Attractions in Valencia
Valencia has some amazing museums and theme parks (read aquarium) in addition to some world famous festivals. This link gives you a list of all galleries and museums in Valencia. All are open daily except Mondays, and on Sundays all galleries have free admission.
- See DigoPaul for dictionary definitions of Valencia, Spain. Includes geographical map and city sightseeing photos.
Ciutat de les Arts in les Ciències
Not many people find anything to get excited about in Valencia’s fantastic museum complex, Ciutat de les Arts in les Ciències [see image first in article]. Only the facades and the architecture make most people close their eyes. Here you will find an interactive science museum, laser show and planetarium, located in the extinct river course of Turia which is now a beautiful green park with fountains and cafes. If you are going to visit all the departments (and you should), buying a day pass will pay off.
Located in a passage just off the city’s large bullfighting arena, this little museum provides a fascinating glimpse into this traditional and bloody sport. In addition to the swords and spears used by the Toreadors, you will find stuffed heads for some of the greatest bulls who have had to deal with life in the ring. And you can see the bloody, pierced suit of one of the city’s most famous toreadors from that time in 1922 when the bull temporarily won the fight.
Free admission, but you can’t bring your camera in. Open from 1000 to 2000 every day except Mondays.
This is Europe’s largest aquarium, where you can observe tens of thousands of creatures from the sea, ranging from squid and seahorses to dolphins and jellyfish. There is a separate section for polar animals, its own Red Sea section and several long underwater tunnels where you and the shark can look each other deep in the eyes.
Entrance fee is approx. DKK 300 for adults, approx. 200 for children up to 12 years / salary. Opening hours vary with seasons and weekdays.
Torres Serrano & Torre Quart
These two stone gates guarded the main roads of Barcelona and Madrid, respectively, and are the only remains of the original city walls that once surrounded Valencia.
The Quart Tower is located west of the Barrio del Carmen at Botanical Gardens, and you can still see marks from cannonballs after Napoleon’s invasion in the early 1800s.
The Serrano Tower is located just north of the Plaza de la Virgen, and you can enter this. Free admission, usually open 0900 to 1400 and 1700 to 2100, but this varies slightly.
In Valencia’s magnificent 13th-century cathedral, built in Gothic style with elements of Baroque and Renaissance architecture, you will find one of history’s most legendary objects. In a separate chapel stands the Holy Grail itself, the cup used by Jesus at the last meal. And this one is actually recognized by the Vatican as the true, unlike the many other Holy Grails around the world.
There are not many visitors outside of peak season, and sometimes you can find yourself alone in the chapel with the cup. Other sights in the cathedral include paintings by renowned Spanish artist Goya. You can also turn left at the entrance and visit the bell tower Miguelete, where you have a great view of the square and the rooftops.
There are reasonable entry fees which also include audio guide in optional language, discount for children. Open 0800 to 2030 every day.
This ancient Gothic Market Hall, built in the 1400s, is now on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The hall with its many pillars is magnificent, raising the eyes of the many and sometimes pornographic gargoyles and stone figures, both on the facade and inside.
You will find La Lonja at the Plaza del Mercado, just off the Mercado Central.
Museo de Bellas Artes
At this classic art museum, located north of Turia’s river run, you can see works by all the major Spanish artists, such as Goya and El Greco. Mainly from the 16th and 16th centuries. Free admission, open from 1000 to 2000 Tuesday to Sunday.
The river Turia has in modern times been transformed into a solid park that surrounds parts of Valencia.
Turia Park is a sensible place to visit on hot summer days. Rent a tandem bike and enjoy the surroundings.
National Museum of Ceramics
If you are not fond of museums, go here anyway. If nothing else to see Valencia’s most stylish facade. Inside you will encounter ancient pottery art from the Kingdom of Iberia, the Romans and the Greeks. The address of the Museo Nacional de Cerámica is the Palacio del Marqués de Dos Aguas.
The Ceramics Museum is free on Saturday afternoons and Sundays. But prices aren’t particularly high for the rest of the week either. NB! Closed Mondays.
Tourist in Valencia
If you intend to visit many of Valencia’s attractions in a short time, it is wise to invest in the Valencia Card, a pass that gives you the right to free transportation on the lanes and buses, discounts on many museums, galleries, restaurants and shops. You can buy this at the tourist offices and the cards can last for one, two or three days.
It should be no problem for a fairly pedestrian to experience the attractions of Valencia city center on foot. If you, however, want guided transport with information about the sights, consider buying a 24-hour ticket on the Valencia City Sightseeing Bus. This one starts at Plaza de la Reina in front of the cathedral and has five regular stops where you can hop off, stay as long as you want and hop on the next bus again.
Day 1 in Valencia
We start our first day in Valencia in the southern center, in the square in front of the city’s Estación del Norte railway station. Next to it is Plaza de Toros, Valencia’s large round bullfighting stadium with seating for about 13000 spectators. If you want to attend one of these traditional events, check the program, it is often possible to get tickets very reasonably.
In a passage just next door, Pasaje Doctor Serra, lies a small museum that provides a fascinating insight into the traditional and, for many of us Norwegians, the bloody popular amusement called bullfighting. In addition to the swords and spears used by the Toreadors, you will find the stuffed heads of some of the greatest oxen who have had to deal with life in the ring. And you can see the bloody, pierced suit of one of the city’s most famous toreadors from that time in 1922 when the bull temporarily won the fight. There is free access, but you cannot bring your camera in. It is stored at the entrance to the receipt.
