Guides Valencia What to Do in Valencia in One Day

What to Do in Valencia in One Day

City Guide February 8, 2024



Valencia, a city where tradition and modernity collide, offers an array of unforgettable experiences. From the UNESCO World Heritage sites to the futuristic landscapes of the City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia is a city that boasts a unique blend of historical depth and contemporary flair filled with things to do in Valencia for young adults. If you're wondering how to spend a day in Valencia, you're in for a treat. This guide will navigate you through the must-visit spots, ensuring you make the most of your time in this enchanting Spanish city.

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Morning: The Historic Heart of Valencia

The morning in Valencia offers a journey back in time, with a visit to the magnificent Valencia Cathedral. This architectural marvel is a testament to the city's rich history, blending Gothic, Romanesque, and Baroque styles. The cathedral's most revered treasure is the Holy Grail, believed by many to be the authentic cup from which Jesus Christ drank during the Last Supper. This claim adds a layer of mystical allure, attracting visitors from around the globe.


Valencia Cathedral and the Holy Grail

Start your exploration early at the Valencia Cathedral to avoid the crowds. The cathedral's interior is a museum of sacred art, housing an impressive collection that spans centuries. Noteworthy are the intricate frescoes, exquisite stained glass windows, and a series of paintings by renowned artists. The highlight, of course, is the chapel containing the Holy Grail, a focal point of pilgrimage and interest.

Climbing the Miguelete bell tower is an experience not to be missed. The tower offers breathtaking views of Valencia, providing a unique perspective of the city's blend of historic and modern architecture. The climb involves steps leading you to one of Valencia's most spectacular vantage points.


Plaza de la Virgen and Plaza de la Reina

A short walk from the cathedral takes you to Plaza de la Virgen, a historic square at the heart of Valencia. This plaza is a testament to the city's Roman origins, with remnants of the ancient city visible beneath the square. The plaza is dominated by the Basilica of the Virgin and the Turia fountain, which represents the Turia River, and is surrounded by sculptures of eight naked women, symbolizing Valencia's main irrigation channels.

Continuing the journey, Plaza de la Reina, known for its vibrant atmosphere, is a few steps away. This square, surrounded by historic buildings and outdoor cafes, is a popular meeting point for locals and tourists. It's the perfect spot to indulge in a traditional Valencian breakfast, such as a "tostada con tomate" (toast with tomato) paired with freshly brewed coffee while soaking in the ambiance of the city's historic center.


Midday: Culinary Delights and Shopping

As Valencia transitions from morning to midday, the city unfolds its modern aspects, offering a harmonious blend of traditional charm and contemporary flair. This period of the day is an ideal opportunity to dive into the local culinary scene, celebrated for its diversity, blending age-old recipes with avant-garde gastronomy.


Central Market and Agua de Valencia

The Central Market, or Mercado Central, is a beacon for food lovers. Its modernist facade encloses a bustling interior where the air is rich with the aromas of fresh produce. The market is a culinary canvas showcasing the best Valencian and Mediterranean ingredients. Visitors can wander among stalls that offer everything from ripe fruits and vegetables to high-quality meats and seafood, artisan cheeses, and various spices. The market is a place to buy ingredients and a cultural experience, reflecting the local lifestyle and gastronomic traditions.

Sampling Agua de Valencia is akin to tasting the city's essence in a glass. This iconic cocktail, with its mix of sweetness and zest, perfectly complements Valencia's sunny disposition. Cafes and bars around the city center and market area serve this refreshing beverage, offering a moment of relaxation and a taste of local hospitality.


Shopping in the City Center

Valencia's city center transforms into a vibrant shopping district by midday. The streets come alive with shoppers exploring the array of retail options. The blend of high-street fashion, independent boutiques, and traditional handicraft stores creates an eclectic shopping experience. The Colon area, known for its luxurious offerings, contrasts with the Barrio del Carmen, where quirky and vintage finds await. Shopping in Valencia is as much about the hunt for the perfect item as it is about experiencing the city's architectural beauty and lively atmosphere.

