Valencia is one of Spain’s largest cities and top tourist destinations. The city is famous for its signature paella, but beyond that, it can be a bit of a mystery. So, when you visit the city for a couple days as part of your Spain itinerary, you might not be sure where to start.
That’s where this Valencia itinerary comes in. With our itinerary as a guide, you’ll know exactly what to do in Valencia in 2 days to make the most of your time there. You’ll find advice on how to discover the best places to visit in Valencia – and how to tackle it all in two short days.
Best Time to Visit Valencia
To have the best time possible in Valencia, factor in the best time of year to visit. The weather and how busy the city is with tourists can both affect how much you enjoy your visit. In fact, it’s that trade-off that determines when the best time to visit Valencia is for you.
While Valencia enjoys a pretty comfortable climate, with around 300 days of sunshine each year, the best beach weather comes from July to October. However, that’s also the busiest time of year in the city. If you want to visit when there are next to no tourists in Valencia, it’s best to go in the winter months of November through February. The downside there is that some attractions will have reduced business hours.
For a balance of good weather and fewer tourists, it’s best to visit in spring. From March to June, you can expect pleasant weather for sightseeing without too many other tourists around. That also makes it a good time to go if you’re on a budget, as demand and prices will be lower than in the summer.
How to Get Around Valencia
When visiting Valencia and its spread-out attractions, you’ll want to know the best ways to get around the city. Getting between attractions in the Old Town is easy enough on foot, but walking all over the city for two days is seriously going to wear you out. So it’s best if you get acquainted with the city’s public transportation for your 48 hours in Valencia.
Recommendation: To save money on public transportation, it’s best to get the Valencia Tourist Card. This card also gives you free entrance to public museums, as well as great discounts in shops, restaurants, and tours.
Valencia’s public transport network includes buses and a metro system with six lines. The standard ticket option for both is a single-journey ticket, which costs €1.50. There are other ticket types, though, some of which you can use on both the bus and the metro. You can buy tickets from machines in the metro stations or from the bus drivers.
Recommendation: Another great way to get around in Valencia as a tourist is with the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus. A bus ticket allows you to get on and off at all of the stops around the city for a validity of 24 or 48 hours. There are 21 stops in total which cover all of Valencia’s main attractions. Included in the price is an audio guide in 10 different languages, which gives you some insights into all the key landmarks. You can purchase your hop-on hop-off ticket here. If you intend on visiting the Oceanografic aquarium purchase this combi ticket instead to save some money.
You’ll likely also want to know how to get from Valencia Airport to the city center. Valencia Airport is 10 kilometers away from the city, with multiple options for public transport to the city center that arrive frequently. The fastest option is the metro, which costs €4.90 and takes about 20 minutes from the airport to the city center. There’s also the airport shuttle bus, which makes the trip in 25 minutes and only costs €2.50. Finally, there’s the local bus, which takes about 40 minutes but is the cheapest option at €1.45.
Where to Stay in Valencia
The biggest challenge when planning a trip to this city is usually working out where to stay in Valencia. In such a big city, you have plenty of districts to choose from but have to be careful not to pick somewhere that’s impractical or a poor value for your money.
In terms of atmosphere, the best places to stay in Valencia are generally found in the Old Town. Staying in Eixample or down in Camins al Grau is also a good option, as there are many quality hotels, B&Bs, and apartments in these districts.
If you want to experience one of Valencia’s most luxurious options, the Hospes Palau de La Mar is the way to go. Set inside a 19th-century building, this five-star hotel is just a 10-minute walk from the heart of the city and boasts spacious and stylish rooms.
If comfort and affordability are both important to you, then Up Town Apartments is a great option for you. Its apartments provide plenty of room for you to get comfortable and amenities such as a kitchen, air conditioning, a lounge area, and a washing machine. This is a great choice if you’re looking for a space to call your own during your stay.
You can also find some excellent places to stay on Airbnb. For recommendations, take a look at our list of the best Airbnbs in Valencia.
High-quality yet budget-friendly accommodation in Valencia isn’t that easy to find, which is why The River Hostel is so great. Just a short walk from Jardín del Turia and Valencia Cathedral, this hostel offers dorms and private rooms, a large common area, and helpful staff.
For more accommodation options in Valencia check out Booking.com. They continuously offer the best rates and their custom service is on point.
