Valencia is Spain’s third largest city and as you can tell by the title, also my favourite! It is modern and cosmopolitan but manages to remain cultural and amazingly Spanish. I spent one week here and feel I only scratched the surface of what Valencia has to offer.
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, I highly recommend San Lorenzo Boutique. It was inexpensive and sophisticated plus right in the middle of Barrio el Carmen/ Valencia Old Town which is the best area to stay in. Here are a few more hotel options in the area. Less than a 5 minute walk away is Plaza del Carmen, Torres de Serranos and where I found the best nightlife and restaurants. You’ll also be near the tram and bus station which makes exploring the rest of the city a lot easier.
VALENCIA OLD TOWN
Valencia Old Town is packed full of beautiful Gothic and Renaissance monuments, huge marble paved plazas, museums and the Central Market. It feels impressive to walk around, everything is so grand! You could easily spend a week exploring the sights and sampling the local food and wine there. Make sure to visit the Valencian Institute of Modern Art, La Lonja (UNESCO world heritage site) and the Museum of Fine Arts too.
As for the nightlife, I was in love! Friday and Saturday nights in El Carmen are lively and busy. The bars are full and people spill out onto the streets and dance. There is music playing constantly, it’s warm but dark and the atmosphere is just amazing! It was my favourite area of the city. That being said, there is a lot to see outside of El Carmen. Valencia has miles of beach which you can reach in 15 minutes by tram from the old town. It was the perfect escape from the city centre to relax and swim.
CITY OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
I also loved the City of Arts and Sciences. The buildings are futuristic and modern, such a contrast to el Carmen. It houses the largest aquarium in Europe and is a lovely walk (or cycle) from the city centre. You can go almost the whole way via the Jardin del Turia which is Valencias answer to a river prone to flooding. They redirected the old river to the outskirts of the city and converted the river bed into a beautiful, winding green space.
As I have already mentioned, you really could spend a week here just eating and still not have tried all the best Valencian delicacies. Late March is known for being Valencia Restaurant Week. If you’re lucky enough to visit during the festival you can enjoy 3 course lunches for 20 euros and 3 course dinners for 30! The seafood in this region is amazing as are the vegan restaurant options so everyone will be happy.
Valencia Bioparc was another highlight of my trip. I’m not usually a zoo person but this one claimed not to be your typical zoo, I decided to go. It is designed under the concept of zoo immersion so the enclosures are multi species and there are no visible barriers making it more of a natural environment for the animals to live in. The Bioparc also funds lots of different conservation and breeding programs so it gets a big thumbs up from me!
I can’t wait to revisit Valencia and explore the city a little more off grid! I’d also love to go in Spring or Autumn next time because from what I have been told it is the liveliest time for cultural events and festivals.