A magnificent coastal city, Valencia is where famed paella meets centuries-old Spanish history and futuristic science and nature attractions. The charismatic old quarter reveals bustling markets and family-run restaurants, while the city’s lush parkland meanders between late-night bar scenes and Romanesque architecture.
Things to do in Valencia
Built into an old river, Valencia’s central park is a treasure trove of cultural and natural attractions, including the out-of-this-world City of Arts and Sciences. One of the 12 Treasures of Spain, it includes the L'Hemisfèric IMAX cinema and planetarium, interactive Príncipe Felipe Science Museum and L'Oceanogràfic, Europe’s largest oceanographic aquarium.
Are you an animal lover? You’ll find plenty to admire at Valencia Bioparc, a 10-hectare zoo dedicated entirely to African fauna, such as leopards, hippos, lemurs, giraffes and aardvarks. If you prefer a scenic spot to get active, head to Parque de Cabecera for walking and bike paths around waterways and children’s playgrounds.
Valencia’s history is showcased through its many Gothic buildings, including the 16th-century Llotja de la Seda and the 13th-century Serranos Towers, which also offer stunning city views. Embrace the local culture while hunting for fresh local food at Mercado Central, a bustling market with produce sellers, restaurants and souvenir shops.
Paella is a Valencia specialty and is best experienced at El Palmar Restaurant, which sources its ingredients from the surrounding Albufera National Park. You can also learn to cook this national dish at the School of Rice Dishes and Paellas. Looking for an authentic flamenco show? Duck into Radio City, La Claca or Cafe del Duende, all of which host flamenco nights with lively music, dancing and singing.
Getting around Valencia
If you’ve got time, walking around Valencia reveals an array of attractions interspersed with unique neighbourhoods. The city also boasts reliable buses, trams and the Metro network, which all provide transport around downtown and to the outer suburbs. Bike lines run throughout Valencia, including along the central riverbed park.