Valencia is the city where the past meets the modern world. There is something for everyone here and certainly, you will find lots of things to do during a weekend in Valencia.
Is Valencia a good city break?
If your visiting from Madrid, Barcelona or any other cosmopolitan city I can assure you Valencia is excellent for a city break. It has a good diversity of things going on, and while it is still a city it isn’t that big or fast-paced like most big cities.
My first time in Valencia was for a Fallas weekend and even then I could sense a whole different vide from Madrid. I absolutely fell in love with it.
48 hours in Valencia
There are some iconic places in Valencia you just can’t miss but running around from corner to corner makes things blurry and you probably won’t enjoy Valencia or remember the magnificence of these must-see places. So let’s keep it short and simple while still enjoying what Valencia has to offer.
Start your weekend by exploring Valencia’s Historic Center. Like many Spanish cities, you will find beautiful plazas and Cathedrals. Be sure to grab a map and history information in the tourism office. There is an office located in Carrer de la Pau.
Every place has a historic center and Valencia is no exception. I would start the morning in Plaza de la Reina and head to the Catedral de Valencia. If you are in good shape then climb the Miguelete for only 2 euros. It is a 207 flight of stairs and it will give you a good view of Valencia’s city center.
P..S. I tried to count but then ran out of breath and interest on counting, so I will trust the information given.
Tip. Head in the morning or when the sun isn’t hitting hard.
Behind the cathedral, you will find Plaza de la Virgen, which in my opinion is the most beautiful of all. It is a big spacious plaza with many bars to one side and the Basilica de la Virgen de Los Desamparados. Head to the Basilica and awe at the highly decorated virgin in the middle of the altar.
After that head toward La Lonja de la Seda or Silk Exchange. This silk exchange is classified as World Heritage by the UNESCO. It is a Gothic style from the 15 century, with a small but charming Orange Garden in the middle. It used to have a stary blue and yellow ceiling now vanished supported by magnificent twisted columns. Needless to say, this architecture deserves a visit.
Then you can head to Mercado Central, it is close by. Here grab some fresh fruit for snacks while admiring this great building.
And, if your feeling hungry but don’t want to prolong your lunch hour grab a quick bite in Horchateria Santa Catalina and try the horchata. It is a traditional Valencia drink made from chufas (tiger nuts).
Keep in mind this is a pastry shop and you won’t find any heavy filling meal. But it’s worth a visit. It is a traditional horchatería resembling antique Valencian locals decorated with Manises ceramic.
Tip. If you are looking for a great souvenir from Valencia a suggest a plate or something made of Manises ceramic.
Rent a bike or a scooter and stroll the old river bed, where now you will find the Turia Gardens. This 10 kilometers long garden is crossed by 20 bridges all with different characteristics. And on the one end, you will find the Bioparc and on the east end, you will find the City of Arts and Science and the Oceanografic – Aquarium.
Visit hip Ruzzafa where you will find many bars to eat and start your Spanish fiesta. Try Olhops Craft Beer Lab if you have a passion for beers. Another great option for a long night out is El Carmen in the old city center. Here you will find many trendy bars as well and a good crowd. Plaza del Negret is the top starting point here in El Carmen.
It’s time to head to the beach, after all, I’m assuming you are in Valencia because of this and the sunny weather.
Valencia’s city beach stretches through the coast from Cabanyal in the south to La Patacona in the North. I would start from the North and as the day passes make your way to the south, closer to Valencia’s center.
After spending the morning at Patacona beach have a salty paella in Restaurant Llevant. Make sure to make a reservation with some time because it gets crowded and usually won’t attend any unexpected consumers (don’t take it personally, they are always full).
After that savory rice try to make it south, to where the busiest beach is and many chiringuitos line up the boardwalk. These chiringuitos are markets located in front of the beach usually selling beach towels, hats, and many other objects.
Paella is such a heavy dish I really recommend eating it for lunch. As my Valencian friend told me “only tourists eat paella for dinner”. Meaning, it really isn’t meant to be eating late.
Tip. The original Valencia paella is made with meat and not seafood as many assume.
Spend some time in Malvarosa Beach where many volleyballs and soccer beach courts are located. You can use them freely if you have a ball or just play on your own little space. But if you are feeling a bit tired then just lay on the golden sand and work on your tan.
