Valencia Travel Guide

Spain  #3 in Best Cheap European Vacations
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Free Things To Do in Valencia

If you have extra time, Plaza Ayuntamiento is worthwhile.
  • #1
    Things to do in Valencia
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    #1 in Valencia
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sightseeing, Sports, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sightseeing, Sports, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Jardí del Túria (or the Garden of the Turia) might seem odd to newcomers, seeing as how it boasts more than a dozen bridges built to span a river that's no longer there. One of the country's largest urban parks, Jardí del Túria was built after a fatal 1957 flood of the Turia river, which was then diverted over the course of the mid-to-late 1960s. Today, the gardens shelter orange and palm trees and rose bushes among the wide variety of flora. The park's facilities also include cafes, football (i.e., soccer) fields, children's play areas, rugby pitches, fountains, baseball diamonds, running tracks, skate parks and miniature golf courses. Predictably, the park is especially popular with runners and cyclists. It is also ideal for families with children.

    The green space is highly appreciated by recent visitors for the range of activities on offer as well as the peaceful atmosphere.

  • #4
    Central Market (Mercado Central)
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    #4 in Valencia
    Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    This is where local Valencians gather to do their shopping, though you'll find the atmosphere a bit different than your local supermarket. One of the oldest food markets in Europe, Mercado Central (Central Market) is adorned with Valencian-style mosaics and filled with residents purchasing local foods from trusted vendors selling everything from meat and vegetables to pastries and take-away items.

    Recent visitors were invariably impressed by the expansive range of food and beverages on offer here, with some describing the market as a "foodie paradise." Reviewers recommended stopping by, even if you don't plan on purchasing anything.

  • #6
    Plaza Ayuntamiento
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    #6 in Valencia
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    This city square contains the ayuntamiento (town hall). Within the town hall is where you'll find the main tourist office, which offers a variety of tourist information (including ticket sales) in various languages.

    Many travelers say the Plaza Ayuntamiento is a good place to start off any sightseeing, as the square is filled with decadent buildings constructed during Valencia's golden age. In the square's center is a fountain, which is surrounded by fragrant flower stalls. And if you're in a shopping frame of mind, simply turn off one of the square's side streets: Many of the city's best shops line the adjoining streets. Multiple restaurants and cafes are also nearby. The area is free to peruse any time of day.

  • #7
    Plaza de la Virgen
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    #7 in Valencia
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    Adjacent to the Valencia Cathedral, the Plaza de la Virgen is an ideal spot to appreciate some of the city's architecture – and to people-watch. Many shops and restaurants surround the square, which frequently sees a variety of street performers.

    The popular plaza is, of course, always open, and some visitors find it especially attractive at night. More information about the plaza and its fountain and monuments is available at the city's website.

  • #8
    Plaza de la Reina
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    #8 in Valencia
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    Within walking distance of the Valencia Cathedral, the Plaza de la Reina is a great space to sit and observe activity in the old part of town.

    Past travelers found the area lively at all times of the day and said they visited on several different occasions during their trip. Multiple options for food and drinks flank the square. It provides places both to soak in the sun or to find relief in the shade. Even if you don't seek out the plaza, you'll likely spend some time here as it's home to a variety of bus stops, according to reviewers.

  • #12
    Fine Art Museum of Valencia (Museu de Belles Arts de Valencia)
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    #12 in Valencia
    Museums, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    If you're a fan of Spanish artists, such as Velázquez, Goya and El Greco, you won't want to miss the free Museu de Belles Arts, which also houses a sizeable collection of medieval paintings. Among its holdings are approximately 2,000 paintings and statues, some dating back to the 14th century. The building itself is also quite interesting. It was once the home of the Seminary College of Saint Pius V, which dates back to the 17th century.

    Recent visitors appreciated the wide array of artistic styles on display (as well as the quality of the food at the on-site restaurant). However, a few said this is not a must-see unless you're interested in Spanish artists.

  • #13
    Valencia Beaches
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    #13 in Valencia
    Beaches, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    If you're looking for a bit of R & R, you can't miss the Valencian beaches. Bring your towel and beach book, and lay out on the khaki-colored sand. You also might want to bring some euros in case you get hungry for a dish of paella or a glass of Spanish wine at one of the many restaurants and cafes that line the shore. 

    Two of Valencia's most popular shorelines, Las Arenas Beach and Malvarrosa, are situated just minutes from the city center and can be reached via bus routes Nos. 92, 19,32 and 95 and metro lines 4, 6 and 8. According to recent visitors, there are plenty of facilities within reach of these beaches, including restrooms and hotels. For a quieter stretch of sand, reviewers suggested heading to Patacona Beach.

  • #14
    Albufera Nature Park (Parc Natural de l'Albufera)
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    #14 in Valencia
    Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    To commune with nature – specifically 250 bird species and miles of walking and biking trails – make a visit to the Albufera Nature Park, a large freshwater lagoon. The park is surrounded by the rice fields that helped prompt the invention of paella. Indeed, there are a number of restaurants nearby in the towns of El Palmar and El Saler, and many travelers find the food alone a reason for visiting the area.

    Located about 15 miles south of Valencia, the park can be reached from the city center using the No. 25 bus. Fares cost 1.50 euros (about $1.65) each way. There are organized tours (such as the Albufera Tourist Bus) that depart from the city center and include a variety of add-ons, including boat rides on the lake, but past visitors said it's just as easy to take the No. 25 bus and explore on your own. According to reviewers, it's free to access the park, though you'll have to pay if you want to take a boat ride.

  • #18
    Gulliver Park (Parque Gulliver)
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    #18 in Valencia
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    If a park designed with the giant from Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels" in mind sounds fanciful, that's because it is. Yet Gulliver Park is not merely a literary tribute; rather, it's a playground consisting of numerous slides and staircases arranged in the shape of its prone namesake. The figure's hat contains a smaller version of Gulliver, providing a sense of what the massive character looks like when glimpsed from above. To give a sense of the size of the "giant," the strands of Gulliver's hair are huge slides.

    While some adults appreciated the bibliophilic reference, the park was especially popular with children.

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