Valiant Valencia – 5 Places You Have To See In Valencia, Spain

5 places to see in valencia spain
I'm lucky, I know. I got the train to Valencia from Madrid, where I live (you probably know that by now!), and it took me 2 hours to get there. A win for me! My point: you can get to Valencia really easily from Madrid! This is useful information to know if you're planning a Spain trip.  
5 Places You Have To See In Valencia

I spent a weekend there (Friday evening - Sunday evening), and in my opinion, that was more than enough to see the main sights of the city without having to rush. I did walk around 20 km on Saturday though, so maybe my definition of relaxed city-tripping is different from yours. I've been told that before. You have been warned.

Anyway, let's get to it!

Here's a map of the places you have to see in Valencia that I'm going to talk about a bit more in this post:

  1. Ruzafa (or Russafa, both ways of spelling can be found)

Ruzafa is a charming, up-and-coming neighbourhood in the centre of Valencia. Here is where you'll find your trendy restaurants and cafés, and this is where the local nightlife happens. I came here Friday night right after I arrived (around 8 pm), and I stayed until around 10 pm. The area was filling up with more and more people as time went by, and when I left, it was buzzing. I know, it might have been a bit lame of me to return to the hostel just as things were getting interesting, but I was tired. Don't judge!

2. Old Town and La Seu de Valencia

Valencia's metro system is quite good! It looks like it covers most of the city, it's affordable and clean. I got the metro to Colón, which seemed to be the most central station (everyone always got off there...I'm so well informed, I know!). 

From there, you can walk around the Old Town (Ciutat Vella), which encompasses most of Valencia's centre (the marker on the map shows the very centre of Ciutat Vella). The Old Town contains many beautiful landmarks that you can stumble upon by wandering through the lovely little streets.

The most impressive one is the Seu de Valencia, a cathedral rumoured to house the Holy Grail (exciting!).  I didn't go inside (I'm not that interested in immortality...kidding!), because I wanted to spend more time outside, but apparently, its interior is worth visiting.

valencia hc lifestyle
valencia hc lifestyle
valencia hc lifestyle

3. Mercat Central

The Central Market of Valencia is quite a large market located in Ciutat Vella. It's worth visiting because of the architecture of the building, and of course for the food. Who would I be if I didn't include a food place in this list, amirite? 😛 The stalls mostly sell authentic Spanish food, and you can find anything from jamón ibérico to fresh fruit to seafood (bring on the fishy smell!). Great place to grab a bite if you're taking a break from all the walking.

4. Jardín Del Turia, and the dry-riverbed park (I don't know its name...)

Ok, so the marker on the map is lying a little bit. The Jardín Del Turia technically only covers part of the place I would like you to visit. The place I'm referring to is the whole stretch of green that connects the Bioparc (the zoo, which I didn't go to), to the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (which I'll get to in a bit). You see that stretch of green? That's the dry riverbed of the river Turia that was converted into a park! Cool, right?

The first time, I went for a walk there. It's nice to walk through, but it took a really long time! You don't realize how huge this park is until you start walking. So, my recommendation would be to rent a bicycle and bike through. You can start at either end, although I started in the middle and then cycled towards the Bioparc and beyond, to find a lovely green space with no crowds. That's right. A lovely little, green, tourist-free oasis.

valencia jardin del turia

5. Oceanografic and Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències (City of Arts and Sciences)

Disclaimer: I was offered the Aukey products reviewed hereunder for free.

I'm into aquariums. I know it sounds weird, but I am. I love looking at fishy things (I'm sure that's the scientific term for it), and learning all about them. Maybe it's because you don't normally see a lot of marine life, even if you go to the beach. I find it fascinating. Naturally, when I heard that Valencia was home to the largest aquarium in all of Europe, I had to get my ticket. I was so keen, I booked the ticket online before my trip! Needless to say, there was no queue, on a Saturday, in August. Silly me.

