What to see in Valencia in one day
Throughout the ages, artists have been inspired by the quality of the light in Valencia, and its proximity to the sea has made it a place where different cultures converge. A stroll through its streets transports the visitor back to past centuries, thanks to the exquisite façades of the mansions in the Barrio del Carmen, the opulence of the Llotja de la Seda, and the Cathedral. Visitors can catch a glimpse of day-to-day life in Valencia, with all its colour and hustle and bustle, in the colossal Central Market or in the Mercat Colón. Don’t forget to wander through Ruzafa, one of the trendier districts, or to catch the sunset on Platja de la Malva-rosa beach. Needless to say, you should set aside a morning or an afternoon to visit the Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències, a work of true creative genius by the architect Santiago Calatrava, which includes areas devoted to culture, science, music and simply strolling around.
Valencia is well worth a visit, even if it’s just for one day.
Itinerary day 1
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
This complex, which bears the signature of Santiago Calatrava, has become Valencia’s star attraction. It extends for about 2 kilometres over what was once the bed of the river Túria, and it comprises, amongst others, the Hemisfèric, the Science Museum, and the Oceanogràfic—Europe’s largest aquarium.
12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
Despite its Gothic appearance, the Cathedral was built on the site of a Roman temple, and was also once a mosque. Inside can be found treasures such as the Holy Chalice, and the High Altar with its Renaissance frescoes. Be sure to go up the Micalet bell tower to enjoy the views from the top.
2:00 PM - 2:30 PM
Valencia’s Mercat Central is a place not to be missed by foodie travellers. The market is noteworthy thanks to its architecture (reminiscent of the Eiffel Tower), its size (over 8,000 m2), and the fact that it is Europe’s largest fresh produce market.
2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
While visiting the Mercat Central, take the opportunity to sample a few tapas at the gourmet eatery here, owned by chef Ricard Camarena. In this bar, you can try traditional tapas, raciones and rolls with the quality guaranteed by a chef of this calibre—and without spending too much time.
4:00 PM - 4:30 PM
The Llotja de la Seda, designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, is an attraction that no visitor to Valencia can afford to miss. A symbol of the wealth and economic prosperity enjoyed by the city during the fifteenth century, the building is regarded as one of Europe’s finest examples of civic Gothic architecture.
5:00 PM - 6:30 PM
This is Valencia’s historic centre, located in the Ciutat Vella district. Step through the medieval gates of Serrans or of El Quart to find a labyrinth of cobbled streets and tiny traditional plazas. Visit one of the museums, such as the IVAM [Valencia Institute of Modern Art], or the Mossen Sorell market, and have a meal or a drink in the Plaça del Tossal.
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
This is one of the best art museums in Valencia and, indeed, in Spain. It is located in a fine monumental edifice that was once a seminary, and houses a wide-ranging collection by the Valencian painter Sorolla, and other internationally renowned artists.
8:30 PM - 9:30 PM
The best way to end the day is watching the sun go down from one of Valencia’s beaches. Valencians’ favourite urban beach is Platja de la Malva-rosa, a lively area where, in addition to paddling in the sea, you can also have something to eat and drink on one of the terraces.
10:00 PM - 12:00 AM
Quality ingredients, tradition and passion are the three elements that define this elegant restaurant located in Hotel Barceló Valencia. Its à la carte menu hits a perfect balance between the traditional flavours of the Mediterranean and the modern vibe of the local area.