3 Days in Valencia: Everything You Should Know
Are three days in Valencia enough to see everything there is to see in this Spanish port city? On a three-day stay in Valencia, while you won't have time to explore every single nook and cranny of it, it is the third-largest city in Spain, you will be able to get around most of the main attractions and absorb some of that wonderful Valencian vibe.
Valencia may have a characterful historic city center, but it's also a super modern city with state-of-the-art public installations with architecture futuristic enough to make your eyes pop. Museums, markets, cathedrals, and castle-like towers, there are plenty of those in Valencia. There are also some great beaches so you won't be restricted to just pounding the streets, you'll be able to take a stroll on the sands and get a breath of fresh air too.
Planning a Valencia itinerary for your three days in the city might seem like a bit of a fun spoiler, especially if you're someone who likes to go with the flow. But a Valencia itinerary will help you maximize your time in the city though and guarantee you won't miss any of the best bits. There are things to do in Valencia, other than drinking agua de Valencia and eating the best paella, that really shouldn't be omitted from your to-do list so read on to find out exactly what they are.
If at any time you're out and about and you find you need somewhere to leave your bags, Bounce luggage lockers are your best bet. Bounce has conveniently located luggage storage facilities in Valencia that are low-priced and totally secure. Drop your belongings at any one of them and you'll be ready to head into the nearest cafe for your first sip of agua de Valencia without worrying that its stupefying effects will make you forget your bags are under the table.
How To Spend 3 Days In Valencia
There's no better way to start your three days in Valencia than with a decent breakfast. It'll set you up for the day and make sure you don't run out of energy while you're sightseeing. Do it like a local by going straight to the city's old town, the historic El Carmen district, for horchata and fartons or agua de Valencia.
It may be tempting to have a long liquid breakfast and gulp down glass after glass of agua de Valencia, it always looks temptingly fresh. It has a bigger kick than Bucks Fizz though as it contains fresh orange juice, gin, and vodka. If you do choose to imbibe one make sure you accompany it with something like pan con tomate, bread with tomato, to soak up the alcohol or you'll be seriously woozy while sightseeing. Horchata, the drink made from tiger nuts and fartons, the sweet dough sticks, are a lot less debilitating.
Once you've consumed enough sustenance to get you through the next few hours, it'll be time to discover what secrets the historical center, the El Carmen, is hiding. A good way to do this is to join one of the free guided tours that set off from the Plaza de la Virgen in the old town at ten-thirty.
A guided tour from the Plaza de la Virgen in the old town lasts for two and a half hours and is led by well-informed locals who will give you the low down on landmarks like the Valencia Cathedral, one of the city's most famous monuments, the Torres de Serranos and La Lonja de la Seda, the silk exchange which, because of its Gothic architecture, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you decide to go it alone, don't miss visiting Valencia Cathedral as it's reputed to contain the Holy Grail. That's not something you get a glimpse of every day.
If after wandering around the old town your feet start to ache, find the nearest stop for the hop-on-hop-off bus. It's the easiest and most comfortable way of covering almost the entire city in a short time and it doesn't give you blisters.
The full route around Valencia's city center takes around two hours depending on traffic. The first full service sets off at ten in the morning and the last at seven in the evening. There's also a special sunset service in July and August which is one of the best things to do at night in Valencia.
Tip: It's worth purchasing a hop-on hop-off bus ticket that's valid for 48 hours as it costs just one euro more than a 24-hour one. It's a great way of getting around Valencia and an economical one too.
For your first night in Valencia consider going to the Ruzafa district of the city. It's one of the liveliest areas for nightlife, is popular with local artists, and has a buzzing Bohemian atmosphere. Drop by Ruzanuvol for a couple of pre-dinner drinks before trying somewhere like Huerta Huerta, a restaurant where they serve Mediterranean food with a modern twist, for a relaxed meal. There are lots of late-night bars and clubs in the Ruzafa barrio so if you're looking for a party, it won't be hard to find.
If you're not too tired from your first day of sightseeing in Valencia or a late night, wake up early and head back to the old city center, El Carmen, for a morning visit to the Central Market close to Valencia City Hall. Go before ten and you'll see Central Market at its best.
Take a stroll around the stalls at Central Market, they'll be piled high with all the fresh produce, then stop off at one of the tapas bars for a coffee, bocadillo de tortilla, an omelet roll, or a bocadillo de jamon serrano, a cured ham roll. If you want something a little less Spanish to snack on then check out Trencat which is also in the Central Market. They serve a variety of Italian and European breakfasts and brunches.
Close by you'll also find the lively square of Plaza de la Reina and the church of El Micalet with its iconic bell tower. This makes a great place to soak up the atmosphere and spend some time at the table of a sidewalk cafe.
