- For other places with the same name, see Valencia (disambiguation).
Valencia / València, pronounced [baˈlenθja] (bahl-EHN-thee-ah) in Spanish, and [vaˈlensia] (vahl-EHN-see-ah) in Valencian, is a charming old city and the capital of the Valencian Autonomous Community of Spain that is well worth a visit. It is the third Spanish city in terms of importance and population, and the 15th in the European Union, with 810,064 inhabitants in the city proper and 1,832,270 in the Metropolitan Area (INE 2008). It is on the Mediterranean Sea approximately four hours to the south of Barcelona and three hours to the east of Madrid. Valencia is famous for its Fallas Festival in March, for being the birthplace of paella, for hosting the "2007 & 2010 America's Cup", and for the massive architectural project by Santiago Calatrava called The City of Arts and Sciences.
The river Turia ran through the center of the city, but it was redirected a while back and replaced by a beautiful park. This is a very nice place to spend any free time you have in the city on a sunny day.
Valencia hosted to the 2007 & 2010 America's Cup. This fact, along with the construction of the "City of Arts and Science" by renowned architect and Valencian Santiago Calatrava have made Valencia a city in transition. Massive construction and transformation over the last 10 years have turned a once little-considered medium city into a meatier and more interesting destination.
Despite being on the Mediterranean Sea, even residents used to say that "Valencia has always lived with its back to the sea", meaning that the spirit and the core of the city is not necessarily integrated with its beach. The city center and the most visited neighborhoods are not particularly close to the beach. However, the construction of the city esplanade in the eighties, along with the marina, and the recovery of the tram to the maritime neighborhoods, have gone some way toward easing this stance.
Valencia was founded by the Romans and was held by the Moors from the 8th to the 13th century (with a short interruption by El Cid). In 1609, the Moors who had converted to Catholicism were expelled from the city. During the Spanish civil war in the 1930s, Valencia was the capital of the Republic, which eventually lost to Franco's forces.
- Tourist Info Valencia. All offices sell the Valencia Tourist Card as well as tickets to various attractions, can help with restaurant and concert reservations, and can assist with booking bus, bicycle, or walking tours.
- Tourist Info Valencia - Reina, Plaça de la Reina, 19 (Main Office), ☎ +34 963 153 931, fax: +34 963 153 920, e-mail: email@example.com. M-Sa 09:00-19:00, Su and holidays 10:00-14:00; closed 25 Dec and 1-6 Jan.
- Tourist Info Valencia - Ayuntamiento, Plaça de l'Ajuntament, s/n (booth in the plaza by city hall), ☎ +34 963 524 908. M-Sa 09:00-19:00, Su and holidays 10:00-14:00; closed 25 Dec and 1-6 Jan.
- Tourist Info Valencia - Airport, Planta de Llegadas (Arrivals Hall), ☎ +34 961 530 229, fax: +34 961 598 451, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mar-Oct: M-F 08:30-20:30, Sa Su and holidays 09:30-17:30; Nov-Feb: M-F 08:30-20:30, Sa 09:30-17:30, Su and holidays 09:30-14:30; closed 25 Dec and 1-6 Jan.
- Summer — Like most European countries, August is a slow month as many of the residents are on vacation. At this time of year Valencia is very hot and humid with temperatures averaging between 30-35°C (86—95°F) by day and 20-25°C (68—77°F) by night.
- Fall — September and October are more active months and the weather permits beach outings. Important events take place during this season.
- Winter — Though temperatures are still relatively mild, it's too cold to sunbathe at the beach. It's not unusual though the occasional days reaching around 20°C (68°F) in the middle of this season. Sidewalk cafes use to work all the year.
- Spring — A lovely time to visit. The annual "Fallas de San José" unofficially marks the beginning of spring. Cafes and restaurants open their terraces and life spills out onto the street once again.
Valencia's official languages are Valencian/Catalan, and Spanish. In the capital of Valencia, which is the third largest city in Spain, not many people speak Valencian, nor are they offended if addressed in Spanish. However, outside the capital, Valencian is often preferred. As in Barcelona, with Catalan, it helps to be sensitive to this language dynamic. However, the linguistic issue is not as controversial as in Barcelona and most people in Valencia speak Spanish as their first and often their only language. There are some Spanish language schools in Valencia, for example "Lingua Valencia". The English-speaking skills of the locals can be hit or miss. Most people under 35 speak some English and some quite a bit, but most would obviously prefer being addressed at first in Spanish or Valencian. French is also spoken or understood by some.
Valencia Airport (IATA: VLC) is 9 km from the city center. The bus to Túria station departs every 30 minutes and takes about 30–40 minutes. Subway goes directly to the town centre and links the Airport to the main train station, Estación del Norte (beside Xàtiva metro stop), running every 8 minutes and taking about 20 minutes.
A taxi ride from the airport to Calle de La Paz, which is in the heart of the historic city centre and covering a distance of approximately 11 km costs around €20-23 with an additional 'airport supplement' of around €5. The tarifs are on display in the taxi in Valencian, Spanish and English but are difficult to see. The same journey back from Calle de La Paz to the airport half the price! These fees are accurate as of January 2015.
Check for taxi rank location at Valencia airport. Pre-book a taxi by calling to a radio taxi company: Taxco: +34 902 024 972 Radio Taxi Manises: +34 961 521 155 Radio Taxi Valencia: +34963 703 333 Taxis de Valencia: +34 961 119 977 Taxi Valencia: +34 644 015 655 or book online at BookTaxiValencia website
Valencia is served by Iberia, Spanair, Lufthansa, AirFrance, AirBerlin, TuiFly, Ryanair, Transavia, Vueling, SWISS, and several other airlines.
Valencia is connected with Madrid by high-speed trains, that run over the Madrid–Levante high-speed rail line. The journey takes approximately 1 hour 35 minutes. Other major cities, such as Barcelona, are connected with Valencia by Euromed, Alaris, or Talgo trains. The journey to Barcelona takes approximately 3 hours.
The main train station, Estació de València Nord (Estación del Norte / North Station), is in the center of the city, next to Plaza de Toros and near the Town Hall (Ayunamiento). The building itself is a well-preserved modernist structure from 1917. Facilities include a tourist information office, storage lockers, several cafés, and a car rental office.
High-speed and Euromed trains arrive at the Estació de València-Joaquim Sorolla (Estación de Valencia-Joaquín Sorolla / Joaquín Sorolla Station), 800 metres away from the main station. Facilities at this station include storage lockers, a café, and car rental office.
The national train company is Renfe. Tickets can be booked online on their website, where significant discounts ('Web' and 'Estrella' fares) are available for early bookings.
Estació d'Autobusos de València (Estación de Autobuses de Valencia / Valencia Bus Station), Avinguda de Menéndez Pidal, 11 (Túria metro), ☎ +34 963 466 266. A dozen bus companies operate here, with arrivals from almost every big city in Spain and most cities in the Valencia region. Ticket offices are located on the upper floor, as are a café and information booth.
Aside from going to the beach and the City of Arts and Sciences, exploring the hub of the city requires no public transportation. Much of this city can be done walking, stopping for a coffee or a beer, and then walking more, all very leisurely. It's not necessary to have the mindset of mastering a complex public transportation system. However, for longer trips, see below for some pointers.
By public transportation
Travellers visiting for a short period may want to consider purchasing a Valencia Tourist Card, a one-, two- or three-day pass which allows for unlimited travel on all metro and bus lines, including to/from the airport, over a period of 24 hours (€15), 48 hours (€20), or 72 hours (€25). The card also includes free admission to public museums and monuments, discounted admission for other tourist attractions, and additional discounts at some shops and restaurants. The card can be purchased at any tourist office, including at the airport, or purchased online for a discount and picked up on arrival at a tourist office.
For travellers staying longer than three days, a rechargeable Bono transbordo card, valid for both metro and bus travel, provides a flexible means of getting around. The card allows for ten journeys, which include all transfers begun within an hour of commencing your journey. These cards are sold in ticket offices in metro stations, and as of late 2015 cost €9. There is an additional one-time €2 fee for the chip and plastic card. The cards can be recharged at any metro ticket machine.
The EMT (bus) website has a very helpful route-planner, useful for planning journeys not only by bus but also by metro, bicycle, and Valenbisi (see the bicycle section below).
The Metro Valencia consists of nine lines (three of which are tramlines) and connects the suburbs with the city. As of 2015, the one-way fare for a single zone is €1.50. The ticket itself costs an additional €1 and contains a rechargeable chip. This metro system is not extensive, but can get you to major points within the city. Make sure you keep your ticket as you must beep yourself out as well. If you want to take the tram, you have to buy a ticket from the machine, then validate it, before you get on.
If you use the metro a lot, you should consider getting a Bonometro, a rechargeable chip card, available at ticket machines in metro stations, which allows for ten rides and as of late 2015 costs €7.20. There is an additional one-time €1 fee for the chip and cardboad ticket.
Maps and timetables can be downloaded here.
