Are you planning your Valencia weekend itinerary and want to make the most of your time? Then you are in the right place, let us introduce you to this incredible Spanish city.
Valencia is a charming destination, Spain’s third largest city is full of history, flavors, modern buildings, and street art. I can tell you that it has everything you need for a perfect weekend break in Europe.
If you don’t mind waking up early and sleeping late, a weekend in Valencia is more than enough to have a taste of the city. And probably, just like me, you will want to go back for more.
The truth is that you can easily get lost wandering among its beautiful buildings and museums, or spend all your time on Valencia’s sandy beaches, which is not a problem.
However, follow my tips, if you want to do as much as possible on your Valencia weekend.
Is Valencia worth visiting on a weekend?
Well, I personally think that any destination is worth visiting, but Valencia is more than that. Valencia is a must-visit city in Spain.
Here are just a few things that make Valencia so special:
- Valencia has a rich history and culture.
- It has beautiful beaches in the city and nearby.
- The weather is usually sunny/warm.
- It’s the birthplace of Paella.
- It’s the best place to drink Agua de Valencia and Horchata.
- It’s perfect for family, couples, and solo travelers.
- You get to see Valencia’s Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias.
- Fallas– the city’s famous festivals which take place in March.
This list of what to do in Valencia is huge, but you got the point: Valencia City is amazing, and so will be your weekend trip here.
How many days in Valencia? Is a weekend in Valencia enough?
I would say that the perfect travel scenario would be to stay in Valencia for 5 days. But you can also do a lot in 2 or 3 days in Valencia.
It might be a trip in the middle of the week or a weekend getaway as we did, the most important thing is to plan your itinerary well, so you can relax while checking all the top things to do in Valencia.
If you are planning a trip around Spain, then my suggestion is along to Valencia, visit big cities like Barcelona and Madrid, and mid-size destinations like Girona and Malaga. For a summer trip, don’t skip Cabo de Gatas and Mallorca! We loved them!
Now let’s get started on our Valencia weekend itinerary!
First, I will share tips on where to stay in Valencia and what to do each day. And we finish this Valencia guide with travel tips.
Where to stay in Valencia for a weekend?
As you don’t have much time to spend getting around, I would suggest booking a hotel in Valencia close to the city center or the City of Arts and Sciences. The two areas you’ll spend most of your time at.
Regarding neighborhoods, choose your accommodation in Valencia at:
- Cuitat Vella: Valencia’s historic city center.
- Rufassa: a trendy and upcoming area in Valencia.
- Eixample: sits between the old town and the City of Arts and Sciences.
- El Cabanyal: this is the perfect place to stay in Valencia if you are planning a city beach break, as it’s right next to La Malvarrosa, Valencia’s popular beach.
Talking about hotels, these are the hotels in Valencia I would book:
The best 3-star hotels in Valencia
(click on the hotel name to see the photos and rates)
- Blanq Carmen Hotel – 8.3/ Very Good from 2,115 reviews
- Petit Palace Plaza de la Reina – 8.7/Excellent from 2,824 reviews
- Holiday Inn Express Ciudad de las Ciencias, an IHG Hotel – 8.0/Very Good from 5,097 reviews
Hostel in Valencia
- The River Hostel – 8.2/Very Good from 5,648 reviews
Valencia Weekend: what do, see and eat
Our list of things to do in Valencia can fit perfectly in a trip of 2 or 3 days in Valencia.
My first tip is to check the opening/closing times of the attractions so you know which one you must visit in the morning, afternoon, or evening. I’m saying this because visiting times change according to season or if it’s weekdays or weekends.
Also, keep in mind that Valencia is a walkable city, many attractions are near to each other, and strolling around the city is part of the fun.
Valencia Day 1: Old Town and its treasures
Have a Spanish breakfast:
Breakfast is a must and if you want to try proper Spanish fare go to Mercat Central de Valencia – Valencia’s Central Market.