The Perfect 2-Day Valencia Itinerary
Like each of Spain’s big cities, Valencia offers endless options to keep you entertained when you visit. But it’s fair to say that a two-day visit is the perfect length to encounter the best of Valencia. This guide is designed to show you where to go during your two days to ensure that you have time for all the best things to do in Valencia. Our itinerary will take you not only to Valencia’s historical center, but also to downtown Eixample, the City of Arts and Sciences, and the seaside.
However, before we get to our Valencia itinerary, we just wanted to remind you to purchase travel insurance. You never know what will happen and, trust us, you do not want to get stuck with thousands of dollars in medical bills. As a wise man once said, “If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.” So don’t leave home without it.
SafetyWing offers travel insurance for only about $10 a week, making it a no-brainer to get. You can get a quick, non-binding quote below:
SafetyWing is, of course, not the only option available. Two other popular alternatives are World Nomads and Heymondo.
Now that we’ve addressed that important subject, let’s have a look at our Valencia travel itinerary, which will show you how to experience Valencia in 2 days without feeling like you’ve missed out on anything.
Valencia Itinerary: Day 1
When you arrive in Valencia, it’s best to head straight for the heart of the city’s Old Town and get to know all that the historical center has to offer.
Recommendation: To learn more about Valencia’s complex history and culture, consider booking a walking (or bike) tour with a local guide. On a guided tour you will visit all of the most essential must-see sites in the city. You can book a walking tour here and a bike tour here.
With plenty to see, start with one of the city’s biggest landmarks, Valencia Cathedral (also known as St. Mary’s Cathedral). Said to have the genuine Holy Grail in its possession, this church is easily the most important religious building in the city.
The cathedral was built in 1238 on the site of the city’s mosque after Valencia was taken from the Moors. Though it’s mostly a Gothic building, it also has hints of different architectural styles that combine to make it truly unique. Inside, you’ll find a gorgeous main altar and a prized collection of 15th-century paintings by local artists.
Attached to the church is the Miguelete Tower, which you can climb to get some stunning city views from the top of the belfry.
Plaza de la Virgen
Right out of the door from the cathedral you’ll find Plaza de la Virgen, one of many grand squares in Valencia. Because of its central location surrounded by popular landmarks, this square is always lively, with people passing through or sitting at the eye-grabbing Turia Fountain.
Sharing the square with Valencia Cathedral are several other attractions worth a look, including the unusual Basílica de la Mare de Déu dels Desemparats. This church houses the image of Our Lady of the Forsaken, an invocation of the Virgin Mary that serves as patroness of Valencia. You’ll definitely want a photo of the Palau de la Generalitat, the 15th-century palace where the city government operates.
Almoina Archaeological Museum
Ducking down the Pasaje de Emilio Aparicio Olmos, you’ll soon reach the Almoina Archaeological Museum. Visiting this modern archaeological museum is the best way to learn about the many layers of Valencia’s history.
The exhibits take you through the Roman times with ruins of the baths and the Roman Forum, then jump to Valencia’s Visigothic and Moorish eras through other ruins and artifacts. What’s really special about the Almoina is how it takes you into these archaeological excavations along catwalks so you can see the details up close.
La Lonja de la Seda
Your next destination on your walk through the Valencia Old Town is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of La Lonja de la Seda. This building from the 15th century, which was once a silk exchange, is cherished for its exquisite Gothic architecture.
On a tour of the building, you’ll see several rooms and halls with marvelous architecture. The most famous room, though, is the Hall of Columns (also known as the Trading Hall), admired for its twisted columns and incredible vaulted ceiling.
We now move from admiring architecture to enjoying food and architecture by stepping into the brilliant Central Market of Valencia. Held inside its fantastic art nouveau building since 1928, it’s one of the largest markets in all of Europe.
While the building is certainly nice to look at, it’s a marketplace, so the most important part is what’s on sale! Most of the stalls sell produce and food, but there are also bars and restaurants where you can fill up. One of the most popular things to get here is Valencian horchata, a sweet drink that looks like milk but is actually made from tiger nuts.
Recommendation: Consider joining a cooking class to experience the vibrant culture of Valencia through its culinary history. For more information on the cooking class click here.
Next, it’s time to roam the bohemian neighborhood of El Carmen in the Old Town’s northwest quarter. This part of the city is defined by its narrow, winding streets, where you’ll have no trouble finding tapas bars, cafes, bars, and spots serving Valencian paella.
El Carmen is an interesting place to explore aimlessly, as it has a way of alternating between lively and quiet, depending on the street. This is also a good way to find entertaining graffiti and street art. All of this should be more than enough motivation to go for a wander.