EMT runs buses to virtually every part of the city, both day and night. A single ticket costs €1.50 (no transfers), payable to the bus driver on entry. For frequent travellers, a more price-effective option is to purchase a rechargeable Bonobús card, available in kiosks and tobacco shops, which will allow you ten rides for €8 (as of late 2015). There is an additional one-time €1 fee for the chip and cardboad ticket. These cards can be recharged at kiosks or online.
For travellers with smartphones, there is a very helpful official EMT app (iPhone and Android), which has a route planner as well as a QRT reader.
Most bus stops now have digital displays listing the arrival times for the next bus. At those stops lacking the digital display it is still easy to find out the next arrival times, by using either a QRT reader (like the one built into the EMT app), or by sending a SMS with the unique number of the bus stop to a number displayed next to the posted route plan.
Valencia is essentially flat, and cycling has become a popular way for visitors to get around. The city has established a comprehensive network of dedicated bicycle paths and lanes, and the Turia river park very conveniently cuts across the city, making it possible to get from one end to the other with minimal time in traffic. Drivers are now accustomed to interacting with cyclists in traffic, although pedestrians still occasionally wander into bike paths. Riding on sidewalks without demarcated bicycle paths is technically not permitted, but this is not enforced. At night lights are required, and a helmet and reflective vest are recommended. A bicycle route map can be downloaded here.
Since 2010 the city has operated Valenbisi, a popular bicycle sharing program, with 275 stations distributed throughout the city. No reservation is necessary – once you have a Valenbisi card, simply go to the interactive station terminal, follow the instructions in Valencian/Spanish/English, and choose a bicycle. You can return the bicycle to the same or any other station with available docks.
A short-term subscription costs €13.04 and gives you access to unlimited use of the bikes for 7 days; the first half-hour of any journey is free, then €1.04 is charged for the first two additional half-hours, with €3.12 charged for every additional hour. However, if you park the bicycle in an available dock before the first half-hour is up, you can take out a new bicycle and reset the clock for no additional fees.
Weekly cards can be purchased at any station terminal with a credit card. For periods longer than one week, an annual subscription is necessary and costs €27.12, with reduced tariffs for each additional half-hour. These cards must be purchased online and are sent by mail; however it is possible to bypass this hassle and attach your Valenbisi subscription to a valid Bono transbordo card (a combination bus/metro card) – see the website for details.
There are also a number of bicycle rental shops in town, with most charging around €10-15 a day, depending on season.
- DoYouBike, Calle del Mar, 14 (near the cathedral), ☎ +34 963 155 551, e-mail: email@example.com. Daily 09:45-14:00, 17:00-20:15. Rents bikes at relatively reasonable prices. €2/hour, or €9/day during the week, €12/day on weekends, helmet and pump €1.
- valenciaGUiAS, ☎ +34 963 851 740, fax: +34 963 850 827, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the city, especially the centre, having a car is more of an impediment than an advantage, and visitors may well find it easier to simply park it and walk.
Monuments and architecture
- Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències (Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias / City of Arts and Science), Av Autopista del Saler, 5 (take a city bus from the train station or the metro to Alameda station), ☎ +34 90 210 0031. Call Centre: M-F 09:00-20:00, Sa 10:00-20:00, Su 10:00-15:00. Located on the former Turia riverbed, this ultra-modern architectural complex was designed by Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava and Spanish-Mexican architect Félix Candela. For those not wanting to pay the steep admission charges to the individual sights, it is possible to wander around the complex and appreciate the architecture from outside for free. Combined admission for all sights: €36.25 (adults), €30.85 (students), €27.55 (other concessions); valid for 3 days, however the same venue cannot be visited twice. There is a 10% discount for tickets purchased online.
- El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe (Museo de las Ciencias Príncipe Felipe / Príncipe Felipe Science Museum). Winter M-Th 10:00-18:00, F Sa 10:00-19:00; spring/fall and Christmas season daily 10:00-19:00; summer daily 10:00-21:00. A science museum designed to resemble a whale skeleton, it has interactive exhibits on three floors. €8 (adults), €6 (concessions).
- L’Hemisfèric. Designed to resemble a giant eye, this building functions as an IMAX theatre and planetarium. Multiple films are screened daily, with a schedule available here. €8.80 (adults), €6.85 (concessions).
- L’Oceanogràfic. Hours vary by season, open daily. The largest oceanarium in Europe, and the second-largest in the world, has seven sections devoted to different ecological zones. The building was designed by Félix Candela to resemble a water lily. Highlights include a dolphinarium, a walk-through shark tunnel, a shark tank (open for public diving), and spherical bird aviary. There are multiple restaurants located on-site, and with so many attractions it’s easy to make this into an all-day affair. €27.90 (adults), €21.00 (concessions).
- L’Umbracle. A botanic garden landscaped with plants native to Valencia. The park also has the Jardí d'Astronomia (Jardín de la Astronomía / Astronomy Garden) and the Passeig de l'Art (Paseo del Arte / Art Promenade), which has permanent and temporary exhibits of large-scale contemporary art, mostly sculpture. Free.
- Palau de les Arts, ☎ +34 90 220 2383, +34 96 197 5900, e-mail: email@example.com. Ticket office: M W F 10:00-14:30, opens again 3 hrs prior to performance; T Th 10:00-19:00 or until performance; Sa Su and holidays opens 2 hrs prior to performance. This opera/concert house has four halls and covers an area of 37,000m². A schedule of events can be found here.
- Agora. A multi-use covered plaza, designed for sporting events, concerts, and special exhibits.
- Catedral de Santa María de València (La Seu / Valencia Cathedral), Plaza Reina, s/n, ☎ +34 96 391 8127, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Nov-Mar M-Sa 10:00-17:30; Apr-Oct M-Sa 10:00-18:30, Su 14:00-18:30; last admission 45 min before closing. Originally the site of a Roman temple, later a Visigothic cathedral, and then a Moorish grand mosque, it is now the seat of the archbishropic of Valencia. The current Gothic structure was begun in 1262 and remodeled numerous times, resulting in a structure with elements from three distinct architectural periods. Especially notable are the Puerta de los Apóstoles from the 14th century, and the Puerta del Palau, the oldest doorway of the cathedral, which is Romanesque with Moorish influences. €5 (adults), €3.50 (concessions).
- Capella del Sant Calze (Capilla del Santo Cáliz / Chapel of the Holy Chalice). The focus of this side chapel is a chalice of agate, believed by the devout to be none other than the Holy Grail. Of the handful of similar chalices with the same claim, this is deemed by many scholars to be the most likely candidate as it has been dated by experts to the first century BCE.
- Micalet (El Miguelete). Daily 10:00-13:00, 16:30-19:00. The unusual octagonal bell tower, with a height of 51m, was built in the 14th and 15th centuries. It provides a pleasing view of the city. €2 (adults), €1.50 (children under 14).
- Cripta arqueològica de la presó de Sant Vicent Màrtir (Cripta Arqueológica de la Cárcel de San Vicente Mártir / Archaeological Crypt of the Prison of San Vicente), Plaza del Arzobispo, 3, ☎ +34 962 084 573. M-Sa 09:30-19:00, Su and holidays 09:30-15:00. This Visigothic chapel has on display objects discovered during its excavation including a Visigothic altar, Roman mural, Muslim artifacts, and a sculpture of the early Christian Saint Vicente Mártir, who is believed to have been buried here. €2 (adults), €1 (concessions), free on Su and holidays.
- Llotja de la Seda (La Lonja de la Seda / Silk Exchange), Calle La Lonja, 2, ☎ +34 96 208 4153, e-mail: email@example.com. M-Sa 09:30-19:00, Su and holidays 09:30-15:00. This UNESCO landmark is considered to be one of the most significant secular Gothic buildings in Europe. It was built between 1482 and 1533 on the site of an earlier oil exchange. The Llotja consists of four distinct parts: the Sala de Contractació (Trading Hall), also known as the Saló Columnari (Hall of Columns); the Sala Consulado del Mar with its magnificent ceiling; the unfinished Torre (tower) with its debtor prison (currently closed to visitors), and the Pati dels Tarongers (Patio of Oranges). Additionally, some of the Gothic gargoyles are quite naughty. €2 (adults), €1 (concessions), free on Su and holidays.
- Plaça de Bous de València (Plaza de Toros de Valencia), Calle Xativa, 28 (next to North Train Station), ☎ +34 902 10 7777. A bullring and artistic monument, this is currently used for bull fighting and big shows. The stadium holds 12,884 people, and was built between 1850 and 1860 by Valencian architect Sebastián Monleón Estellés.
- Museu Taurí de València (Museo Taurino de Valencia), Pasaje Doctor Serra, 10, ☎ +34 96 388 3738, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mar-Aug Tu-Sa 10:00-19:00, Su M 10:00-14:00; Sep-Feb Tu-Sa 10:00-18:00, Su M 10:00-14:00; public holidays 10:00-14:00. Has displays illustrating the development of Valencian bullfighting from the 19th century to the present day. €2 (adults), €1 (concessions).
- Torres de Quart (Porta de Quart), Plaça de Sta Úrsula, 1 (at the end of Calle Quart), ☎ +34 96 208 3907, e-mail: email@example.com. M-Sa 09:30-19:00, Su and holidays 09:30-15:00. This pock-marked medieval tower was part of the medieval wall that surrounded the old city. Great views of the city can be had from the top. €2 (adults), €1 (concessions), free on Su and holidays.
