We visited Valencia over the Easter weekend and spent three nights in the city, which was enough time to see most of the top sights in Valencia. If you’re looking for a long weekend away, with sunshine, delicious food, history and culture – put Valencia on your list!
Last year we spent Easter in Seville, which was very different to Valencia. In Seville they celebrate Semana Santa, which are processions during the Holy Week. It was an amazing experience but also quite difficult to get around the city at night. Valencia was very different – you wouldn’t even have known it was Easter!
How to get from Valencia airport to the city centre
Valencia airport, or Manises airport as it’s also known, is quite close to the city centre. It took us less than 20 minutes in a taxi and cost €30, which we booked through our accommodation. You can also get the metro from the airport or a bus.
Where to stay in Valencia
We stayed in a lovely, stylish apartment in the centre, just steps away from the Torres de Serranos and a short walk to the Cathedral and Central Market. Valencia is a very walkable city but it also has a metro system and it’s a great city to cycle around.
Best things to see in Valencia over a long weekend
Whether you’ve only got a long weekend in Valencia or a whole week to explore, there is lots to see and do. Here are some of the best things to see in Valencia.
Torres de Serranos
Torres de Serranos, or Serranos Towers, is one of the remaining twelve gates that formed part of the ancient city wall. From the front it resembles a small castle.
It was built in Valencian Gothic style in 1392. Although the city walls were demolished in the 1800s, the tower remained. For €2 you can climb to the top of the tower for a great view of the city and the Jardin del Turia.
Valencia Cathedral, also known as St Mary’s cathedral, sits in the very pretty Plaza de la Virgen. It was built between the 13th and 15th century and is mainly Gothic in style. It was built over the site of the former Visigothic cathedral which was also a Mosque at one point, when the Moors ruled.
The Cathedral has a purported Holy Chalice, which many believe to be the Holy Grail. It’s kept in one of the cathedral’s chapels.
Climb Torre del Miguelete
The cathedral has a bell tower, called Torre del Miguelete – or El Miguelete. Construction of the tower began in 1381 and was completed in 1429. Originally it was a separate tower but was joined to the cathedral at the end of the 15th century. Access to the bell tower is inside the cathedral.
It stands 51 meters tall and has 207 steps to the top where you have stunning panoramic views over the city. It costs just €2 to climb to the top. There is also a beautiful bell at the top of the tower as well as two bells inside the tower.
Plaza de la Virgen
The main square in Valencia is called Plaza de la Virgen and it has many of the city’s historical attractions. Here is where you’ll find the cathedral, the Basilica de la Virgen de los Desamparados and the Turia fountain.
There are lots of cafes surrounding the Plaza and it’s a great place to sit and have a drink or a bite to eat, take in the beauty of the square and people watch.
Hire a bicycle
Valencia is a great city to cycle around – hence why there are loads of bike rental shops! We hired a bike one day – for just €10 for the full day – to cycle to Casa Montaña where we had a lunch reservation.
Casa Montaña dates back to 1836 and is located in a neighbourhood near the Malvarrosa beach. It took us about 30 minutes to cycle from the city centre to the restaurant. There are cycling lanes everywhere and you can also cycle through Jardin del Turia, which is a beautiful park that is 9km long.
Stroll along Malvarrosa beach
Easily accessible by bike or metro is Playa del la Malvarrosa, which stretches for around 3.5km. When we visited it was quite windy, however there were still people sunbathing. Along the promenade are a number of restaurants and bars where you can enjoy something to eat and drink. Did you know that paella originated in Valencia?
Visit the City of Arts and Sciences
The City of Arts and Sciences, or Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències in Catalan, is an amazing complex of buildings that house museums, an aquarium, a planetarium, IMAX cinema, open air garden and more. It is very popular and if you want to visit any of the attractions, it’s highly recommended to buy tickets in advance.
As we only had three days in Valencia, we cycled around the City of Arts and Sciences but we didn’t visit any of the museums or the Oceanogràfic, which is the largest aquarium in Europe.
Explore the Central Market Hall
The Central Market Hall in Valencia is Europe’s largest fresh produce market! It has more than 1200 stores, selling fruit, vegetables, meat, wine and more. The architecture reminded me of part train station, part church – with the stained glass windows.
We enjoyed a coffee and pastry inside the market and also treated ourselves to a bottle of Rosé Cava from a lovely wine stall. You could spend a good couple of hours walking around the market and you can also enjoy a bite to eat at Central Bar, one of chef Richard Camarena’s restaurants.
Valencia is a great city for a long weekend as well as for a longer holiday. We felt as though we saw a lot that the city had to offer, although there would still be more to see if we went back. For example, we didn’t go in to see The Silk Exchange, which is a Unesco World Heritage site.
Have you been to Valencia? What would you recommend to see and do?