Let’s discover the things to do in Valencia in 3 days, a quiet city on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, which we particularly like for its peaceful old town, large beaches and futuristic buildings.
Having been founded by the Romans as Valentia Edetanorum in 138 BC, Valencia is one of the oldest cities in Spain.
Like many other places in southern Spain, Valencia was not exempt from Muslim conquest and occupation from the 8th century until the reconquest in the 13th century. Today, details of that historical era can still be seen in some of the buildings. However, it was not until the 15th century that Valencia entered its Golden Age, with a cultural, artistic and economic boom (mainly due to the textile industry). Most of the buildings you will see walking around Valencia date from this period.
Since that time the city has been affected by abandonment after the Discovery of America and successive wars that have affected the region, such as the Germanías Rebellion, the War of the Spanish Succession, the War of Independence against Napoleon’s army and the Cantonal Revolution, among others.
Today, Valencia is one of the most important cities in Spain, being the third largest in the country.
Where to stay in Valencia
It’s best to stay close to the main attractions to see in Valencia, that is the historic centre, mainly the area near the train station and the Virgin’s square. Our recommendations for accommodation in Valencia are:
- Venecia Plaza Centro: opposite the City Hall square, it is elegantly decorated and excellent value for money. Ideal for families or couples.
- Petit Palace Ruzafa: housed in a 19th century building but with all facilities renovated inside. Modern furniture and comfortable beds. Surrounded by bars and restaurants of this modern quarter.
- The Westin Valencia: elegance summed up in one place. Art Deco rooms, spa, fitness centre and a large garden to sit and enjoy a drink.
Need more options? Check these hotels in Valencia.
📜 TABLE OF CONTENTS
Map – What is there to do in Valencia in 3 days?
Although Valencia’s historic center is one of the largest in Spain, it can be easily visited in a day or even half a day, as everything is relatively close by. The main attractions to see in Valencia in this area include:
- Day 1 – Walk around the Old Town and Ruzafa quarter (See 1 to 9 below)
- Day 2 – Turia Park and City of Arts and Sciences (See 10 to 12 below)
- Day 3 – Beach time! (See 13 to 14 below)
If you have more time, a visit to the Albufera de Valencia, an ecological reserve 10 km south of the city, is worthwhile.
1) Free Tour around Valencia Old Town
👉 Free Tours are trendy because it is a “cheap” way to get to know a place. It is an introduction to then continue touring on your own or go deeper in a paid tour. Why cheap and not free? Because FREE is actually a word with a double meaning in English. Yes, on the one hand its translation is “free of charge”, but it is also related to “freedom”. That is to say, tours are at will and the amount you will pay will depend on whether you liked it a lot or a little, and the budget you are traveling with. It is recommended to leave a minimum of 5 € per person attending.
One of the things to do in Valencia in 3 days is a tour of the city… and if it’s free (or at will), all the better! While there are many tour options to choose from, it’s best to start with a stroll through Valencia’s Old Town and then continue on to discover the City of Arts and Sciences and other thematic tours.
Also, save time and money with significant discounts at museums and attractions, plus unlimited use of public transport with the Valencia Tourist Card.
2) Queen’s Square, Valencia Cathedral and Micalet Tower
The Queen’s Square (Plaza de la Reina) is a good starting point to get to know the Old Town of Valencia. The Valencia Cathedral stands out on one of its sides and is truly impressive. It was built during the 13th century over a former mosque and has three entrance doors in different architectural styles.
The Miguelete (Micalet Tower) is the endearing name given bell tower of the Cathedral, later built, with a height of more than 50 metres. It is accessible to the top via a spiral staircase, where there are beautiful views of the historic city centre.
3) Serranos Tower, one of the things to do in Valencia in 3 days
Built during the late 14th and early 15th centuries, Serranos towers and gates were used as a defence for the city, along with the walls that are now extinct. The top of the tower can be accessed free of charge, via a staircase, giving 360º views of Valencia.
While Serranos are the best known and most visited, on your visit to Valencia you will find other remains of the old medieval city walls that are still standing, such as the Quart Towers. This was one of the access gates to the city, on either side of which are two tall semi-cylindrical towers.