- Torres de Serrano (Porta de Serrans), Plaça dels Furs, s/n, ☎ +34 96 391 9070, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 09:30-19:00, Su and holidays 09:30-15:00. Built in 1392, this gate was also part of the ancient wall and for a time also served as a prison. The gate has been massively renovated and somewhat modernized, but is still interesting and located across the street from the park. This tower also offers excellent views. €2 (adults), €1 (concessions), free on Su and holidays.
- Almodí (Almudín), Plaça Sant Lluís Bertrán, s/n, ☎ +34 96 352 5478 x4521, e-mail: email@example.com. M-Sa 09:30-14:00 15:00-19:00, Su and holidays 09:30-15:00. Constructed in the early 14th century on the site of a Moorish palace, the building is essentially Moorish in design and originally functioned as the municipal granary; its name is derived directly from 'almud' (Arabic: bushel). The building was fully restored in 1996 and is now a venue for temporary art exhibitions. €2 (adults), €1 (concessions), free on Su and holidays.
- Banys de l'Almirall (Baños del Almirante / Almirante Muslim Baths), Baños del Almirante, 3-5, ☎ +34 963 152 024, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Su 11:00-14:00. Although constructed in 1313 after the Christian reconquista, the bathhouse was built in the Arabic style and is considered to be an excellent example of Moorish architecture. It was used continuously as a bathhouse until the 20th century, and is one of the few remaining such structures in Spain. It was fully restored in 2005. €2 (adults), €1 (concessions).
- Drassanes del Grau (Atarazanas del Grao / Royal Shipyards), Plaça Juan Antonio Benlliure, s/n, ☎ +34 96 352 5478 x4299. Tu-Sa 09:30-14:00 15:00-19:00, Su and holidays 09:30-15:00. These Gothic shipyards date to the early 14th century, and attained their current layout in 1500. Trade ships were built and repaired here, as well as galleys used for defense against Barbary pirates. Later the building was used as a storehouse for salt, and now functions as a venue for temporary exhibits. Due to the shifting coastline over the centuries, the shipyards are now two blocks inland from the shore. €2 (adults), €1 (concessions), free on Su and holidays.
- Palau de Cervelló (Palacio de Cervelló / Cervelló Palace), Plaça de Tetuán, 3, ☎ +34 963 525 478 x4496, e-mail: email@example.com. Tu-Sa 10:00-14:00 16:30-20:30, Su and holidays 10:00-15:00. Originally the residence of the counts of Cervelló, this 18th-century palace became the official residence for visiting royalty following the demolition of the Palau Reial de València. The building now houses a museum, the Municipal Archive, and the Serrano Morales Library. On the ground floor is an exhibit (in Catalan and Spanish) illustrating the historic events which took place here, and on the upper floor are the grand ballroom and Serrano Morales Library, with original murals and furnishings. €2 (adults), €1 (concessions), free on Su and holidays.
- Casa de Sant Vicent Ferrer (Casa Natalicia de San Vicente Ferrer / Home of San Vicente Ferrer), Carrer del Pouet de Sant Vicent, 1, ☎ +34 963 528 481. M-F 11:00-13:00, 17:00-20:00. Sant Vicent Ferrer, the principal patron saint of Valencia, was born in this house in 1350. The house was renovated numerous times, and has a chapel and well as well as 18th-century ceramic tile panels depicting the life of the saint. Free.
- Centre Arqueològic de l'Almoina (Centro Arqueológico de la Almoina), Plaça Dècim Juni Brut, s/n (behind the cathedral), ☎ +34 96 208 4173, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Sa 09:30-19:00, Su and holidays 09:30-15:00. This extensive site was first uncovered in 1985 during preparations for new construction, which was subsequently cancelled. Excavations revealed archeological remains dating from the Moorish, Visigothic, and Roman periods. After completing excavations, the city of Valencia converted the site into an underground museum. Highlights include Roman baths, a Moorish courtyard, and various artifacts. €2 (adults), €1 (concessions); free on Su and public holidays.
- Museu Nacional de Ceràmica (Museo Nacional de Cerámica / National Ceramics Museum), Poeta Querol, 2, ☎ +34 96 351 6392, fax: +34 96 351 3512, e-mail: email@example.com. Tu-Sa 10:00-14:00 16:00-20:00, Su and holidays 10:00-14:00. This very ornate Baroque palace once served as the residence of the Marqués de Dos Aigües, and is now a museum. The ground and first floors showcase a collection of stagecoaches and period furniture, while the upper two floors house an extensive ceramics collection with a focus on historic Valencian pieces. Of particular note are Moorish ceramic tiles from the main mosque which was located on the site now occupied by the cathedral, as well as six plates designed by Picasso. Photography permitted, no flash. €3 (adults), €1.50 (concessions); free on Sa afternoon and Su, 18 May, 18 Apr, 12 Oct, and 6 Dec.
- Museu d'Història de València (Museo de Historia de Valencia / Museum of Valencian History), Camino Viejo de Chirivella, 1, ☎ +34 96 370 1105, fax: +34 96 370 1136, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Sa 09:30-19:00, Su and holidays 09:30-15:00. Housed in a former reservoir, this well-designed museum is dedicated to the developmental history of the city, from the Roman era until the present. Although labels are in Catalan and Spanish, booklets with English translations are available at the front desk. Constructed in 1850, the building itself is interesting in its own right as an excellent example of 19th century industrial architecture. €2 (adults), €1 (concessions), free on Su and public holidays.
- Centro de Exposición y Museo Lladró (Lladró Museum and Exhibition Centre), Ctra de Alboraya, s/n (take bus 16 from city center to its end at Tavernes Blanques suburb), ☎ +34 96 186 0421, toll-free: +34 900 21 1010, e-mail: email@example.com. Sep-Jul M-F 09:30-17:00, Sa 10:00-13:30; Aug M-Sa 10:00-12:30. Here is the Lladró Porcelain factory. Visitation is possibly only through a guided tour, which must be scheduled beforehand, either online or via phone. Tours last about 1½ hours and are conducted in Spanish, English, French, Italian, and Russian. You can visit the factory, observe the process of porcelain making, and at the end see a large collection of Lladro porcelain some worth €30,000. Photos allowed only at the collection. Free.
- Museu Faller de València (Museo Fallero / Fallas Museum), Plaza Monteolivete, 4, ☎ +34 96 352 5478 x4625, fax: +34 96 394 1934, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 09:30-19:00, Su and holidays 09:30-15:00. Since 1934 Ninots (papier-mâché figures) voted as the best of the year have been spared the final flames of the Fallas festival. Along with photos and posters, these figures are showcased in a building which has served as a lepers' hospital, barracks, and prison. €2 (adults), €1 (concessions), free on Su and public holidays.
- Centre Cultural la Beneficència (Centre Valencià de Cultura Mediterrània / Centro Valenciano de Cultura Mediterránea), Calle Corona, 36, ☎ +34 96 388 3565, fax: +34 96 388 3608. This 19th-century former hospice was completely refurbished in 1995, and now in addition to hosting two museums it also functions as a cultural center and venue for special exhibits.
- Museu de Prehistòria de València (Museo de Prehistoria de Valencia / Prehistory Museum of Valencia), ☎ +34 96 388 3579, e-mail: email@example.com. Tu-Su 10:00-20:00. This museum is devoted early regional history, with collections from the Paleolithic to the Visigothic periods. A special highlight is the Guerrer de Moixent (Warrior of Moixent), an early Iberian bronze sculpture from the 5th or 4th century BCE. €2 (adults), €1 (concessions), free on weekends and public holidays.
- Museu Valencià d'Etnologia (Museo Valenciano de Etnología / Valencian Museum of Ethnology), ☎ +34 96 388 3614, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Su 10:00-20:00. The focus of this museum is on cultural traditions in the Valencian Autonomous Community, with three permanent exhibits focusing on life in the country, in the mountains, and in urban areas. Rotating temporary exhibits examine historic and sociological issues. €2 (adults), €1 (concessions), free on weekends and public holidays.
- Museu dels Soldadets de Plom L'Iber (Museo L'Iber / Tin Soldier Museum), Calle Caballeros, 20-22, ☎ +34 963 91 8675, e-mail: email@example.com. Sep-Jun Tu-Su 11:00-14:00, 16:00-19:00; Jul Aug daily 10:00-14:00, 15:00-20:00. Located in an old Gothic palace, this is the world's largest private collection of tin soldiers, numbering about one million pieces. Figures represent periods of Valencian, Spanish, and world history. €5 (adults), €3 (concessions).
- Museo Histórico Militar de Valencia, Carrer del General Gil Dolz, 6, ☎ +34 96 369 1904, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 10:00-14:00 16:00-20:00, Su and holidays 10:00-14:00. Originally built in 1898 for an infantry regiment, the building now houses a collection of over 3,000 objects, most of them from the 19th and 20th centuries. Free.