Anyway, I LOVED IT. I spent 3.5 hours in Oceanografic!!! Ok, maybe you don't need to do that if you're not as aquarium-obsessed as I am, but it is pretty cool. Especially if you have kids, they will dig it. Oceanografic is divided into areas for: tropical and warm-water fish, Antarctic marine life (penguins!!! belugas!!!), sharks (of course they have the classic shark tunnel), crocodiles, a butterfly house (why? don't ask me), a 4D cinema (but you have to pay extra), a bird house (why? again, don't ask me), and a dolphin show. 

Now, I know that the whole topic of dolphin shows and keeping animals like belugas in captivity is controversial, and I get that. I don't like it when animals suffer, either. I do feel deeply conflicted about zoos and aquariums in that regard though. If it weren't for zoos, I would never have developed this love for wildlife. I would never have learned so much about animals, and I wouldn't care about them. 

Additionally, I do think that the whole zoo/aquarium industry is changing. Slowly, but surely. The show that I saw in Oceanografic wasn't pure entertainment. It had segments about what to do if you come across a stranded sea animal, the conservation and research efforts made by the aquarium, and how the animals were being cared for. 

oceanografic valencia
oceanografic valencia
oceanografic valencia

Photos taken with the Aukey Fish-Eye Lens, get it from Amazon here (US), or here (Europe, including the UK), if you want to take these kinds of cool photos using any smartphone!

Oceanografic is part of the City of Arts and Sciences, which is a gigantic complex of buildings dedicated to the Arts and Sciences (duh!). 

There is so much to see and visit there, including:

  • L'hemispheric, an IMAX cinema and planetarium. The building itself is shaped like an eye, and the roof opens/closes in the fashion of an eyelid as well. Pretty cool.
  • El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe, a science museum in a building reminiscent of a whale skeleton, apparently (I guess I see it.)

I thought the City of Arts and Sciences would make a magnificent spot to test my brand-new Aukey smartphone lenses. Below, you can see a comparison of the shots taken using the Aukey Wide-Angle lens and just the smartphone camera. I love how the Wide-Angle lens gives you a wider view of the landscape, and it gives you this cool curved optic. 

Get the lens on Amazon here (US), here (UK) or here (Spain).

ciudad de artes y ciencias valencia

Aukey Wide-Angle Lens

ciudad de artes y ciencias valencia

iPhone 7 Camera No Lens

ciudad de artes y ciencias valencia

Aukey Wide-Angle Lens

ciudad artes y ciencias valencia

iPhone 7 Camera No Lens

In brief, the whole building complex is endlessly fascinating. When you're there, you feel like you've stepped into the future! So, this is definitely a sight not to be missed if you're going to Valencia.

There you go, now you know which places you absolutely need to see when you go to Valencia! Let me know if you visit any of the places I mentioned and how you found them:)

Looking for somewhere to stay in Valencia? Here are the best deals from booking.com:

Booking.com

Bonus: Playa de la Malvarrosa (The Beach!!)

Since I did pinpoint that spot on the map, I thought I'd add the beach to the list as a bonus. It's a bonus because it's not really unique to Valencia and because I didn't bring my camera that day 😛 

Anyway! It's a pretty enough beach, quite clean, it wasn't overly crowded when I was there, the water was warm, overall a good experience:)

Ok ok, and the best part, the paella! Due to popular request, here it is!

It was the best paella I'd ever tasted, and it was vegetarian!! Can you imagine... 😀

Share the love:)

69 Comments

  1. Saint Facetious
    September 4, 2017

    The zoo debate is a really tough one. I know some zoos really do care for their animals and go the extra effort to make them comfortable (like San Diego), and they’re in general really educational, but yeah, the animals are still in captivity. But then, what about animals that would likely die or go extinct out of captivity? I imagine one day in the future, wild animals might simply not be around. :/ Which is why the education is important, which is why zoos are important… so many circles.

