Mention you’re going to Valencia and most people would think about the famous Paella a la Valenciana, a globally famed Spanish rice dish. This romantic city definitely has Paella, but Valencia is so much more than that. With our 3-day suggested itinerary, you would have a real taste of this charming city, you will be introduced to the best attractions and you will learn where to eat the best Paella. You can absolutely make any changes you like, to adapt the tour to your preferences.
Things to know before travelling to Spain:
Language – Spanish is the official language of Spain. Also called Castilian, it is the first language of over 72% of the population in the country. Other languages are also spoken in certain areas such as Catalan in Catalonia, Galician in Galicia, Basque in the Basque Country and Valencian in Valencia. Speaking at least some Spanish phrases or attempting to learn is greatly appreciated by the locals. Some helpful phrases are as follows:
Buenos días = Good morning
Buenos trades = Good afternoon
Buenas noches = Good evening
Habla inglés? = Do you speak English?
Por favor = Please
Gracias = Thank you
Cómo está? = How are you?
Cuánto cuesta? = How much does it cost?
Currency exchange – The official currency of Spain is the Euro(EUR), the same currency now used by most Western European countries with the exception of the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Norway. Exchanging money in Spain is easy and follows the same standard to elsewhere in Europe. The best way to get local currency (Euro) is to use the ATM and withdraw in Euros to get the best rate. You may also transact with Banks and Bureaux de change.
Social life and etiquette – Spanish people usually have breakfast at around 10:00 am, while lunch (la comida), the biggest meal of the day is normally from 2:00 to 4:00 pm. Dinner is no earlier than 8:00 pm and often start as late as 10:00 pm, and it is a very light meal followed by a leisurely stroll (paseo). Tipping is a common practice in Spain, although not always expected. People in Spain tend to be always on time, so it is important to get used to the time zone.
Getting there – Valencia Airport in Manises, also known as Manises Airport, is the eighth busiest Spanish airport in terms of passengers and second in the region after Alicante. It is situated 8 km west of the city of Valencia. You can fly from New York to Manises for less than 480 USD round-trip, which is a steal!!! From Hong Kong, a round-trip airfare will set you back with 673 USD; from London, a round-trip will cost you two weeks worth of Vanilla Lattes from Starbucks or 63 USD for non-stop flights.
Getting around – Valencia features an extensive public transport network consisting of a subway system, taxis, public buses and tourist buses. The center of the city is a fairly compact area which can be explored on foot or on a bicycle. If you want to get the most out of your trip, avail the Valencia Tourist Bus Tour (€16.00 for 24 hours or €18.00 for 24 hours). There are two routes which you can choose from – the Historical Valencia or the Maritime Valencia.
Where to stay – There’s a great variety of accommodation in Spain, ranging from small family-run pensions to five-star luxury hotels. In almost any town, there’s something for every level of comfort and budget. In Valencia, it is recommended to stay near Mercado Colon to get easy access to the city’s famous attractions and get plenty of dining options. If you’ve been to Valencia once before, and would like to venture away from the historic center, then we suggest Barrio del Carmen.
Hotels to consider in Valencia:
Caro Hotel (Almirall 14, 46003 Valencia, Spain)
Hotel Sorolla Centro (Calle Convento Santa Clara 5, 46002 Valencia, Spain)
Hospes Palau de la Mar Hotel (Avenida Navarro Reverter 14-16, 46004 Valencia, Spain)
The Westin Valencia (Calle Amadeo de Saboya 16, 46010 Valencia, Spain)
Hotel Zenit Valencia (Calle Bailen 8, 46007 Valencia, Spain)
Day by Day Itinerary Discover Valencia, Spain in 3 days
There’s no better way to get acquainted with the city than joining a Paella cooking class. On this tour, you will learn how to cook Spain’s national dish and know its history and origin. Before the class, you and your guide will explore the bustling local market of Valencia and buy the basic ingredients required to prepare this mouth-watering dish. There are plenty of tours offered online, so make sure to read reviews first before you make your reservation. If you don’t fancy cooking, then try La Barraca de Toni Montoliu (Partida de l’Ermita, Polígon 1, 46133 Meliana, València, Spain), a restaurant located in a farm outside the city.
After your Paella experience, get set to explore some of the most famous attractions of Valencia. On this day, walk through Valencia’s historic center, starting from the Serranos Towers and ending at the Quarts Towers. The walking tour can be done in this order: Serranos Tower – Benicarló Palace. Corts Valencianes (Valencian Parliament) – Marqués de Scala Palace Baylía Palace. (Regional Council) – Palau de la Generalitat – Basílica de la Virgen de los Desamparados (Basilica of Our Lady of the Forsaken) – The Valencia Cathedral – Plaza de la Reina – Almoina – Almudín – Marqués de Dos Aguas Palace – Boïl Arenas Palace – The City Hall – Llotja de la Seda (Silk Exchange) – Central Market – Quart Towers. If the pace is a bit breathless, consider skipping a stop to have some chill-out time or visit the other attractions the next day. The decision is all yours!
If you are a catholic and your second day happens to be on a Sunday, rise early and head to the Cathedral of Valencia (Metropolitan Basilica Cathedral) to attend a celebration of the Mass. Situated on Plaza de la Reina, the Holy Chalices of the Cathedral is believed to be the true Holy Grail used at the Last Supper. Non-Catholic visitors may also visit the Cathedral and see its extravagant Gothic architecture, Baroque and neoclassical elements and Renaissance art pieces. Audio guides are available in various languages. After your tour, grab some breakfast at La Mas Bonita Patacona (Passeig Marítim de la Patacona, 11) and enjoy a hearty breakfast on their seaside terrace.
After a filling breakfast, make your way to the City of Arts and Sciences (Av. del Professor López Piñero, 7, 46013 València, Spain), one of the most iconic attractions of Valencia. This unique architectural complex houses the Museum of Sciences, the Planetarium, the Palace of Arts and L’Oceanogràfic (the biggest oceanarium in Europe). In the afternoon, check out some of the attractions in the historic center that you might have missed on Day 1. Or, you can explore Bioparc, a 10-hectare innovative zoo. For dinner, head to La Cantinella Restaurant (Calle Del Pintor Ferrer Calatayud).
You can dedicate Day 3 in Barrio del Carmen, a Bohemian area situated in the Old Quarter of Valencia. Biking around Barrio del Carmen is a great option which allows you to enjoy the area at your own pace. Check out its cafes, restaurants, tapa bars and art galleries. Squeeze in some souvenir shopping at Mercado Central before you head back to your hotel and prepare for your departure. Or, you can choose to stay in Valencia longer and travel to other parts of Spain.
This is the end of our 3-day itinerary. Remember, this is just a guide for planning and is in no way, shape or form, the only way to travel the city. There are several alternative routes of travel within Valencia and it will depend on your intended length of stay. Happy travels!
Have you been to Valencia or anywhere else in Spain? Do you have any tips or suggestions to share? If so, you can leave your comments below.