From medieval architecture and Mediterranean beaches, to futuristic cultural centers and gracious urban parks, Valencia is a simmering blend of moods and styles. Founded by the Romans in 138 B.C., Spain’s third-largest city lies on the country’s eastern coastline and is one of Europe’s busiest ports.
Valencia is a modern, industrial powerhouse, featuring one of the largest historic urban areas in Spain. Find major Valencia attractions located around Old Town’s streets and squares, ideal areas to explore on foot. Go to Plaza de la Reina to visit Valencia Cathedral, which reputedly houses the Holy Grail. Enjoy panoramic city views from the cathedral’s bell tower. Sit at a café on Plaza de la Virgen to watch street performers and admire city landmarks, including a 17th-century Baroque church.
Take time to appreciate Valencia’s varied architecture. The Palacio del Marqués de dos Aguas presents a mixture of Baroque, Rococo and neoclassical architectural styles. Step inside to find an interesting collection of ceramics. See a slice of Valencia’s silk trading heritage at La Lonja, a complex of Gothic buildings with intricate Renaissance décor.
The Turía River once flowed around Valencia’s Old Town, but was diverted after a catastrophic flood. The riverbed is now a large urban park called Turía Gardens. Here, you can have a picnic on the lawn, spot endangered African animals at Bioparc Valencia and explore the City of Arts and Sciences, a multipurpose cultural center with an aquarium, concert hall and museums.
Partying is popular in Valencia, most notably during Las Fallas, a festival of processions and fireworks commemorating St. Joseph and the arrival of spring. Spend an evening in the El Carmen district, where restaurants and tapas bars have replaced crumbling townhouses. Visit Central Market, one of Europe’s oldest, to sample the region’s fruits, cheeses and seafood.
Take a break from the city and discover Valencia’s Mediterranean coastline. Stroll along the esplanade at Malvarrosa Beach, just a short bus or tram ride from the city center.