Valencia Highlights: 10 Must-see Attractions

We just spent three fun days in Valencia and we loved every minute! We explored a lot of beautiful places, from old buildings and markets to small bars and tasty tapas spots. Since there’s so much to see and do, we want to share our top picks with you.

We’d also love to hear from you! Have you been to Valencia? What did you like the most? Drop your stories and tips in the comments. Maybe there’s something we missed, or you found a special spot that stood out. Let’s chat and share some travel tips.

Hi, we’re Timon & Filipa!

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.

Must-See Attractions in Valencia

Central Market

Central Market of Valencia with shoppers at stalls displaying fresh fruits, vegetables, and local produce, under an ornate architectural ceiling

We started our day in Valencia with a visit to the Central Market at around 8 AM, just a few minutes from where we stayed. The central market of Valencia is the largest of the markets in the city, and you can find it in the heart of the Valencia Old Town. It is thought to be one of the oldest markets still in use in Europe, earning status from the Spanish government of a “Heritage of Cultural Interest” site.

Valencia Central Market with many shops and a lively crowd, under a beautiful, high ceiling.

It was great to get there right after it opened as it wasn’t too busy yet. This made it easy for us to look around and take in all the sights and smells without any rush.

Inside view of the Central Market of Valencia with its special roof, bright walls, sunlight through windows, and market stalls.

If you enjoy discovering new foods as much as we do, the Central Market is the perfect spot. There’s a wide variety of fresh foods to see and try, including cheeses, meats, nuts, seafood, and spices.

Even if you don’t need to buy any groceries, you should definitely try some food at the market. We recommend stopping by Bar Central. They serve some beloved Spanish dishes and great coffee. It’s a wonderful place to relax and enjoy the flavors of Spain.

Lonja de la Seda

Front view of the iconic tower at La Lonja de la Seda in Valencia, with the Valencian flag proudly displayed on top, set against a bright blue sky

Just across the street from the Central Market, you’ll find La Lonja de la Seda. This is one of the best-known landmarks in Valencia. It was built as a hub for silk and commodities traders in the 15th and 16th centuries.

This place has a charming garden and stunning architectural pillars inside that are worth seeing. You can spend a good half hour here exploring. The entrance costs 2 euros per person, but it’s free on Sundays and holidays.

Since La Lonja opens at 10 AM and closes at 7 PM, you might have some time to kill if you’re coming straight from the market. We recommend grabbing a coffee at Tapas Boatella nearby—a great relaxing spot.

Remember to enter La Lonja from the backside, not from the front on the main street where the two big doors are, as those are usually closed. Also, don’t miss the top floor when you’re inside. The ceiling there is really something special!

Plaza de la Virgen

Valencia's famous Plaza de la Virgen

Just north of La Lonja, you’ll find yourself in Plaza de la Virgen, an important and lively square in Valencia. When you get there, the first thing you’ll notice is the beautiful fountain in the middle of the square.

You can’t miss the Cathedral of Valencia right there in the square. It’s really impressive, especially the doors. They’re called the Apostle Doors because they have carvings of the twelve apostles around them—definitely worth a closer look.

The stunning golden dome inside the Basilica de la Virgen in Valencia, also known as Our Lady of the Forsaken, a key feature that draws visitors to this revered site.

Right next to the cathedral is the Basilica de la Virgen, named after the Virgin Mary, also known as Our Lady of the Forsaken. The inside is stunning, especially the golden dome, which beautifully catches the light.

If you’re into history, visit La Almoina Archaeological Museum, which is next to the cathedral. It has all kinds of artifacts from Valencia’s history, from the Roman times to the Middle Ages. Entry is 2 euros, but it’s free on Sundays and holidays.

Front view of La Almoina Archaeological Museum in Valencia, featuring slightly pink walls and twin entrances, with visitors gathered at the entry, adjacent to the cathedral.

We first visited Plaza de la Virgen late in the afternoon and found it quite crowded. We suggest visiting early in the morning. It’s much quieter then and almost feels like you have the whole place to yourself. It’s perfect for taking photos without too many people around. Just keep in mind that the fountains might not be activated yet if you go early.

Early morning view of Plaza de la Virgen in Valencia, nearly empty and perfect for photography, with light clouds and the sun just starting to rise

Serranos Towers

View from the bridge of the Serranos Towers in Valencia, showing many people walking through the open doors into the city center—a bustling gateway to explore this must-visit attraction.

Just a short walk north from Plaza de la Virgen, you’ll find the impressive Serranos Towers, standing 33 meters tall. These towers are a must-see in Valencia, as they are some of the best-preserved historical sites in the region, giving you a real taste of 14th-century Valencia.

We recommend visiting early in the morning for the best experience and great photo opportunities. It’s quieter then, and you can avoid the crowds that start to gather around noon.

Close-up of the right tower of the Serranos Towers in Valencia, with people relaxing by the bridge wall, palm trees, passing cars, and light clouds setting a vibrant scene.

The towers are open from 10 AM to 7 PM and close for a short siësta between 2 PM to 3 PM. The entrance fee is 2 euros, but it’s free on Sundays and holidays.

