How to Spend 1 Day in Valencia
Valencia, Spain’s third-largest city, draws far fewer tourists than Madrid and Barcelona yet boasts comparable culture and dining scenes. Its mazelike center is filled with Gothic, Romanesque, Renaissance, and baroque architecture and is wrapped by a ribbon of verdant parks. Here’s how to make the most of 24 hours in Valencia.
Morning: See the Sights
Valencia is a bike-friendly city, and pedaling around is one of the best ways to see it. A guided bike tour will take you to the city’s most interesting attractions, from an ancient Roman square to the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences complex, while offering plenty of opportunities to stop, snap photos, and ask questions. Other, less energetic, options include tours by car, bus, or Segway. Alternatively, hop-on-hop-off-bus tours allow you to set your own schedule and spend as long as you like at each stop.
Afternoon: Make Paella
As the birthplace of paella, Valencia is the best place to taste one of Spain’s most famous dishes. What’s even better is that you can discover the secrets of authentic paella making and prepare it yourself during a cooking class. Classes often begin with the opportunity to shop for ingredients at the bustling public Central Market (Mercado Central), before getting hands-on in the kitchen. Afterward, you’ll be able to enjoy your delicious homemade paella in the company of your host. Tours often include Valencian wines and typical appetizers and desserts, too.
Night: Sunset and Tapas
Spend the late afternoon strolling through the streets of Valencia—from the historic center to the strikingly futuristic buildings of the City of Arts and Sciences, designed by Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava. When it’s time for dinner, your options include a sunset cruise aboard a catamaran, after which you disembark at a beach for an included traditional Spanish dinner, or a walking tapas tour, which takes you to a few of the city’s best tapas bars. Either way, be sure to toast your day with a glass of local beer, wine, or vermouth.