Strolling through the historic alleys, visitors are treated to a visual feast of ornate buildings and charming squares, each turn offering a potential discovery. Whether it's fashion, souvenirs, or local crafts, shopping in Valencia is a delightful journey through the city's culture and creativity.



Afternoon: Arts, Sciences, and Green Spaces

As the afternoon unfolds, Valencia presents its futuristic side, especially in architecture and urban green spaces.


City of Arts and Sciences

The City of Arts and Sciences is a futuristic complex emblematic of Valencia's skyline. Designed by the renowned architect Santiago Calatrava, this scientific and cultural leisure complex is a testament to the city's commitment to innovation and education. The complex includes several buildings dedicated to different science, technology, and art aspects. The Hemisfèric, resembling a giant eye, offers an IMAX cinema and planetarium. The Science Museum, with its interactive exhibits, appeals to curious minds of all ages, encouraging exploration and learning. The Oceanogràfic is Europe's largest aquarium, offering a deep dive into worldwide marine habitats. This area is a hub for science and art enthusiasts and an architectural landmark for those appreciative of modern design.


Turia Gardens

The Turia Gardens offer a serene retreat following the intellectual stimulation of the City of Arts and Sciences. This extensive park, stretching through the city where the Turia River once flowed, serves as the green lung of Valencia. The gardens are popular for locals and visitors with its verdant landscapes, sports facilities, and leisure areas. The park embodies the Valencian spirit of blending history with modernity as it repurposes the old riverbed into a vibrant communal space. Whether for a leisurely walk, a bike ride or simply to relax under the shade of a palm tree, the Turia Gardens provide a peaceful respite from the urban buzz, making it an essential part of the Valencia experience.



Evening: Sunset and Nightlife

As Valencia transitions from the golden hues of the afternoon to the vibrant energy of the evening, the city reveals yet another facet of its diverse character. The evening in Valencia perfectly blends serene sunset views and pulsating nightlife, offering something for every type of traveler.


Torres de Quart and Sunset Views

The Torres de Quart, a testament to Valencia's medieval past, marks the perfect beginning to an enchanting evening. These historic towers once served as a principal gateway through the city walls and now offer a unique vantage point to witness the day's end. Climbing the ancient steps to the top, visitors are rewarded with breathtaking views of the city as it basks in the soft glow of the setting sun. The panoramic vista encompasses the old town's mosaic of rooftops, modern landmarks in the distance, and the tranquil Turia Gardens, all illuminated in the warm twilight. With the sky painted in vibrant shades of orange and pink, this moment provides a tranquil pause before the night's adventures.


Plaza del Ayuntamiento

As night falls, Plaza del Ayuntamiento, Valencia's main square, becomes the heart of the city's social life. This grand square, surrounded by impressive buildings, including the City Hall and the Central Post Office, is beautifully lit at night, creating a magical atmosphere. The plaza is a feast for the eyes and a hub of activity, where locals and visitors gather to enjoy the cool evening air.

The area around Plaza del Ayuntamiento is renowned for its vibrant nightlife. Valencia offers diverse bars and clubs catering to all tastes, from cozy tapas bars where you can enjoy a glass of wine and local delicacies to high-energy nightclubs where DJs spin the latest hits until dawn. The Valencian nightlife scene is particularly lively in the Ciutat Vella (Old Town), where narrow streets come alive with music and chatter, offering an immersive experience of the city's nocturnal charm.

For those seeking a more laid-back evening, the plaza and surrounding streets are dotted with terraces and cafes where you can enjoy a drink and watch the world go by. The mild Mediterranean climate makes outdoor socializing a year-round possibility, adding to the allure of Valencia's evenings.

Whether perched atop the Torres de Quart soaking in the sunset, wandering the illuminated Plaza del Ayuntamiento, or diving into the lively bar scene, Valencia's evening offerings encapsulate the city's spirit of beauty, history, and vibrant modern life. The night in Valencia is when the past and present blend seamlessly, creating unforgettable moments under the Spanish sky.

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