La Terraza at the Blanq Carmen Hotel

If you’re looking for a place to relax and have a drink afterward, check out La Terraza at the Blanq Carmen Hotel. It’s close to the Serranos Towers and offers a fantastic rooftop bar experience in Valencia.

Turia Garden

Panoramic view from the terrace of Blanq Carmen Hotel overlooking Turia Garden in Valencia, showcasing the lush park on a cloudy day, a peaceful retreat within the city.

From either the Serranos Towers or the rooftop bar at Blanq Carmen Hotel, you’re only a quick walk away from the Turia Garden. Just cross the street and you’re there! This park started as a river but was turned into a park in the late 20th century after the big flood in 1957 to keep the city safe from future floods.

Turia Garden is where many locals love to run or take a leisurely walk. You’ll also see some exercise equipment spread out for anyone who wants to work out.

We walked into Turia Park near the Serranos Towers and headed down towards the City of Arts and Sciences, which takes about 45 minutes. We’ll tell you more about that place later.

Palm tree-lined pathway next to the Palau de la Musica de Valencia, offering a green, shaded walk through Turia Garden, perfect for music and nature lovers.

On this southward walk, you’ll also come across some great spots like the Pont del Mar, the Palau de la Musica de Valencia, where they hold orchestra performances and concerts, and the fun Gulliver Park.

City of Arts and Sciences

The striking architecture of Palau de les Arts, part of the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, serving as an IMAX theater and opera house, underlining its status as a must-see for visitors.

We’ve reached our favorite spot in Valencia, the City of Arts and Sciences. It’s a top attraction and definitely a must-see with its stunning architectural buildings. The complex includes the Hemisferic, which houses an IMAX theater, a science museum, the Queen Sofia Palace of Arts, L’Agora, and the Oceanogràfic.

The large white UMBRACLE letters in L'umbracle Gardens, Valencia, with a backdrop featuring a large blue starfish sculpture and a glimpse of Palau de les Arts, highlighting the artistic flair of the area.

Covering over 350,000 square meters, you’ll want to dedicate enough time to explore this place fully. Just walking around these buildings can take about an hour. Don’t miss the L’Umbracle Gardens, a beautiful small park with palm trees that make for great photos.

Timon van Basten posing in front of Palau de les Arts in Valencia's City of Arts and Sciences on a sunny day with clear blue skies, capturing the joyful essence of visiting this iconic site.

I (Timon) visited Mya Club here a few years ago on a summer Saturday night, and it was a blast. It’s located right beneath L’Umbracle Gardens. If you’re here in the summer, it’s worth checking if it’s open to catch some of the local nightlife vibes.


Busy entrance of Oceanografic Valencia, Europe's largest aquarium, featuring a striking architectural design with an arched entrance and large blue windows bearing the aquarium's logo.

Just a quick 10-minute walk from the City of Arts and Sciences, you’ll find Oceanogràfic, the biggest aquarium in Europe. It’s a place worth visiting for its incredible marine life displays. Although we have concerns about animals in captivity, it’s good to know that some of the species here are endangered and are being helped to avoid extinction.

When I (Timon) visited while studying Spanish in Valencia, I found you need around 3 to 4 hours to see everything comfortably. But there’s no time limit, so you can spend the whole day exploring if you like.

In Oceanogràfic, you’ll see marine species from all over the world, including the Arctic, tropical waters, and the Red Sea. The aquarium is home to beluga whales, penguins, walruses, turtles, and jellyfish. Walking through the underwater tunnels, where sharks and manta rays glide above you, is an unforgettable experience.

We have mixed feelings about recommending Oceanogràfic due to the captivity issue, but we understand it can still be a great way to escape the heat in Valencia or have an exciting day out with kids.

Valencia Station North

Interior view of Valencia Station North, where passengers wait for trains under digital departure boards, with two Renfe trains already docked

Walking from Oceanogràfic to Valencia Station North might be a bit too much, especially if it’s hot or rainy, as it’s about 3 km away. That’s why we opted for an Uber, which cost us about 10 euros.

You could also take bus number 95 from near Oceanogràfic. This bus will take you straight to the city center, close to Valencia Nord Station. The trip usually takes about 25 to 30 minutes, depending on the traffic, and a bus ticket costs around €1.50.

Valencia Nord Station, built in 1917, is not just a train station but also one of the city’s gems. It’s beautifully designed and focuses on being accessible to everyone. The layout is open and easy to move around, which is great for those with mobility issues.

Two long Renfe trains, painted white with red, stationed at Valencia Nord Station, ready to transport passengers across the region.

This station is a key part of Spain’s transportation network, with many connections, including a popular route to Barcelona. I (Timon) first came here from Barcelona a few years ago without knowing much about it, and I was so impressed that I simply had to return on my next visit to Valencia!

Plaza del Ayuntamiento

Getting to Plaza del Ayuntamiento from Valencia Station North is just a quick 5-minute walk. This square is right in the center of Valencia and faces the City Hall. There’s a beautiful fountain in the middle of the square, and the surrounding buildings are stunning.