Once you escape from the market's hustle and bustle you may find you need a short respite. Turia Park, also called Turia Gardens, is about a 15-minute walk away from the market. There you can have a sit down on the grass or under the trees to recover. Then get ready to make your way to the museum complex, City of Arts and Sciences, which is at the southern end of the park.
Valencia's City of Arts and Sciences, Ciudad de las Artes y Ciencias in Spanish, is a must-see when you visit Valencia. Even if you don't want to go into Oceanografico, Europe's largest aquarium, or the Science Museum, one of the best museums in Valencia, you won't want to miss the opportunity to take photos of the futuristic city and its architecture. It's one of the top Valencia attractions and quite otherworldly in a sci-fi sort of way.
A visit to either Oceanografico or the Science Museum, both are as equally fascinating as each other, will put paid to most of the afternoon. Four hours isn't really enough time to do the two as they are both huge and have so much to look at so choose the one which suits your interests best.
Tip: If you're planning on visiting more than one museum a Valencia tourist card could save you money.
If you prefer to spend your afternoon doing some physical activity, Valencia is the ideal city to mount a bicycle and go for a pedal. Start in the Jardines de Turia where there's no traffic and kilometers of pathways to explore. There are cafes to stop off at and have a refreshing drink while resting.
The garden pathways are not the only cyclable ones either. The beautiful city of Valencia has an immense network of cycle paths that are over 150 kilometers in length. It's a flat city, but if you don't want to expend quite that much energy, you'll find e-scooters and segways easy enough to hire. Make sure your travel insurance covers you for this type of activity before undertaking it. If you're worried about getting lost consider going on a guided bike tour.
Make the most of your second evening when you visit Valencia by taking a sunset catamaran cruise. There are several companies operating cruises with dinner or ones with just drinks that sail out of La Marina Juan Carlos I at around 7;30 pm.
When you suffer from seasickness or boat trips just aren't your thing, why not go on an all-inclusive food tour of Valencia instead? As you're guided around you'll be able to sample lots of wonderful tapas as well as get a good insight into the city's food culture.
Depending on which part of the world you're from, the fact that Valencia has over three hundred days of sunshine may be something you'll want to take advantage of while you're there. If you are unlucky enough to catch a rainy day in Valencia, don't worry, it won't last for long.
Morning and Afternoon
When you wake up to a sunny morning on day three of your stay, forget trying to find the nearest swimming pool or going on a walking tour. It'll be time to throw your swimsuit on, pack a towel and some sunscreen into a bag, and hit one of the beaches in Valencia. The best and most ecological way to get to the beach? Bike rentals.
El Cabanyal Beach, also known locally as Las Arenas, is one of the city's best beaches and is a stretch of golden sand almost a quarter of a kilometer long. It's a tourist beach that's kept in pristine condition and is fully equipped with sun loungers, parasols, outdoor gym equipment, kiosks, footbaths, and public toilets. El Cabanyal Beach is right next to Valencia Marina where there are lots of opportunities for participating in watersports like water skiing, jet skiing, surfing, kite surfing, and scuba diving.
La Malvarrosa Beach is another gorgeous beach in Valencia and one which is favored by the locals. There's an off-shore reef, the Malvarrosa Reef, which is a popular spot for snorkeling and scuba diving. As with Las Arenas, Malvarrosa Beach is fully equipped with everything you need for a relaxing vacation day by the sea.
Not everyone enjoys overly organized beaches and if sun loungers in straight lines covering the sand get on your nerves, then you'll be wanting to head for Valencia's Devesa Beach. La Playa Devesa is a totally unspoiled stretch of sand backed by grassy dunes that curves for five kilometers along the Valencian coastline.
While there are amenities like cafes and restaurants within walking distance, this is the playa to take enough provisions with you so you can forget about the human race for a good few hours. Spend the day on Devesa Beach and you'll leave feeling like you've had a month-long vacation.
After possibly surviving the entire day on sun-warmed picnic food, after a cooling shower and a good slathering of aftersun, it'll be time to go back to the city center and treat yourself to a delicious paella.
There really is no better dinner on your last night in Valencia than the famous rice dish the region is renowned for. Be prepared for a bit of a wait though as all good paellas take at least half an hour to cook after you've ordered.
You can get the best Valencian paella in Valencia from La Riua which is located on Carrer del Mar near the cathedral. La Riua is a restaurant that has won various awards for their traditional paella and they have a huge variety of different ones on the menu. Here you can tuck into an authentic Valencian paella with chicken and rabbit or be a little more extravagant and have the best paella which comes with seafood or lobster. Whichever you choose, it'll be a fitting end to your stay in Valencia.
These are, in reality, just a few of the amazing things you can do when you have three days in Valencia. There are lots more places like the Felipe Science Museum, the Ceramics Museum, and the Opera House in this Spanish city that are all worth visiting. If you don't have time to see everything you wanted to see the first time around, you can always return another day.