Stop at one of the stalls and order a tostada with tomato and olive oil (yummy). If you have a sweet tooth, like Rob, get a fresh fried churros with chocolate. Don’t forget to try the coffee and orange juice, OJ tastes different in Valencia, trust me.
Valencia Central Market is the place to see, try, and buy the best fruits, veggies, and Spanish ingredients. The covered market has more than 8,000 square meters and is divided into two floors.
The market is one of Valencia’s top attractions not only because of the food, its beautiful architecture is a must-see. The building was designed in 1914 in a pre-Modernist style combining iron, wood and ceramics, but it was inaugurated only in 1928.
Discover Valencia’s history:
After breakfast, I suggest you explore the Old Town, aka Ciutat Vella. You can do it on your own or by joining a walking tour.
As we only have 2 days in Valencia, we booked a walking tour and it was a great decision. Our guide explained Valencia’s cultural and architectural layers. Romans, Moorish, and many other people who lived or passed by here. And how they influenced the buildings, streets, and the way people live.
Here are 3 Valencia Walking Tours worth checking out:
Our walking started at Plaça de la Verge and from there we explored the city’s main attractions:
- Catedral de Valencia
- El Miguelete
- Museo Nacional de Cerámica González Martí
- Mercat Central (was good to have more explanation about the Art Nouveau building after visiting it)
- Basilica de la Virgen
- Plaça de l’Ajuntament
After a few hours of walking, we stopped by a nice café, but instead of drinking an espresso we tried “Horchata”. Delicious!
It’s a sweet and refreshing drink made from tiger nuts and it’s kinda an official beverage of the city. The taste reminds me of soy milk, a bit more sweet and flavored. I loved it!
Loaded with energy, we kept walking around the city. Passed by La Lonja de la Seda, discovered some old and pretty streets, and arrived at Torre de Serranos, where our tour finished.
Serranos Towers, or Torre de Serranos, is another impressive attraction in Valencia, it’s one of the 12 gates that formed the Valencia City wall. You can also see some remains of the wall and towers at Calle de la Cruz.
Have lunch at El Carmen
El Carmen is a neighborhood famous for its street art, boutique shops, local restaurants and cafes. It’s the perfect place to stop for a quick bite, rest your legs, and plan your afternoon in the city.
It is a historical area with many architectural landmarks and historic buildings like the Portal de la Valldigna, an ancient entrance to the Moorish quarter from the 15th century, and the Church of San Nicolás de Bari and San Pedro Mártir, two must-sees in Valencia.
It’s also an artistic area, here you will find the city’s Modern Art Museum – Institut Valencià d’Art Modern (IVAM), the CCCC – Centre del Carme Cultura Contemporània, the Casa Museu Benlliure, and the Valencian Museum of Ethnology – Museu Valencià d’Etnologia (L’ ETNO).
Street art lovers also have their place in El Carmen. Add to your Valencia map Calle de Los Colores (Calle de Moret) which is an open-air urban art gallery and a great place to start your street art hunt.
You can easily spend the day at El Carmen, so if one of these places sounds interesting to you, go and visit during the afternoon. Or maybe you can plan a visit with more time on your third day in Valencia.
Once you have explored the charming streets of the neighborhood, make your way back to the old town. Because we still have some important landmarks in Valencia to visit.
Visit La Lonja de la Seda (Silk Exchange)
While the walking tour is good for covering history and important places to visit in Valencia, it doesn’t allow you to stay longer at the attractions. And trust me, you want to spend some time at the La Lonja de la Seda.
The building was constructed between the 15th and 16th centuries, and it is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. It was used as a place for exchange and banking, and it even had a prison on the upper floor for those who didn’t pay their debts.
La Lonja de la Seda de Valencia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-visit place in Valencia. After going inside, take some time to relax in the garden ornate with orange trees and flowers.
When planning your Valencia weekend, keep in mind that La Lonja opens from Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 7 pm, but on Sundays is from 10 am to 2 pm.
