Looking to take a Valencia city break? This vibrant port city sits on Spain’s South Eastern coast and has a rich history, thriving cultural scene, beautiful scenery, and incredible cuisine.
Valencia is a perfect city break destination and two days in this beautiful city ticks all the boxes. Read on to discover the best things to do in Valencia on your city break.
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Spain’s third-largest city is also one of its oldest. It was founded in 138 BC by the Romans and has an Arabic (Moorish) influence you can’t fail to notice.
The city is full of contrasts, with a cultural old town sitting shoulder to shoulder with the futuristic architecture of the City of Arts and Sciences which include a planetarium, aquarium and an interactive museum. Valencia is also the birthplace of paella, Spain’s most famous dish.
Once you’ve explored the city highlights, head to one of Valencia’s sandy beaches, discover the Turia Gardens where the River Turia once flowed through the city or enjoy Albufera Park, a wetlands reserve with walking trails and a lake.
This itinerary will help you get the very best out of your Valencia city break but first there’s some practical information that’ll help you plan your visit.
Valencia Weather – Best time to visit Valencia
Valencia enjoys a subtropical Mediterranean climate, with mild winter temperatures and long, hot sunny summer days. The best time of year to visit Valencia depends on your personal interests and budget.
July to September is the best time to visit Valencia if you plan on hitting the beach but there’s a trade-off because it’s high season in the city and accommodation costs are higher.
The peak of summer can be very hot, both day and night. Having said that, we stayed for 2 days at the end of July and didn’t find the temperatures too hot. It might be worth booking accommodation with air-conditioning if you plan on travelling to Valencia during peak summer months.
Anytime outside of peak summer and holiday celebrations is also a good time to visit Valencia. The shoulder season months of May, June, September and October are great for warm temperatures, uncrowded tourist attractions and reasonable prices. Shoulder season is my favourite time of year for city break.
The city’s festivals take place from the 1st to 19th of March with the most important festival taking place 15th to 19th. Las Fallas festival sees the city filled with tourists and locals ready to enjoy pyrotechnic shows and homemade sculptures “fallas”.
Accommodation is harder to come by during March and most things in the city are more expensive at this time so you’ll pay more.
Although the winter months will be less crowded there’ll also be reduced openings of many tourist sights.
Getting to Valencia
Many low cost airlines have direct flights to Valencia from UK airports. Ryanair flies direct from Bristol, Bournemouth, East Midlands and Stansted to Valencia.
How to get from Valencia Airport to the City Centre
If you’re flying into Valencia the airport is around 10-kilometres from the city. Transfer options include the metro, shuttle bus or local bus.
The quickest option is the metro at €4.90 which takes about 20-minutes from the airport to the city centre.
The airport shuttle bus takes around 25-minutes depending on traffic density and cost around €2.50. The local bus takes about 40-minutes and is the cheapest option at €1.45.
Alternatively, take a taxi from the airport or pre-book your transfer.
Getting around Valencia
Valencia’s beautiful old town is fairly compact and its attractions are easily walkable. If you want to get down to the beach and explore a little further afield then it’s worth acquainting yourself with the city’s public transport system.
Valencia’s public transport includes bus routes and metro lines. Both use a single-journey ticket at a cost of €1.50 or you can use other ticket types which can be used on both bus and the six metro lines. Purchase tickets from machines in metro and train stations or from bus drivers.
An impressive network of bus routes provides easy and convenient transportation around the city. Fares are inexpensive so buses are a good way to travel in Valencia.
The Hop-On Hop-Off bus is a great way to get around Valencia’s main attractions. A bus ticket allows you to get on and off at all of the 21 stops around the city with options of 24 or 48 hours. Perfect for using on your 2 day Valencia itinerary.
You’ll have access to an on-board audio guide in different languages, which offers insights and facts about all city’s top landmarks. You can get your hop-on hop-off ticket here.
Valencia taxis are plentiful and can be easily hailed all over the city. Keep in mind they are more expensive than buses, but offer a quick and comfortable way to get around Valencia.
Bike rental stations are located in various spots where you can hire bicycles and electric scooters to get around during your 2 days in Valencia. Similar to other Spanish cities, there are many kilometres of safe and clearly-marked cycle lanes to enjoy.
A fun way to visit some of Valencia’s major attractions is by taking a bike tour of the city.
We arrived in the city by train from Dénia into Valencia Nord station which was just a ten minute walk from our accommodation at Hi Valencia Boutique.