Art museums and galleries
- Museu de Belles Arts de València (Museo de Bellas Artes de Valencia / Museum of Fine Arts of Valencia), Calle San Pío V, 9, ☎ +34 96 387 0300, e-mail: email@example.com. M 11:00-17:00, T-Su 10:00-19:00; closed 1 Jan and 25 Dec. This 17th-century former palace now houses over 2,000 pieces of art, with a primary focus on art of the 14th to 17th centuries. Highlights include an excellent collection of medieval altarpieces, a collection of engravings by the Italian artist Piranesi, and a handful of minor works by Velázquez, El Greco, and Goya. Photography permitted, no flash. Free.
- Institut Valencià d'Art Modern (IVAM / Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno / Valencian Institute of Modern Art), Guillem de Castro, 118, ☎ +34 96 386 3000, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Su 10:00-19:00; closed on 25 Dec and 1 Jan. This museum focuses on Spanish and international modern art and photography, and hosts regular special exhibits, workshops, and lectures. A library, gift shop, and café are located onsite. Photography permitted, no flash. €2 (adults), €1 (students), free (seniors/disabled/unemployed/children under 10); free admission on Sunday.
- Museo del Patriarca, Carrer de la Nau, 1, ☎ +34 96 351 4176, fax: +34 96 351 1351, e-mail: email@example.com. M-F 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 12:30, 17:00, 18:00; Sa 11:00, 12:00, 12:30. Managed by the Seminary of Corpus Christi, this museum has a small collection of paintings from the 16th and 17th centuries, with special highlights including works by Juan de Juanes, El Greco, and early Flemish masters. The collection can only be viewed with a tour, offered in a number of European languages; to be sure there is a tour in your language it is best to reserve ahead, either by phone or online. €7 (premium tour including museum, courtyard, church, and chapel), €5 (standard tour including the courtyard, church, and chapel), €4 (museum tour only); €6 (premium tour for concessions and VLC card).
- MuVIM (Museu Valencià de la Il·lustració i de la Modernitat / The Valencia Museum of the Enlightenment and Modernity), Quevedo 10 y Guillem de Castro 8, ☎ +34 96 388 3730, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Sa 10:00-14:00 16:00-20:00, Su and holidays 10:00-20:00. The museum is devoted to civics and culture, with special exhibits focused on such topics as graphic design, photography, and cinema. The building and garden were designed by Valencian architect Guillermo Vázquez Consuegra. €2 (adults), €1 (concessions); free on Sa, Su, and public holidays.
- Casa-Museu Benlliure (Casa-Museo Benlliure), Carrer de la Blanqueria, 23 (El Carme), ☎ +34 963 911 662, e-mail: email@example.com. Tu-Sa 09:30-14:00 15:00-19:00, Su and holidays 09:30-15:00. This was once home to two generations of the Benlliure family, headed by prominent Valencian artist José Benlliure. The early 20th-century residence has been maintained in three distinct sections, including the primary house with original furnishings and artworks, a lovely courtyard and garden, and a second building with a private study and more artworks. €2 (adults), €1 (concessions), free on Su and holidays.
- Centre Cultural Bancaixa (Centro Cultural de Bancaja), Plaça de Tetuán, 23, ☎ +34 96 064 5840, fax: +34 96 387 5578. Tu-Sa 10:00-14:00 17:00-21:00, Su 10:00-14:00. The former 19th-century residence is now a cultural centre which hosts temporary exhibits of contemporary art and photography, by Valencian, Spanish and international artists. €2, free on Su and public holidays.
- Centre del Carme, Carrer del Museu, 2, ☎ +34 96 192 2640, fax: +34 96 192 2641, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 01 Oct - 14 Jun Tu-Su 11:00-19:00; 15 Jun - 30 Sep Tu-Su 11:00-14:00, 17:00-20:00. The former convent now hosts rotating special exhibits showcasing local history as well as historic and contemporary artists from Valencia and outside the region. €2 (adults), €1 (concessions).
- Fundación Chirivella Soriano (Palau Joan de Valeriola), C/ Valeriola, 13, ☎ +34 96 338 1215, fax: +34 96 338 1217, e-mail: email@example.com. Tu-Sa 10:00-14:00 17:00-20:00, Su 10:00-14:00. This well-preserved 14th-century Gothic palace now contains a permanent collection of contemporary Spanish art, with rotating exhibits. €4 (adults), €2 (concessions).
- Centre Cultural La Nau (Centre Cultural de la Universitat de València), Carrer de la Universitat, 2 (Xerea), ☎ +34 963 864 377, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Sa 10:00-14:00 16:00-20:00, Su and holidays 10:00-14:00. Built in 1498, this was once the library and main building for the University of Valencia. Today it is used by the university primarily as a venue for photography and art exhibits, as well as for classical music concerts. Free.
- Galería del Tossal, Plaça del Tossal, s/n (entrance in an above-ground glass structure in the middle of the square), ☎ +34 963 981 803. Tu-Sa 09:30-14:00, Su and holidays 09:30-15:00. This unique underground gallery has been designed around the remains of a city wall from the Moorish period, complete with arches. The gallery is a venue for temporary exhibits of Spanish and international contemporary art. €2 (adults), €1 (concessions), free (children under 12); free on Su and holidays.
Parks and gardens
- Jardins del Túria (Jardines del Turia / Turia Gardens). Daylight hours. After catastrophic flooding in 1957, the Turia River was diverted to the south of the city, and the former river bed was converted into a 7km-long elongated park which spans many neighborhoods, ending at the City of Arts and Sciences. The park encompasses soccer and rugby fields, an artificial boating lake, athletics track, playgrounds, fountains, and cafés. Abundant bicycle paths make it an ideal place to get in a little exercise and sun. Free.
- Parc Gulliver (Parque Gulliver / Gulliver Park), ☎ +34 96 337 0204. Sep-Jun daily 10:00-20:00; Jul-Aug daily 10:00-14:00, 17:00-21:00. The centrepiece of this unusual playground is a 70m-long sculpture of Gulliver (from the classic book Gulliver's Travels), who has been tied to the ground. Visitors can climb on and slide down the giant figure, much as Lillupitians might have. The sculpture was designed by Valencian artist and illustrator Sento Llobell. Free.
- Pont de la Trinitat (Puente De La Trinidad / Trinitat Bridge). The oldest bridge in the city, with the current structure dating to the early 16th century. The two 17th-century sculptures of Valencian saints were originally on another nearby medieval bridge, and relocated to this bridge in the mid-20th century.
- Pont de l'Exposició (Puente De La Exposición / Exhibition Bridge). Designed by Santiago Calatrava and built between 1991 and 1995, the bridge resembles a comb, hence the nickname 'La Peineta'.
- Jardí Botànic (Jardín Botánico de Valencia / Botanic Garden of Valencia), Calle Quart, 80, ☎ +34 96 315 6800, fax: +34 96 315 6826, e-mail: email@example.com. Nov-Feb 10:00-18:00, Mar Oct 10:00-19:00, Apr Sep 10:00-20:00, May-Aug 10:00-21:00; open daily except 25 Dec, 1 Jan, and during inclement weather. Established in 1802 by the University of Valencia, this lovely garden maintains extensive collections of plants from a number of different habitats. Most of the greenhouses date from the latter half of the 19th century, while the modern research center was completed in 2000. €2.50 (adults), €1.50 (concessions), free (children under 7); €10 (10-visit ticket).
- Jardí de Montfort (Jardín de Monforte / Monforte Garden), Plaza de la Legión Española, s/n (entrance on Carrer de Montfort), ☎ +34 96 325 7881. Daily 21 Mar - 20 Sep 10:30-20:00, 21 Sep - 20 Mar 10:30-18:00. This formal Neoclassical garden was designed in the mid-19th century by Valencian architect Don Monleón for the aristocrat Marqués de San Juan. It was declared a 'National Artistic Garden' and is now maintained by the city of Valencia, which opened it to the public in 1973. Free.
- Bioparc Valencia, Av Pío Baroja, 3 (main entrance), ☎ +34 90 225 0340, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily, hrs vary by month and season: 10:00-18:00 in winter, 10:00-19:00/20:00 in spring/fall, 10:00-21:00 in summer; detailed hrs available here. As far as zoos go, this is more animal-friendly than most. Focused exclusively on African fauna, the modern zoo has been thoughtfully designed to provide maximum space in natural settings for its residents. A special highlight is the walk-in lemur exhibit (no touching or feeding). €23.80 (adults), €18 (children 4-12), €17.50 (seniors), free (children under 4).
- Jardins del Real (Jardines del Real / Jardín de Viveros / Royal Gardens), San Pío, V, s/n, ☎ +34 96 352 5478 x4304. Summer: daily 07:30-21:30; winter: M-F 07:30-20:30, Sa Su 07:30-21:30. Originally established by the Moors in the 13th century as gardens for the royal palace (no longer standing), this pleasant and popular park is the second-largest park in Valencia, after the Turia gardens. The park includes a rose garden, sculpture garden, bicycle track, and aviary. During the summer various festivals are held here. Free.