Panoramic view from Atenea Sky Rooftop over Plaza del Ayuntamiento, showcasing the bustling square, its iconic fountain, and the crowd below

One of our favorite spots to take in the view is the Atenea Sky Rooftop. From here, you can enjoy amazing panoramic views of the plaza. We thought this place might be out of our budget, but we were pleasantly surprised by the reasonable prices.

Note that there’s an 8 euro entrance fee. If Atenea Sky Bar doesn’t meet your expectations, they offer a full refund as long as your visit was brief and you didn’t order anything.

Quart Towers

Back view of Quart Towers in the El Carmen district of Valencia, with the right tower fully visible and the left partially obscured, both flying the Spanish flag—a historical must-see.

Moving on to our last highlight, it’s only about a 13-minute walk (1 km) to the Quart Towers, located on the edge of the El Carmen neighborhood.

The Quart Towers are one of the two remaining gates from the old city walls of Valencia, alongside the Serranos Towers. Originally, there were 12 gates in total. They were built in the 15th century and served as one of the main entrances to the city.

You can visit the towers between 10 AM and 7 PM for just 2 euros. If you decide to go on a Sunday or a holiday, you can climb to the top for free. The climb might be a bit tougher than the Serranos Towers, but the views from the top are just as spectacular.

Must-See Neighbourhoods in Valencia

El Carmen (Barrio del Carmen)

Looking up at two brightly colored buildings in yellow and red with beautiful balconies, capturing the vibrant architectural style typical of Valencia.

El Carmen in Valencia is one of the city’s most famous neighborhoods. It sits in the old town and offers a lot more than just shopping. This historic center is full of life and culture.

When you explore El Carmen, you’ll walk through streets and squares that are full of color and character. You’ll see walls covered in artwork that gives the neighborhood a fun and artsy vibe, along with traditional plazas.

If you’re running low on time, a Segway city tour that includes El Carmen could be a good choice. If you’re tired of walking but still want to see the sights, you could also try a tuk-tuk tour. This way, you can enjoy all the historical spots in El Carmen and the rest of the city without getting too tired.

Make sure to pass by the House of Cats. It’s a tiny house built on a wall by a local artist as a shelter for street cats in Valencia. We found it so cute that we just had to share this spot with you!

Valencia’s Old Town

View of a bustling square in Valencia, with people enjoying time under an arched tunnel at café terraces, capturing the lively urban atmosphere.

Exploring the old town of Valencia was exciting, packed with so many interesting places to check out. It was tough to decide where to start because there was so much to see. We even found lots of hidden spots that were amazing, too.

One street we really liked was Calle de los Caballeros. It has some major landmarks that grabbed our attention. The Marques de Dos Aguas Palace was amazing with its fancy architecture. Nearby, Plaza de la Virgen impressed us with Gothic buildings.

When walking through the Old Town of Valencia, make sure to visit the Portal de Valldigna. Also, don’t miss the Ceramics Museum of Valencia. The side entrance itself is lovely, and inside, you’ll find a great collection of ceramic art.

Walking around Valencia’s old town was definitely a highlight for us. We enjoyed both the famous spots and the hidden corners, giving us a full experience of the city.

Russafa (Ruzafa)

A beautiful blue building with white balconies in the Russafa district of Valencia, displaying the vibrant and colorful architecture that makes the area a must-visit.

Visiting the Russafa neighborhood in Valencia was another highlight of our trip. This southeast part of the city has roots stretching back to the 9th century and has become known as a hipster hotspot because of its artsy vibe and diverse culture.

Front view of Vachata, a quaint small pastry shop in Valencia where visitors can buy sandwiches and cakes, inviting passersby to taste local treats.

The area is packed with art galleries and street art that you really should check out. Plus, it’s a great spot for a night out, with its rock pubs, trendy cafes, vintage shops, and indie venues where the hip crowd hangs out.

When it comes to food, we had an awesome experience at Blackbird, where we stopped for a quick bite and a coffee. Even though it was busy, we got a table quickly. Just a few minutes later, we were enjoying the best freshly made cinnamon rolls, all served with a big smile by the friendly staff.

For dinner, we headed to Matoque, one of our top places for tapas in Valencia. This place takes familiar flavors and gives them a fresh twist—it’s a paradise for anyone who loves food. They start serving at 8 PM, and it’s definitely worth the wait!

Another tapas bar that deserves a shout-out is Bar Vermudez. It’s another fantastic spot for enjoying Valencia’s popular communal dining scene. So, if that’s more convenient, you should try it.

Visiting Valencia in Spain

To wrap up our Valencia adventure and the top 10 must-visit spots we’ve shared, we highly recommend staying in Valencia for at least three days. This way, you won’t have to rush through the sights and have enough time to enjoy a relaxing drink or some tasty tapas. 

Valencia is packed with incredible places, from the bustling markets to the quiet corners of its beautiful gardens. Spending at least three days here means you can explore at your own pace, experience the local culture, and make the most of your visit to this beautiful city.

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