Valencia Guide – Where to Stay in Valencia
Valencia has a fairly small city centre. Book central accommodation and you’ll be able to check out most of the city’s main attractions on foot.
Budget Hotel: We stayed at Hi Valencia Boutique which is just a 3-4 minute walk from the Cathedral and budget friendly. Breakfast not included but plenty of cafes nearby.
We rarely used public transport during our stay because pretty much everything we wanted to see was within walking distance. The only time we used it was to get to the beach from the City of Arts and Sciences.
How to save money in Valencia
If you plan on using public transport during your stay, do yourself a favour and purchase a Valencia tourist card. This card will provide you with unlimited access to all public transport with free admission to public museums and discounts in various shops and restaurants. The card is perfect for helping you budget for your 2 days in Valencia.
What is Valencia best known for?
Five things Valencia is famous for:
- Valencia Cathedral
- The City of Arts and Sciences
- The Old Town and Central Market
- Valencia is the birthplace of paella
- Fallas – the city’s famous festivals which take place in March.
Valencia – things to know before you go
- The sun can be harsh – Make sure to get a sunscreen and apply it regularly. We recommend Altruist, an ethical, premium quality sunscreen at an affordable price developed by dermatologists. It’s also reef safe and kind to the oceans.
- Take a hat and a reusable water flask that’ll keep your water nicely chilled.
- Wear comfy shoes. You’ll do a lot of walking in Valencia. We clocked up 25k steps on a single day.
- As with all major cities around Europe beware of pickpockets, especially on public transport or in crowded places.
- Avoid withdrawing from ATMs – and by avoid, I mean don’t. Many ATMs are going to charge you as much as 7.5% to 20% in addition to your withdrawal.
- I use my Wise account debit multi-currency card which I keep topped up with Euros and US$. I can use it overseas because the fees are low and exchange rates excellent. I wouldn’t be without it.
- Drink Agua de Valencia, but not too much – this orange, gin, vodka and cava cocktail is wonderful but very potent!
A Valencia city break itinerary
There are plenty of exciting sights to see, places to visit and experiences to try on a Valencia weekend break. I’ve included some of the best things to do in Valencia in this 2-day itinerary to help you plan your perfect Valencia city break. Let’s dive in…
Valencia Itinerary – Day 1
Start your explorations in the heart of Valencia’s Old Town where you’ll find some of the city’s most beautiful and historic buildings.
Valencia Cathedral, which is also known as St Mary’s Cathedral, is one of the city’s largest landmarks. The cathedral was built on the site of the city’s mosque in 1238 after Valencia was seized from the Moors.
The cathedral with elements of gothic, renaissance, baroque and neoclassical architecture is said to hold the chalice of the Holy Grail. It’s the most significant religious building in Valencia and contains a famous Goya painting, many paintings by local artists and houses a beautiful altar.
If, like me, you’re partial to a city rooftop view you’ll want to climb the Miguelete Bell Tower which is attached to the Cathedral. Haul yourself up the 207 steps of the spiral staircase to the belfry at the top of the ornate tower for stunning city views.
Entry to the tower costs €2.50 and times vary according to time of year so best to check the Cathedral website. Entry to the Cathedral is €8 which includes an audio guide. There’s a 10% ticket discount with the Valencia tourist card.
Where: Pl. de l’Almoina, s/n, 46003 València
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Plaza de la Virgen
Step outside the Cathedral and you’ll find yourself in the vibrant Plaza de la Virgen, one of the city’s most popular plazas.
The beautiful square is lined with popular landmarks including the Basílica de la Mare de Déu dels Desemparats and the Palau de la Generalitat, a 15th-century Gothic palace serving as seat of the Valencian city government. The focal point of the plaza is the sparkling Turia Fountain (Fuente del Turia).
Where: Plaça de la Verge, 4, 46001 València
Almoina Archaeological Museum
A few steps down the nearby Pasaje de Emilio Aparicio Olmos will bring you to the contemporary Almoina Archaeological Museum.
Exhibits will take you through Valencia’s history including ruins of Roman baths and forum and part of the Moorish alcázar (fortress) from the Muslim period.
Where: La Almoina, Pl. de Dècim Juni Brut, s/n, 46003 València,
Entry is included with the Valencia tourist card
La Lonja de la Seda
A short five minute walk through Valencia old town from the archaeological museum brings you to the UNESCO World Heritage site of the old Silk Exchange.
La Lonja de la Seda is a beautiful 15th-century building which once served as the city’s silk exchange.The beautiful gothic architecture is worth exploring on a self-guided tour but especially make time to see the Hall of Columns, also known as the Trading Hall, with its incredible vaulted ceiling and twisted columns.