If you are here on Sunday, in front of La Lonja happens a flea market (from 10 am to 1 pm) where you can buy and sell antiques, browse through old stamps, coins, banknotes, postcards, letters, buy second-hand books and many more.
Admire Valencia Cathedral
Our first afternoon was focused on our list of unique things to do in Valencia. After La Lonja we went to the Valencia Cathedral.
Catedral de València sits in the middle of the old town and it has been changed through the years and history. It’s an impressive building worth visiting.
You can visit the church that is said to house the Holy Grail (the goblet Jesus used in the Last Supper).
It also has an archeological museum in the underground where you can see remains of a Roman road and houses, as well as Visigothic and Islamic remains. And for panoramic views of Valencia, you can climb the Micalet Tower of the church.
The cathedral is truly stunning, Rob enjoyed it more than me as I wasn’t feeling well enough to climb the tower or go underground. Turned out I was having a urinary infection that almost ruined my Valencia weekend.
I’m telling you this to remind you how important it is to have travel insurance even for a quick weekend getaway.
Don’t forget your Travel Insurance! You don’t want anything to ruin your trip, right? So don’t take the risk! Reliable travel insurance can help you in case of travel issues, from accidents to health problems, travel delays, and lost luggage.
Find Valencia’s unique squares
Valencia’s old town is like an open-air museum with historic buildings, different styles of architecture, and squares that are an invitation to sit and watch life go by.
Here are a few of the squares you should add to your list of things to do in Valencia:
- Plaza de La Virgen, also called Plaça de la Mare de Déu (where is the Turia Fountain)
- Plaza de La Reina (surrounded by cafes and historic buildings)
- Plaza de l’Almoina (where you can see the amazing Casa del Punt de Ganxo 1906 in Art Nouveau style)
- Plaza Redonda – Round Square (another unique place to visit in Valencia)
It’s time for tapas and Agua de Valencia
Pick a tapas bar at one of the squares you visited or go to Mercat de Tapineria for a Valencian happy hour.
To celebrate your first day in Valencia, there is nothing better than a local beverage: Agua de Valencia! It’s bubbly, fruity, delicious, and dangerous.
Agua de Valencia is made with Cava (Spanish sparkling wine), orange juice, vodka and gin, and it blends so well that you can’t taste the alcohol.
That’s why it is dangerous, after two glasses it’s hard to get up from the table. Order a few tapas and enjoy the Valencia life. Next stop is dinner.
Taste an authentic Paella Valenciana
Valencia is a culinary city with traditional restaurants and new bistros serving the best of Valencian cuisine and also international dishes.
For those who want a serious Paella Experience a food tour might be the best option.
Valencia Day 2: garden, science and sea
Another morning, another market in Valencia
Head to Mercat de Colón, also called Mercado de Colón or Colón Market, an institution for fresh produce, local delicacies and breakfast.
As with any building in Valencia, the Colón Market is also unique. The high ceilings and the iron structure make it another masterpiece of Art Nouveau. Inaugurated in 1916 it’s a hub for quality food and dining experiences.
After wandering around grab a bottle of water because our next activity is a long and beautiful walk.
Walk the Jardí del Túria
The Jardí del Túria, or Turia Garden is a green space that runs through the city, with a total of 9 kilometers of leisure areas, sports facilities, gardens and trees.
It is one of the largest urban parks in Spain, it goes from Cabecera Park to the City of Arts and Sciences, our final spot of this walk.
Why is it so special?
Turia Park sits on a former river bed that in 1957 was transformed into a huge city park. Due to the severe flood, the river was diverted and now, the old river bed is a green channel that crosses the whole city.
There are many landmarks on its banks, places to visit, palaces, and a total of 18 bridges that cross the beautiful park with different periods and architectural styles.
The walk from Colón Market to the City of Arts and Sciences will take about 30 to 40 minutes. If it sounds too much, you can always use public transportation to get around (more about it later on). But don’t skip a walk along the Jardí del Túria, even if just for a couple of minutes.