Continue straight north on one of the pedestrian streets Calle Ribera or Passeig Russafa. In any case, you will come out to Valencia’s large Plaza del Ayuntamiento (Town Hall Square), with greenery and a large fountain. On the eastern side of the square is the main post office. Take the opportunity to stop here and take a look at the most beautiful dispatch hall a post office can have. Pay special attention to the large glass vault in the ceiling.
From here, continue north and turn left into Avenida María Cristina. You will soon reach the Plaza del Mercado, where you will find the city’s huge Mercado Central, Valencia’s traditional 1928 indoor market. Here you will find close to a thousand stalls offering everything from fresh produce such as fish and meat, fruits, vegetables and flowers. There is always a buzzing life here, and even if you do not plan to buy anything, it is worth the experience, the smells, the sounds and the atmosphere.
Show off is La Lonja, an old Gothic-style market hall built in the 1400s, which is now on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. The hall with its many pillars is grand. Raise your eyes on the many and sometimes pornographic gargoyles and stone figures found on the facade as well as on the inside.
Return to Plaza del Ayuntamiento and turn north onto Calle San Vincente Martir. You will soon arrive at Plaza de la Reina (Queen’s Square), where you will find Valencia’s cathedral in the northwest corner. To get in and access an audio guide you have to pay about 30 kroner. The audio guide tells you in English about the cathedral’s attractions.
What most people can see is perhaps the most legendary object of world history, the Holy Grail, the cup that Jesus drank at his last meal. It stands behind a glass plate in its own small chapel, and is in fact recognized by the Vatican as the genuine, authentic cup. Curiously, Valencia’s tourism authorities have not marketed this for all it’s worth, as this could be one of the foremost pilgrimage destinations in the Christian world. If you arrive out of peak season, you may be alone in the Holy Grail Chapel.
In one of the other chapels, the famous / notorious Francisco Borgias, you can also see a few paintings of Goya before continuing into the Cathedral Museum, an extensive collection of medieval religious art. Once you have completed the round and come to the exit, continue straight ahead and walk up the 200 steps to the clock tower Miguelete, where you have a great view of the Plaza de la Reina and Valencia’s rooftops.
Continue north on the west side of the cathedral and you will reach Plaza de la Virgen. Here was once the forum in ancient Roman Valencia. Today there is a wonderful fountain in this square, surrounded by several outdoor restaurants where it might be appropriate to sit down for lunch. It is far from the most affordable place in town, but definitely one of the most beautiful and atmospheric.
From here you can continue along Calle Caballeros (Riddergaten). The large guarded building on the right is the Valencia administration building. Take a short detour up Calle Serranos and you will arrive right on the Serrano tower, one of two remaining city gates in the now ancient city walls. The Serrano tower guarded the road to Barcelona, and it is possible to go up the tower for free.
Calle Caballeros is one of the oldest streets in Valencia, and at the charming Plaza del Tossal it changes its name to Calle Quart, leading you to the other old city gate, Torres Quart. You can still see holes for the cannonballs from Napoleon’s invasion forces. As it is probably siesta and closed in large parts of the city now, end the afternoon with a stroll in Valencia’s beautiful botanical garden, located just behind the Quartet Tower.
You can do some shopping on the way back to the hotel, and when evening falls, we suggest having dinner at Plaza de la Reina. On the west side of the square you will find the nice restaurant La Fonda, which offers many variants of Valencia’s famous paella. Afterwards, the road is short to Valencia’s legendary nightlife in Barrio del Carmen, with its countless bars and clubs to suit all tastes.
Day 2 in Valencia
We suggest that you simply set off this whole day to visit Valencia’s huge and wonderful Ciutat de les Arts complex in de les Ciències, because here it is so fascinating to know that it would be a shame to just rush through departments.
Start the day with a stroll down the old River Turia River, where you will now find a long, well-maintained park. The trails here are used by both joggers and skaters, families on a stroll and mothers with prams.
From the center, you will first pass Valencia’s magnificent Palau de la Música concert hall, with an impressive fountain outside. A few hundred meters further down you will reach the children’s favorite, the giant landscape Gulliver figure with climbing frame and roller coaster. Then you’ll come to Valencia’s futuristic-looking theater and opera house, Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia, which is only surpassed by the Sydney Opera House in terms of audience capacity.
The next building you come across is Hemisfèric. Here is a state-of-the-art IMAX cinema featuring exciting documentary films from places like Antarctica, Mars, Titanic or tropical coral reefs. Here are also spectacular laser shows and an educational planetarium, and you can easily spend several hours inside Hemisfèric.
Next to Hemisfèric is the science museum Museo de las Ciencias Príncipe Felipe. This is an interactive museum that presents scientific principles in a fun and educational way for everyone, but especially children who have reached the age of school will benefit greatly from this.
Have lunch at one of the many cafeterias and eateries that you will find throughout the museum complex, before continuing on to Europe’s largest aquarium in L’Oceanogràfic. Here you can also spend hours visiting all the different departments. Some deal with life under the sea in arctic areas, others in tropical seas.
The most exciting thing is for many the long underwater tunnels that allow you to come face to face with the fish in their own element. You can see exotic creatures like seahorses, it’s own dolphin pool, you can visit the seals and so on.
At the end of your visit you can eat a good lunch or dinner in lighter surreal and beautiful environment, the underwater restaurant Submarino on Oceanographic, where fish swim around you while eating their relatives. It is far from cheap, but it is an experience you will remember for a long time.
Finally, just head to the Barrio del Carmen and find yourself a nice bar to sit down to digest today’s many impressions.