Where: Carrer de la Llotja, 2, 46001 València
Entry is included with the Valencia tourist card
Central Market of Valencia
I love to visit the local market when I’m visiting a new destination. Because food markets aren’t really for tourists they allow you to get a taste of the authentic vibe of a city and its locals.
Valencia’s Central market is one of the largest markets in Europe and has been held inside a fabulous art nouveau building since 1928. Be sure to check out the tiles and stained glass.
Valencia Mercat Central is packed with fresh local produce and a lively buzz. There are bars and restaurants where locals hang out for a quick meal and a catch up. Central Bar is great for tapas or Horchata, a delicious sweet drink made from tiger nuts, usually served with fartons.
Where: Pl. de la Ciutat de Bruges, s/n, 46001 València,
If you love discovering local foodie hotspots on a city break then a food tour is a great idea. You’ll find all the local hidden gems plus have some ideas on where to head back to for a meal later in your trip.
For great food have lunch at Central Market or find a tapas bar in the gorgeous El Carmen neighbourhood which is a short ten-minute stroll from the market. But en-route to El Carmen be sure to check out…
The National Museum of Ceramic Arts
Even if you don’t have time to go inside to check out the ceramics, it’s worth passing by the exterior of the beautiful Palace of the Marqués de Dos Aguas to catch a glimpse of the entrance to this beautiful building.
Where: C. del Poeta Querol, 2, 46002 València
Website: Museum of Ceramic Arts
Book a fun tour of Valencia’s medieval quarter by segway. Check rates and availability
I loved exploring the laid-back bohemian neighbourhood of Barrio del Carmen in the old quarter.
The area is made up of winding narrow streets, medieval buildings and there’s colourful street art around every corner. Small tapas bars, cafes and shops line the alleyways and there’s a nicely chilled vibe about El Carmen.
We found a small tapas bar, Taberna el Olivo, where half a dozen alleyways met in a small square. We had a great time enjoying a cold beer with a delicious meal of padron peppers, sardines and croquet potatoes while we watched the people of El Carmen go about their day.
El Carmen is close to the boundary of Valencia Old Town which makes the next stop just a short walk away.
Torres des Serranos
You’ll easily spot the looming 14th Serrano Gate which once formed part of the city walls that surrounded Valencia. The Gothic gateway marks the northern entrance to the Old Town and it’s worth climbing the 140 steps to the top for sweeping rooftop views of the city and the Turia Gardens.
The back of the towers have been opened up so that the arches and the vaulted domes are now exposed and can be seen from the Plaza de los Fueros so it’s worth checking them out from both the front and the back.
Admission price: Currently 2€ for adults, 1€ for children, students and concessions). Free on Sundays and holidays. Entry is free with a Valencia tourist card
Tip: On rainy days the towers close for safety reasons
Where: Plaza de los Fueros, Valencia
Plaza del Ayuntamiento
From Serranos Gate head to Plaza del Ayuntamiento. This pretty square with fountains and flower borders is overlooked by the neoclassical Town Hall and other buildings of architectural beauty including the city’s Central Post Office. Go inside for a look at the ornate interior of columns, sweeping staircase and spectacular glass domed ceiling.
The tourist office is also located in the plaza.
Bullring of Valencia
From here it’s a short hop south to the imposing Valencia Bullring in the downtown district of Eixample. It’s right next to the train station.
Bullfights only take place once or twice a year, usually March and July but it’s an interesting place to visit at any time.
A bullring has existed on the site since the 11th century. The current neo-Mudéjar structure was completed in 1859 and bears similarities to Rome’s Colosseum. You’ll discover more about Valencia’s bullfighting heritage and the Valencian Bullfighting Museum at the neighbouring museum.
Book a tour of Valencia’s bullring – check rates and availability
Flamenco Show with Dinner
For a real flavour of Spanish culture experience an evening of flamenco at La Bulería. The enigmatic and intense dancing is accompanied by excellent Mediterranean cuisine in an authentic atmosphere. Book your Flamenco show tickets here.
Valencia Itinerary – Day 2
A walk through Jardín del Turia
Jardín del Turia divides Old Town and downtown Valencia. The gardens are located in a dry riverbed which formed the route of the Turia River which once flowed through Valencia.
In 1957 the river Turia broke its banks and flooded the city. Over three quarters of Valencia was flooded and over 60 lives were lost. In 1969 Valencia diverted the river to save the city.
