Day trip to ValenciaA city with a rich history and gastronomy
Valencia, the beating heart of the Valencian Community
Valencia has long been wrongly overshadowed by Barcelona and Seville when it comes to tourism. Things are changing though and Valencia is now one of the most sought-after destinations in Spain for a city break.
It’s not hard to see why: Valencia has a rich history and examples of all kinds of architecture from rococo to Art Deco and futuristic architecture. The new Art and Sciences center is a fantastic activity for families as well as the Bio Parc. Valencia also has a very rich street art scene and a passion for fiestas you won’t find anywhere else.
HOW FAR is IT?
1h15 min by car from Moraira
1h15 min bus from Dénia
La Seu, Ciudad de Artes y Ciencas, The Old Town
BEST TIME to VISIT
Spring and Autumn
WHAT TO DO ON A DAY TRIP to VALENCIA?
Explore the Street Art scene in El Carmen
Although Valencia is a very ancient city with influences from the Romans and the Moors, it also has a very vibrant street art scene with international artists traveling to the city to share their art. The best pieces are found in the ancient El Carmen neighbourhood. See how many you can spot on your own or join this fantastic walking tour ( English & Spanish) to learn more about each artist.
Climb to the top of the La Seu tower
La Seu is one of the most emblematic landmarks of Valencia. The Cathedral is full of history and we recommend doing a visit with the audioguide to learn about local traditions (pregnant women had to walk around the church 7 times for good luck apparently !). You’ll find a little door on the left side of the church leading to the church’s tower. I don’t recommend going up if you are claustrophobic or have vertigo but the view at the top is fantastic.
Discover futuristic architecture
A must see in Valencia is the Centro de Artes y Ciencias, a gigantic complex made of different futuristic buildings hosting a science museum, a 3D cinema, a modern garden, a concert hall and one of the best aquariums in Europe. This alone is worth a daytrip and if you decide to visit the whole complex you could spend a day there. The aquarium is defenetly worth the splurge
Visit the Mercat Central for some local dishes
Mercat Central combines two of my favorite things in one place: food and Art Deco architecture. The building itself is worth a visit with intricately ornated facades, an impressive dome and beautiful tiles. Mercat Central is also the heart of Valencian gastronomy and if you want to learn more about local produce this is a great place to start. From local paella rice to Jamon and cheeses, preserves and horchata…you could spend the whole morning there.
WHERE TO EAT in VALENCIA?
If you’re on a day trip to Valencia you will be spoiled for choice when it comes to great restaurants.
From traditional Spanish cuisine to new international chefs and world food…there is something for everybody and for every budget. Stay away from the very touristy restaurants around the main attractions and you’ll be alright. These are five places that we personally love…but there are hundreds of fantastic restaurants in Valencia.
Probably the best Italian food you can have outside of Italy. Run entirely by Italians, this place has attracted the likes of Keanu Reeves, Penelope Cruz, Matt Damon and pretty much any Spanish celebrity under the sun. The food is delicious, service is friendly and the prices are surprisingly reasonable. Do not even think about turning up without a reservation though…they are very busy.
Carrer de la Corretgeria, 37
Giardino del Carmen
Located behing the Market on a lovely little square in El Carmen, Il Giardino has quickly become a must-visit in Valencia. The food is to die for, everything is prepared in a traditional stone oven following Sardininan traditions. Meats are tender and juicy, pastas are full of flavours and desserts are just decadent. Service is also one of the friendliest we’ve encountered in Valencia.
Plaça de Joan de Vila-rasa, 6
Hidden in the hip neighbourhood of “Rufaza”, Bistro Canalla is the new playground of Valencian star chef Ricard Camarena. Eating here is like embarking on a fun trip around the world: gyozas, tacos, pastrami sandwiches, ceviches, Galician beef…all with the unique “Camarena” touch. Prices are reasonable and dishes are meant to be shared. Don’t forget to try the trompe l’oeil desserts!
Carrer del Mestre Josep Serrano, 5
Another restaurant owned by Ricard Camarena, Bar Central is much less formal than his other venues. Bar Central’s mission is to highlight local traditional dishes using the freshest local produce from the Market. All the dishes will be familiar tapas but with a little twist. Sit at the bar, enjoy a cold beer and order some tapas while watching the busy life of the market.
Cafe de Las Horas
This isn’t technically a restaurant but it is a must-visit if you’re on a day trip to Valencia. Cafe de las Horas is the birthplace of the infamous “Agua de Valencia” cocktail. If you’ve never had it before, this is the place to try it.The over the top rococo/kitsch interior is worth the visit. Beware of the power of “agua de Valencia” though…it’s a strong cocktail!
Carrer del Comte d’Almodóvar, 1
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOUR DAY TRIP TO VALENCIA
1- Parking and driving in the centre of Valencia can be tricky (and expensive). Your best option is to drive to the Metro Station VALENCIA SUD, leave your car in the free car park and hop on the Line 7 direction MARITIM which take you to the centre in a couple of minutes. Stop at the COLON station.
2- Valencia is one of the safest cities in Spain, with a very low crime level but tourism attracts pickpockets and other scammers. Keep an eye on your belongings, especially around the main attractions.
3- There are plenty of fantastic walking tours (in English) to discover the history of Valencia. Most of them take about 1-2 hours and take you around the old town. You can even do a “street” art tour to discover local artists. Visit this website for more info
4- If you are visiting the Mercat, keep in mind that it closes at 2PM…start your day trip to Valencia with this attraction.
5- To go from the Old town to the Ciudad de las Artes you can take a taxi ( around 5-7€) or hop on the 35 bus. Tickets cannot be purchased on the bus so make sure to buy them from the little newspaper stands or from the “tabacco” shops.
6- If you get a Metrocard, keep it throughout your journey as you will need to swipe your card when you enter and when you leave the station.