- Museu de Ciències Naturals (Museo de Ciencias Naturales / Museum of Natural Sciences), Av General Elío, s/n, ☎ +34 96 352 5478 x4313, fax: +34 96 353 9956, e-mail: email@example.com. Tu-Su and holidays 09:30-19:00. The museum is divided into several segments, covering Valencian contributions to the sciences, the ecology of the Valencian region, and of course paleontology with the requisite dinosaur skeletons. €2 (adults), €1 (concessions); free admission on Su and holidays.
- Palau Reial de València (Palacio Real / Royal Palace), Av General Elío, s/n, ☎ +34 96 146 1752. First established by the Moors and later rebuilt by Christians, this building served as the royal Valencian residence until its demolition in 1810. It was subsequently forgotten and then rediscovered in 1986. The partially-excavated site is now surrounded by a fence with informative panels in Valencian/Spanish/English. Free.
- The Barri del Carme neighborhood is in the old center. It is the perfect place for a stroll where you can witness the transition from a forgotten area to an up-and-coming diverse neighborhood. Barri del Carme has many outdoor cafes and trendy shops. There is an interesting mix of people, from lifetime residents, to alternative types, hippies, gays and lesbians, and other assorted peoples. The neighborhood swells at night with revelers, but please respect the neighbors who live there.
- Tribunal de les Aigües (Tribunal de las Aguas / Water Tribunal), In front of the cathedral's Puerta de los Apóstoles (SE corner of the Plaça de la Verge), ☎ +34 96 391 4445. Every Thursday at noon; it is best to get here no later than 11:30 to secure a good spot. The Huerta, the fertile region surrounding Valencia, has relied on artificial irrigation since antiquity. The tribunal was developed to mediate disputes between farmers, and is believed to date back to Roman times; it has operated in its current form since the Moorish era. The court consists of nine representatives who meet in public and issue judgments on water rights and usage. Proceedings are conducted in Catalan (Valencian) and verdicts are issued orally. Although today the court is largely ceremonial, verdicts are considered legally binding by the highest court in Madrid and by the EU. In 2009 it was listed by UNESCO as an 'intangible cultural heritage'. Free.
The origins of the Fallas Festivity go back to an old tradition of the city's carpenters, who before the Festivity of their patron Saint Joseph, burned in front of their workshops, on the streets and public squares, their useless things and other wooden utensils they used to hold the candles that gave them light during the winter season. This is the reason why the night of the cremà (in which the Fallas monuments burn down) is always on March 19, the Festivity of San José. In the 18th century, Fallas used to be piles of combustible materials that were called "Fallas" and were burnt the night before the day of San José.
These Fallas evolved and acquired a more critical and ironic sense when showing in the monuments reprehensible social scenes. Around 1870, the Fallas celebration was forbidden, along with Carnival. In 1885 this pressure created a movement that defended typical traditions by awarding in the magazine "LaTraca" the prizes to the best Fallas Monuments. This competition, which began to be popular among different neighbourhoods, brought about the creation of the artistic Falla, where critique was still an important element together with aesthetics.
In 1901 the Ayuntamiento de Valencia awarded local prizes to the best Fallas. This was the beginning of the union between the people and the political power. This relationship has greatly developed this popular festivity in its structure, organisation and size. In 1929 the first poster contest for the promotion of the Festivities and in 1932 the Fallero weekend was established. It what then, when Fallas became the Mayor Festivity of the Region of Valencia. Today, more than seven hundred big and small Fallas are burned in the city of Valencia.
Valencia has a fantastic festival each March called Fallas, in which local areas build big papier-mâché models. They are mostly of a satirical nature and can be as tall as a few stories. Fallas are constructed of smaller figures called ninots, Valencian for "dolls". The fallas take a whole year of planning and construction to complete. Each neighborhood has a falla, but 14 fall into the Sección Especial category and these are the most important, expensive, and impressive. Each falla has an adult falla (mayor) and a kid's falla (infantil). It is best to arrive by 16 March, as all of the fallas are required to be finished or they face disqualification.
Another feature of Fallas is the fireworks. It's like the city's a war zone for a week! They wake you up early in the morning and go on through the day. Every day, there are three fireworks events, la despertà, la mascletà, and el castillo. La despertà occurs every morning at 8AM in order to wake you up. At 2PM in the main square of the city, the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, there's a thing they call Mascletá. This is 120 kilos of gunpowder translated into a lot of noise. It has to be experienced to be understood. This is very popular and you should arrive an hour in advance at least. Every night between midnight and 1AM, there is a castillo, a fireworks display. The last night it's called la nit de foc, the night of fire, and this is the most impressive. This is also very crowded and you need to arrive early to be able to see it. Along with these displays, people set off fireworks all day, making it very difficult to catch any sleep.
The days of 17th and 18 March is La Ofrenda. The falleras from each falla take flowers to the Plaza of the Virgin. These flowers are used to construct the virgin. The processions are grand and very beautiful and worth catching. They follow two main paths: one down calle San Vicente and the other down Calle de Colon.
At the end of a week displaying the 'fallas' they are burnt. This is called la cremà. The fallas infantiles are burned at 10PM and the fallas mayores are burned anywhere from midnight to 1AM. The one at the town halls is burned last at 1AM. The most impressive to see are the fallas in Sección Especial, because these are the largest and most dramatic when they burn. These tend to be very crowded and one should arrive early.
Things one should do during fallas:
- Go around and see the various fallas, but especially the Sección Especial.
- Pay to enter one of the bigger fallas to get a closer look at the individual ninots.
- See la mascletà and the la nit de foc.
- See one of the various parades, especially the ofrenda.
- See the virgin made of flowers.
- Buy churros or buñelos at one of the many stands on the street.
- Go to one of the temporary bar/nightclubs set up on the street and dance all night long.
Things one should be aware of:
- Most of the streets in the city are closed to everything, except pedestrian traffic and it is difficult to get around. The best way to get around is either by walking or taking the public transportation. Driving a car is not a good idea.
- Most of the restaurants are very crowded and some are not open. There is usually very long waits and slow service and you should plan for this in your schedule.
- Most of the hotels are also very crowded and should be booked in advance.
- Many people throw fireworks near pedestrians and its very easy to get burnt or injured.
- Some of the fallas, like Nou Campanar, are well outside the city center and are quite far by foot, it is much easier to take a bus.
- Fallas Museums
- Palau de la Música, Paseo de la Alameda, 30, ☎ +34 963 375 020, fax: +34 963 370 988, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 10:30-13:30, 17:30-21:00 (ticket office); tickets can also be purchased online. Designed by José María de Paredes and opened in 1987, this is considered to be one of Europe's most important concert halls. The building is marked by an enormous glass greenhouse-like structure which also serves as the main entrance. In addition to classical music, jazz concerts are also performed here.
- Cines Babel, Calle de Vicente Sancho Tello, 10 (Mestalla), ☎ +34 963 694 530. An art-house cinema which screens films in their original languages, including many current releases. The cinema has an adjoining café, and offers mid-week deals of dinner plus a movie for a reduced ticket price.
- Yelmo Cines, Avenida de Tirso de Molina, 16 (Campanar), ☎ +34 963 173 590. A modern cineplex which shows the latest blockbusters, with both dubbed and original language versions (VOS: versión original subtitulada).
Playa de Malvarrosa and Playa e Levante o de la arenas are the most popular city beaches, just north of the port. To get there, take the metro or tram to Eugenia Vines or Arenas station, or take the metro to Maritim Serreria and continue with the tram to Neptu (all on one ticket).
El Saler is the nicest and best developed beach near Valencia. Devesa is undeveloped and has nice surroundings. At Devesa and Playa Pinedo there are nudist sections. These beaches are located south of the port. To reach them, take the Yellow Bus (operated by "Herca") from Calle Alicante near the train station, in direction "Perello". The trip takes about 30 minutes; the bus runs hourly 7AM - 9PM.
- Don Quijote, Av de los Naranjos, s/n (Polytechnic University of Valencia campus), ☎ +34 92 327 7200, e-mail: email@example.com. A great school where you can take 4–6 hours of courses a day. All courses including beginner courses are taught entirely in Spanish.
- Espanole (International House Valencia), Calle La Nave, 22, ☎ +34 96 353 0404, fax: +34 96 353 1929, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A member of International House, a network of language schools all over the world. The school provides the students with lots of leisure time activities and even housing can be arranged by the school, either in a studio, in a shared apartment or in a guest family. Even the beginner courses are taught entirely in Spanish, which makes it difficult to follow the lessons in the beginning.
- Linguaschools Valencia, Calle de Bernat y Baldoví 11 (next to the Universidad de Valencia), ☎ +34 93 176 1536, e-mail: email@example.com. Office hrs M-F 09:00-17:30. Organizes Spanish courses for foreigners, using the immersion method. The school is based in a real Spanish villa close to the old town of Valencia. Here, you can enjoy your classes, lounge on one of the terraces or study in the garden.
- Route 66 Idiomas, Calle Moratín 15-4, ☎ +34 96 342 7368, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Offers courses in both Spanish and Valencian (Catalan). Students can choose to study 10-20 hours a week, or choose a less intensive long-term option of 3-4 hours a week.