4) Virgin’s Square (Plaza de la Virgen)
Surrounded by the back of the Cathedral of Valencia, the Forsaken’s Virgin Church (Basílica de la Virgen de los Desamparados) and the Government Palace, Virgin’s Square is notable for the huge Turia Fountain in its central section. Its beauty makes it one of the most important places to see in Valencia.
After observing all the surroundings, take a seat in one of the terraces of the bars and continue to contemplate it all with a “caña doble” (a big glass of beer).
In this place, during the Fallas of Valencia (local traditional celebration or festival during first half of March), the beautiful offering to the Virgen de los Desamparados takes place.
5) Round Square, an unusual place to visit in Valencia
This curious square is located very close to the City Hall Square (Plaza del Ayuntamiento), and has the peculiarity that it is circular and almost totally enclosed. It can be accessed from four different arches and inside there are shops selling souvenirs and regional products.
6) City Hall Square, a must-see in Valencia in 3 days
This huge central square takes its name from the beautiful City Hall, the main building surrounding the square. Another striking building around the square is the Post and Telegraph Office, with its large interior dome that is well worth a visit.
During the Fallas of Valencia, the City Hall square plays a leading role, as this is where the Mascletá (fireworks display) takes place. A pyrotechnics show that makes the pavement tremble, thanks to the large number of firecrackers with kilos of gunpowder that explode here.
7) Silk Exchange (Llotja de la Seda)
🔘 Check out the rest of the World Heritage Sites we have visited.
Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the Silk Exchange (Lonja or Llotja de la Seda) is one of the most beautiful buildings in Valencia Old Town. In civil Gothic style, silk was traded here and there was even a prison for those who were late with their payments.
8) Central Market, tasteful place to visit in Valencia in 3 days
The beautiful building of the Central Market dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. Inside, the outstanding tiles and stained glass windows reflect different shades of light inside, making it one of the main things to do in Valencia. Today it is still used as a market, with a large number of stalls selling meat, fruit, vegetables and many other products.
9) Ruzafa Quarter
The Ruzafa quarter was, once upon a time, a neighbourhood with a high crime rate. Today, it has become one of the coolest and most cultural districts, with a large presence of cafés, American-style bakeries, terrace cafés, bars, nightclubs and trendy restaurants.
In addition, its streets are lined with small art galleries, indie clothing boutiques and organic food shops, while the stalls of the Ruzafa Market are full of fresh, regional goods. Without a doubt, a visit here is one of the things to do in Valencia in 3 days.
10) Turia Gardens, a green area to visit in Valencia in 3 days
The Turia Gardens are the result of the diversion of the Turia riverbed, which left a wide area in the centre of the city without a watercourse. As a result of this, green areas with a large number of trees, places for recreation and the practice of different sports were created.
One of the most outstanding attractions in the gardens is Guliver, which is dedicated to children’s entertainment.
11) City of Arts and Sciences, the future is here
One of the main attractions to see in Valencia in 3 days is the City of Arts and Sciences. It is a complex of futuristic buildings including a museum, a 360º cinema and an auditorium theatre. They have been designed by Santiago Calatrava, a renowned Spanish architect who has completed works in many places in Spain and around the world. For example, the Woman bridge in Buenos Aires is the work of this architect.
The Science Museum and the Hemisfèric are the main cultural centres to visit within the complex (as well as the Oceanografic – see below), but you can’t also miss the Umbracle garden area, the Reina Sofía Auditorium and the Agora.
12) Oceanogràfic València
This oceanographic is the largest aquarium in the world, with an infinity of marine species. Although it was “created to reinforce and extend the work that the Oceanogràfic carries out to protect the marine environment”, is still a place where animals are kept in captivity.
🐘 As a traveler you should be watchful, be aware of possible abuses of animals during your holiday, not participating in them. We also encourage the tourism industry to identify practices that put animals at risk and to make informed decisions to avoid promoting them.
13) Beaches in Valencia
If you are travelling to Valencia in the summer season, it is worth visiting some of the beaches to dive into the Mediterranean Sea. There are a couple of beaches to the north, within the city, and there are some to the south, in the Albufera Park, a protected area known as the Humedales (wetlands).