Initially, the plan was to repurpose the river bed as a highway through the city to ease traffic congestion. After many protests a green space in the city was envisaged and now a five-mile green swathe ribbons its way through Valencia. The Green River.
From the Old Town take a pleasant walk cycle ride or segway through Jardin del Turia. It’s crossed with bridges, dotted with parks and play areas and set with beautiful planting, fountains and pathways.
Before long you’ll come to one of Valencia’s top attractions, the iconic and futuristic structures of the City of Arts and Sciences.
The City of Arts and Sciences
In complete contrast to day one’s historic discoveries of Valencia, day two sees a visit to its futuristic modern side and the Ciudad de les Artes y Les Ciences.
This architecturally fascinating park and top Valencia attraction is home to six venues and is considered one of the twelve treasures of Spain. There’s a lot to see and you could easily spend a whole day here.
We were quite happy to wander through the park without going into any of the venues, but if the weather’s not so good or you have kids to entertain then here’s what the park holds.
Oceanogràfic is Europe’s largest aquarium encompassing seven different marine environments.
Over 500 different species of marine life can be viewed, including dolphins, walruses, the only family of belugas in Europe, sea lions, seals, sharks and penguins.
The longest glass tunnel in Europe is inside which you can walk through with fish swimming over and all around you.
Ensure you book your tickets in advance, because the aquarium is popular and often sells out.
Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe
This interactive science museum houses many exhibitions covering science and technology. You’ll need a separate ticket for the scientific workshops but you can also enter a free exhibition, shops, restaurant and toilets.
The Hemisfèric is a 3D IMAX cinema, with a massive 900 metre concave wrap-around screen, laser show and planetarium. A good bad weather option.
Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía
The opera house and performing arts centre was finished in 2005. When there are no performances tours are available to see the huge stage and learn about the architecture.
You will need tickets to enter the Hemisfèric, the Science Museum and the Oceanogràfic. You can pay to enter each venue individually or buy combined tickets at a reduced rate.
The Umbracle is a huge, open-access garden covering more than 17,000 m2 and the city of Arts and Sciences car park! It’s a beautiful spot to stroll around and enjoy the Mediterranean plants and contemporary sculptures. It’s a great place for a picnic.
If you’re looking for things to do in Valencia at night, this is one of the city’s coolest night spots. L’Umbracle Terrazza opens in the summer months as a nightclub set inside the gardens. A great spot for summer drinks.
From the park it’s a quick hop by bus or Metro to the beach.
Playa de la Malvarrosa
Head to the coast to kick back and enjoy your final hours in Valencia at Playa de la Malvarrosa. This wide sandy beach is lined with palm trees, boardwalk and a stretch of buzzy bars and restaurants.
You can rent a parasol and relax in the shade or soak up some sunshine. We had a late lunch of paella at a beachfront restaurant and a drink of Aqua de Valencia made with fresh orange juice. Did you know Valencia’s don’t usually eat rice in the evenings so paella is usually a lunch time dish for locals.
What to eat and drink in Valencia
Valencia brings some great food and drink to the table. So much so that I’ve dedicated a complete article to food and drink in Valencia.
Find out about the origins of a traditional paella, Horchata and fartons (yes you read that right) and Agua de Valencia which isn’t actually water but is rather potent…
To have a very authentic Valencian food experience, take a paella cooking class and learn how to make this delicious traditional dish anytime you wish.
>>> Read more: Valencian food guide – what to eat and drink in Valencia
Are 2 Days In Valencia Enough?
Yes, you can cover most of Valencia’s attractions in a 2-day city break but it will need to be a full two days. We arrived at around 10am in the morning and left at 9pm the following day. The one night stay and two full days also kept accommodation costs down.
I hope that my guide has helped you plan your Valencia city break. While the city is packed with things to see and do, its compact size means it’s easy to get around and see all the city’s highlights in 2 days.
The combination of great weather, tasty cuisine, cultural richness and fascinating history makes Valencia the perfect location for a weekend getaway.
Ready to plan your trip to Valencia?
- To get the best deals on flights, compare cheap prices with Skyscanner flight comparison site
- Book your airport transfers with Welcome Transfers
- Find the perfect place to stay on Booking.com
- Compare prices for your car hire
- Explore your destination through local experiences
- If you think you need a visa check with iVisa
- Plan your trip with maps and guide books
- I use a Wise account multi-currency debit card. Easy to top up, low fees and better exchange rates.
- And, finally, please don’t forget to protect you and your trip with travel insurance. I’m very happy with my Heymondo travel insurance.