Valencia, Spain: Top 10 Things to Do

For anyone who makes the great decision to visit this city though- it certainly won’t disappoint! Check my curated list for the best Valencia things to do!

Valencia is a gorgeous Mediterranean city on the east coast of Spain. It’s not typically a common stop in the country however, with most travelers opting to visit nearby Barcelona instead.
I’ll admit- I’m a little bit obsessed. After studying abroad there, spending a year living there, (and visiting again!) I’ve compiled my list of the top 10 best Valencia things to do

Map with places I’ll be detailing below:

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1.) Relax at the Plaza de La Virgen

The architectural beauty and history speak for themselves in this iconic and central plaza of the city. You can spend the whole afternoon here relaxing, people watching, and taking in the views of the old part of the city. The cathedral (a former mosque) is a beautiful centerpiece, and the colorful buildings and aroma of nearby restaurants simply add to the experience.
Top things to do Valencia, Spain, Instagram spots
Me loving my favorite place, in my favorite city!
Top things to do Valencia, Spain
The front of the Cathedral of Valencia


Read More: My 2-3 day Valencia itinerary for a first time visit!

2) Sample Food at El Mercado Central or Mercado Colón

Both locals and tourists alike enjoy visiting Spain’s lively public markets. The Central Market (Mercado Central) is located near the heart of the city, and provides plenty of photogenic sights. It has an assortment of colorful fruits and veggies, as well as some chances to gawk at the hanging fresh meats. Considered one of the oldest European markets still running, don’t pass up the chance to try and buy some local deliciousness.
Alternately, you can check out Mercat de Colom, which has many great places for horchata, and some arts and crafts!
Top things to do Valencia, Spain
Entrance to Mercado Colón
Top things to do Valencia, Spain
Entrance to Mercado Central
Top things to do Valencia, Spain
Interior of the crafts and items at Mercado Colón

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3) Eat Paella & Drink Agua de Valencia

Paella, a Spanish culinary tradition, all began in the Valencian region of Spain. The delicious mixture of rice, meats, seafood, and vegetables create a flavor that some might argue is the very essence of España! Try it at one of the many restaurants along the beach near the America’s Cup Port- or Playa Malvarrosa. It doesn’t get more authentic than it does here, in the place where it originated!
While you’re out, check the menu for Agua de Valencia– a local cocktail made of champagne, orange juice (of the famed Valencian oranges), vodka, and gin. Valencia things to do!
Top things to do Valencia, Spain
The delicious “Agua de Valencia”
Top things to do Valencia, Spain
Enjoying some Agua outside of the Central Market
Top things to do Valencia, Spain
My Paella de Verduras – with delicious patatas bravas in the background!

4) Discoteca Night 

Spaniards know how to party. With salsa clubs and discotecas staying open all night, and the metro opening at 6am, there is no excuse NOT to stay out all night, catch a sunrise on the beach, and then take the metro back to your hostel at sunrise.
The dancing scene, the music, the drinks, and the overall environment are unlike any other city. Here, you’ll actually experience dancing like it was meant to be!
You can’t have a true Spanish experience without partaking in the thriving nightlife- and with countless options, you have no excuse! I recommend L’Umbracle Terraza, located in the City of Arts & Sciences, as a good start! If beach-side clubs with swim up bars are more your scene, check out Marina Beach Club and Lounge.
Top things to do Valencia, Spain
Image via L’Umbracle’s Official Website

5) Stroll and Shop the Central Plaza del Ayuntamiento

With its marbled streets, unique shops, beautiful buildings, and sprinkling of fountains, this area of the city has a sophisticated and refined air to it. Stroll the streets in the nicest outfit you packed, stop in and try some tapas or grab a glass of vino, and hit up the shops like Zara, Mango, and of course… El Corte Inglés.
Top things to do Valencia, Spain
The Plaza at Mid-Day
Top things to do Valencia, Spain
The most scenic bank you’ll ever see

Read More: My visit to the natural springs (day-trip from Valencia)

6) Climb the staircase to the top of El Miguelete

The Cathedral of Valencia, constructed at the end of the 13th century, has seen its fair share of history. At one point a mosque, now a Catholic Church (home to the real Holy Grail), the beautiful interior of the church is worth a visit.
Climbing the bell tower (added in 1459) and its 300ish steps is a MUST. For a small fee, you can climb the winding narrow stairs to the top of the cathedral. There, you can spend time near the old bell (called “El Miguelete”), while enjoying views of the city, ocean, and more. It is simply beautiful, and the history of the church makes it more so.
Top things to do Valencia, Spain
View from the top of the church

7) Marvel at the Architecture of the City of Arts of Sciences

Words cannot accurately describe the unique, futuristic, and stunning architecture of renowned architect Santiago Calatrava’s magnificent City of Arts and Sciences. With construction beginning in the late 90’s , this area has rapidly become a cultural, architectural, educational, and entertainment based space, and a must for all visitors to the city.
Simply walk around, gawk at the beautiful structures, or maybe pay a visit to the planetarium, the 3D cinema, or the large aquarium as well. You will not regret it!
Top things to do Valencia, Spain
Top things to do Valencia, Spain
Me, loving the City of Arts & Sciences!
Top things to do Valencia, Spain
Calatrava’s Masterpiece
Top things to do Valencia, Spain
L’Oceanografic (Aquarium)


