the third largest city of Spain but also because it is a vibrant city that shows the perfect blend of the old and the modern culture. Our team in ClickGibraltar have come up with an itinerary that will allow you to experience the best of Valencia within 3 days.
When to go
Valencia has a lot to offer all year round. If you are interested to witness one of their most famous festivals “Las Fallas” then the best time to visit will be in March. The months of April-May and October-February are for those who want a cooler climate and lesser tourist crowds but with a likely chance of rain; bear in mind however that tourist attractions may have shorter opening hours. Whereas June – August are for the sunbathers, the people who prefer warmer weather and mingling with larger crowds.
How to get there
To travel from Gibraltar to Valencia, we recommend taking the Renfe train from Algeciras, San Roque or Malaga. You
can book Renfe tickets well in advance of a trip (to get a cheaper price and avoid losing a spot especially in the peak months of summer), using the Renfe website. Be warned however as the Renfe website is not the most reliable for online purchases. If you have time to go to the San Roque or Algeciras train stations, we recommend going there physically to purchase the tickets in advance.
Where to stay
With a website like booking.com or airbnb.com you will be able to find a lot of accommodations in the city centre that is accessible to most of the tourist attractions and are at a reasonable price. We recommend choosing a central location to maximise the three days you have for your visit. Before you finalise your booking, make sure you check the ratings and reviews of the accommodations to give you an idea of the quality.
What to do on Day 1
The best way to start your visit is to get a snapshot of the key tourist attractions with a bit of history on the side. What better way to do this than to join a 2.5hr free walking tour. We recommend “Free Tours Valencia” which hosts two daily tours with different routes (one in the morning at 10:30am and one at 6pm (in the summer months of June-Sept)/5pm (in the fall/spring months of Oct, Mar-May)/4pm (in the winter months of Nov-Feb). Check out their website for a detailed description of the tours, it’s easy to book ahead (at no cost), however, most of the time they will accept people that just turn up at the meeting place which is by the fountain in Plaza De La Virgen and look out for anyone wearing an orange shirt with an orange umbrella. As with any free walking tour, the cost depends on how much you think the tour is worth after having experienced it.
After a free walking tour, you can then choose specific sights/attractions to enter or explore further. On Day 1, we recommend the following sights:
Plaza de la Virgen is one of the more famous plazas in Valencia surrounded by a lot of bars, restaurants and shops which is located just behind the Valencia Cathedral. We recommend relaxing for coffee and dessert at La Petit Bistro (just opposite the fountain), this is a really nice place to sit and chill (and a good spot for people watching!).
Whilst in the plaza you should take the opportunity to go inside Real Basílica De Nuestra Señora De Los Desamparados, the domed building with a light pink façade and a very impressive and richly decorated interior. Just a short walk away, there is another church worth visiting, the Church of San Nicolas fast becoming popular due to its recent restoration, the result of which is being likened to the Sistine Chapel of the Vatican.
Torres de Serranos is also just close by, it is one of the two oldest city gates left standing which offers a great view of the city from the top of the tower at an entrance fee of €2.
On your first night, for good food with a good ambiance as well as a reasonable price with excellent service, we recommend a nice meal at San Tommaso, an authentic Italian restaurant hidden in the winding streets of the old town. This little gem is located at Calle Corregeria, Barrio del Carmen, 46001.
What to do on Day 2
Mercado Central (or Central Market) is a good way to start the 2nd day
in Valencia. This place will not only open all your senses with the exciting sounds and a variety of smells but will also fill your tummy with fresh food. Vendors offer samples of their products and after going around you will realise you’ve fed yourself already having spent close to nothing! You might be enticed to buy the good quality of
fresh meat, seafood and fruits that are sold all around and it will be well worth it.
Just across the road is another attraction worth visiting, La Lonja de la Seda, a Unesco World Heritage Sight, open from 9:30am to 7pm on weekdays and Saturday and until 3pm on Sundays and holidays with a €2 entrance fee (without the audio guide). This served as the silk exchange during the 15th century with an impressive main hall with beautifully twisted columns.
