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Trip List by Valencia_Light

Great things to do in Valencia, Spain

Jul 7, 2011  A local resident of Valencia, Spain
4.5 of 5 stars based on 3 votes

When in Valencia, do as the Valencians do: an up-to-date overview of must-sees and must-dos in Valencia, Spain.

  • Explore locations featured in this Trip List: Valencia
  • Category: Best of
  • Traveler type: Culture, Sightseeing, Shopping, Active/Outdoors, Never been before, Repeat visitors, Sports buffs, Beachgoers
  • Appeals to: Business travelers, Couples/romantics, Honeymooners, Singles, Families with teenagers, Seniors, Students, Budget travelers, Active/adventure, Tourists
  • Seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
  • 1. Use all your senses at the Central Market (Mercado Central)
    Central Market (Mercado Central), Valencia, Valencia Province

    Do as the locals do: buy your fresh produce at the Mercado Central. It is one of the oldest running food markets in Europe. It has more than 1,000 stalls. The market building is beautiful, with lots of mosaics, colours and ceramics and large light domes. Don't forget to buy some "tomato valenciano". This is a big, rather ugly-looking tomato which tastes great with some olive oil and salt!

  • 2. Feel the Valencia vibe in the Turia old river bed
    Antiguo Cauce del Rio Turia, Valencia, Valencia Province

    When the river Turia was rerouted around the city after a big flooding in 1957, the fertile old river bed was converted into a 9 km long park. This green lung is the central axis of the city and definitely an essential part of daily life for Valencians. Do as they do. Take walks, go on a bike ride, have a picnic, do sports or just relax in the gardens.

  • 3. Hit the beach with paella included

    Valencia's most famous dish is of course the paella. The authentic Valencian paella has rabbit and chicken, but there are other popular kinds too, with seafood or only vegetables. Valencians don't have paella for dinner, only for lunch.
    Go to the Malvarossa city beach and have a paella on the beach promenade. Or rent a bike and follow the cycle lane out of the city to El Pinedo and El Saler beaches, beautiful and quiet beaches where you can have plenty of seafood dishes. Other recommendations apart from paella are: arroz a banda (rice with fish flavour and chunks of seafood), puntilla (fried mini squids in batter), fideua (same ingredients as paella, but made with pasta instead of rice), arroz negro (black rice, a simplified paella dish with chunks of squid and squid ink that gives the dish its black colour), arroz al horno (oven-baked rice with potatoes, sausages, tomatoes and spices).

  • 4. Gaze in awe at the City of the Arts and Sciences (Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias)
    City of the Arts and Sciences, Valencia, Valencia Province

    Valencia's futuristic masterpiece will leave you impressed. The white mosaics twinkle in the sun. The City of Arts and Sciences consists of 6 buildings:
    The Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia - the opera house in the shape of a intergalactical helmet, or a fish
    L'Hemisferic - the Imax theater in the shape of an eye that can open and close
    L'Umbracle - a garden covered by white arches casting shades
    Museum Principe Felipe - a science museum in the shape of a whale skeleton
    Agora - multifunctional space where major (sports) events are held, such as the Valencia Open 500 ATP Tennis tournament, the Fashion week and international congresses.
    Oceanografic - Europe's biggest aquarium with over 500 sealife species.
    Visiting the outside of the City of Arts and Sciences is free of charge. Entrance fees do apply if visiting the theatre, museum and aquarium.
    Visit the outside twice: once during the day, once at nighttime. It changes completely...!

  • 5. Look for the noisy and plain-looking little tapas bars

    Don't judge a book by its cover. This also goes for tapas bars in Spain. When going out for tapas the Spaniards don't need the most beautiful or most trendy setting. They're happy as long the food is good, their company are great people and the atmosphere is fun. Good atmosphere is often equivalent to loudness. Valencians can be loud and outgoing when out and about with friends. So do as the Valencians do, give the not-so-lovely-looking bars a chance, don't be afraid to raise your voice and be pleasantly surprised!
    Some suggestions:
    Bar Central, also known as Bar de David, Plaza Mercado 33. Tiny place with only two tables inside. Try his amazing patatas bravas (fried potatoes with garlic sause) or the fried artichokes.
    Tasca Angel, Calle Purisima 1. Tiny place where you can eat at the bar or standing up. No tables. Loud barman who will order you to stand right where he tells you to stand, so the bar can fit all the customers. Try the sardines or the "navajas" (razor clams) with a glass of white wine.
    Los Toneles, Calle Ribera 17. Noisy place, very well-known in Valencia. Try their calamar sandwich, it's a classic!

  • 6. Find an excuse to party

    The Valencians like their fiestas! Not only does Valencia have great nightlife, it also has many traditional and slightly weird festivities worth joining.
    For nightlife: visit the Calle de Cabelleros and Plaza Tossal area in the centrally located neighborhood of El Carmen. Another party area is around the Plaza Canovas on both sides of the Gran Via Marques de Turia. The student crowd parties around Plaza del Cedro, Avenida Blasco Ibanez and Avenida Aragon.
    In summer, go to the beach bars and beach discos along the Malvarrosa beach.
    Partying of a different, more traditional but not less interesting, kind can be found on selected dates throughout the year.
    First and foremost, las Fallas from 15th to 19th March. Beautiful monuments, loud fireworks, lots of fire and gunpowder. Be prepared for absolute mayhem!
    Semana Santa Marinera during the Holy Week before Easter. Parades in spooky hats, mysterious atmosphere in the neighborhoods along the seaside.
    Corpus Christi in June (exact date changes every year). Religious devotion, enormous floats, devils dancing around, throwing of water.
    La feria de julio in July. An entire month of concerts, cultural activities, free paella lunches, free museum night and much more.
    La Tomatina - end of August. Huge tomato-throwing festival in Bunyol, a village not far from Valencia. Needless to say, lots of tomatoes and juice in the world biggest food fight.
    Nou d'octubre - 9th of October. The official holiday of the autonomous region of Valencia. Think traditional dances, parades of the Moors and Christians, and Valencia's pride, an ear-deafening mascleta.

  • 7. Go the natural and authentic way
    Do! Valencia Hot Spring Day Tours, Valencia, Valencia Province

    At the weekends and during the summer holidays, many Valencians head for their "pueblo", their village. This is where they get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, this is where they take walks in the mountains or go swimming in rivers, natural pools with waterfalls or even hot springs and, of course, spend time with their family. It's about eating and drinking too!
    Now you can do as they do, too! Swim hot springs, see impressive nature and wild surprises, meet the locals, taste home-made village food. Do!Valencia takes you out of town, into the pueblos, and lets you experience a day of authentic fun.