Eventually, you should find your way to the edge of the Old Town and track down the mighty Serranos Gate. One of several imposing gates that guard the entrance to the Old Town, the Serranos Gate once formed part of the city walls. Built back in the 14th century, this Gothic gate is now a pair of bulky towers that mark the main northern entrance to the Old Town. The gate is also another place you can score some rooftop views of the Old Town.
Flamenco Show with Dinner
Enjoy the best flamenco experience in Valencia at La Bulería. See all the magic of Spain in one unique show with the best artists, accompanied by the most authentic Mediterranean cuisine served in a beautiful restaurant of intimate and evocative atmosphere.
You can book your tickets to the Flamenco show here.
Valencia Itinerary: Day 2
You can use your second day to venture to other parts of Valencia, first seeing what the downtown area is like. From there, it’s over to the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences and (finally!) Valencia’s beachfront.
Plaza del Ayuntamiento
Begin another day in Valencia by making your way to the wide-open Plaza del Ayuntamiento at the southern end of the Old Town. This city square is a popular meeting place for locals – and you’ll see why when you’re surrounded by its eclectic mix of grand architecture. The square’s main feature is Valencia City Hall, a beautiful neoclassical building that’s hard to miss even among its stunning neighbors.
Bullring of Valencia
Leaving the Old Town for now, venture into the downtown district of Eixample to see the Valencia Bullring. While bullfighting events are only held at certain times of the year, mainly March and July, this arena is well worth seeing year-round. Finished in 1859, it’s a stunning example of neo-Mudéjar architecture, although there has been a bullring in this spot since the 11th century.
You can learn more about the city’s relationship with bullfighting at the Valencian Bullfighting Museum next door, which displays historical posters, costumes, and equipment.
Museu de Belles Arts
Traveling across town, make a beeline for the Museu de Belles Arts, Valencia’s celebrated fine art museum. Located in the striking St. Pius V Palace, the museum is one of Valencia’s finest, thanks to its sizable collection. Inside the museum, you’ll have the chance to see its sublime collections of local, Renaissance, and Gothic paintings, and to admire parts of the palace as you tour the building.
Jardín del Turia
One of the most curious features of Valencia is the huge park, Jardín del Turia, which divides the Old Town and downtown. That’s because this garden park is actually the former riverbed of the Turia, which once flowed through Valencia. The river was diverted in 1969 to prevent Valencia from flooding, and its old riverbed was repurposed rather brilliantly.
With the many bridges that still cross the park, it’s easy enough to believe a river flowed through here. It’s a pleasant place to go for a walk and a relaxing way to head to Valencia’s modern City of Arts and Sciences.
City of Arts and Sciences
Now that you’ve seen Valencia’s historic side so thoroughly, it’s time to experience its modern one. The large cultural complex at the end of the Jardín del Turia, known as the City of Arts and Sciences, is full of ultra-futuristic buildings that demand to be seen.
Construction on the complex began in 1996; the last major building, the striking Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía opera house, was finished in 2005. Among the complex’s fountains and gardens, you’ll also find the Hemisfèric planetarium and IMAX theater and the Príncipe Felipe Science Museum.
The other major attraction within the City of Arts and Sciences complex is L’Oceanogràfic, Valencia’s extremely popular oceanarium. It has a hyper-modern building, of course, but it’s the incredible array of marine life inside that makes it Spain’s most celebrated aquarium. Inside, you can walk through a glass tunnel with sharks floating over you and see sea life from different climates and regions. It even has some primarily land-based animals, including penguins, seals, and walruses.
You can buy your entrance tickets to the L’Oceanogràfic Aquarium in advance here.
Playa de la Malvarrosa
Finish your time in Valencia by journeying all the way out to the coast for some beach time at Playa de la Malvarrosa. Running straight as an arrow for a kilometer, this city beach is backed by palm trees and a pleasant seaside promenade. The evening sky is quite pretty over the water (even though the sun is going in the wrong direction for a beach!), and you don’t have to go far for bars and restaurants.
So there you have it – the ultimate Valencia itinerary with everything you need to know to comfortably spend 2 days in Valencia. You should now feel pretty comfortable about visiting this complex Spanish city and properly experiencing it in a short time!
Michelle Morgan says
March 19th is the end of a week long festival called Fallas. We get about 2MM tourists. Its great fun, but it limits you from doing sight seeing and you need restaurant reservations.