Marvel the Valencia City of Arts and Sciences
It’s so hard to describe how unique, beautiful, and interesting the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias is. I’m sure you already saw pictures of it, but nothing compares to seeing this futuristic complex in front of you. It’s hard to grasp the grandeur of it.
The Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias designed by Santiago Calatrava (a Valencian architect) is a complex of buildings that includes:
- The Hemisfèric
Its shape represents a huge human eye, the eye of wisdom, and inside it is a digital 3D cinema, with an impressive 900-meter concave screen.
Most of the films screened here are educational and around 45 minutes long. When visiting the cinema you will receive a pair of 3D glasses that allows you to change the screening language, so everyone can enjoy the projection.
For those traveling to Valencia with kids, there is usually one film a day that caters for small children. You can check the film listing here, and book your ticket in advance.
- Museu de les Ciències
Valencia Science Museum is a masterpiece of architecture with 6,000 square meters dedicated to interactive exhibitions about science and technology. There are permanent and temporary exhibitions, also workshops and a restaurant inside.
- Palau de les Arts
This is the art heart of the complex, another impressive building that houses 4 main halls used for opera, concerts, ballet and theater.
You can check the performance calendar here or join a guided tour inside the building. The tour duration is 1 hour, and it happens in Catalan or English.
A 17 square meter open-access garden located beside the Museum of Science and the Hemisfèric. The garden is ornate with typical Mediterranean plants that share space with contemporary sculptures and art exhibitions.
Under the Umbracle is the public car park of the City of Arts and Sciences, a place you will probably use if you are doing a Valencia road trip.
- Ágora / CaixaForum Valencia
The name of the building is Ágora, and inside of it is the CaixaForum Valencia, a multifunction space that can be used for permanent or temporary exhibitions, concerts, conferences, shows, and events about culture and science.
It’s located between the beautiful l’Assut de l’Or Bridge and the Oceanogràfic.
This is the largest aquarium in Europe. It has 110,000 square meters of surface area and houses one of the largest dolphinariums in the world with 26,000 cubic meters of water and a depth of 10.5 meters.
When visiting it you will notice that each building has a unique aquatic environment divided in the Mediterranean, Wetlands, Temperate and Tropical Seas, Oceans, the Antarctic, the Arctic, Islands, and the Red Sea, as well as the Dolphinarium.
The Oceanogràfic is one of the top things to do in Valencia with kids, but adults who are curious about the underwater world will enjoy it as well.
Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias visiting tips:
You can visit the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias and walk around the museum and the other buildings for free and it will take around 2 hours.
But if you want to visit the Science Museum (you need at least 3 hours for it), the Hemisfèric (45 minutes to visit), or the Oceanogràfic (which takes at least 4 hours to visit), you must have a ticket to each of them.
As you only have a weekend in Valencia, you need to plan your visit wisely, because to see everything takes almost a full day.
Here is my suggestion: if you only have 2 days in Valencia, choose one or two places to visit and then follow our itinerary to see more of the city. For those with 3 days in Valencia, spend as much time as you want here, and visit the other places we mention below on the third day of your trip.
A good thing is that if you buy a combined ticket to all the attractions you can leave the complex and come back later as long as it’s on the same day.
Late lunch by the beach
Find your way to La Pepica, a traditional restaurant serving Valencian dishes and delicious seafood since 1898. Located in Playa de Levante it will give you that Mediterranean feeling you so need when visiting Spain.
It was one of Hemingway’s favorite restaurants in Valencia, and that says a lot about the place. If you are traveling during the weekend, don’t forget to book a table in advance.
Relax at Playa de la Malvarrosa
After lunch, get your beach tower and take a nap while listening to the sound of the waves. Right in front of the restaurant is Levante Beach, but you can also walk a few minutes through the Passeig Marítim (beach promenade) and visit the Malvarrosa Beach popular among locals.
It doesn’t matter where you stop, just make sure to enjoy the beach vibes, and if the weather is good go for a swim.