- The area around Plaça del Patriarca (Plaza del Patriarca) is a good place to look for the major national brands like Loewe, LLadró, Louis Vuitton, Dolores, Farrutx, etc.
- Mercat Central (Mercado Central / Central Market), Plaza Ciudad de Brujas, s/n, ☎ +34 963 829 100. M-Sa 07:00-15:00. Located in a newly-restored modernist iron and glass building dating from 1928, this is one of the largest markets in Europe. See how the locals shop for food and buy some fantastic fresh produce, meat, seafood, or olives.
- Plaça Redona (Plaza Redonda). M-Sa 10:00-20:00, Su and holidays 08:00-14:00 (flea market). Designed by Valencian architect Melchor Escrig Salvador in the mid-19th century, this unique building was constructed around a round square, and was noted by Valencian novelist Vicente Blasco Ibáñez in his novel Arroz y Tartana. The building was recently completely renovated and now is home to a number of shops for traditional crafts as well as tapas bars. On Sunday mornings it is home to a flea market.
Tips on Paella
- Local paella — There are several versions of this tasteful rice dish: paella valenciana, with meat (chicken and/or rabbit usually), paella de marisco, with fish or seafood, or even paella mixta, with meat and fish at the same time, the least popular among locals. It is very difficult to say which is the 'real' paella, as every person has his/her own version (though no paella that deserves this name contains sausage, ham or meat broth, for instance). If you want to eat an authentic paella, try it at the Malvarrosa beach area; you will find there are several good restaurants. The authentic Valencian paella is made only with fresh ingredients, in a special iron pan and using a fire made with wood (not gas or electricity). Vegetarian paella is called paella vegetal or paella de verduras. Authentic paella can be rather dry, it's not a soup and shouldn't look like gumbo. Don't be shy about scraping the caramelized rice from the bottom of the pan, it's delicious!
- Arròs a banda and arròs negre — This rice is black because it contains squid ink. You can find these dishes at the same places as above.
- Fideuà, a paella-like dish, with short noodles and fish, was invented in the Gandía and Denia area (Alicante) and can be usually found in paella restaurants. It deserves a try too.
- All i pebre — All i pebre is made of eel, a snake like fish typical from the Albufera, a lagoon near Valencia. You can drive to El Palmar and taste it there. Delicious, but a very special taste. You can find good paella, and other traditional dishes at the restaurants here too.
- Llet merengada — A kind of milk-based soft ice cream with a cinnamon-lemon taste.
- Bunyols — Fried doughnuts, sometimes round shaped, sometimes like rings. Widely available only during March during the Fallas celebration. Dip them in hot chocolate. Sometimes they are too oily, so don't eat a lot of them or you will not be hungry again for several hours. If you can choose the carabasa (pumpkin) version, you should try it. They are generally tastier.
- Andalus Dolç, Carrer de Yecla, 16, ☎ +34 963 254 771. M-Th 11:00-24:00, F Sa 11:00-00:30, Su 10:00-24:00. This restaurant-coffeeshop is a favorite with the local Moroccan community and serves a range of traditional Moroccan dishes, some of them vegetarian. It also has an excellent onsite bakery. €9.50 set menu.
- Central Bar, Plaza Ciudad de Brujas, s/n (by Puerta 3 in the Mercat Central), ☎ +34 963 829 223. M-Sa 06:30-15:30. One of a trio of restaurants owned and operated by famed Valencian chef Ricard Camarena, this tapas bar is a good place to sample his food without breaking the bank. The menu changes daily depending on what's available in the market. Reservations are not accepted, so if you plan to visit for lunch be prepared to wait awhile for a seat. Tapas €4-9.
- Cerveceria Alhambra, Carrer de Calixt III, 8 (Extramurs), ☎ +34 963 843 057. M-F 07:00-18:30; closed for the month of August. This small sidewalk eatery is known throughout the city for its excellent tortillas de patatas in a number of flavours, many of them vegetarian. Tortillas can be eaten either with a fork (pincho) or in a sandwich (bocadillo). Meatballs (albondigas) are also served here, but the real draw is the tortillas. €5 for tortilla and drink.
- Hostería El Vizio, C/ d'Eugènia Viñes, 105 (Marítims-Cabanyal), ☎ +34 963 727 778, e-mail: email@example.com. Daily 09:00-01:00. Situated one block away from the beach (and without the view), this restaurant serves better food for much more reasonable prices than those places along the beach. The specialty here is pizza; the tapas and sandwiches are equally tasty. Pizzas €5-7, tapas €1-5.
- Kiosco La Pérgola, Paseo de la Alameda, 1, ☎ +34 963 699 079. M-Sa 07:00-17:00. This is a very popular lunch spot for delicious and cheap bocadillos. Their signature bocadillo is the Super Bombon, piled high with steak, jamón, lettuce, dressing, and french fries. The Bombon, which omits the french fries, is a slightly lighter version. Getting a table requires some patience, or reservations. Drink + bocadillo €3-4.
- La Lluna (vegetarian), C/ de Sant Ramon, 23 (Barrio del Carmen), ☎ +34 963 922 146. M-Sa 09:00-16:30, 20:00-24:00. Lunch menu €8-11.
- Mercat de Colom (Mercado de Colón), Carrer de Jorge Juan, 19 (El Pla del Remei), ☎ +34 963 371 101. Built in 1916 as a marketplace, this excellent example of modernist architecture now houses a number of cafés and tapas bars. Every Sunday at noon there are free classical music concerts.
- Portland Ale House, C/ de Salamanca, 10 (Gran Via), ☎ +34 96 381 0406. Daily 19:00-02:00. Owned and operated by an American from Portland, Oregon, this place serves classic American bar food and burgers, along with a good range of local beers. For those looking to improve their Spanish (or English) there is an intercambio (language exchange) open to all Wednesday evenings beginning at 20:30.
- Taberna El Olivo, Carrer del Pintor Fillol, 1 (El Carme), ☎ +34 963 917 087. Daily 12:00-01:00. This is a very popular, informal Andalusian-style tapas bar, in a pleasant plaza right by one of the few trees in the barrio. The tapas portions are large. Tapas €4-7.50.
- Bodega La Rentaora, Plaça del Mossén Sorell, 11, ☎ +34 670 396 302. M-F 20:00-01:00, Sa Su 12:00-17:00 20:00-01:00. Serves simple, creative and high-quality tapas, along with a full range of drinks. €7-10 tapa + drink.
- Café Infanta, Plaça del Tossal, 3 (El Carme), ☎ +34 963 921 623. Daily 17:00-02:30. Bar and cafe with outdoor seating, decorated with Hollywood memorabilia. Watch and absorb the spirit of the neighborhood. Mains €11-20.
- Canalla Bistro, Carrer del Mestre Josep Serrano, 5 (Ruzafa), ☎ +34 963 740 509, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 13:30-15:30, 20:30-23:30. This is the second of a trio of restaurants owned by star Valencian chef Ricard Camarena, with an eclectic menu that varies seasonally. Reservations can be made online.
- La Tastaolletes (Vegetarian), Calle de Salvador Giner, 6 (El Carme), ☎ +34 963 921 862. Tu-Sa 14:00-16:00 21:00-24:00, Su 14:00-16:00.
- Restaurante Balansiya, Passeig de les Facultats, 3, ☎ +34 963 890 824. Daily 13:30-17:00, 20:30-24:00. A highly-regarded Moroccan restaurant which has been reviewed in the New York Times and has an extensive menu. Reservations can be made online. Set menu €10-12, tasting menu €20-30.
- Restaurante Montes, Plaça del Bisbe Amigó, 5 (Arrancapin), ☎ +34 963 855 025, e-mail: email@example.com. Tu 13:30-16:00, W-Sa 13:00-16:00 21:00-23:00, Su 13:30-16:00. This very popular restaurant offers traditional Valencian dishes in a relaxed and friendly setting. The arroz meloso is especially highly regarded. Reservations recommended. Set menu €14-18.
- Taberna Comer Beber Amar, Passeig de l'Albereda, 38, ☎ +34 96 337 5237, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 12:00-24:00. Serves paella, fideuà, and meat and seafood. Does not serve tapas, but does have a good wine selection.
- Bodega Casa Montaña, Calle José Benlliure, 69 (Poblats Marítims), ☎ +34 963 672 314, e-mail: email@example.com. M-F 13:00-16:00 20:00-23:30, Sa 12:30-16:00 20:00-23:30, Su and holidays 12:30-16:00. Established in 1836, this is the oldest tapas bar in Valencia. All classic dishes here are prepared with locally-sourced ingredients, accompanied by an enormous selection of wines. The setting is informal and friendly. Reservations are recommended and can be made online. €27 for a set menu.
- La Pepica, Paseo Neptuno, 6 (Poblats Marítims), ☎ +34 963 710 366. M-Sa 13:00-16:00 20:30-21:00, Su 13:00-16:00. Known for paella, this family-run restaurant has been open since 1898, and has served the likes of Ernest Hemingway as well as contemporary and modern celebrities. Reservations are recommended especially on weekends, and can be made online.
