We knew very little about Valencia before our short visit, but it didn’t take long to see why it was named the “best city in the world to live” by Forbes! As the 3rd largest city in Spain and the #1 expat city in the world, Valencia is a beautiful and energetic city that makes it hard not to fall in love with. Whether it’s the historic sites of Torres de Serranos and Valencia Cathedral, the modern architectural beauty of the City of Arts and Sciences, the delicious culinary offerings of horchata, fartons, and paella, or the magnificent beaches, Valencia has something for everyone! We had the privilege of spending one day exploring this historic port city, and while there’s no way that we could fit in everything that makes this city such a desirable destination, we did our best to do, see, and eat as much as possible during our short visit and put it all in this blog! So, if you’re a time-crunched traveler like us, then you’ve come to the right place!
Check out our “One Day in Valencia” vlog for a closer look at our visit!
If you have longer to visit than we did and need accommodations, here are a few that came highly recommended to us:
Or you can search for other options below…
And if you’re looking for fun and unique experiences for your time in Valencia, look no further than GetYourGuide! Click the "Find Things to Do" button below to
Now, let's get into the itinerary!
9:00am: Breakfast (Horchata and Fartons)
No trip to Valencia would be complete without a proper Valenciana breakfast… Horchata and Fartons! If you’re unfamiliar, Horchata is a sweet drink that looks like milk but is made of chufas, AKA Tiger Nuts and Fartons is long, cigar-shaped sweet bread traditionally dipped in the Horchata. If you’ve got a little more of an appetite, we also suggest getting Churros and Hot Chocolate! So good!
Horchatería Santa Catalina (where we went - Plaça de Santa Caterina, 6, 46001)
Horchatería Fabian (Carrer de Moratín, 1, 46002)
Casa Orxata, Bio Horchata (located in Mercat de Colón - Carrer de Jorge Juan, s/n, 46004)
10:30am: Explore the City
The Valencia Cathedral (Catedral de Valencia, AKA St. Mary's Cathedral - Pl. de l'Almoina, s/n, 46003)
Located at the heart of the old town of Valencia, the 13th-century Cathedral links two of the city’s most iconic plazas - Plaza de la Reina and Plaza de la Virgen. The Cathedral itself is a beautiful structure that spans a variety of architectural styles, including baroque, Romanesque, and gothic. Even if you’re not religious, it is worth making a trip to the Cathedral during your trip to Valencia. Admission to the Cathedral is €8 which includes access to the museum (Museo Catedral de Valencia) and an audio tour. If you want a birdseye view of the city, you can climb El Miguelete (the Bell tower of the Valencia Cathedral) for only €2! We visited after 5:30pm on a Saturday in October and were able to enter the Cathedral for free. I’ve searched and searched for an exact reason we were able to get in for free but can’t find a solid answer, so… Visit right around closing time and maybe they’ll let you in for free? Lol
Plaza de la Virgen (Plaça de la Verge - Plaça de la Verge, 4, 46001)
While we found this plaza to be quite busy for our entire visit, it was oddly peaceful and relaxing. The plaza is lined with historic buildings & outdoor cafes and at the center of the plaza you’ll find the Turia Fountain. This is truly a must for anyone visiting Valencia.
Plaza de la Reina
Serving as Valencia’s central plaza, Plaza de la Reina is one of the most iconic places in the city. With the Valencia Cathedral at one end and numerous restaurants and cafes lining the other three sides, this square is beautiful and lively making it a must on your visit to Valencia!
Plaza Redonda (Plaça Redona, s/n, 46001)
Constructed in 1840 by Salvador Escrig Melchor, the Plaza Redonda (Round Plaza) is one of Valencia's most unique tourist attractions due to its unique design. It’s not every day that you see a round “square”!
Plaza de Toros de Valencia (C/ de Xàtiva, 28, 46004)
10,500-seat bullfighting arena built between 1850-1859.