Finally, you have Cabanyal beach. Cabanyal beach is the closest to the port and the city will have a lively crowd and the aforementioned chiringuitos. Here you will also have the acclaimed Marina Beach Club and La Fábrica de Hielo. La Fábrica de Hielo is an alternative place that on Sunday’s bring different music artist and entrance is free.
The name Fabrica de Hielo might seem strange but this, in fact, was an ice fabric.
Marina Beach Club on the other hand is this trendy chic place but do to it’s a tourist attraction you can find either fashionably dressed people and others in more relaxed beachwear. I recommend heading during the night because it has such a great ambiance The downside is it does cost more than the usual bars mentioned here. And it’s not a surprise since Marina Beach Club is a well-known club.
What is there to do in Valencia in 3 days?
If you find yourself lucky to have a long weekend in Valencia then you are in for a treat!
After exploring the Historic Center and the beach you are ready to explore beyond.
Visit L‘Albufera in El Plamar whether on your own by taking a bus or a tour guide. If you decide to take the public bus Line 25 will leave you in El Palmar for only 1.50 EURO. But make sure to take the one that says El Palmar, if it is Perellonet you will end up somewhere else.
L’Albufera is said to have the most beautiful sunsets but beware that if visiting in summer the sun will hit hard. So I suggest going very early in the morning or wait for the breathtaking sunset.
After a long morning in L’Albufera finish your Historic Center walk by visiting Torres de Serrano and Torres de Quartz, Plaza de Toros, or let the hours pass by in the Prince Felipe Science Museum. Remember this is a huge museum, and trust me the hours will pass, and you will still find new things to do. What I love about it is that it is an interactive museum, it honestly is so fun.
P.S. The Principe Felipe Science Museum is the one located in the City of Arts and Science.
Finally, if you have a third night in Valencia and it’s summer you can’t miss L’umbracle. I love this chic place full of international people where tandems are hosted during summer with commercial music for a chill night in the background.
Where to eat in Valencia?
Although I have mentioned some good places to eat I have tried so many good places to eat here in Valencia that I think they deserve to be shared with you. That way you can have the liberty to check what suites your appetite.
Ca La Mar
Located in Cabanyal, the absolute best place for a twist on the typical tapas and a good choice of hummus and veggies.
You will find this place near Plaza de la Reina. This family-owned establishment treats customers like family and the food is beyond delicious. What is interesting is that the place is Italian owned but they master Spanish food like Spaniards. Try their salmon, Fideuá, or the octopus. Truth be told I don’t know which one is top, they were all too good!
Another great paella spot located on the outskirts of Valencia center. You have to take a taxi or bus to get here. Just as if you were going to L’Albufera but closer to the city center. It is a good way to get even farther away from the mass and enjoy a great local spot. Also, it is nearby Pinedo Beach, a small sandy beach you can walk to afterward.
Although this is nothing out of this world if you are looking for a budget bite and traditional pinchos this Spanish food chain can satisfy your needs.
Pinchos are traditionally from northern Spain but you can find them around the country.
I know you probably want to eat Spanish food but in case you need a little change this Thai is excellent.
How to move around Valencia?
The metro lines in Valencia are tricky because the river and sea make it hard to build good connections. You will see some stops take longer to get to by metro than by bike, car or bus. So the best way to move throughout Valencia is by bike or scooter. They designed a special street for bikes and scooters and as I mentioned you will get sooner to each place. But if you just want to sit comfortably and get from one place to another then I suggest taking the bus. Ultimately, if you are a metro fan then hey…no one is stopping you. It still is an available option.
Right in the city center, behind Plaza de la Virgen you will find Rent Bike Virgin, they have good prices for renting bikes and scooters.
How to get to Valencia?
If you are visiting internationally book a trip to Manises Airport or Valencia Airport. It’s the same one but sometimes one of each name appears. If you are visiting from another Spanish city’s you can visit Valencia by bus or train.
Where to stay in Valencia for a weekend?
I’m an Airbnb lover and I’ve seen many great houses here in Valencia.
But you also have many great hotel options like 4-star Hotel Checkin, 5 star Melia Plaza and small 3 stars Hotel El Coso with beachfront views.
A weekend in Valencia is all you need to recharge and to start a great week.
Whether you are a beach lover, museum fan, or history buff, in Valencia you will find your niche.