Palacio del Marques de Dos Aguas is another attraction that you cannot miss which also houses the National Ceramic Museum. This place is open from Tuesdays to Saturday from 10am–2pm and 4pm-8pm and on Sundays from 10am-2pm with an entrance fee of €3 (but free on late Saturday afternoons and Sundays!).
Walk along Plaza de la Reina for a good view of the Valencia Cathedral and the El Miguelete, the cathedral tower and for a little midday treat, visit Artesanes Llinares for an enticing and refreshing gelato.
Experience dining and relaxing at night time in Mercado
Colon, an old market that has been turned into a gastro district, a fascinating architectural structure right in the middle of one of the upscale locations of Valencia. There are a variety of restaurants and bars that serve food and drinks inside the market. The ambiance is impressive with strings of lights at night and flowers/greenery scattered about.
If you fancy staying out and having a few drinks, visit Café de las Horas (located
just off an alley by Plaza de la Virgen) don’t be fooled into thinking it only serves coffee, this place serves a variety of cocktails and other alcoholic drinks. Intricately decorated inside with a vintage/renaissance feel and a nice casual and comfortable ambiance in the outdoor area with trees and tables scattered around.
What to do on Day 3
Having spent time in the older part of the city centre, the last day should be reserved for exploring the more modern side of Valencia. Start the day by strolling past the bridge across the Torres de Serranos and on to the famous old river park, the Antiguo Cauce del Rio Turia. The story goes that the town blocked off the river after having suffered large floods in this area. The dried riverbed was then converted into a park and you will still see the old bridges but now with a sea of green trees and grass instead of water, perfect for cycling, jogging, picnics or just chilling in the shade.
At the end of this riverbed you will see the best representation of ‘modern’ in Valencia, the City of the Arts and Sciences. This is one of the top attractions in Valencia designed by the famous Spanish architects, Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela and marked as one of the 12 Treasures of Spain. The complex is made up of:
L’Hemisfèric – an IMAX Cinema, planetarium and laserium with its design resembling an eyelid to represent the ‘eye of knowledge’.
El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe – this is an interactive museum of science that resembles the skeleton of a whale.
L’Umbracle – an open structure enveloping a landscaped walk with plant species indigenous to Valencia.
L’Oceanogràfic – an open-air oceanographic park, designed by Félix Candela. It is the largest oceanographic aquarium in Europe.
El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia – an opera house and performing arts center.
El Pont de l’Assut de l’Or – a white cable-stayed bridge crossing the dry Turia riverbed.
L’Àgora – a covered plaza in which concerts and sporting events are held.
We recommend spending a better part of the day in this area; choose at least 2 major parts to visit to make the trip worthwhile. It’s very easy to book tickets ahead and there is no need to print if you have a smart phone as the tickets can be downloaded and the bar code can be read from your smart phones. In this way, you can avoid long queues for entrance tickets. The website www.visitvalencia.com is a reliable and user-friendly website where tickets can be purchased. Just click on the Tickets’ tab and you will see a variety of offers for the locations in the City of Arts and Sciences, amongst other attractions.
The trip to Valencia will not be complete if you have not tried Paella! So take a mid afternoon break for lunch (late lunch as per the Spanish tradition!) and visit Casa Carmela at Playa de la Malvarrosa, well known for serving the best paella in town. The beach is accessible by public transportation or taxi and it just close to the city centre.
For dining at night, walk along the La Gran Via area, particularly Calle
Conde de Altea, one of the gastronomic areas of Valencia with door-to-door restaurants. We recommend stopping by Lambrusqueria, an Italian restaurant with a delightful outdoor ambiance for a candlelit dinner. The food and service is excellent and they have a delightful option of serving you the best parts of their menu, essentially a 4-course meal for €20 each.
Valencia definitely has a lot to offer and this is a place you must visit at least once in your life. So take time off work, book that holiday and follow our 3-day Valencian path above!
Our ClickGibraltar team wishes you a great trip ahead!