Visit La Marina de València
Before making your way back to the old town or your hotel, visit La Marina de València, the city’s marina. The promenade has many restaurants, bars and nice views from the ocean and the boats.
Now you can say you have visited the beach side of Valencia. It’s time to get a taxi or public transportation back to the city because you have one more night in Valencia to enjoy.
Join a Tapas Crawl
This might be your last night in Valencia so let’s make the most of it. Instead of dining in one place, why not join a Tapas Crawl, and taste the best of Valencia cuisine in 4 different places?
Do you want to explore the local food scene by yourself? Go to the Ruzafa neighborhood which has an electric mix of bars, restaurants and galleries.
If you only have 2 days in Valencia, I bet you’ll be in tears wishing you could stay longer. At least that was how I felt. But don’t be sad, Valencia is one of the best holiday destinations in Spain to visit one, two, or several times without getting bored.
Before we move to the third day in Valencia, here is an important piece of travel advice:
Save money and time with the Valencia Tourist Card.
You can choose a card for 24, 48, or 72 hours and you get:
- FREE transportation on the city’s buses, undergrounds, trams, commuter trains, and intercity buses in zones AB. The trip from/to Valencia Airport on underground lines is also included.
- FREE admission to many attractions in Valencia such as The La Lonja, Serranos Towers, and many more.
- Discounts on many attractions such as the City of Arts and Sciences, Oceanogràfic, Tourist Bus, and the Cathedral.
- 2 tapas and 2 FREE drinks.
Valencia Day 3: museums, churches and day trips
If you are still around for one more day, you can go back to some of the attractions you want to visit with more time or visit some of the city’s cool museums.
Here are a few places in Valencia worth checking out:
- Museu Faller de València, a museum dedicated to the annual Fallas Festival.
- Museu Nacional de Ceràmica, Valencia’s famous Ceramics Museum.
- Church of San Nicolás de Bari and San Pedro Mártir, known as the Sistine Chapel of Valencia.
- City of Arts and Sciences in case you didn’t visit the museum and all the buildings you wanted.
- Enjoy Valencia beaches.
- Go on a boat trip
Valencia Weekend Travel Tips
Our list of things to do in Valencia on a weekend comes to an end. Here are a few travel tips that will help you plan your Valencia getaway.
Where to stay in Valencia
There are plenty of options for hotels in Valencia, from cute boutique hotels to luxury stays. I already suggest a few at the beginning of the guide, but in case you want to research further, do it at Booking.com.
Getting around Valencia
Valencia is pretty easy to walk, you will probably need public transportation to go to the beach areas: Paseo Marítimo, Marina Real, Valencia F1 Street Circuit, and Cuidad de Las Artes y Ciencias.
The metro, buses, and tram are very easy to use and connect the whole city, if you have the Valencia Tourist Card transportation is free.
How to get to Valencia
You can reach Valencia by car, bus, train, or flying. We use Skyscanner to find cheap flights to any destination in Spain.
The easiest/cheapest way to travel from Barcelona to Valencia was by train (one fast train + a regional train). You can check all trains at Renfe, for buses traveling to/from Valencia Bookaway is the website we use.
The best time to visit Valencia
Valencia is a great place to visit any time of the year, but if you want to avoid the hot summer, I would say to book your trip on shoulder seasons, like May, June, September and October.
The temperatures are warm, there are fewer tourists, and more reasonable prices.
Are you ready to plan your Valencia weekend?
That’s a wrap, I hope you liked our Valencia weekend guide, writing it made me want to go back ASAP.
Valencia might not be as famous as Barcelona or Madrid but it’s a beautiful city to visit, it has a great mix of history, culture, gastronomy, and natural beauty. Plus the traditional Fallas Festival which happens in March every year, keep this in mind when planning your trip here.
We didn’t get to see the giant doll and fire festival, but this is a good excuse to go back to Valencia. Don’t you think?
So, when are you traveling to Valencia? I’m sure you will love this incredible city!