We headed for the urban beach of Cabanyal (Las Arenas). We chose this beach because it is located next to a very picturesque fishermen’s quarter. The beaches are very long, not too crowded and the Mediterranean water is at a pleasant temperature.
14) Sailing in the Mediterranean Sea
One of the things to do in Valencia in 3 days is to set sail on the Mediterranean sea to get another panoramic view of the city’s skyline. There are many options, from romantic daytime or sunset getaways for couples to party boats for those looking for fun.
- Sunset Catamaran Cruise: Romantic way to surprise your loved one.
- Catamaran Lunch Cruise: Enjoy a delicious paella while admiring Valencia from the sea.
- Boat Party: Get ready to dance and enjoy great music on board.
15) Having more days? Surroundings of Valencia
These are some of the places to visit in Valencia if you have more than 3 days or more:
Useful information to visit Valencia in 3 days or more
Buy your travel insurance and travel safe!
🚑 Take a look at these tips to choose the best travel insurance (updated to 2022) according to the type of traveler you are and, in addition, it will help you clear up the most common doubts. Travel safe!
Getting to the beaches of Valencia
In summer, there are three bus lines, including the 20 and 23, which go to the beaches of Cabanyal (Las Arenas) and La Malvarrosa, in the north of the city. Single ticket: €1.50 per person. Bus numbers in Valencia are marked red, and those that operate only in summer are marked yellow (even if the bus is red).
Valencia’s famous paella
The typical food in Valencia is paella. Although many people think of seafood paella, which is just as good, the original “paella valenciana” is with chicken and rabbit, and some more strict people add snails.
It is best to find a restaurant that makes paellas on the spot, i.e. not as part of the “dish of the day” because they may not be as good. However, bear in mind that paella is normally a dish that is eaten in pairs, so it’s best to go with someone else.
The price of a paella usually starts at 20 euros for two people.
- Valencia & Paella Tour: Stroll around Valencia Old Town and enjoy a delicious paella at the end.
- Paella Cooking Class: Have fun learning how to make this traditional recipe with a professional local chef.
Getting around Valencia
Although Valencia is perfectly walkable and has an excellent Metro system, you have more options for getting to know the city, which we will tell you about below:
- Tourist Bus: Hop on hop off in the main attractions.
- Motorcycle Rental: Forget about the traffic jams and hire a motorcycle.
- Segway Tour: Fun and comfortable way of discovering Valencia.
– Getting to Valencia
Getting to Valencia by plane. Valencia Airport (VLC) is also known as Manises Airport, as it is located there, and is within walking distance of the historic centre. It is even easily accessible by Metro.
🚐 If you want to hire a transfer from/to Valencia airport for more comfort, check here.
Getting to Valencia by train. Valencia has two train stations. One is the Joaquin Sorolla high speed train station in the city centre which connects to major cities such as Madrid. Then, very close by and connected by a free bus, is the Valencia Nord station for the Cercanías train (to travel to nearby cities and towns).
🚊 Buy here your train tickets to travel in Europe.
🚊 Buy your Interrail and Eurail pass! This pass is a train ticket with which you can travel on almost all trains in Europe. With it you have access to 40 rail and ferry companies in 33 countries. Absolute freedom to discover Europe at your own rhythm. See our Interrail and Eurail Guide here.
Travel to Valencia in your own or rented car. This option is perfect for getting around the city and the surrounding area at your own pace. Just be aware that if you are travelling for the Fallas (early to mid March), many of the streets will be closed to traffic. The official government websites give information on this point. Another idea is to park your car outside the city and access downtown by train or metro.
Arriving to Valencia by Ferry. In reality you are more likely to travel from Valencia to one of the Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca or Ibiza) rather than from another destination to this city. What is important is that you know that this possibility exists so that you can continue your journey around Spain in an original way, crossing the Mediterranean.
🚢 Search here for ferry tickets with OMIO, buy yours and travel!
Discounts and useful resources to save on your trip
- Cheap flights with Skyscanner
- Rent a car with Auto Europe
- Interrail Pass
- Eurail Pass
- Train Tickets with OMIO
- Bus tickets with OMIO
- Ferry tickets with OMIO
- Asia tickets with 12Go
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