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 4, 2017

      That’s exactly my struggle! Thanks for contributing your opinion, I appreciate it!

      Reply
  2. In and Out of Vegas
    September 4, 2017

    Yes shush you better not ever complain about where you live! Look at all the gorgeousness! Plus since I read your blogs and see your Instagram posts now, I get to experience all the views AND food!! Thanks again for another great post.

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 4, 2017

      Hahahaha thank you so much???? I strive to give you wanderlust and make you hungry every day?

      Reply
  3. yourfriendkate
    September 4, 2017

    I love Valencia having been a few times but it seems to have so much more than I knew about!! Must make an effort to try and go again I think!!!

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 4, 2017

      Oooh yes, you’ll definitely have to check out these spots?? which places did you visit?

      Reply
      1. yourfriendkate
        September 4, 2017

        It was a while ago to be honest know we stayed around the centre and shopping etc. I remember when I was little being in awe of el Corte Ingles as you could buy such nice stuff!!!

      2. Helene Choo
        September 4, 2017

        Haha, El Corte Inglés is definitely a national treasure!! The centre is really nice though:) well, I think it’s time you went back!??

      3. yourfriendkate
        September 4, 2017

        Me too!! Just need to find a way to get there!! Lol!!

  4. Nicola J Ogston
    September 4, 2017

    Fab post. Definitely some great ideas of what to see. The old town and market place would be the first on my list. I love wondering around old towns. You can feel and see the history of the place
    X

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 4, 2017

      Thank you! I was also in love with the old architecture, it’s sooo beautiful and ornate??

      Reply
  5. Loved this post! Would really like to visit one day, there are so many places on my travel bucketlist! Everything looks so beautiful x

    Tiffany x http://www.foodandotherloves.co.uk

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 4, 2017

      Thank you very much?? I’m sure you can one day, it’s not that far from you??

      Reply
  6. Hannah ? (@northernwrites_)
    September 4, 2017

    I’ve never been to spain but this looks lovely, it reminds me a little of verona looking at some of your pictures

    Hannah @ The Northern Writes | http://www.thenorthernwrites.co.uk

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 4, 2017

      Oh really? I’ve never been to Verona but I want to go if it’s like Valencia??

      Reply
  7. Iam Izuken
    September 5, 2017

    Thanks for sharing, all I knew about Valencia before is their football club. Valencia is such an amazing place! I’m already in love with Mercat central. The photos are great!!

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 5, 2017

      Haha yeah it’s pretty cool! And if you go there, you can see them play;) thanks for your comment!

      Reply
  8. Christine Rieck
    September 5, 2017

    The buildings for the City of Arts and Sciences are so cool! We were just in Madrid in April. Sounds like I have to add Valencia to my list now. Thanks for all of the info!

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 5, 2017

      Ooh nice, I hope you enjoyed it! Yes, Valencia is definitely a Spain highlight for me:) thank you for your comment!??

      Reply
  9. Ajay Arora
    September 5, 2017

    Some excellent places to visit. I may not walk as much as you did but I sure can spend a lot of time with the dolphins. The dry river bed sure does fascinate me. Great guide overall and I will come back to this when I plan to trip here.

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 5, 2017

      Thank you! Haha yeah the dolphins were so cute! I hope you do get to visit Valencia sometime:)

      Reply
  10. Laura
    September 5, 2017

    Never been to Valencia but it looks beautiful, especially the Old Town. xx

    Reply
  11. Claire
    September 5, 2017

    Never thought of visiting Valencia but you may have just convinced me! 🙂 Also a I need to get my hands on one of those Aukey lenses! Very cool!

    Reply
  12. Dieter
    September 5, 2017

    Thank you for taking us on a trip, such an amazing place

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 5, 2017

      Thank you for your comment!

      Reply
  13. More Than Greens
    September 5, 2017

    I went to Valencia a few years ago and really loved it. I really loved the atmosphere of the city and especially the Old Town. I don’t remember where I stayed but from your description, I think it was not too far from Ruzafa.

