Plaza de la Virgen: Visitor’s Guide

Visiting Plaza de la Virgen is a must in Valencia, a charming Spanish city. This beautiful square, which showcases the best of the city, is bordered on one side by the Turia Fountain, and on the other, it offers a view of the cathedral tower, the Miguelete.

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We travel across Spain in our motorhome, Speedy, and update TravelSpain24 with fresh content, practical tips, and personal stories from the road. Our goal is to help you experience Spain beyond the typical tourist trails.

The History of Plaza de la Virgen

It’s hard not to be fascinated by the rich history of Valencia, specifically the Plaza de la Virgen. Dating back to the Roman century, many infrastructures in this famous plaza have origins in the 1200s and earlier, leaving history buffs marveling at the stunning architecture.

The cathedral in Valencia is believed to have been constructed around 1262, reflecting its transformation through Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance influences. The bell tower there, El Micalet, dates back to the 14th century and offers over 200 steps for visitors to climb during their visit.

As a significant location in Valencia, Plaza de la Virgen forms the historic heart of La Terreta, establishing it as the city’s epicenter. This pedestrian-friendly and perfectly rectangular space, surrounded by tall, beautiful buildings, is a trademark of the city.

One of the key attractions there is the Basilica, which features a remarkable dome magnificently adorned with artwork. The image of Valencia’s patron saint, Geperudeta, is housed in the Basilica, linking the history and cultural significance of Valencia.

Much of the rich history that is still celebrated today originated from this plaza, which was built on an original Roman forum, making Plaza de la Virgen an iconic location to visit in Spain.

Architectural Highlights

Architectural Highlights Plaza de la Virgen

It is hard not to associate the Plaza de la Virgen with beautiful architecture. The brilliance of the cathedral located in the plaza is a highlight of a visit to Valencia. History meets art there, and the cathedral houses many historical treasures, including what some scholars believe is the Holy Chalice drank by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper.

Another site in the plaza not to miss is the Basilica de la Virgen, Valencia’s pride. The most important religious building constructed in Valencia in the 17th century, it was dedicated to the city’s patron saint.

The Stunning Cathedral

How can you describe the beauty of the cathedral in Plaza de la Virgen? The cathedral is gorgeous, and even its doors are special. Known as the Apostle Doors for the carvings of the twelve apostles adorning the entry, visitors will be taken aback by its beauty.

Besides its spiritual and historical significance, the cathedral is also a great place to sit down and relax, enjoying the activities happening around Plaza de la Virgen.

With so much history, booking an Art & Architecture Walking Tour of Valencia is recommended, ensuring you don’t miss all the cathedral and other sites offer.

Basílica de la Virgen

Basílica de la Virgen

The Basilica de la Virgen honors an important figure in religious history, the Virgin Mary. Referred to as Our Lady of the Forsaken, Basilica de la Virgen honors the image of the Virgin Mary throughout the Basilica.

The rich aesthetic of the Basilica built on a Roman forum, includes an impressive dome adorned in gold. During the annual Las Fallas festival in Valencia, locals and visitors completely cover the Basilica walls with flowers to honor the Virgin Mary.

The Basilica also houses a museum dedicated to the patron saint of Valencia, with a varied collection of paintings and sculptures. Visitors and locals are welcome to worship or simply enjoy the beautiful culture represented in Valencia.

When visiting the city, consider a Private Walking Tour of Valencia with a Guide to ensure you don’t miss any of the stunning architecture.

La Almoina Archaeological Museum

La Almoina Archaeological Museum

Visit the La Almoina Archaeological Museum in the Plaza de la Virgen to view pieces of Valencia’s history, from the Romans in the 2nd century to the Middle Ages. The museum is a great way to see how this area of Spain has evolved over the years.

Located next to Valencia’s Cathedral, the La Almoina Archaeological Museum showcases its deep history through recent renovations, displaying even more historic archaeological elements. History buffs and art lovers will marvel at the Museum, which is free on Sundays and holidays.

One exceptionally unique feature of this museum is a shallow pool that overlooks the main ruins and reflects the light around it.

The Water Tribunal Tradition

Valencia Cathedral Apostoles door Tribunal de las Aguas

One of the most unique events in Valencia is the Water Tribunal Tradition, a must-see for visitors. Dating back to when the city was under Moorish rule, an irrigation network was established, which led to the creation of this tribunal to regulate water distribution.

Even today, after so many years, every Thursday, the arches of the Doors of the Apostles at Valencia’s Cathedral reveal eight members dressed in loose black robes. These eight Valencians then resolve disputes related to water distribution for irrigation around the city. These disputes are settled swiftly, verbally, and in Valencian.

Our Visit to Plaza de la Virgen

Our Visit to Plaza de la Virgen

To successfully visit Plaza de la Virgen, it is important to know what worked and what didn’t work for people who have visited there. When we visited Plaza de la Virgen in the afternoon, we were shocked to see how crowded the square was at that time.

Enjoying Plaza de la Virgen when the crowds are excessive is next to impossible, so consider visiting early in the morning. Consider visiting as early as 8:00 a.m. to feel as if you have areas of the famous square to yourself.

There is no bad month to visit Spain or the Plaza de la Virgen, but a visit to Valencia in October is one not to miss. With mild temperatures and pleasant weather, we enjoyed sitting around the square and spending time outside during this month. We did need a light jacket outside in the evenings, so be sure to pack clothes that will layer easily.

Local Restaurants and Relaxing Spots

Local Restaurants around Plaza de la Virgen in Valencia

If you’ve decided to splurge and eat out while visiting Valencia, do not miss these wonderful dining spots in Plaza de la Virgen. My favorite restaurant there is Colmado LaLola, located at the foot of the Micalet in the plaza.

Experience the classic Valencian botiga, offering an incredible dining experience with dishes like cod fritters, homemade croquettes, and truffled scrambled eggs. Sitting outside on the terrace in the plaza is essential to enjoy the beautiful sights and sounds fully.

When selecting a tapas restaurant in Valencia, it’s important to understand how reservations work in Spain. Making a reservation is often necessary to secure the best outdoor seating options. This is also true for most restaurants in Plaza de la Virgen, where you’ll need a reservation for indoor dining as well.

Keep the Spanish meal times in mind to avoid massive crowds and ensure a more pleasant dining experience in the plaza.

Tips for Travelers

Valencia's famous Plaza de la Virgen

Before planning a trip to Valencia’s famous Plaza de la Virgen, consider these practical tips for navigating this popular Spanish square.

Be mindful of the dress code, especially in the summer. Some buildings in the plaza, like the cathedral, may not permit entry to those wearing shorts or with bare shoulders.

Additionally, if you wish to take photos with fewer people in the plaza, consider scheduling an early morning photoshoot. However, be aware that some iconic features, such as the fountain, are not operational in the early morning hours.

While there’s no wrong time or way to explore the city and visit Plaza de la Virgen, renting a bike in Valencia is one of the best ways to see everything.

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