- Restaurante La Salita, C/ Séneca, 12 (corner of Carrer Yecla), ☎ +34 963 817 516, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 14:00-15:30, 21:00-22:30. Established nine years ago, the restaurant became famous when master chef Begoña Rodrigo won the first edition of Top Chef España in 2013. Reservations can be made by email or online. Tasting menu €60+, wine extra.
- Rías Gallegas, Carrer de Ciril Amorós, 4 (El Pla del Remei), ☎ +34 963 512 125. Tu-Sa 12:00-14:30 18:30-22:30, Su-M 12:00-14:30. Serves traditional cuisine from Galicia. Set menu €35.
- Ricard Camarena Restaurant, C/ Sumsi, 4 (Ruzafa), ☎ +34 963 355 418, e-mail: email@example.com. Tu-Sa 13:30-15:30, 20:30-22:30. Ricard Camarena's flagship restaurant earned him his third Michelin star in 2012, just three months after opening. Dishes are wildly creative, and guests have a good view of the kitchen to watch the master in action. Reservations can be made by email or online. Tasting menu €75-105, wine extra.
- RiFF, Calle Conde de Altea, 18 (Gran Via), ☎ +34 963 335 353, +34 671 875 975, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Sa 13:30-15:30 20:30-23:00. Internationally-renowned chef and owner Bernd Knöller earned a Michelin star in 2009. Reservations can be made by phone or online. Occasional classes and cooking workshops are also offered. Tasting menu €49-65, wine extra.
Traditional regional drinks
- Agua de Valencia — Valencia water is a very famous mixed drink. There are several recipes, mainly based on a mix of orange juice and Cava, the local sparkling wine.
- Orxata — A drink made from tigernut, xufa in Valencian or chufa in Spanish. Being cold and sweet, it is specially popular during the summer months. In Spanish it is called 'horchata' and it can be found in 'horchaterias' or 'orxateries', but also in most of the cafes and bars. When ordering a horchata, you will most probably be asked whether you would like to have a 'farton', a small pastry for being dipped in horchata, as well.
- Cibada — An iced malt drink.
- Llima granizada — Iced lemonade.
- Café del temps — Espresso on ice with lemon.
- Blanc i negre — Iced coffee with leche merengada.
- Calimocho - A popular drink, originating in the Basque Country, made with red wine and cola mixed.
Wine lovers may want to explore the wineries of the Valencia wine region, including Bodega El Angosto, Bodegas Los Frailes, and Bodegas Murviedro.
Cafés and horchaterias
- Horchatería Santa Catalina, Plaça de Santa Caterina, 6, ☎ +34 963 912 379. Daily 08:00-21:30. The oldest horchatería in Valencia, this classic place serves not only horchata with fartons, but hot chocolate, churros, and ice cream. The interior has a cafeteria atmosphere, and is ornamented with Valencian tiles.
- Horchatería Daniel, Avda l´Orchata, 41 (Alboraia/Alboraya; metro line 3), ☎ +34 961 858 866, e-mail: email@example.com. Daily 10:00-24:00. Established in 1949, this is the largest and most well-known horchatería in Alboraia (Spanish: Alboraya), a small agricultural town on the outskirts of Valencia whose primary crop is tiger nuts (chufa), the key ingredient in horchata. There is a second branch in the Mercat de Colóm (listed under 'Eat').
- Café de las Horas, C/ del Conde de Almodóvar, 1, ☎ +34 963 917 336. M-Sa 10:00-02:00, Su 11:00-02:00. This popular café-bar is a good spot for coffee or cocktails with light snacks, in a Baroque-styled interior with eclectic music.
- Café Lisboa, Plaça del Doctor Collado, 9 (around the corner from the Lonja), ☎ +34 963 919 484, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 10:00-01:00. Located in a charming square which was once the site of Valencia's Lonja del Aceite, or olive oil market The primary draw is the expansive terrace seating by an olive tree, making this is a good spot for people-watching with a coffee or cocktail.
- Café Negrito, Plaça del Negret, 1 (El Carme), ☎ +34 963 914 233. Daily 16:00-03:30. Relaxed cafe with outdoor seating.
Bars and nightclubs
Barrio del Carmen is a major nightlife destination in Valencia. There are numerous restaurants, bars, and dance joints, which tend to cater to a youngish crowd, in particular along Calle Caballeros. Plaça del Cedre (Plaza del Cedro) is a nice area where all possibilities are given to spend a night partly o complete in less touristic ambiance than in the center. Additionally there is typical Spanish nigh-life feeling on the plaza itself. Different kind of people enjoying the mild Mediterranean clime to sit outside talking, drinking and playing guitar often until the sunrise. Other centres of are night-life are Plaça de Cánovas del Castillo (more upscale), along Carrer de Joan Llorenç (young also, less "alternative"), around the main campus of the University of Valencia (for students), and increasingly in the area near the beach and port.
There are many bodegas and tapas bars where you can get typical Spanish dinner for quite good prices. When you arrive early (the Spanish early) at about 20:00 they are usually having special offers like tercio y tapa for about €1. To find them orientate more to the parallel streets to Carrer de Doctor Manuel Candela. Later to drink something occupying the time between dinner and going out there are many bars with different kind of music present.
If you feel like dancing there are four famous pubs where especially at the weekends a lot young people can be found. The entrance is normally for free and they are almost neighbors all located in Calle Campoamor. The music is more alternative (Rock/Indie/Pop) than general in Spain but it changes depending on the DJ. So just have a look to all of them to find the one you like most. They are closing at half past three in the morning and if you don't want to be alone maybe the best time to arrive is between half past one and half past two.
- Blue Iguana, Carrer del Almirante Cadarso, 30 (Gran Via), ☎ +34 616 941 162. F Sa 23:00-06:00. This is one of the best nightclubs in Valencia. New and old good music all night offered by Dj Moisés.
- Calcatta, Carrer del Rellotge Vell, 4 (El Carme), ☎ +34 637 488 505, e-mail: email@example.com. F Sa 24:00-04:00. This is a slightly upscale, younger crowd nightclub in a beautifully renovated old building. Entry €10 includes a drink.
- Radio City, Carrer de Santa Teresa, 19-2 (El Carme: 2 blocks off Plaza Tossal), ☎ +34 963 914 151. 22:00-03:30. A popular bar-cum-club with a crowded dance floor playing a variety of danceable world music. The crowd is mixed locals and travellers, mostly under 30. Aggressive bouncers.
- Wah Wah Club, Carrer de Campoamor, 52, ☎ +34 963 563 942, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Su 20:30-03:00.
Staying in or near Old Town means you will hardly need transport, unless you go to the beach.
- Innsa hostel (Innsa Bed&Breakfast), calle baja 48, ☎ +34 963917751, e-mail: email@example.com. 17€.
- Red Nest Hostel (Hostels Valencia Spain), Calle de la Paz 36 Valencia Spain, ☎ +34 963 427 168, fax: +34 963 427 128, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A good budget hostel Valencia in the city center.
- Purple Nest Hostel (Hostels Valencia Spain), Plaza Tetuan 5 Valencia Spain, ☎ +34 963 532 561, fax: +34 963 427 128, e-mail: email@example.com. A good budget hostel in Valencia hostel in the city center.
- Indigo Youth Hostel, Calle Guillem de Castro,64, ☎ +34 963 153 988, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Small, friendly hostel in city centre.
- Hôme Hostels, Plaza Vicente Iborra S/N 46003 - Valencia - SPAIN, ☎ +34 96 391 37 97, e-mail: email@example.com. Located in town center. Specialized in backpackers and groups. The cheapest one in Valencia, and claims to be the "best". From €15.
- Hostal al Rincon, Calle Carda 11, Mercado. Single without bath €17. Wi-fi. Safe parking. These guys claim to have been around for over 400 years!
- Bed & Breakfast Almirante, Almirante, 3  Valencia -España, ☎ +34 963 916 551, fax: +34 963 925 501, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 1PM, check-out: 11AM. Located in a quiet area of the center of Valencia, 2 minutes' walk from the Cathedral.
- Expo Hotel Valencia, Avda. Pío XII, 4, ☎ +34 96 303 36 00. Within the Nuevo Centro, with great service and a private swimming pool.
- NH Villacarlos Address: Avenida del Puerto, 60, 46023, Email: email@example.com, Tel.: +34 96 3375025, Fax: +34 96 3375074. The hotel is within walking distance of the historic centre. There are a few other NH hotels in Valencia if this one doesn't take your fancy.
- Hotel Holiday Inn Express Valencia - Ciudad de las Ciencias, Escritor Rafael Ferreres, 22, 46013 Valencia, Spain, ☎ +34 96 316 2530, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Limited service hotel part of the IHG family located 600m from the City of Arts and Science Complex. 100 rooms. Breakfast included in all bookings. €50.00.
- Orange Habitaciones, Calle Trinquete de Caballeros, 3 Valencia -España, e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: 1PM, check-out: 11AM. A nice boutique hotel 15 minutes' walk from the center. Rooms were decorated in orange colour which gives you the feeling of Valencia as soon as you check in. A taxi ride to the airport is about €20. €50.00/single room/night.