8) Try Horchata near Plaza de La Reina

The Horchatería Santa Catalina was founded in 1835, and has a noble tradition of serving up a local breakfast dish like no one else can. True horchata originated in this city. Come into this restaurant in the Plaza de Santa Catalina (within walking distance of the Cathedral), and order yourself a glass of horchata, with a side of fartones.
Horchata, a milky drink made with tiger nuts, sugar and water goes perfectly with the doughnut like dippers, called fartones. Sit a while enjoying this local treat, and soak in the lively plaza atmosphere. Another great place to find excellent horchata options is the Mercado de Colón!
Top things to do Valencia, Spain
My order of horchata with a side of fartones at Mercado Colón
Top things to do Valencia, Spain
Another great horchata option!
Top things to do Valencia, Spain, Horchata

9) Walk or Swim the beautiful Playa de la Malvarrosa

This amazing urban beach, north of the city center, has great Mediterranean swimming in summertime. Come in July or August and you’ll find yourself surrounded by local beach-goers, soaking in the glorious Spanish sunlight (some choosing to tan in the nude!).
The water feels great, and if you’re hungry there are shops and restaurants all along the beachfront promenade. If you have time, you can walk down to the old America’s Cup Port (home of the world’s largest sailing competition). If you want a fancy dinner with a great view, check out Restaurant Panorama.
Top things to do Valencia, Spain
View of the beach and the cabanas from Marina Beach Club, as seen from Restaurante Panorama
Top things to do Valencia, Spain
The wide stretches of sand at Malvarrosa

10) Climb the Historical Torres de Serranos

These towers formed what was once one of twelve entries through the original medieval city gates. Constructed in 1392, they are one of Valencia’s most iconic sights.
Visitors can walk up into the towers, read a bit about the history, and check out the surrounding view. If time permits, visit the nearby Torres de Quart too- a place riddled with bullet holes from Napoleon’s troops. Overall these are quick stops, but worthwhile visits!
Top things to do Valencia, Spain
The Towers from below
valencia things to do. top things to see valencia.
Me peeking out at the city from the tower

More Spain Info!

♥  Read more about a day trip to the nearby hot springs!
♥ Check this list of Valencia DAY TRIPS and TOURS !
♥ Read about where to stay in Valencia 
Visit the nearby medieval beach town of Peñíscola.

More Helpful Links:

♥ Get some travel insurance! I never travel abroad without it!
♥ Browse my Amazon storefront for my favorite travel products
♥ Book your hotel in Valencia
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Valencia, Spain things to do!


  • Reply David Stock May 24, 2015 at 11:25 am

    Nice list, I’m more into the Adventure side of the city’s. Just outside the city is a great hike that’s well known in Spain.

  • Reply Racha March 3, 2016 at 5:28 am

    Great post I have been to valencia and this really relate the beauty of this city 🙂

  • Reply Susanne Clark May 22, 2016 at 2:23 am

    Thanks. A big help for our upcomingtrip.

    • Reply Michelle W. August 15, 2016 at 10:23 am

      Great to hear! I hope you have fun- Valencia is AMAZING! 🙂

  • Reply Billy August 14, 2016 at 11:02 pm

    I’m definitely planning on including Valencia in my circuit tour of Spain: Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona, Bilbao. (Andalusia will have to be a separate trip!)

    • Reply Michelle W. August 15, 2016 at 10:23 am

      Hi Billy- That is a smart idea- there is SO much to do and see in Spain that it’s not possible to fit it all into one 10 day trip. I think the way you are splitting it up is great! Each one of those cities is wonderful, although Valencia is of course my favorite 🙂 Enjoy!

  • Reply Bealocalvalencia August 23, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    You should also try Horchata in Alboraya surrounded by the fields of chufa (the main ingredient) and have paella in El Palmar surrounded by the rice paddies. Things always taste better (providing you don’t fall into a tourist trap) at the source.

  • Reply The Jetset Boyz September 30, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    For us, one of the joys of travelling is trying new food & regional specialities. Paella originates in the Valencia region, so when we were there last October we decided to a Paella making experience. We spent a fun half day with a paella master learning the secrets of authentic Paella Valenciana.

    To get things started was a trip to Mercat Central to buy our ingredients. It was absolutely fascinating to hear the history and traditions of the market whilst going from stall to stall buying our ingredients.

    Now we’re hooked and look to do at least one cooking experience in each city we visit. Recently in Barcelona we did two. It’s so much fun, and you get to meet some really fab people.

  • Reply Fan Girl Friday: Michelle, The Great Wide Somewhere - By Travel And Error January 11, 2019 at 9:02 am

    […] post popular post is the first one I ever wrote, about the top ten things to do in Valencia, Spain. I think that’s my favorite because it’s my favorite city in the world and the post is […]

  • Reply A Perfect 2 Days in Granada Itinerary: How to Spend a Weekend in Granada - Eternal Arrival May 14, 2022 at 8:49 pm

    […] be anything from some fries and a bit of stew to a plate of fried anchovies to a small helping of Valencian paella to fried eggplant with honey and […]

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