    The City of Arts and Sciences was a huge surprise and was really interesting, if only for the insane architecture! The aquarium wasn’t open back when I went and but that’s really not for me.

    My next trip to Spain needs to be Madrid! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 5, 2017

      Oooh yes, so much to see in Madrid as well! Let me know when you plan and I’ll have some suggestions ready for you??

      Reply
      1. More Than Greens
        September 5, 2017

        Amazing! Thanks! 🙂

  14. jennyrose
    September 5, 2017

    Gorgeous photos! I’ve wanted to come here for ages, I definitely need to go soon.
    http://www.jennyrosee.com

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 5, 2017

      Thank you!?? hope you remember the post when you do come!??

      Reply
  15. Boarding Call
    September 5, 2017

    Nice pictures on Valencia – I’ve never been but hear it is great and this supports it 😉
    I’m like you… walking 20km is my idea of taking it easy in a city, rather than cramming too much in I love to walk from place to place. Kindred spirits!

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 5, 2017

      Yay!! So you’d definitely have a great time in Valencia if you go:) hopefully you will!

      Reply
  16. Justine
    September 5, 2017

    Great tips Helene. Will definitely favorite this for when I am in Spain later this year 🙂

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 5, 2017

      Thank you!! Oooh let me know if you go to Seville, Barcelona, or Madrid as well?? have some good tips??

      Reply
  17. justgeorgiak
    September 5, 2017

    these are really useful tips thanks for these x

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 5, 2017

      thank you!

      Reply
  18. April Rodrigues
    September 5, 2017

    How beautiful! I have a lot of international traveling to do, and Spain is definitely on my list. Thanks for the tips! I will save for later!

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 5, 2017

      Thank you, appreciate the love:) Let me know when you plan it, and I’ll give you some more tips! <3

      Reply
  19. WhodoIdo
    September 5, 2017

    I’m so jealous that you can visit this beautiful city in two hours! Haven’t been to Valencia but will do one day. The central market looks good – I could spend all day there! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 5, 2017

      Hehe, I have access to a lot of Spain from Madrid because it’s so central:) I loved central market, it had so much yummy food! I hope you can visit soon:)

      Reply
  20. mamaimperfection
    September 5, 2017

    This makes me want to travel there so bad! Great photography!

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 5, 2017

      Thank you!:) Hope you can visit Valencia sometime!

      Reply
  21. Ritika
    September 5, 2017

    it is very useful post..Valencia had always been in my bucket list.. your post have given me all the more reason to visit 🙂

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 5, 2017

      Thank you for your lovely input!:)

      Reply
  22. GorgeousAndGeeky
    September 5, 2017

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post. I have yet to go to Spain, but can’t wait for the opportunity. I appreciate your thoughts on zoos and aquariums. I tend to think that until these animals need to be protected, it is our job to maintain a safe haven for them. There is the argument of natural selection and are we messing with it but I think the animals need to be saved. Great post!

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 5, 2017

      Thank you very much for your opinion on it! It means a lot to me to see that others feel the same way. Come to Spain, you’ll love it!:)

      Reply
  23. forever roaming the world
    September 5, 2017

    I love the look of Valencia, When I was thinking about moving to Spain earlier this year I was looking at Barcelona but then Valencia caught my eye. Reading through this post, I wish I moved there now haha 😀 Maybe in the future

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 6, 2017

      Oh nice!:) I think both are pretty good options, just the vibe is different! Good luck wherever you decide to go!

      Reply
  24. I totally agree with you re zoos, I struggle between the two — of course I want animals to be treated humanely but what happens when they become extinct…? Should future generations not see these animals because we can’t keep them in zoos and therefore can’t help them breed? Such a double-edge sword!