The Serranos Gate (Torres de Serranos - Plaça dels Furs, s/n, 46003)
One of the twelve 14th-century gates that formed part of the ancient city wall, the Christian Wall, of the city of Valencia, Spain.
La Estrecha (meaning “The Narrow One” - Pl. de Lope de Vega, 9, 46001)
Europe’s narrowest house at 42.1 (107cm) inches wide!
The Central Market (Mercado Central - Plaça de la Ciutat de Bruges, s/n, 46001 )
Historians say that a market has been held on the current location of Valencia’s Central Market since the 14th century, but it wasn’t until 1914 that the construction of the Central Market as we know it began and wasn’t completed until 1928. Today, the market covers more than 86,000 square feet (88,000 square meters) making it one of the largest markets in Europe!
The Colon Market (Mercat de Colón - Carrer de Jorge Juan, 19, 46004)
Offering some of Valencia’s best culinary offerings all under one roof since 1916! Here you’ll find local ingredients, traditional Valencian products, cafes serving authentic horchata, and a wide range of restaurants where the finest ingredients are prepared by avant-garde chefs
The Silk Exchange (La Lonja de la Seda - Carrer de la Llotja, 2, 46001)
Built between 1482 and 1533, this group of buildings was originally used for trading in silk (hence its name, the Silk Exchange) and is considered one of Europe's most beautiful examples of Gothic civil architecture. The awe-inspiring Sala de Contratación (Contract or Trading Hall), in particular, is an impressive example of the power and wealth of a major Mediterranean mercantile city in the 15th and 16th centuries.
1:30pm: Paella for Lunch
As the birthplace of Paella, you can’t leave Valencia without getting a taste of this iconic dish! While the original Paella is said to have been made with rabbit, chicken, and sometimes duck, we opted for the seafood Paella on our visit.
Gran Mercat (where we went - Av. de María Cristina, 12, 46001)
Restaurante Levante Valencia (Av. de Manuel de Falla, 12, 46015)
La Pepica (Passeig de Neptú, 6, BAJO;DUP 6-8, 46011)
Casa Roberto (Carrer del Mestre Gozalbo, 19, 46005)
Rincon 33 (C. de la Corretgeria, 33, 46001)
3:30pm: City of Arts and Sciences (Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias - Av. del Professor López Piñero, 7, 46013)
The City of Arts and Sciences is a cultural and architectural complex and the most important modern tourist destination in the city. The first stages of construction began in July of 1996 with the most recent building having been completed and opened in 2009. The City of Arts and Sciences is a must when visiting Valencia especially if you have children as there are lots of family-friendly activities and open spaces to enjoy. Strolling around the complex is free of charge while entering each museum will cost you between €8 to €32 euros (though you can get combo tickets or purchase a Valencia Tourist Card for a 15% discount) and the water activities (paddle boards, kayaks, water bikes, etc) start at €2.50 for 10 minutes.
6:00pm: Tapas, Sangria, and Agua de Valencia
No visit to Spain is complete without Tapas (small plates/dishes) and Sangria, and no visit to Valencia is complete with Agua de Valencia (a cocktail made from a base of cava or champagne, orange juice, vodka, and gin)!
Boatella Tapas (Plaça del Mercat, 34, 46001)
Tasca El Botijo (C/ de Sant Miquel, 14, 46003)
Tanto Monta… (Carrer del Poeta Artola, 19, 46021)
Cafe de las Horas (Carrer del Comte d'Almodóvar, 1, 46003)
Tapeanado (Av. de María Cristina, 9, 46001)
7:00pm: Sunset from Torres de Quart Towers or Plaza de la Virgen
We loved Plaza de la Virgen so much that we decided to return for sunset to enjoy the sights and people-watching. There’s also a little cafe that serves gelato and ice cream called Nou Micalet (C/ dels Cavallers, 3, 46001). I can’t say that I would recommend much else from there, but the gelato and ice cream were great!
Disclosure: We only endorse things we've personally used or come highly recommended by trusted peers. We may get a small commission if you purchase anything using our referral links. However, there's no extra cost to you.