Valencia is a coastal city east of Madrid and just south of Barcelona. The most common misconception about Valencia is that it is a beach town. Yes, it is on the coast of Spain, but it is not your typical beach town. Valencia is known as the “city with it’s back to the sea”. Even this non-history buff found Valencia’s history to be fascinating. Back when there were fights aplenty over land possession, Valencia felt they were vulnerable because of their coastal location. So, they built walls around the city and moved the gates 10 minutes off of the coast to better protect themselves. Cool, right? Another fun fact about Valencia is that they speak Catalan, not Spanish. Yes, it is a completely different language. It makes reading street signs and restaurant menus quite difficult. Nonetheless, it is a precious gem of a city that should be enjoyed by everyone who visits Spain. We’ve put together an Insider’s Guide to give you all of the destination knowledge about what to do in Valencia.
The Cathedral – the Holy Chalice used by Jesus during the Last Supper is inside of this cathedral! (so they say). You can also catch some of the best views of the city from the top of the Cathedral’s bell tower.
City of Arts and Sciences – a cluster of unique architectural structures that house the Science Museum, Palau de les Arts, the Hemisféric and the Oceanográfic.
Learn to make authentic paella and take a post-lunch boat ride in La Albufera, a nature park that is home to the largest lake in Spain.
Bike through the Turia Gardens, the large park that resulted from the drained River Turia.
Colón Market – a foodie’s haven with butchers, fishmongers, delicatessens and more! The most unique thing I encountered here…eels. I won’t go into details, but let’s just say you could purchase a live eel at the market.
Learn to make Agua de Valencia at the Palau Alameda, one of the trendiest rooftop bars in the city. I put together the perfect Agua de Valencia recipe here in case you need a new go-to cocktail asap.
Riff – a Michelin-starred restaurant run by a German chef who serves up innovative and authentic cuisine using seasonal and local ingredients.
Horchateria – Valencia is full of horchateria’s. Here, they serve horchata, or tigernut milk, with fartons, the popular soft bread sticks.
La Sucursal – a Michelin-starred restaurant overlooking the Valencia port and seaside. Grab a drink before your dinner to watch the sunset over the water.
Valencia is the perfect place to stop while you are on your way to Barcelona or Terra Dominicata in the wine region. Don’t forget to add this gem to your next Spain itinerary!