- Barceló Valencia, Av. Francia 11, ☎ +34 963 306 344, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A new (as of 2015) hotel near the Arts and Sciences complex. €1-200.
- Confortel Aqua 4, C/Luis García Berlanga 19-21, ☎ +34 96 318 71 00. Near the City of Arts and Sciences, this is a new hotel (as of 2015).
- Hotel Las Arenas Balneario Resort, Eugenia Vines 22-24. A five-star hotel facing the sea. €160-550.
Internet terminals for 2 Euros/hour can be found at the main tourist information on the east side of the Plaza de la Reina in front of the cathedral, and at the cyber cafe in the Calle de Cerrajeros. 1 Euro/hour in the Chinese places in Calle de Pelayo, west of the train station. McDonalds on the Plaza de la Reina as well as many other restaurants and cafes offer free WiFi.
- Albufera — A fresh water lake which is part of the protected natural space called Parc Natural de l'Albufera, which comprises the lake and surrounding marshy areas, as well as the pinewood and sandy dunes and beaches of El Saler. Rice is cultivated in the surrounding area of the lake. The Albufera also hosts many interesting varieties of migratory birds. The local village in the area, El Palmar, is also a good place, if not the best, to try some paella or other local dishes.
- El Saler — This is the coastal area of the Parc Natural de l'Albufera. A long stretch of land with a dense pinewood, dunes and marshes that separates the lake from the sea. These beaches are on "protected" land and are the cleanest, most secluded beaches within easy reach of the city. Despite being very near the city, due to their protection and lack of the services of an urban or resort beach, they used to be pretty quiet, something not few people might prefer to the urban Las Arenas, Malvarrosa or Patacona beaches. Naturism is allowed and common in some of them, like in Playa de la Garrofera and in Playa de la Devesa (this one has to be reached on foot walking for about 5-10 minutes from the parking area). Accessible by bus, but that requires a good level of organization. A round-trip taxi ride should cost between €10-20, depending on how far along the beach you go.
- Manises, 15 km northwest of Valencia. It is not only the site of Valencia's airport, but also an important center for pottery. Some 100 ceramics factories are located in the municipality, where the art has been practiced for at least 700 years. The city can be easily reached by Valencia's metro lines 3 and 5; a one-way fare costs €2.10, and a round trip fare costs €4.
- Museu de Ceràmica de Manises (Museo de Cerámica de Manises / Museum of Ceramics of Manises), C/ Sagrari, 22, ☎ +34 961 521 044, fax: +34 961 534 048, e-mail: email@example.com. Tu-F 10:00-13:30 16:00-19:30, Sa 10:00-13:30 16:00-19:00, Su and holidays 11:00-14:00; closed 25 Dec, 1 Jan and 1 May. There are exhibitions about the history of ceramics in the area. Free.
- Museu de la Fotografía de Manises (Museo de Fotografía de Manises / Manises Photography Museum), Av País Valenciano, 19, ☎ +34 961 525 609. M 10:00-14:30, Tu-F 10:00-14:30 16:00-19:00, Sa 10:00-13:00. Housed in an ornate former ceramics factory, this museum has a large collection of cameras as well as a number of historic photographs. It also has temporary photographic exhibits.
- To purchase handmade ceramics, there are a number of shops and workshops located along C/ del Maestro Guillem, C/ Major, Avda Blasco Ibañez, and C/ Ribarroja, all just a short walk from the Manises metro station.
- Paterna. Inhabited since Neolithic times, the name comes from the Roman era; during the Moorish period it was known for agriculture and pottery. Located just 5km northwest of Valencia, it is most easily reached by metro line 1; as it is in Zone B a one-way fare costs €2.10, and a round trip fare costs €4.
- Torre Mudèjar (Torre Mudéjar / Mudejar Tower). Sa Su 11:00-14:00. This defensive tower is believed to have been built in the Moorish period sometime between the 11th and 12th centuries, as a square tower. It was subsequently remodeled during the 13th and 14th centuries, when it was converted to a circular tower, and it is this aspect which is unique among the watchtowers in the Valencia Community. The tower can be accessed via a circular external staircase, and the view from the top is worth the climb as on clear days it is possible to see as far north as Sagunto and as far south as Denia. Free.
- Espai Cultural Coves del Batá (Espacio Cultural Cuevas del Batán / Batán Caves Cultural Space), C/ Senda del Batà, s/n, ☎ +34 961 384 830. Tu-F 17:00-20:00, Sa 10:00-14:00. It is believed that the custom of living in cave dwellings is Moorish in origin, and was not uncommon in areas of Andalucia. In Paterna this practice has continued until the modern era, with most underground homes clustered around the Torre Mudèjar in an area known as the Parque de la Torre – from above ground the dwellings can be identified by the chimneys poking through the ground surface. The cultural centre consists of a set of eight interconnected cave dwellings, which house an ethnographic exhibit, textile and blacksmith workshops, temporary exhibits, and finally a reconstruction of a furnished, traditional dwelling. Free.
- Museu de Ceràmica (Museo de Cerámica / Museum of Ceramics), Plaça del Poble, s/n (in the Ajuntament/Town Hall), ☎ +34 961 379 657, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu Th 10:00-13:30, Sa 10:00-14:00 17:00-20:00, Su 10:00-14:00. Has an extensive collection of ceramics from the Middle Ages to the modern period. Free.
- El Puig (El Puig de Santa Maria). Pronounced 'el pooch', this agricultural village is best known for its Gothic monastery and is located just 15km north of Valencia, easily visited as a half-day trip from the city. Renfe regional train line C6 traveling between Estació de València Nord and Castellón stops at the El Puig train station about every hour; a round-trip ticket from Valencia costs €5.30 and the journey lasts about 30 minutes.
- Real Monasterio de El Puig de Santa María (Royal Monastery of Mary of El Puig) (entrance on Carrer del Pintor Peiró), ☎ +34 961 470 200, e-mail: email@example.com. Guided tours Tu-Sa 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 16:00, 17:00. This impressive fortified monastery was originally established in the 13th century, although the current structure dates from the late 16th century. The star attraction is the Gothic chapel dating from the early 14th century. This is still a working monastery, so visits are only possible with guided tours, which last about 30-40 minutes and are available in Spanish and English. €4 (adults), free (children under 8).
- Museu de la impremta i les Arts Gràfiques (Museo de la imprenta y las Artes Gráficas / National Printing and Graphic Works Museum) (on the ground floor of the monastery). Tu-Sa 10:00-14:00 16:00-18:00, Su and holidays 10:00-14:00. The first museum of its kind in Spain and the second in Europe, this museum is dedicated to the history of the printing, and has on display dozens of printing presses and books, including a replica of Gutenberg's press and a copy of the Gutenberg Bible. Free.
- Castell del Puig (Castillo de Cebolla / Castle of Puig) (on a small hill N of the monastery). The remains of an 11th-century Moorish fortress which has been abandoned since the 14th century. There is very little remaining of the castle besides a tower and foundations, but the hill affords good views of the village and the surrounding countryside.
- Torrent (Spanish: Torrente). Located 9km southwest of Valencia, Torrent is the second largest city in Valencia province. It has been inhabited since Roman times, although the city in its current incarnation dates to the time of the Reconquista in the 13th century. Valencia's metro lines 1 and 5 both stop in the Torrent metro station, which is in Zone B.
- Torre del Castell de Torrent (Torre del Castillo de Torrente / Castle Tower of Torrent), Plaça Major, s/n. Built in the early 11th century, this is the main tower and the the only surviving remnant of a Moorish castle which was part of a network of outer fortification circling the city of Valencia. The tower was used as a prison during much of its history, and was restored in 1973 and 2009. Today it is used as a venue for temporary exhibitions.
- Museu Comarcal de l'Horta Sud (El Museu Comarcal de l'Horta Sud / Regional Museum of l'Horta Sud), C/ Verge del Oliver, 30, ☎ +34 961 588 221, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Oct-May Tu-F 10:00-13:00 17:00-20, Sa 11:00-11:30 17:00-20:00; Jun-Sep M-F 10:00-13:00 17:00-20:00. Housed in an old farmhouse, this museum is devoted to cultural history and traditions of the region. A permanent exhibit recreates a traditional pre-industrial farmhouse, and the museum also hosts temporary special exhibits. Free.
- Rent a car and do a day trip to any number of picturesque villages or small cities in the region, including Chulilla, Sot de Chera, Xàtiva, and Sagunto, among others.
- La Tomatina, hosted by nearby Buñol on the last Wednesday of August. A festival that involves thousands of participants throwing ripe tomatoes at each other. Make sure you wear clothes that you can throw out after wards, as it gets very messy.
- Cullera, is the nearest beach resort from the city, apart from the more aimed at locals Pobla de Farnals, and worth a day visit from Valencia if you have time. It is settled down an isolated mountain (with a big white sign saying "Cullera" on it) beside a beautiful bay. It has crowded and quiet beaches. The most quiet ones are located along the lighthouse road. There is also a naturist beach right North of Cullera, in Playa del Dossel, with a tricky road to access it. There is a castle on top of the mountain from which to enjoy stunning views.
- Montanejos, with its scenic mountains, gorges, and hot springs.