If you read my latest blog post about Spain, you’ll know that I recently went to Valencia for a day trip. There was way too much to write about this beautiful city to fit in just one paragraph, so I decided that Valencia deserved it’s own post. We managed to see most of the things we wanted to, but one day is definitely not enough to see everything, so I’d definitely recommend an overnight stay at least.
Parking in Valencia can get very stressful and very expensive, luckily, there is a brilliant solution. A few of the metro stations just outside the city actually operate as a park and ride, so all you need to do is purchase a metro ticket and you can park there for free! We parked at Valencia Sud as we had driven up from the south, but there are a few others around the city, just look for the “P+M” symbol on the metro maps.
If you’re thinking about going to Valencia – I hope this post helps!
Walk through the Old Town
It’s pretty easy to see the old town in Valencia, because it’s where a lot of the main tourist attractions and sights are located, and there are no metro stations in the old town, so you sort of have to walk through it. It’s also the prettiest part of Valencia, in my opinion. My favourite part of the old town was definitely El Carmen, the buildings are so beautiful and it’s so fascinating just walking through the narrow streets admiring it all. And yes I may have pretended I was a sexy Spanish señorita.
Visit the Cat House
Ok so this was probably my favourite part of Valencia! Located down one of the many narrow streets (Carrer del Museo, to be precise – you’re welcome) of Valencia is the famous cat house. As a self-professed crazy cat lady, there was no way I could visit Valencia without making a stop here, and it’s just as cute in person as it looks in photos. We even saw a black cat go into the house! (I basically died of cuteness overload). The legend has it that the old woman who used to live there left the house to the stray cats of Valencia to inhabit after she died. For some reason I feel like that was probably me in a previous life…
This was one of the parts of Valencia that we unfortunately didn’t manage to see much of because we were only there for the afternoon and evening. We did stop there for lunch when we first arrived and it was so stunning, and stupid me didn’t think to take many photos because I was hangry. The Turia Park is actually in an old dried out riverbed which curves around the city. There’s plenty to do in the park, you can even rent bikes or small vehicles to see more of the gardens which I so wish we’d done in hindsight!
Climb the El Miguette Tower of Valencia Cathedral
Spoiler: I died. I’m the least sporty person ever and I very much prefer sitting down as opposed to any form of movement or exercise, however; I wanted the view. So I put my big girl pants on and paid the €2 per person to climb up the very steep, very narrow steps of the El Miguette Tower in Valencia Cathedral. (And I mean very narrow, if you meet someone going the opposite way to you, you basically need to cling on to the sides for dear life so you don’t fall). By the time we reached the top I was a hot sweaty mess so I had to catch my breath for a bit, but it was definitely worth it for one of the best panoramic views Valencia has to offer.
City of Arts and Sciences
Another one here that I really wanted to see and was definitely on my list, but it was quite out of the way and by the time we’d seen everything else we wanted to see, we unfortunately didn’t have time to make it here. And as far as I was aware, there wasn’t a metro station nearby. (You can actually see some of it in the above photo: it’s the futuristic triangular pointy buildings towards the left side of the horizon). If you rent a bike in the Turia Gardens, apparently the City of Arts and Sciences is right at the south side of the park, which I didn’t realise at the time otherwise I would’ve definitely done that. Never mind! If you want to drive there it does have a car park called the Umbracle, but I’ve heard that it’s very expensive. There’s quite a lot to do there so I’d recommend a good few hours, or maybe even a whole afternoon there! There’s El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia – an opera house and performing arts centre; L’Hemisphèric – an Imax Cinema, Planetarium, and Laserium; L’Umbacle – Walkway / Garden; Oceanographic – Open-air aquarium or oceanographic park, and the Ágora – A versatile space that allows the holding of varies events. The whole place is surrounded by streams and pools of water, and you can even go water zorbing there!
Church of San Nicholas
I’d read that the San Nicholas Church was like Valencia’s Sistine Chapel, so I was so looking forward to seeing it, but when we got there we were so disappointed to see that it was actually closed. There was no open entrance anywhere, not even an obvious entrance to find opening times or anything. We walked all the way around it and couldn’t find anything so who knows? I was so disappointed, as I’d also read that the Holy Grail is said to be kept there, and I had a plethora of Monty Python quotes at the ready.
Visit the Mercado Central
If you’re going to see the Mercado Central, don’t do what we did and get there 15 minutes before it closes at 3pm, as a lot of the stands will already be closed. I really wanted to try some Horchata and Fartons (lol) from the stand there that was featured on Travel Man, but of course, that was one of the stands that was shut. There are quite a few fruit and veg stands there, but on the whole it’s not particularly vegetarian or vegan friendly, as the vast majority is meat and dairy! Still, we enjoyed walking around and admiring the architecture and taking in the hustle and bustle of the market, though.
Have an Agua de Valencia
Another thing I’d seen of Travel Man was this glorious cocktail. We stopped to have dinner at La Rollerie, (where I had the best burger in my life, which also happened to be vegan), and I’d had a hankering for this magical cocktail all day but couldn’t find anywhere that made it. I asked the waitress if they did it as it wasn’t on their menu, but she went and made one for me – what a babe. This cocktail consists of Orange Juice, Cava or Champagne, Vodka, and Gin. It was so delicious but holy moly was it strong. I’m not a particularly big drinker so I was basically pissed after just the one glass. I’m a cheap date, me.
One other thing that I would’ve wanted to do if we were there for longer is visit one of Valencia’s beaches, as I’ve heard that there are some beautiful ones. Apparently there’s also different boat trips available from the marina, including a sunset one where you sail out into the mediterranean and watch the sunset over Valencia. That is my idea of heaven!
Valencia has so much more to offer than just this handful of activites, so to make the most of this gorgeous city you really need more than one day. You need time, good weather, comfortable shoes, and something to ease the chub rub.