    Also I’ve always wanted to go to Valencia for paella so this was an interesting read for me, though I was missing a pic of delicious paella! ;p

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 6, 2017

      Thanks for expressing your opinion:) Haha, I published one on my insta, so you can check out the enormous paella there:) I might add it to the post though, to further my mission of making people hungry:D

      Reply
  25. moimehr
    September 6, 2017

    Spain is a beautiful place. I have read about it before but you brought me up-close to Valencia first time. Loved the old town pictures and central market area. I would love to have fresh produces there. I remember when we were having berries in Helsinki they said it had all come from Spain. Loved the picture with pillars immersed in river Turia. How did you manage that shot ?!

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 6, 2017

      Hehe, photographer secrets! Kidding, it’s actually a fountain under a bridge, but there are walkways to walk around it:D I loved that fountain, it was so special! Thanks for your comment:)

      Reply
  26. Halima Bello Husseini
    September 6, 2017

    Hopefully some day i get to visit then get to use your list!

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 6, 2017

      I hope you get to go too:)

      Reply
  27. Barry
    September 6, 2017

    I haven’t been to Valencia yet but the old Town and La Seu de Valencia look great. Interesting comparison between shots with the new smartphone lens as well.

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 6, 2017

      From an architectural point of view, definitely:) Thanks for your nice words!

      Reply
  28. Anushka Aggarwal
    September 6, 2017

    Spain is always the country that I want to visit, but until now never got chance. I love the way you penned down the guide for Valencia and those picture taken from Aukey fish eye lens are amazing, definitely need to try those lenses 🙂

    Reply
  29. lolitambonita
    September 6, 2017

    I would love to head to Ruzafa! I am down for anything up and coming! X
    Lola Mia // http://www.lolitabonita.co.uk

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 6, 2017

      I love those kinds of neighbourhoods too! They usually have a lot of adorable cafes:)

      Reply
  30. The Wildest Tales
    September 6, 2017

    That reminds me my time in Valencia – can you believe it was 40 degrees at night? Crazy! At the rooftop of City of Arts and Sciences there is an amazing open air club btw.

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 6, 2017

      I can absolutely believe 40 degrees at night, it’s the same here in Madrid haha! Wow, didn’t know that, will have to go back to check that out:) Thanks for the info!

      Reply
  31. Man Travels World
    September 6, 2017

    Really enjoyed this post! Quick hits of the city. I studied abroad here back in 2008 and then spent another month exploring in 2015. Love this city. Lots of memories. The Central Market was my go to spot for groceries and lunch – a ton of great places serving ‘menus del dia’ outside for about 10-12 Euros.

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 6, 2017

      Awesome! You’ll know so much more than me about Valencia then:) I can imagine there being amazing food:D I love menu del día, it’s one of my favourite things about Spanish food culture!

      Reply
  32. Bee
    September 6, 2017

    Valencia looks amazing. It’s the first time I actually read a post on it and seems like a nice place to explore and relax for a weekend. the architecture is amazing both a combination of modern and classic.

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 6, 2017

      Exactly, the Old Town and City of Arts and Sciences are so different:) You should visit sometime!

      Reply
  33. Shaily
    September 7, 2017

    Great Post! Lovely place.. especially with the historic touch and natural beauty! Your pictures are simply awesome. I would love to visit the place some day.. Added to my travel bucket! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 7, 2017

      Thank you so much for your lovely compliment:) Valencia just has so many diverse sights in terms of architecture, it really is a mix of old and new:) Hope you can visit soon!

      Reply
  34. Buena Paz L Montero
    September 8, 2017

    Haven’t been to that part of Spain but it looks beautiful!!! I got too excited about Oceanografic until you mentioned Dolphin Show:( I love animals and still go to zoo BUT I ahve good reasons on boycotting properties with dolphin shows. So, I guess I will have to skip Oceanografic:) Thanks for sharing…

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 8, 2017

      I completely understand you. Like I said in the article, I still feel conflicted about it… This dolphin show did feel a lot different than the way they used to be before, so maybe positive change is underway:) Thanks for reading!

      Reply

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